DA Drops Rape, Not Other Charges in Duke Lacrosse Case
Embattled DA Mike Nifong has dropped the rape charges against the Duke lacrosse players.
But he's leaving the sexual assault and kidnapping charges.
Nifong said he plans to proceed with kidnapping and sexual assault charges against the three players....
Nifong's investigator interviewed the woman Thursday, and she told the investigator that she couldn't testify "with certainty" that she was raped. Prosecutors said they couldn't proceed without her testimony, so they decided to dismiss the rape charges in the case.
Nifong's motion states she is no longer sure it was a p*nis that was inserted into her, as opposed to an object.
I also don't get the kidnapping. The alleged offenses took place at the party location. Perhaps false imprisonment, where you prevent someone from leaving, might apply if the facts show that, but kidnapping?
Nifong ought to dismiss all the charges. He has a non-credible accuser with enough baggage to sink the Titanic, he conducted a patently biased lineup procedure and there's been intentional withholding of exculpatory DNA evidence.
How much more do these three kids have to endure?
Update: Here is the sexual offense statute:
First Degree Sexual Offense [GS 14-27.4(a)(2), Class B1 felony]
Sexual acts (not vaginal intercourse) by force and without consent and
(a) with use of a weapon, (b) inflicting serious injury, or © aided by others.
[Defense lawyer Joseph]Cheshire said Friday that the accuser now says she does not know if she was penetrated, which he said led District Attorney Mike Nifong to dismiss the rape charges.
Here is the applicable paragraph from today's motion.The entire motion (2 pages) is here.
You can discuss the case in comments here, or over at the TalkLeft Duke Forums.
Update: LaShawn Barber here.
Update: Upon reflection, What did Nifong do other than to lower his burden of proof by obviating the need to prove vaginal penetration by a penis and providing him with an explanation for the lack of players' DNA found in her vagina?
Both Rape and First Degree Sexual Offense are B1 felonies. Aren't their penalties more or less the same? Doesn't conviction of both require mandatory prison and life-long registration as a sex offender?
The way I see this helping the players is that the accuser's credibility is further diminished. Her one-time claim it was a penis that penetrated her will come back to haunt her during cross-examination over and over again.
Questions: Does Nifong now get to prevent the defense from introducing evidence of others' DNA in her vagina?
It seems totally down to a credibility contest now. How can this accuser win?
I'm still troubled by the kidnapping charge. Is Nifong's charge that they forcefully held her in the bathroom and wouldn't let her leave enough? Doesn't Kim, Dancer #2, make this charge tougher to prove?
Update: Video of Defense press conference is here.
“I am greatly relieved for the students and their families that the most serious of the charges has been dropped. Given the certainty with which the district attorney made his many public statements regarding the rape allegation, his decision today to drop that charge must call into question the validity of the remaining charges.
“The district attorney should now put this case in the hands of an independent party, who can restore confidence in the fairness of the process. Further, Mr. Nifong has an obligation to explain to all of us his conduct in this matter.”
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