Duke Case: Professor Crowley Apologizes AND Makes Good Points
Give credit where credit is due, now to Duke Professor Thomas J. Crowley too. Duke University President Richard Brodhead, where are you?
Professor Crowley wrote a letter of apology for unfair and erroneous remarks he had made in an abominable piece published in The Herald-Sun last month.
Published on December 1 under the words "Lacrosse Retraction," his letter of apology read:
"On Nov. 13, The Herald-Sun published an 'Other Voices' piece by me concerning the Duke lacrosse case. I have subsequently been informed of errors in that letter. In particular my blanket statement about behavior of the lacrosse team was neither fair in general nor applicable to the particular case now in dispute. I apologize for this and any other errors.
"The response to my letter has made me more aware of the intense emotions that are associated with this case. These tensions can only be bad for campus-community relations, and I strongly support any efforts to reduce them. Finally, I sincerely hope that lessons learned from the lacrosse case will be applied to future cases in order to lift the standards of justice for all in Durham County".
Initially, Professor Crowley had insisted in an email to William J. Doherty, a retired New Jersey police officer with some familiarity with Durham, North Carolina, that despite his speculation that Crystal Gail Mangum (the false accuser in the Duke case) had been drugged at the lacrosse party (contradicted by a toxicology report of which Professor Crowley had been unaware when he wrote his piece) that "the basic point I was making, and rightly or wrongly still make, is that I continue to harbor doubt about throwing out the case."
Professor Crowley's contrite concession--"In particular my blanket statement about behavior of the lacrosse team was neither fair in general nor applicable to the particular case now in dispute"--should be savored.
That "blanket statement"--"The Duke lacrosse players were not angels -- they had a previously established history of rowdiness tarnished with racial comments"--is precisely the kind of poison that has infected those who think the Duke Three are guilty or want them tried even if they are innocent.
The facts are otherwise, but it takes time to expose such lies.
Moreover, it needs to be remembered that the Duke case is NOT about how well or badly behaved Duke students, or Duke lacrosse players, are, but whether any of three young men who were members of the 2005-2006 Duke University Men's Lacrosse Team (Reade Seligmann, Collin Finnerty and David Evans) committed any of three first-degree felonies--kidnapping, rape and sexual assault--at a lacrosse team party last March.
Professor Crowley acknowledged that the response to his piece (it was factual, logical AND emotional) not only made him aware of error in his piece, but also made him "more aware of the intense emotions that are associated with [the Duke] case."
That kind of reaction should be expected when a rogue prosecutor misuses the criminal justice system for his own purposes instead of serving as a fair and impartial minister of justice.
Professor Crowley also is right that "tensions can only be bad for campus-community relations" and to "strongly support any efforts to reduce them." His original piece was a step in the wrong direction, while his letter of apology is a step in the right direction.
The deplorable political persecution of the Duke Three commonly referred to as the Duke case was the result of "a perfect storm": a spring break party with ex-convict strippers and alcohol; a black stripper who claimed that she had been gang raped by a number of young white men when she was about to be incarcerated for her own protection; a prosecutor who had never had gainful legal employment except as an employee of the Durham County, North Carolina District Attorney's Office or been elected seizing upon the claim to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat in a Democrat primary, by pandering to the decisive Black vote and flagrantly violating constitutional and ethical requirements to get three young white men to prosecute; and a biased mainstream media that saw the gang rape claim as a great story that fit its agenda perfectly.
The problem: the claim was bogus and the prosecutor insisted on ignoring evidence of innocence, securing unwarranted indictments with selective presentation of evidence and continuing the prosecution despite the facts.
Professor Crowley's hope that "lessons learned from the lacrosse case will be applied to future cases in order to lift the standards of justice for all in Durham County" is one that all people of goodwill share.
For that wonderful hope to become a reality, it must be demonstrated, in the courtroom of public opinion and the courts of North Carolina, that the prosecution itself was an abuse.
Wrongly prosecuting whites because blacks previously had been wrongly prosecuted makes matters worse, not better. Persecution masked as prosecution by a rogue prosecutor cannot be tolerated if there is to be justice and less tension.
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 www.MichNews.com, www.RenewAmerica.com, www.WebCommentary.com, www.PostChronicle.com and www.therealitycheck.org 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.