Commentaries, Global Warming, Opinions   Cover   •   Commentary   •   Books & Reviews   •   Climate Change   •   Site Links   •   Feedback
"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." - John 8:32
WEBCommentary Contributor
Author:  Michael J. Gaynor
Bio: Michael J. Gaynor
Date:  July 12, 2006
Print article - Printer friendly version

Email article link to friend(s) - Email a link to this article to friends

Facebook - Facebook

Topic category:  Other/General

Collin Finnerty's D.C. Assault Conviction Is A Disgrace

If Collin Finnerty can be unjustly convicted, who is safe? is a discussion board for friends of Duke University worth checking. Understandably, it has been focusing on what it calls "the Duke Lacrosse Scandal." By now, it should be called the Duke Rape Hoax. Yes, the Duke men's lacrosse team exhibited egregious taste in "entertainment" (for which the co-captain seniors are primarily to blame), but the great scandals are (1) the way the criminal prosecution system has been abused for personal purposes by an incredible accuser (Crystal Gail Mangum) and for personal and political purposes by the Durham County District Attorney (Mike Nifong) and (2) the way liberals who would be apoplectic (understandably) if the accuser was a white woman with a similar criminal, medical, mental and moral history and the three accused were black basketball stars think (or pretend to think) that the Durham District Attorney is just doing his job in a fair, objective and professional manner and everyone should wait for the trial whenever next year and hope that district attorney can somehow win a conviction from a local jury against three white Yankees from wealthy families.

One section on the friendsofdukeuniversity website is called "Collin's DC trial," referring to the misdemeanor assault trial based on a incident last November that was not supposed to go to trial, but just did, because Collin Finnerty was arrested at the instance of Ms. Mangum, who accused Mr. Finnerty and two other Duke lacross players with kidnapping, rape and sexual assault, and Mr. Nifong proceeded to obtain an indictment charging the three accused with those terrible crimes instead of treating the charges as delusional (or worse).

The D.C. case resulted in Mr. Finnerty being convicted of assault after a two-day bench trial.

The trial itself and the conviction are travesties of justice for at least three reasons: (1) Mr. Finnerty's plea deal (25 hours of community service to put an end to the very expensive nuisance) should not have been voided under the circumstances (the accuser's identifications having been the result of an unconstitutionally suggestive identification procedure and the accuser and her story being dubious and unsupported by physical evidence, another person or a polygraph test), (2) the judge (Judge John H. Bayly, Jr.) who decided the case behaved oddly (one example: he seemed obsessed with the possibility (NOT reality) that Mr. Finnerty may have violated the curfew he imposed on Mr. Finnerty, to the point that he stated in open court that he would check out a lead he had gotten from an unchecked item posted on the Wonkette website); and (3) the judge was blind to the ample reasonable doubt established by multiple defense witnesses who were present, the chief complainant's personal history, and Mr. Finnerty's unrebutted character witnesse (Father James Williams, the head of Chaminade, and Michael Hannan, the father of Mr. Finnerty’s girlfriend Jessica, praised Mr. Finnerty as peaceful and nonviolent and a gentleman) and his very impressive and unblemished record at the time of the incident.

The judge chose to belief, beyond a reasonable doubt, Jeffrey Bloxsom's supremely self-serving claim that Mr. Finnerty fake-punched him and shoved him. The judge must have disbelieved three defense witnesses who said that Mr. Finnerty did no more than yell at the two complainants as far as they could see. If the judge really believes Mr. Bloxsom's tale of woe beyond a reasonable doubt, will he ask the prosecution to pursue the three defense witnesses for perjuring themselves?

What makes the judge's decision to convict especially suspect is that NOBODY witnessed Mr. Finnerty throw a REAL punch and the fact that the testimony of Mr. Bloxsom and his friend Scott Herndon had never used bad words or otherwise acted belligerent didn't pass the laugh test. Four defense witnesses (Nicole Cobble, Bill Gerrish, Dan D’Agnes and Patrick Bonanno) testified quite credibly that all of the persons involved in the incident were screaming bad words at each other before blows were struck. It is very hard to believe that there would have been a trial if Messrs. Bloxsom and Herndon had been as passive and non-provocative as they claimed to have been. .

Ms. Cobble said that she saw them all shouting bad words at each other, with Mr. Finnerty and another (probably Mr. Bloxsom) “nose to nose and chest to chest.” She said she ran off crying before seeing any blows struck or any pushing. Messrs. Gerrish, D’Agnes and Bonanno said that they had stopped around Wisconsin and N Streets (or perhaps a bit before there, in the case of Mr. Gerrish) while Mr. Finnerty continued north on Wisconsin for another half block or so. Mr. Gerrish said that he saw the first blow, which was Mr. Herndon hitting Mr. Finnerty in the back of the head. Mr. Bonanno said he had not seen it but had looked up and seen Mr. Finnerty sprawled on the ground with Messrs. Bloxsom and Herndon standing over him. Messrs. D’Agnes and Bonanno hastened to help Mr. Finnerty, Mr. Bonanno punched Mr. Bloxsom, the fight petered out, and Messrs. Finnerty, D’Agnes and Bonanno went down N Street.

No one was seriously injured. Mr. Bonanno gave Mr. Bloxsom a cut lip.

The following comments at the friendsofduke website are illuminating:

If the people don't hold public officials accountable, who will?

Michael J. Gaynor

Send email feedback to Michael J. Gaynor

Biography - Michael J. Gaynor

Michael J. Gaynor has been practicing law in New York since 1973. A former partner at Fulton, Duncombe & Rowe and Gaynor & Bass, he is a solo practitioner admitted to practice in New York state and federal courts and an Association of the Bar of the City of New York member.

Gaynor graduated magna cum laude, with Honors in Social Science, from Hofstra University's New College, and received his J.D. degree from St. John's Law School, where he won the American Jurisprudence Award in Evidence and served as an editor of the Law Review and the St. Thomas More Institute for Legal Research. He wrote on the Pentagon Papers case for the Review and obscenity law for The Catholic Lawyer and edited the Law Review's commentary on significant developments in New York law.

The day after graduating, Gaynor joined the Fulton firm, where he focused on litigation and corporate law. In 1997 Gaynor and Emily Bass formed Gaynor & Bass and then conducted a general legal practice, emphasizing litigation, and represented corporations, individuals and a New York City labor union. Notably, Gaynor & Bass prevailed in the Second Circuit in a seminal copyright infringement case, Tasini v. New York Times, against newspaper and magazine publishers and Lexis-Nexis. The U.S. Supreme Court affirmed, 7 to 2, holding that the copyrights of freelance writers had been infringed when their work was put online without permission or compensation.

Gaynor currently contributes regularly to,,, and and has contributed to many other websites. He has written extensively on political and religious issues, notably the Terry Schiavo case, the Duke "no rape" case, ACORN and canon law, and appeared as a guest on television and radio. He was acknowledged in Until Proven Innocent, by Stuart Taylor and KC Johnson, and Culture of Corruption, by Michelle Malkin. He appeared on "Your World With Cavuto" to promote an eBay boycott that he initiated and "The World Over With Raymond Arroyo" (EWTN) to discuss the legal implications of the Schiavo case. On October 22, 2008, Gaynor was the first to report that The New York Times had killed an Obama/ACORN expose on which a Times reporter had been working with ACORN whistleblower Anita MonCrief.

Gaynor's email address is

Read other commentaries by Michael J. Gaynor.

Copyright © 2006 by Michael J. Gaynor
All Rights Reserved.

[ Back ]

© 2004-2024 by WEBCommentary(tm), All Rights Reserved