April 24th, 2006

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DNA and the Duke Lacrosse case

When the DNA results came back 'negative', as in, not matching any of the 46 players who submitted samples, there was a storm over exactly what that meant. One phrase that was used repeatedly was that absence of proof is not proof of absence. The idea being the fact that no DNA was found dosen't mean that an assault did not occur. Many people also repeated Nifong's quote that only a small percentage of rape cases actually go to trial with DNA evidence. All of this led many people to believe that there was simply no DNA found. It seems that things are just about to shift on that score.

Apparently DNA _WAS_ found on the discarded fake fingernails. They matched to the accuser and apparently a lot of other individuals, none of which were the duke lacrosse players. I just ran across this watching cable news but have yet to see anything in the print media about it. God knows that the cable news guys have screwed the pooch before on information so I'm a bit cautious on this one. For one, it seems like a tremendous boon for the defense if it's true, and opens up a god awful can of worms for the prosecution. In his search warrant application to test the players, Nifong claimed that the DNA would sort out the innocent from the guilty. What we may have now is a crapload of DNA from 'unknowns' and it bolsters the spector that if an assault occured, someone other than the players were responsible. It's going to be almost impossible to find out who all the DNA belongs to if it came from a slew of unidentified individuals. I'll edit this and post a link to any news story when I find it.

There was also an interview with the accuser's father in which he claims that his daughter made no statements about being drugged the next day when he and his wife saw her injuries and that there's a possibility she might not testify at all. Again, I'll post the links when I find them.

defense lawyer Bill Thomas told NEWSWEEK that in the first round some DNA showed up under the woman's fingernails, though tests were inconclusive about identity


"There may be DNA. In this first round of tests, they did find DNA under the woman's fingernails. But the tests, as to whose it was, were inconclusive," she said." There are new tests that are expected back," she adds, and these tests could lead to other conclusions.

Still can't find the bit about the interview with the accuser's father. Search goes on.
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But what if she were CrAzY?!?

Feh. There's another news item out today that I find pretty disquieting.

Lacrosse Player's Lawyer Seeks Evidence

DURHAM, N.C. Apr 24, 2006 (AP)— The attorney for one of two Duke lacrosse players charged with raping a stripper demanded on Monday that prosecutors turn over the accuser's medical, legal and education records for use in attacking her credibility.

Kirk Osborn, who represents player Reade Seligmann, said the material will provide "rich sources of information for impeaching the complaining witnesses."

Frankly, I don't like the idea of digging through the medical records just willy nilly looking for ammo. It's one thing if there had been past accusations on her part that didn't pan out or something that actually applied to the case, but the idea of fishing expeditions make me sort of queasy. I guess the defense attorneys wouldn't be doing their jobs if they weren't doing everything possible to get their clients off, but IMO there are better ways to go about it. The unfortunate part is theat the evidence seems to hinge more and more on the accuser's testimony and her IDs. None of the physical evidence seems to have come through so far and the lineup is already suspicious in the way it was conducted. If they can shake her credibility, then they figure the house of cards collapses. It's too bad that there's no way for a judge or someone impartial to look at the records and see if there's anything exculpatory in there before deciding whether the information should be turned over.

In the ABC article they go on to state that the defense will be pushing for a pre-trail hearing to challenge the accuser's credibility and whether she can even give reliable testimony. One thing I know for sure is that this will not be improving the reputations of lawyers any. Well, other than with those charged with a crime that is.
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But will it fit into a wallet?

I was browsing through CNN video a few minutes ago and stumbled across a clip of Cynthia McKinney where she had apparently overlooked the fact that her microphone was still attached when she started badmouthing an aide. Not a big deal quite frankly and she only called the guy a fool, but the part where she tries to dictate whether the bit could be use I found quite amusing.

For those of you who don't recall, McKinney is the member of congress who punched a capitol hill police officer in the chest when he tried to detain her as she bypassed metal detectors. She wasn't wearing the pin which identified her as a member of congress so as she tried to move past them, the offer tried to detain her at which point she turned around and whacked him one. When the incident became publicized she immediately claimed that she had been racially profiled by the presumably racist police officer. She claimed that she had only been stopped because she was a black woman and that white members of congress never had this problem. Of course, that sort of fell apart when other whitey members of congress came forward to say they're stopped as well whenever they're not wearing their pins.

Despite her charge of racism, McKinney begrudgingly offered an apologized a few days later claiming it had all been a misunderstanding. The incident of course led to a lot of commentary including the production of the following image which I found humorous. On a sidenote, on the way to her mea culpa, her bodyguard got into a little pushing scuffle with a reporter.

In this situation, it certainly seems that she did try to play the race card. She automatically assumed that race was the cause for the incident and then lashed out, indiscriminately labeling people as racists. If that's not a clear example of the race card I don't know what is. The fact that many other members of congress report being stopped when not wearing their pins only heightens that fact.

As far as I know...the case is in limbo. I think a grand jury has been empaneled or something but no indictments yet for assault.

Update: More McKinney news on cnn. It looks like she's drawn a democratic challenger for her primary seat and it's the lawyer she had hired to defend her in the case of her assault on the capitol hill police officer. I'm sure she's not worried though. As she says in the article after all: "people love me because I tell the truth."
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Ice cream for everyone

Oh Happy Day!

Tuesday, April 25th is Free Cone Day at Ben & Jerry's, and you know what that means... free ice cream for you!

As a way to thank our customers for their support and to celebrate 28 years of scooping the chunkiest, funkiest ice cream, frozen yogurt and sorbet, Ben & Jerry's scoop shops are giving it away!

Around the world, scoop shops are opening their doors from noon to 8:00 pm, to serve up a free scoop of your favorite flavor (or better yet, a new one you've been wanting to try, like Turtle Soup™, Peanut Butter Swirl or Lemonade Sorbet).

So grab a pal and come on down to have some 'scream on us!
Like we said... Oh Happy Day!

Well, it looks like Ben and Jerry's is having their Free Cone Day promotion tommorrow at selected stores. I'm pretty sure that in the entire whole of my life, I've never so much has had a taste of Ben and Jerry's ice cream. I've heard people rave about it but I could never be bothered enough to actually seek it out. They've got a store locator up on the website if you're trying to find the store nearest you. From what I can tell, the closest one to me is like 18 minutes away. Maybe if I get around to it, I can go and get rid of my Ben and Jerry's cherry (garcia). Ha ha. Ya, I know. Lame.

Anyway, if you have a B&J's by you. Free ice cream. Can't beat that. The Turtle Soup seems interesting. Vanilla ice cream with fudge, cashews and caramel.