May 19, 2007

LOSS OF CREDIBILITY:

Prosecutors across the country are seeing fallout from the Duke case, as defense attorneys use it to discredit other criminal cases and paint them as overzealous prosecutors with something to prove.

In Texas, one defense attorney recently cited the case during voir dire, and again in closing argument, in an assault case involving a teacher accused of pinning down a female student while other students beat her. The lawyer reminded jurors about what happened at Duke. The defendant was found not guilty in three minutes.

“Prosecutors should be worried,” said defense attorney Edmund “Skip” Davis, the Texas attorney who cited the Duke case in the recent assault trial and plans to cite it in a rape trial next week.

In the teacher assault case, Davis asked jurors during voir dire if they were familiar with the “tragedy” that happened in the Duke case and whether they thought it was a shoddy investigation. At closing, he reminded jurors not to rush to judgement to avoid “that tragedy that nearly fell upon those kids at Duke.”

“I told them, ‘Just because someone hollers out that a crime has been committed just does not make it so,'” Davis said. “And the Duke case made a perfect example of that.”

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