A blog by Miami Criminal Defense Lawyer Brian Tannebaum. Commenting on criminal law issues of local and national interest.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Duke Rape Case - The Circus Has Come To Durham

The now public three-ring-circus, former serious rape investigation against players from the Duke Lacrosse Team, is a lesson in, well, just a lot of things not to do.

For example, when defense attorneys like myself are exclaiming my client's innocence, you, Mr. District Attorney, Mr. Mike Nifong up-for-election-in-a-tough-race-for-your-job, should not be saying anything until......let's say the DNA results come back and you've heard all the police dispatch tapes from the night of the alleged incident.

DNA in this case? (hear the Jeopardy buzzer that sounds when time is up.) "Sorry Mike, the answer is "what is - it doesn't exist? Thanks for playing.

And we're learning so much more. There's a nice op-ed piece on Yahoo! News about the unraveling of the whole case. Sports Illustrated.com also has a story about all the inconsistent pieces of evidence now being brought to light.

Brian Tannebaum is a criminal defense attorney in Miami, Florida practicing in state and federal court. To learn more about Brian and his firm, Tannebaum Weiss, please visit www.tannebaumweiss.com


  1. Anonymous4:54 PM

    Comparing LAX case to that of Scottsboro Nine

    I am a college instructor who teaches criminal justice and a criminal defense attorney. In my entire career I have never seen such a bizarre and unfair case as the one against three Duke lacrosse players.

    I teach a class about a similar case in American history, the Scottsboro Nine. In March 1931, a group of nine black teen-agers was charged with rape on incredibly flimsy evidence in Scottsboro, Ala. The nine were originally charged with the rape of two white women. Even after one woman testified that she lied about the rape, the nine teens continued to face rape charges and the threat of death by execution.

    In the Scottsboro case, the two women were part-time prostitutes, but that didn't matter, nor did it matter that at least one of the boys was known to be physically unable to have sex, and two of the boys were only 13. Like Durham, the real issue was race.

    In Scottsboro, nine young men were wrongly charged and condemned because they were black, and today the Duke lacrosse players have, in my opinion, been wrongly charged and condemned because they are white and the alleged victim is black.

    The one constant with respect to the two cases is racism. I often ask my students if it possible for blacks to discriminate against whites in the same type of mindless ignorance as the KKK or the way the mob went after the Scottsboro Nine. The answer I receive is yes, and my students point to Durham as proof.

    May 20, 2006

  2. Anonymous4:55 PM

    Duke Lacrosse Rape Accuser Mentioned No Condoms Were Used
    It seems the defense keeps finding more to support their side of things, with each new piece of information they get. Now from that stack of 1,300 papers, they have discovered that the stripper accuser mentioned no condoms were used. No condoms and…
    The stripper’s body was completely void of any sign of a sexual assault (except for signs of recent vaginal and anal from her boyfriend). The alleged crime scene was completely devoid of DNA.

    It is impossible that a crime scene with three drunk men in a small enclosed room with a fighting and clawing woman being orally, virginally, and anally penetrated not leave any DNA evidence of urine, blood, vaginal fluid, sweat, fecal matter, scat smears, saliva, tears, or semen... especially if condoms were used. How would they take off the condoms during all this chaos without spilling, smearing, or touching the content inside or outside of the condom?

    When investigators questioned the stripper after DNA tests on the semen found inside her vagina and rectum didn’t match any of the Duke players, the stripper admitted to having had sex with at least three men around the time of the alleged rape. The stripper named her boyfriend and two men who drove her to Duke.

    When questioned, the “drivers” said they would drop her off at several places, including hotel rooms.

    It appears that the stripper has sex with men for rides to her strip shows…Nasty!

  3. Anonymous3:39 AM

    The stripper originally claimed that the second stripper helped with the rape!

    Just when you think this case hit rock bottom, there’s about 50 feet of crap, then you find a sub-basement.

    If Mike Nifong doesn't get disbarred after this, then there really is a corrupt system in Durham that protects rich white guys. In Nifong's case - stupid rich white guys with transparent political agendas, but maybe I'm wrong. Maybe Nifong can turn a pig's ear into a silk purse.