Polygraph tests and the Duke rape case
Michael J. Gaynor:
Perhaps the nightmare for the Duke Three and their family and friends will end soon after all. On June 30, 2006, NBC's TODAY and MSNBC's Abram Report broadcast short and long versions of Dan Abrams' interview of Kevin and MaryEllen Finnerty, the parents of Collin Finnerty, the member of the Duke Three who had not let the public know that he had alibi evidence, including cell phone and dormitory access records (as Reade Seligmann quickly did) or he had passed a polygraph (as David Evans quickly did).
It turns out that Collin Finnerty has alibi evidence AND has passed a polygraph!
"He has numerous eye witnesses every step of the way, every minute of the night," Kevin Finnerty said.
And Kevin Finnerty announced that EACH of the Duke Three had passed a polygraph test.
From USA Today: "The FBI will give lie-detector tests to hundreds of state and local police officers assigned to terrorism task forces across the country as part of a new effort to battle espionage and unauthorized information leaks."
FBI Assistant Director Charles Phalen: "There is no more powerful tool in our tool bag" than polygraph tests.
Curiously, polygraph testing apparently has not been used in connection with the Duke case.
Could it be that the accuser, ex convict Crystal Gail Mangum, would not pass?
Is it too much to expect that a person accusing another of kidnapping, rape and sexual assault pass a polygraph test BEFORE a prosecutor obtains an indictment?
Is it too much to expect that indictments that appear to have been hastily obtained and unwarranted under all the circumstances be dismissed UNLESS the person accusing others of kidnapping, rape and sexual assault is given and passes a polygraph test?
Especially if the accuser has a criminal record.
The three co-captains of the Duke lacrosse team all volunteered to take a polygraph, but their offer was declined, because the prosecution wanted DNA samples instead.
At the start, Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong apparently believed the accuser and wanted to win convictions based on virtually incontrovertible DNA evidence.
That was fine with the Duke lacrosse players, who brushed aside legal advice about challenging a court order requiring DNA samples and hastened to provide their DNA samples.
From Newsweek: "The order had come, signed by a judge, requiring that the Duke lacrosse team give DNA samples. The prosecutor was trying to identify the three players who had allegedly raped an exotic dancer at the house rented by three of the team's co-captains on the night of March 13-14. All 47 players had gathered in a classroom near the lacrosse field to hear their lawyer, Bob Ekstrand, tell them what they needed to do. Ekstrand was about to tell the players that they could appeal the order as 'overbroad,' too sweeping in its scope, when the players got up and started heading for their cars to drive downtown to the police station. (The team's one black player was not required to go; the accuser, who is black, claimed her attackers were white.)"
Mr. Nifong should have wondered about the credibility of the accuser when the DNA samples were eagerly provided, or at least when the DNA found inside the accuser was determined not to have come from any of the Duke lacrosse players but from several other males.
And the DNA results should have led Mr. Nifong to conclude that the indictments should be dismissed.
But, Mr. Nifong, for whom the black vote was decisive in his Democrat primary win last April, still has to face the voters in November, and pretending that he has a case may seem preferable to admitting an egregious mistake.
The key question now is not whether any of the Duke Three are guilty of any of the charges against them--they are not--but whether Mr. Nifong is reckless and stubborn, or worse.
Mr. Nifong should be polygraphed. Ironically, he may be one who should be prosecuted.
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