Duke Lacrosse Team Rape Case

* What we talk about when we talk about federalism: University of Chicago law professor Alison LaCroix, author of the just-published Ideological Origins of American Federalism, discusses the relevance of federalism for current policy debates. [Political Bookworm / Washington Post]

* Speaking of the Founding, if there’s another Constitutional Convention, I demand that all delegates wear wigs. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Mother sues hospital after the staff gave her the wrong baby to breast feed. So, I guess she won’t be appearing on the Project Wet Nurse reality show I just made up in my head. [BL1Y]

* What does Google think about the LSAT? [LSAT Blog]

* Minorities do better than whites when it comes to getting hired into tenure track positions at American law schools. But don’t start getting melanin injections just yet. [ABA Journal]

* Becoming a lawyer for the Catholic Church is a lot like becoming a lawyer for any other organization. [Slate]

* Former Duke lacrosse head coach Mike Pressler settles his lawsuit with the university. I’d say that he should go to a strip club to celebrate, but that would probably look bad. [NewsObserver]

gilbert randolph soon to be old logo.JPGGilbert Randolph has added Jerry Oshinsky to their partnership ranks. The firm will change its name to “Gilbert Oshinsky” to highlight this new acquisition. Firm chairman Scott Gilbert announced the new hire via a firm-wide email:

I have a number of exciting announcements.

First, I am extraordinarily pleased to tell you that Jerry Oshinsky will be joining the firm, likely as early as next week. A number of us were Jerry’s colleagues at Dickstein Shapiro, Morin & Oshinsky; indeed, it was the prospect of combining our respective practices that ultimately led me to leave Covington & Burling after 18 years and join Dickstein in the first place. Jerry is simply THE preeminent litigator and advisor in insurance law, and we certainly now can say that there rarely has been a coverage decision or settlement of any significance in the United States that did not directly involve Jerry or other of our firm lawyers. Of course, as anyone who knows Jerry can readily attest, he also is a tremendous human being, in every sense of the word. As his friend of 30 years and an ardent admirer, I just could not be more pleased and excited that Jerry has chosen to begin this new, and yet to be the most satisfying and successful, chapter of his storied career with us.

Second, as soon as Jerry is able to join the partnership, the firm will be changing its name to Gilbert Oshinsky LLP. This name best reflects our new, or in some cases reestablished, relationship with Jerry, as well as the merger of our two substantial practices. And yes, on several levels, we henceforth will be known as the GO to firm.

“GO to firm.” Nice touch.

The email went on to say that GO would be opening a Los Angeles office and that Oshinsky would be operating out of that new facility.

But the email does not mention Jerry C. Randolph, co-founder of the firm. Is there a limitation on the number of “Jerrys” allowed as name partners? Does he sleep with the fishes? Were they so excited about the “GO to” stuff that Randolph’s name became a marketing causality?

Dickstein Shapiro responds (sort of) after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Musical Chairs: Gilbert Randolph To Add Jerry Oshinsky
Dickstein Shapiro, ‘Morin & Oshinsky’ To Change Stationery”

Mike Nifong small Michael Nifong Michael B Nifong Michael Byron Nifong Above the Law maybe not.JPGFrom the Smoking Gun:

Disgraced and disbarred, Mike Nifong is now bankrupt. The former North Carolina prosecutor, whose career imploded with his botched handling of the Duke University rape case, today filed for bankruptcy, listing liabilities in excess of $180 million. A summary schedule from Nifong’s Chapter 7 petition can be found below. Almost all of that sum represents legal claims filed against the former Durham County district attorney by members of Duke’s 2006 lacrosse team, including the three players who were accused of raping a stripper at a team party.

Included among Nifong’s assets are a 2003 Honda Accord, about $9000 in personal property, and his $235,000 home. He lists nearly $5000 monthly in pension or retirement income and describes himself, charitably, as retired.

A sampling of reader comments from the WSJ Law Blog:

“I would have liked to have been his ‘credit counselor’… Now Mr. Nifong – I see you have $180 million in debt. Let’s go over ‘how to balance your checkbook’ chapter in your pamphlet…ahahah”

“Mr. Nifong can now talk to Simon & Schuster without any apprehension.”

“I know that this question is immaterial, but what nationality is the name “Nifong”? I have asked several individuals and none of them had a clue.”

“The name Nifong is of Scottish Ancestry and this member is a disgrace to that proud family.”

Mike Nifong Bankrupt: Disgraced Duke prosecutor lists $180M in liabilities [The Smoking Gun]
Michael Nifong Files for Personal Bankruptcy [WSJ Law Blog]

Mike Nifong small Michael Nifong Michael B Nifong Michael Byron Nifong Above the Law maybe not.JPGQuite literally. From TSG:

In a pathetic end to the Mike Nifong saga, the disgraced North Carolina prosecutor who handled the Duke rape investigation has turned in his law license, noting that he never framed or displayed the document because it had been damaged “by a puppy in her chewing stage.”

Additionally, in an August 7 letter to the North Carolina State Bar, Nifong noted that the law license also contained a misspelling of his middle name (which is Byron).

From the tipster who drew this to our attention: “Astounding.” But sadly appropriate, too.
Nifong: The Dog Ate My Law License [The Smoking Gun]

Mike Nifong Michael Nifong headline Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpg
It’s official: Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong was disbarred over the weekend. From the AP:

The five-day ethics trial ended Nifong’s three-decade legal career, which he spent entirely as a prosecutor in Durham County. He was generally viewed as an honest lawyer before taking over the case of a woman who told police she was raped at a March 2006 lacrosse team party where she was hired to perform as a stripper.

Is it any wonder that a Google search for “honest lawyer” generates results like this?
(Oddly enough, the top result for “honest lawyer” is the Honest Lawyer hotel, in Durham — but a different Durham.)
Disbarred Duke Prosecutor’s Future Dim [Associated Press]
Prosecutor in Duke Case Disbarred by Ethics Panel [New York Times]
An honest lawyer [Aha! Jokes]

Mike Nifong Michael Nifong Michael B Nifong Durham District Attorney.JPGIt’s a Friday afternoon in June. Of course it couldn’t pass without a high-profile resignation. From WRAL:

Mike Nifong made the announcement at the end of his testimony Friday at his State Bar ethics trial to the surprise of the families and defense attorneys of the cleared lacrosse players.

“Throughout the years I have served as a prosecutor I have always tried to do the right thing,” a tearful Nifong said. “In this case, I was trying to todo the right thing. Much of the criticism directed to me in the is case is justified. The allegations that I’m a liar, however, are not justified.”

But is Michael Nifong… a plagiarist?
Michael Nifong headline Mike Nifong Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgMonica Goodling crossed the line Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpg
(No, of course we’re not serious. We just like to connect every story to Monica Goodling.)
Embattled DA Mike Nifong Resigns [WRAL.com via Drudge Report]

Mike Nifong Michael Nifong Michael B Nifong Durham District Attorney.JPGDurham District Attorney Mike Nifong, who rose to international infamy due to his handling of the Duke lacrosse team “rape” case, must now face the music. His trial on ethics charges brought by the North Carolina State Bar started today.
According to WRAL.com, Nifong’s lawyer, David Freedman, offered this argument in his opening statement:

“It is not unethical to pursue what someone may believe to be an unwinnable case.”

Well, that depends. If the case is unwinnable due to a manifest lack of credible evidence, and you decide to “pursue” it by making over 100 prejudicial statements to the media, that might be a problem.

Freedman said Nifong made about 98 percent of his statements early on in the case before suspects were identified and charged.

Does that make things better or worse? Should Nifong get off the hook for the speed with which he broke out of the gate — what North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper described as a “tragic rush to accuse”?
P.S. The article reminds us that the stripper involved was Crystal Magnum.* Isn’t that what those Skadden summer associates recently enjoyed?
* Correction: Whoops, sorry about that.
Lacrosse Attorney: Nifong Went ‘Far Over the Line’ [WRAL.com]

Duke logo.jpg
The NYT’s public editor, Byron Calame, reviewed the paper’s coverage of the Duke lacrosse case yesterday, focusing on the review of the case that ran in the Times last August. Critics lambasted that piece for its uncritical reliance on a police officer’s memo written “from memory” four months after the witness interviews it described. (Among other things, that memo contradicted another officer’s contemporaneous notes on the accuser’s descriptions of her attackers — and substituted descriptions that miraculously matched the three indicted players.)
But all this has been hashed over elsewhere. We were most interested in Calame’s discussion of whether the Times has acted correctly by continuing to withhold the name of the accuser:

My first instinct was that The Times should strongly consider adopting a policy of naming false accusers. Then I decided that the mental health of the Duke accuser and the failure of Mr. Nifong to limit the harm she caused by doing his job responsibly combined to keep this case from being a good one on which to debate such a policy change. But I hope Times editors will soon consider holding a discussion, free of deadline pressure, about what purpose the tradition of not naming sexual assault victims serves when their accusations are proved to have no merit.

We don’t have a problem with decision of many news organizations to name the accuser once the players had been declared “innocent” by the NC Attorney General. That said, Calame makes a very good point: This was not the ideal time to create policy from scratch.

Look for an official announcement later today:

The office of North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper will announce that he is dismissing all charges against three Duke Lacrosse players, ABC News has learned from sources close to the case….

Cooper will announce his decision regarding the case at the North Carolina Attorney General’s office in Raleigh, N.C., at 2:30 p.m.

What took them so long?
Duke Lacrosse Case Charges to Be Dropped [ABC News via Drudge Report]

* Creepy smut producers gone wild. [MSNBC]
* Pacman Jones suspended for the 2008 season, Chris Henry out for eight games. [SI]
* It’s Birkhead! [CNN]
* Duke lacrosse charges likely to be dropped. [CNN]

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