Well, the Duke LaCrosse case has been a good reminder to me of why this way of doing legal business exists.
All over the country, the print media is reprimanding those who rushed to conclusions. Below is an excerpt from a scathing but on-target editorial in yesterday’s New York Post. Click Here to read the full editorial:
"Mike Nifong is all but gone – resigned as Durham
County district attorney and disbarred by the North Carolina Bar
Association for his attempt to railroad three innocent Duke lacrosse
players on rape charges.
But what about the other members of the lynch mob?
Like the Durham City Council, whose members charged that the Duke
lacrosse team "has been a ticking time bomb that has not been
dismantled." Or the area residents who picketed with "wanted" posters
of all 46 team members and signs that read, "Don’t be a fan of
And what’s to be done about the most outrageous perpetrators of all?
Namely Duke’s Gang of 88 – the faculty members (more than 10 percent of
the entire staff) who signed a contemptible public statement that not
only assumed the players’ guilt but hailed the "collective noise" that
led Nifong to file his dubious legal charges?
"What Does a
Social Disaster Sound Like?" asked their manifesto, citing the
purported attack as proof of the "racism, sexism, sexual violence and
homophobia" on Duke’s campus.
Even after the charges had been
proven false, many of the signers remained unapologetic – insisting
"the legal process will not resolve" the continuing problem of all
those "isms" on campus.
Or the university’s president, Richard
Brodhead – who not only refused to stand by his own students, but
canceled the lacrosse season, suspended the accused players and
pressured the team’s coach (a 16-year veteran) to resign?
Meanwhile, the rest of the Duke faculty – save for 17 courageous
members of the economics department, who publicly disavowed the Gang of
88 – remained silent, afraid to speak out.
Yesterday, the university reached a financial settlement with the three falsely accused players, avoiding a lawsuit.
But no one has taken steps to remedy the cowardly school leadership
that caved to the pressure of a politically radical faculty demanding
that the legal rights of the accused be trampled on.
Sadly, what happened at Duke is typical of American academia these days."
Whether or not such commentary is entirely fair to academia, the city council, etc., is an open question, but it does remind me that rushing to judgment brings wonderful feelings and often egg on the face.
The "justice" question is one that needs to be dealt with seriously and soon. The term is thrown around quite freely these days, and the question of whether what is commonly labeled "justice" is in fact "justice," is an important one. "Justice" is a God word. We should use it with reverence and due precision. More soon in forthcoming posts.