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"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." - John 8:32
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Author:  Michael J. Gaynor
Bio: Michael J. Gaynor
Date:  July 25, 2006
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Topic category:  Other/General

The Duke Three Should Be Judged Individually, Not Collectively

I believe that the Duke Three are all innocent of the criminal charges against them--kidnapping, rape and sexual assault, but they are individuals, not identical, and should be judged individually, not collectively.

I believe that the Duke Three are all innocent of the criminal charges against them--kidnapping, rape and sexual assault, but they are individuals, not identical, and should be judged individually, not collectively. Therefore, I am concernedby thispost by a Duke under General Topics on the Friends of Duke University website:

I fully concur with the Duke parent that there is a great need to "take lessons away from this awful saga about awareness of social context and the need to ameliorate some of those conditions of false perceptions in our communities."

In addition, I appreciate her concern about the danger of peer pressure.

However, we part company on what the Duke parent describes as the "borderline socially acceptable enterprise of hiring strippers."

I am aware that college students, both male and female, hire strippers to "entertain" at parties. I applaud the choice of the word "enterprise" ("a project or undertaking that is esp. difficult, complicated, or risky"), since the people who hired the strippers and hosted that Duke men's lacrosse team party back on March 13, 2006 probably would concede that they foolishly ran a grave risk that they now wish they had avoided. But I'm not of the opinion that what is legal is no worse than "borderline socially acceptable" or that "hiring strippers" is "borderline socially acceptable" (even if it is tax deductible).

Much more important, I doubt that the Duke parent was right when she wrote that the Duke Three were "sucked into a perfect storm of community resentment, politically ambitious prosecutor, reprehensible (though legal) behavior and sexual and racial politics" insofar as it implies that the sophomores (Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann) engaged in "reprehensible (though legal) behavior." It's not clear what behavior that is, but it's not underage drinking (that's illegal) and I am not aware that either Collin or Reade used racial epithets (THAT's reprehensible), or knew about the planned "entertainment" and still came or stayedto watchthe "dancing" (that would have been reprehensible and sophomoric). Moreover, assuming that they approved ofthe decision to hire the strippers (apparently by their co-defendantDavid Evans and the other co-captains), their culpability would not be as great as his, and I am not willing to assume it (even though it is not helpful that they have not to the best of my knowledge, information and belief explained when they knew there would be strippers, how they felt about it and whether they stayed to watch, or did something else at the party, or left before the stripping started. My belief is that the truth will set them free, and they should not stand mute when there are erroneous impressions to dispel and damning falsehoods to refute.

Michael J. Gaynor

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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

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Copyright 2006 by Michael J. Gaynor
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