Friday, July 10, 2009

The Not Duke Lacrosse Case

In the aftermath of the Duke Lacrosse fiasco, one of the points I made was that the same thing that happened to those players happens to countless criminal defendants across the nation, only they don't get the benefit of constant media attention leading to their rightful exoneration. They just get ignored. It's a harsh reality check to all those harping on how the Duke kids were targeted in a sort of reverse discrimination power play.

The story of Eric Frimpong, a soccer star for UC-Santa Barbara (and Ghanaian immigrant) presses the point. Like the Duke kids, the evidence supporting the rape charge against him was scant. Like the Duke kids, the DNA evidence pointed to other suspects. Unlike the Duke kids, that didn't stop the DA from bringing his case to trial. And unlike the Duke kids, Frimpong was convicted (by an all-White jury) and sentenced to jail, where he sits today.

(Via AAB)


wayne fontes said...

The Duke players were ripped to shreds in the media until the case fell apart. A better question would be where was the media in this case.

Anonymous said...

David S. can try to get out of it, but he was basically one of the potbanging lynchmob. Would a simple "I was wrong, I'm sorry" be too hard? For academic types, I guess so.

David Schraub said...

I can only "get out of it" once you've gotten me into it. And you can't, because I have nothing in my archives implicating me in any lynch-style mentalities towards the Duke defendants (I'm taking a wild guess they you did no searches prior to writing your comment, as doing so would show the manifest absurdity of your remark).

I wrote a grand total of one post that treated the rape accusation as fact (consistent with my general view presuming that when a crime is alleged, it most likely happened, though not presuming individualized or even legal guilt -- I don't presume that a robbery claim is actually an insurance fraud scam or a ploy to get tort damages). And that post was a plea for witnesses to come forward and give their accounts (along with a comparative racial analysis about how talk about "snitching" versus loyalty, and a general thought experiment about how we viewed one particular player in the account then floating around). At no point did I urge the circumvention of the legal processes -- which is the essence of lynch justice -- indeed, the plea for witnesses is a plea for the legal processes to work themselves out. I also wrote one more post excorciating the defendants for racist remarks -- but that post specifically acknowledged that a rape may not have occurred, and if so, the defendants should be found not guilty. Again, completely inconsistent with being part of a lynch mob. It is the rare lynchmob that asked for witness corroboration, trials, and acknowledges the potential innocence of the accused (and then applauds their exoneration). Check that -- such behavior is the exact opposite of what lynching meant.

Subsequently, every other post forthrightly acknowledges the injustice done to the defendants, and (as in this post) uses it as a springboard to urge we be vigilant against similar actions happening to other criminal defendants who don't have the resources of the Duke defendants (a position shared by the defendants themselves).

Most ridiculously for your thesis, I linked to the apology given by the Duke President (an "academic type"), calling it "the right thing to do."

Perhaps this inattentiveness to basic facts and research is why I'm guessing you were never exactly the "academic type" yourself.

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