Duke Lacrosse: Judge Issues Split Opinions

The Judge in the Duke Lacrosse players' alleged rape case issued a split decision yesterday on the unindicted players' motion to prevent the DA from gaining access to their addresses and information stored on their key cards.

Judge Ken Titus decided that Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong can have the addresses of lacrosse players not charged in the case. However, Titus will not allow Nifong to have information that is contained in the same players' key cards.

Nifong said he needs the information because all of the players could be possible witnesses. Defense attorneys said it is an invasion of the players' privacy and some argue it could compromise their safety.

The judge's decision is here . He found:

  • The student's information is protected by FERPA
  • There was no materiality or necessity shown to overcome FERPA with respect to the key card information.
  • Seeking the players' addresses is justified because they are potential witnesses.

In other case news:

Also Friday, attorneys for the three indicted lacrosse players asked the judge to allow members of the lacrosse team to speak to the media, especially about their assertion that no rape occurred at the March 13 party. The motion was in response to an order from Superior Court Judge Kenneth C. Titus earlier this week that required not only the lawyers and prosecutor but also witnesses in the case to follow a State Bar rule limiting what can be said to the news media about the case.

The next hearing in the case will be the week of August 21. The court refused earlier this week to speed up the process and set deadlines for the prosecution.

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    Re: Duke Lacrosse: Judge Issues Split Opinions (none / 0) (#1)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Jul 22, 2006 at 08:44:42 PM EST
    Re: Duke Lacrosse: Judge Issues Split Opinions (none / 0) (#2)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Jul 22, 2006 at 11:09:33 PM EST
    Hi TL I think you are missing an important story. C. Destine Couch works for Nifong. He is a black man who went to school with the false accuser. He had a website up on myspace which had some objectionable material on it. He also works with another law firm where a partner sued Duke and won two million dollars. If you google C. Destine Couch and click on the cached copy you will see the page soon after it was learned on the blogs he tooks his my space down. http://www.couchandtaibi.com/cdcouch.htm there is where his law firms site is

    Re: Duke Lacrosse: Judge Issues Split Opinions (none / 0) (#3)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sun Jul 23, 2006 at 06:56:25 AM EST
    I am confused about the Titus' ruling applying the state bar rule to non-lawyer witnesses. First, what was the basis of his jurisdiction over non-parties? Second, why would a bar disciplinary rule apply to non-lawyers? Third, what about the first amendment? This seems like an improper prior restraint on speech. I think ADA Couch's association with the AV might be interesting, especially in light of the prior suit against Duke (by his mother, I think). The counsel in the case against Duke is now lurking in the background as a possible counsel for AV in a potential civil case. I understand that there has been an erosion in the mutuality doctrine in NC such that a criminal conviction might be used to establish civil liability (the longstanding rule in other jurisdictions is that since there is no mutuality between the parties in a civil and criminal case, a verdict in one is not dispositive of the other). Is Nifong's determination to pursue the case a way to plow the field for the civil case? What is the link between the lawyer, Mr. Couch and the AV? I saw the myspace profile before it was taken down. It was pretty funny. ADA Couch is in search of MILF and is "open minded behind closed doors". Couple ADA Couch's out of court behavior with the allegation that Off. Gottlieb got in an altercation (including an exchange of racial epithats) with a black guy outside a bar in Raleigh and you get some insight what is going on down there. Nifong should take care of the hooligans in his office. What goes around comes around. See Johnsville News for coverage.

    Re: Duke Lacrosse: Judge Issues Split Opinions (none / 0) (#4)
    by Bob In Pacifica on Sun Jul 23, 2006 at 06:21:27 PM EST
    PatsyMac, I'm curious about him making a ruling to silence non-lawyer witnesses too, but even more, who is a witness? If there are no witness lists produced yet, then aside from the AV and the three defendants, who would be a witness? And if the ruling stands, what is to prevent Dan Abrams from commenting on things? And can the defense put Cousin Jakki on their prospective list just to shut him up for awhile? I need a lawyer here.

    Re: Duke Lacrosse: Judge Issues Split Opinions (none / 0) (#5)
    by cpinva on Sun Jul 23, 2006 at 10:12:03 PM EST
    i am beginning to feel like "alice in wonderland" with regards to this case: it just keeps getting curiouser and curiouser.