Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Occam's Razor

It has been said that the right answer to a puzzling question or scientific mystery is often the most simple of the alternatives. Whether one refers to this principle as Occam’s Razor, the Principle of Parsimony, or Common Sense, it may be helpful to apply this theory to an evaluation of the merits of the Duke Lacrosse Case.

While many were quick, and some continue, to mischaracterize this drama as an issue of race vs. race, class vs. class, north vs. south or university vs. Durham in an attempt to personify agendas and issues of importance to them personally, there can be no doubt that the bottom line of this drama is, “Did a rape occur?” There is no in-between on this issue; either a rape occurred, or it did not.

While Ruth Sheehan has taken to mocking the bloggers for being hysterical, black helicopter conspiracy theorists, it appears that the bloggers she mocks are not the ones being forced to invent wild, fantastical explanations to support their theory of the case. For one who believes the known facts indicate a rape did not occur, the simple explanation is that the accuser lied. However, accepting the alternate premise that a rape did occur requires one must find a reasonable explanation for each of the following items:

Contradictions between the accuser’s written statement and statements of her “outcry witness”:

1. Kim Roberts, the “outcry witness”, did not seek help for the accuser when calling 911 to report being racially slurred when driving-while walking by 610 N. Buchanan, despite allegedly being told by the accuser that she had been hurt by the young men, and allegedly offering to get help.

2. Despite allegedly offering to get help for the accuser, Ms. Roberts not only did not mention harm or needing help during her 911 call, but also took approximately 30 minutes to get to the Kroger parking lot, and did so with the purpose of removing the accuser from her car.
3. In her written statement, the accuser claims that she was physically separated from Ms. Roberts by a total of six men, yet Ms. Roberts claimed she re-entered the house without the accuser.
4. In her written statement, the accuser claims that she was physically separated from Ms. Roberts by a total of six men, yet Mr. Nifong has claimed that there is no evidence to support charges against anyone but the three accused.
“Nifong: We’re not trying to investigate them. We’re not trying to say that there are crimes that we want to prove that they’re guilty of.”
5. In her written statement, the accuser claims that Ms. Roberts was physically restrained by three different men while the accuser was being dragged into the bathroom by the three accused. Yet, Ms. Roberts indicated initially that the suggestion that a rape had occurred was a “crock”, and has repeatedly stated that she can’t say a rape occurred, despite the accuser's claim that Roberts witnessed the initiation of the attack.
6. Ms. Roberts is alleged by the accuser to have been outside the bathroom door during the alleged rape, and to have entered the bathroom immediately afterwards. Yet, Ms. Roberts claimed that the rape allegation was a “crock”, and that she cannot say that a rape occurred.
Total Absence of Relevant DNA Evidence:

7. The alleged brutal, 30 minute, condom-less gang rape, during which the accuser claimed two alleged attackers ejaculated, left no traces of DNA from the three accused on, in, or near the accuser.
"No DNA material from any young man tested was present on the body of the complaining woman, not present within her body, not present on the surface of her body, and not present on any of her belongings," [Wade} Smith said in a prepared statement.
8. There is a total absence of any DNA from the three accused on the accuser, despite the fact that the SANE exam took place within several hours of the alleged attack, and the accuser had neither bathed nor changed her clothes.
9. The alleged brutal, 30 minute, condom-less gang rape left no DNA from the accuser on the floor, towels, or rugs in the bathroom.
10. Despite allegedly having spit out the oral attacker’s ejaculate onto a bathroom rug, neither the rug nor the accuser’s mouth retained DNA from the alleged attacker, and the rug did not show traces of the accuser’s saliva.
11. No DNA from the alleged condom-less attackers was recovered from vaginal swabs of the accuser, yet her boyfriend’s DNA was.
12. The only person whose DNA was found within the accuser is neither suspected nor charged.
13. The only person whose semen was found on the bathroom floor, where the assault was alleged to have occurred, is neither suspected nor charged.
Absence of Evidence of Physical Trauma:

14. Vaginal “trauma” turned out to be diffuse edema, despite the alleged brutal, 30 minute gang rape, and despite the accuser's industrious activities prior to the party.
15. The alleged brutal, 30 minute gang rape, which the accuser claimed also included kicking in the butt, physical striking, strangulation and her head hitting a sink, left no visible bruises, nor any signs of physical trauma detectable upon medical examination by multiple nurses and doctors, except for three small non-bleeding scratches on the accuser's leg and foot.
16. Anal trauma is not reported by the SANE report, despite the accuser’s allegations of anal rape, and despite Sgt. Gottlieb’s claim in his belated typed notes that the SANE nurse informed him of it.
17. Photographs taken by DPD, and notes taken by the DPD photographer, do not indicate any bruising despite the accuser’s claims of a violent physical assault.
18. Officer Himan claims the SANE Nurse-in-Training, after telling him over the phone that due to HIPPA Laws she was unable to divulge patient information, she proceeded to state that there were signs consistent with a sexual assault during her test.
Discovery page 1206, Himan notes page 1
19. Officer Himan and Sergeant Gottlieb claim the SANE Nurse-in-Training told them that there were signs consistent with a sexual assault during her test, yet her own report does not state anything of the sort.
Identification Failures and Misdeeds

20. The accuser failed to identify Reade Seligmann as her attacker the first time she viewed his photograph in a lineup.
21. The accuser was only 70% certain that Mr. Seligmann was even at the party, yet 100% certain that he forced her to perform oral sex.
22. The accuser failed to identify David Evans as her attacker the first time she viewed his photo in a lineup on March 21.
23. The accuser failed to identify anyone as her attacker in the first two lineups, when she was advised that “the person who committed the crime may or may not be included” in the line-up.
24. The accuser identified 4 attackers, yet alleges she was attacked by 3 men. Only 3 men were indicted.
25. The accuser made identifications only after being informed by police that all of her possible choices were believed to have been in attendance at the party.
26. The accuser claimed David Evans had a mustache on the night of the party, yet David Evans has never worn a mustache.
27. The first two photo lineup attempts were neither video taped, nor well documented. Yet, the final, contrary to procedure event, was meticulously documented and videotaped.
Reade Seligmann’s Alibi

28. Reade Seligmann was photographed by a bank ATM camera one mile away from the scene of the alleged attack at a time the assault was supposed to take place.

29. Reade Seligmann used his cell phone almost continually, beginning less than a minute after the dancers stopped their performance.

30. Reade Seligamann was in the company of Robert Wellington, and then both Robert Wellington and a taxi driver, from minutes after the dancers stopped performing, until returning to his dorm.

Motion for Recusal

31. At 12:30, the accuser is photographed outside holding a bag/purse. Yet, it is alleged that during the supposed 30 minute rape her possessions were taken from her.
32. Time-stamped photographs indicate that the accuser was unharmed and outside of 610 Buchanan as late as 12:30 am.

33. The accuser called an escort service at 12:26am using the phone allegedly taken from her during the attack.
34. Bissey’s statements, time-stamped photographs, phone records, an ATM photo, receipts, an electronic card swipe, 911 calls and multiple witness statements establish a timeline of the evening that offers no window of opportunity for Reade Seligmann to have participated in the alleged rape.
Investigation and Prosecution Curiosities, Short Comings, and Funny-Smelling
Apparent Misdeeds, not previously listed above:

35. Mr. Nifong has publicly promoted theories of the case not only not supported by, but often contradicted by, his own “evidence”.
36. Himan’s probable cause affidavit contradicts statements from witnesses, medical evidence, and his own investigative actions.
37. Gottlieb’s notes were withheld from the defense initially, not written contemporaneously, and apparently produced to conform to many, if not all, of the holes in the persecution’s case.
38. Mr. Nifong refused to meet with defense attorneys to look at exculpatory evidence.
39. Ms. Roberts received favorable bond treatment on the day the indictments were brought. Shortly thereafter, she began singing a different tune about the opportunity for an assault to have occurred.
40. Mr. Nifong apparently disguised the existence of a toxicology test, which disputed his “date rape drug” theories of the case, from the defendants, their attorneys, the public, and the court.
41. Alibi witness cabbie Elmostafa was intimidated by the persecution in an apparent attempt to dissuade his testimony, and charges were brought against him in an apparent effort to impeach his testimony.
42. All three of the accused have passed polygraph tests, yet the accuser apparently was never given one.
43. Despite the persecution’s attempts to coerce and intimidate the lacrosse team by violating the “no contact” rule, publicly suggesting that if they were innocent they would not need lawyers, by creating ruses to encourage them to give false testimony, by threatening charges, by re-initiating old resolved charges, by publicly pronouncing their guilt, not a single peep of a false confession has been elicited.
44. Four months after the alleged crime, the officer in overall charge of the investigation produced only two pages of hand-written notes, and a typed 33 page single-spaced report compiled from “memory," apparently months after the party.
Questions about Credibility and other Contradictions:
45. The accuser previously made similar allegations against three other men, while also offering no substantiation.
46. Ms. Roberts indicates that she was separated from the accuser for less than 5 minutes, yet the allegation is that the assault lasted for 30 minutes.
47. The accuser recanted at least one time on the night of the initial allegations.
48. The accuser offered several versions of the alleged attack to several people on the night of the party, two days later at UNC Hospital, and perhaps several weeks later in her long-delayed written statement, during her final photo line-up session, and possibly at other times in between if the police affidavits have any merit.
49. Kim Roberts has been described alternately by the accuser as a thief; a person who threw, or tried to throw, her out of her car; an accomplice to the assault, a second victim, and an “outcry witness”.
50. On March 21, the accuser told Himan that her most recent consensual sexual relations was with her boyfriend a week prior to the party. Yet, the accuser apparently admitted later that she had sex with her boyfriend and her two drivers, who worked for the escort service, around the time of the alleged assault.
Steadfast Proclamations of Innocence

51. From the first day of the allegations, the entire lacrosse team has steadfastly denied that any sex took place, confidently stated that no DNA evidence of sex could be found, and never once suggested or considered that a consent defense would be used or needed.
It should be noted that the above list is very likely incomplete. Certainly there are items that have been unintentionally omitted, and still more that are certain to merit inclusion as more information becomes available. Despite the lack of absolute completion, the items listed above require explanation in order to accept that this drama is not the Hoax it appears to be. Whether that explanation is required for an observer to form an opinion, an investigator to smell something funny, a prosecutor to decide whether to continue with these charges, a journalist to decide how to cover the drama, a juror to evaluate reasonable doubt, or a judge to decide whether to dismiss the charges, it would seem that this, indeed, is a situation where the simplest answer is true. While Ms. Sheehan might continue to argue otherwise, it appears that it is not the bloggers, but rather Nifong and his apologists, who are piloting the black helicopters.


Anonymous said...

I don't understand why you think it is farfetched to think that Duke Hospital tampered with the DNA by removing the players's DNA and inserting the boyfriends and everyone knows the players had two days to wash the nails and Himan was confused and that's why Gottliebs descriptions are different and he would have said something earlier but he was trying to train the new guy so he he let him bring the wrong people in for lineups and well the AV was confused about no condoms being used and we should believe Nifong instead cuz he knows an exotic dancer wouldn't be the first choice for unprotected sex and the players wore long sleves and those photographs have been altered and the ATM lied and wachovia was paid off and so was the cabbie and so was sprint to alter the phone records and Kim she just forgot to say anything to the 911 caller and would have but was so upset about the cotton shirt that she forgot and I know they haven't been charged with it but really they used a broom and while it seemed like a vicious assault really it was quite gentle and thats why there ain't no bruises and Levicy lied on the SANE report to keep her job at Duke and all those police officers who say the AV changed her story well they were just confused cause they are insensitve not like Gottlieb who is really kind and tolerant and doesn't really own that confedrate flag hanging on the gun rack in his pickup truck and didn't really call that fry cook that bad word and forget about that hair test she really was drugged and them Dukies must fixed that test too and well you know those polygraphs don't mean anything, teenagers and young adults beat them all the time and those old FBI guys giving the test well they ain't as smart as Gottlieb and Evans was wearing a groucho mustache to disguise himself and Reade had a buddy call his girl while he was going at it and ...

August West said...

Thanks, Victoria.

Anonymous said...

51 Reasons for Reasonable Doubt!

When are these False Charges going to be dropped?

I guess my the only other question is why did Judge Stephens let this happen?

Anonymous said...

It's PROSECUTION not PERSECUTION, although persecution is exactly what the prosecution is trying to do!

Anonymous said...

To dixydeldu61 above,

My bet is LieStoppers knows exactly what it is they write. Their choice of wording is not accidental, but intentional and quite accurate.

Anonymous said...

Please forward this, assuming you haven't done so, to Sean McManus, head of CBS News. Sean is a Duke alum.

Rumors are that Ed Bradley is responsible for the upcoming 60 Minutes story on the case. Mr. Bradley's history would suggest that he will NOT focus on the facts but will, instead, focus on race, class, and town/gown tension.

Should Mr. Bradley be aware of the facts and still choose to ignore them, it will speak volumes about him as a "journalist" and CBS News as a news versus entertainment enterprise.

Todd Glosson
Duke Class of 1984

LieStoppers said...

Persecution was exactly the word we intended to use. You'll find it mixed in here and there throughout other pieces as well.