Duke Rape Case: Bizzaro World Law Professor

Wendy Murphy a law professor and former sex crimes prosecutor comes up with one of the lamest defenses for Mike Nifong. First up she postulates some damning evidence…or in more simple terms she makes up stuff,

Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong may have eyewitness statements from the defendants’ friends and photos of the incident. If so, Nifong should be rewarded for respecting the defendants’ rights by not leaking the type of evidence that could help him personally respond to criticism.

Got that, he might have pictures…or he might not. Wendy Murphy, on the issues of pictures, is as clueless as the rest of us, but she doesn’t let that stop her.

The Wilmington Journal reported last June that a cousin of the alleged victim said she’d rejected offers of $2 million from Duke alumni to back out of the case.

Does this necessarily imply guilt of the defendants? No. Does it imply that Duke alumni are becoming more and more embarassed by the universities refusal to defend its students as more and more evidence keeps surfacing indicating the whole case is a complete farce? Yes.

The photo lineup was not unfair. Not all party attendees were players, and many players were not at the party. Thus, it is false to say there were “no wrong answers” the accuser could give in making identifications.

Uhhhmmm, actually from what I read all the team members, save the single black team member, were ordered to give DNA samples. This indicates the DA doesn’t really know who was and was not at the party. If this is true, then there really is “no wrong” answer and whoever was going to be picked was going to be charged irrespective of other evidence. And considering that Seligmann has video evidence placing him miles from the crime scene at the time the crime was supposedly being committed further supports this. Further, according to K. C. Johnson, Durham seems to be one of the few exceptions in doing photo line ups. Most, if not all–save for Druham, adhere to the following procedures,

  1. Line-ups shall consist of one known suspect and seven filler photos/images.
  2. If there are multiple suspects in a case, a different line-up shall be created for each suspect. Filler photos/images can not be used in more than one line-up.
  3. Filler photos/images are selected based upon shared characteristics with the suspect photo . . .

Right here we see that Nifong didn’t follow any of the above. There was only one line up, no fillers that we know of, and the shared characteristics rule was also violated. Also, when it comes to presenting the photo line up the procedure is to use a double-blind procdure. That is the person doing the line up doesn’t know who the suspects are. And according to the transcripts she claims one of men who assaulted her had a mustache, there is no evidence suggesting that any of the suspects had a mustache at the time of the assualt.

Nifong is criticized for not speaking to the victim about the case, but his reliance on responsible others is proper. It protects him from being removed from the case as a “witness.” Many law enforcement, forensic and legal professionals support the prosecution and have not backed off despite the hype.

Obviously Ms. Murphy lives under a rock or something becasue Nifong was talking about the case as a campaign issue. At one point he claims to have done 50 interviews on the case.

When one of the defense lawyers said that Nifong gave 50 to 70 interviews about the case, Nifong said he wanted to set the record straight. He checked his schedule and it showed that he actually gave more like 15 to 20 interviews. He said he had many conversations with reporters, some just to say that he would not comment on the case.

But the number 50 came from Nifong himself.

In a March 31 interview with a News & Observer reporter, Nifong was asked “How many interviews do you think you’ve given?”

“In excess of 50,” Nifong said.

That is until things like the lack of DNA evidence, the video of Seligmann, etc. started to make this case look more like a complete sham being used for political reasons than for justice. Then Nifong suddenly gives no more interviews. Apparently Ms. Murphy is not familiar with this site.

Everyone learned last spring that DNA in the rape kit did not match that of the defendants. Information “held back” involved other men’s DNA. This constitutionally protected private information should never be disclosed unless a judge deems it relevant. The defense argued that the evidence provides an alternative explanation for the victim’s vaginal injuries, and the judge agreed.

Oh this is just crazy. That evidence should have been given to the defense, there is just no question about it. The fact that the DNA from multiple strangers was found on the supposed victim indeed provides and much more believable explanation for what happened.

Days later, the prosecutor withdrew the “rape” charge, which under North Carolina law consists only of penile-vaginal penetration. Other penetration crimes are covered by the remaining equally serious “sexual offense” indictment. This may have been a brilliant move, because with no rape charge, the victim’s sexual past is irrelevant – and the cause of justice is spared a salacious and distracting sideshow.

And yet the main reason we are told that the rape charges were dropped is because the defendant can’t say for certain if she was penetrated. But this is all in the cause of justice. My gut feeling is that Ms. Murphy is pushing an agenda and she doesn’t really care about the cause of justice. This op-ed by Ms. Murphy is simply offensive.

FILED UNDER: Blogosphere, Gender Issues, Law and the Courts, US Constitution, US Politics, , , , , , ,
Steve Verdon
About Steve Verdon
Steve has a B.A. in Economics from the University of California, Los Angeles and attended graduate school at The George Washington University, leaving school shortly before staring work on his dissertation when his first child was born. He works in the energy industry and prior to that worked at the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the Division of Price Index and Number Research. He joined the staff at OTB in November 2004.


  1. everybody says:

    just when you think this case had hit bottom, there’s 50 feet of crap, and then there’s Mike Nifong huddling in a corner clutching this case like gulum clutches the ring of power.

  2. Rosco says:

    To feminists like Wendy Murphy, all men are criminals and all women are victims regardless of the facts of the case.

  3. Eneils Bailey says:

    I have seen this woman on TV talk shows giving her views on this matter. And you are right on with your comment, Rosco, to her the accuser made a charge, it has to be true, rape the facts if it suits her agenda.

  4. Philip Wood says:

    The rumor of the $2 Million payoff offer that Murphy mentions was investigated by Durham police and deterimend to be not credible when the accuser denied, on June 30, that it had occured and further stated that she did not know where the cousin had gotten the idea from. Details of the accuser’s denial of the payoff attempt and the police investigation of the rumor were published in the same Wilmington Journal that Murphy cites as her source on August 4.

    Rumor Debunked

    Wendy Murphy Strikes Again

  5. vnjagvet says:

    Ms. Murphy is living proof that you can find a lawyer somewhere to give even the most outrageous argument a semblance of plausiblity.

    Fortunately, most anyone with a lick of common sense can sense the futility of her effort here.

    She reminds me of Lynn Stewart, Ramsey Clark, William Kunstler and others of similar persuasion that could convince themselves of the validity of nonsensical arguments and get maximum publicity for them.

    I guess this is the price we pay for our adversarial system.

    It is, however Nifong who is the problem in this case, not Ms. Murphy. The transcript of the hearing found here, I believe, puts to rest any doubt that Nifong has violated his oath of office, and committed prosecutorial misconduct by conspiring to hide exculpatory evidence from the defense in violation of North Carolina (and probably Federal) Law.

    He and Meehan also, in my legal opinion, violated North Carolina Deceptive Trade Practices Act, giving rise to potential civil liability to the three Duke lacrosse accused.

    Professor Murphy should put her money where her mouth is and volunteer to serve on his defense team free of charge. I believe he will sorely need it. After all, as one of my mentors used to say, “even a criminal deserves a legal defense”.

  6. Billy Bob Barnson says:

    Here is the link to the hush money article. http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-chat/1677950/posts


  7. lynp says:
  8. Bandit says:

    You’re confusing Ms. Murphy with a real lawyer. She’s now a TV lawyer/commentator and is laughing all the way to the bank.

  9. everybody says:

    Wendy Murphy twisted and turned what ever evidence she heard into fantasies of how the false claim of rape is nothing but real. She must have gone to the same law school as Mike Nifong.

    I remember how she speculated that sperm was found on the the hooker, and she was right! Tons of sperm was found on and in the hooker and from multy men, but no were from the innocent boys on the Duke lacrosse team.

    I remember how she demonstrated clawing while claiming that the hooker’s press on nails have to be ripped off, yet failed to mention that no scratch marks were found on any of the innocent boys.

    It is impossible that a crime scene with three drunk men in a small enclosed room with a fighting and clawing woman being orally, virginally, and anally penetrated not leave any DNA evidence of urine, blood, vaginal fluid, sweat, fecal matter, scat smears, saliva, tears, or semen… especially if condoms were used. How would they take off the condoms during all this chaos without spilling, smearing, or touching the content inside or outside of the condom?

  10. everybody says:


    “Laughing all the way to the bank?” I don’t see Wendy Murphy as a happy person, and all the money in the world isn’t going to change that. Under her loathsome exterior, she comes across as empty and hollow.

  11. everybody says:

    And what about that guy Ted “something” on Greta (Fox News)? He still thinks the boys should be charged with rape, but can’t come up with a reason why. It’s embarrasing that blacks have people like Ted ‘something” and Jessie Jackson to nationally prove how racist and ignorant some people are.

  12. me again says:

    The DA did one good thing. He brought the problem of false claims of rape to national attention.

    Each time anyone would bring up the subject of false claims of rape. “victims’ Advocate” always cripple or stifle conversation or debate by clouding the issue with the sufferrings of rape victims to over shadow the suffering of victims of false rape claim.

    The premise of these “victim advocates” is that it’s not okay to be raped, but it’s okay to be falsely accused of rape to protect the possible 50% of rape accusers who are actually telling the truth.

    • According to the FBI, one of every 12 claims of rape filed in the United States are later deemed ‘unfounded,’ meaning the case was closed because the alleged victim recanted or because investigators found no evidence of a crime.
    • Howard County Police classified one out of every four rape allegations as unfounded in 1990-91.
    • The National Association of Schoolmasters/Union of Women Teachers says around 600 teachers a year are falsely accused – a trebling since the 1989 Children’s Act.
    • Citing a recent USA Today article, discussing the miracle of DNA and FBI studies of sexual assault suspects, DNA testing exonerated about 30% to 35% of the more than 4,000 sexual assault suspects on whom the FBI had conducted DNA testing over the past three years.
    • Purdue sociologist Eugene J. Kanin, in over 40% of the cases reviewed, the complainants eventually admitted that no rape had occurred (Archives of Sexual Behavior, Vol. 23, No. 1, 1994).
    • 1985 the Air Force conducted a study of 556 rape accusations. Over 25% of the accusers admitted, either just before they took a lie detector test or after they had failed it, that no rape occurred.
    • 1996 Department of Justice Report, of the roughly 10,000 sexual assault cases analyzed with DNA evidence over the previous seven years, 2,000 excluded the primary suspect, and another 2,000 were inconclusive.
    • Linda Fairstein, who heads the New York County District Attorney’s Sex Crimes Unit. Fairstein, the author of Sexual Violence: Our War Against Rape, says, “there are about 4,000 reports of rape each year in Manhattan. Of these, about 50% simply did not happen.”
    • Craig Silverman, a former Colorado prosecutor known for his zealous prosecution of rapists during his 16-year career, says that false rape accusations occur with “scary frequency.” As a regular commentator on the Bryant trial for Denver’s ABC affiliate, Silverman noted that “any honest veteran sex assault investigator will tell you that rape is one of the most falsely reported crimes.” According to Silverman, a Denver sex-assault unit commander estimates that nearly 50% of all reported rape claims are false.

  13. me again says:

    Duke Lacrosse Rape Accuser Mentioned No Condoms Were Used

    The stripper’s body was completely void of any sign of a sexual assault, the innocent boys were devoid of any scratches, bruising, or marks, and the alleged crime scene was completely devoid of DNA that would be expected in a violent gang rape.

    It is impossible that a crime scene with three drunk men in a small enclosed room with a fighting and clawing woman being orally, virginally, and anally penetrated not leave any DNA evidence of urine, blood, vaginal fluid, sweat, fecal matter, scat smears, saliva, tears, or semen… especially if condoms were used. How would they take off the condoms during all this chaos without spilling, smearing, or touching the content inside or outside of the condom?

    When investigators questioned the stripper after DNA tests on the semen from multiple men found inside her vagina and rectum didn’t match any of the Duke players on the entire lacrosse team, the stripper admitted to having had sex with at least three men around the time of the alleged rape including her boyfriend and two men who drove her to Duke.
    The DA Mike Nifong didn’t talk to the prostitute about her wild claims of gang rape, in which she described in great detail, claiming no finders or any other objects were used to penetrate her, yet Nifong did conspire with the DNA lab owner to hide evidence that proves the three victims of this lie are innocent.