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January 03, 2007

BETTER LATE THAN NEVER: Duke does the right thing at last:

For the second time in as many weeks, the Duke administration has taken a powerful step toward bringing this disastrous affair to a close. This afternoon, on behalf of President Brodhead, Vice President of Student Affairs Larry Moneta formally invited Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann to return for the spring term.

The symbolism of this move cannot be missed: with the decision, the Duke administration is formally saying that the presumption of innocence no longer can be ignored and strongly implying--through its deeds--that no one in the upper levels at Duke any longer believes in the credibility of Mike Nifong's allegations. Coupled with Brodhead's repeated demands that Nifong recuse himself, this act signals a dramatic, and welcome, shift by the administration on the case, and a statement that from here on out, Brodhead will stand on behalf of due process.

Better late than never. But still late.

UPDATE: Reader Brian Gates is unimpressed:

Wow. The school canceled their sports season, the faculty publicly condemned them, and they had to leave the university. But a year later, Duke has decided these young men are entitled to the presumption of innocence. That's mighty white of them.

I'm no law prof, but isn't the presumption of innocence most useful before a pile of facts come out indicating that the accused are, in fact, innocent?

Yes.