Wrongs in Duke Lacrosse Criminal Case


Research and discuss an investigation that went wrong, whether it was a poor investigation and/or prosecution resulting from an investigation. Examples are the Duke Lacrosse case and the Richard Jewell Olympic bombing case. What went wrong and why? What were the ramifications? What should have been done differently?

Sample paper

Wrongs in Duke Lacrosse Criminal Case

Three duke lacrosse members were accused falsely in 2006. A black American woman hired as dancer had reported to Durham police station that Reade Seligmann, Colin Finnerty and David Evans raped her. The district attorney at that time was Mike Nofong who was overzealous and had ambitions to retain prosecutor seat (Mosteller, 2007). The allegation against the Duke lacrosse team took the worst turn when the media took up the case and mentioned the team as racist and condemning the act as gender violence (Kosse, 2006). Consequently, a public outcry made the judiciary to investigate the case poorly in order to gain glory.

Related: The Case for the Contingent Exclusionary Rule

Nofong made a great mistake when handling the case. He talked publicly to the media just after the incident that the duke lacrosse team had defiled a woman before facts were established. In addition, Nofong was not keen in passing a fair judgment (Devine, 2008). The investigation he led was found to be skewed. He influenced investigations done by the police by: manipulating witnesses, not putting into account prior evidence brought to indictment, and breaching regulations on identification conduct by not including photographs. He also never spoke to the victim about the accusations he made and had no DNA results that confirmed the lady was actually raped (Cole, 2007). The defense attorneys tactically intervened by requesting North Carolina State Bar to take charge. The state bar discovered the malpractices done by Nofong and terminated the case.

The media also went wrong by not questioning the authenticity of the information they aired. In fact, they conducted series of interviews pertaining to the incidence for two consecutive weeks. Furthermore, frequent press conferences conducted and excessive media coverage they used was like prosecuting the accused before they were proved guilty. The fact that the media failed to take into account the effect of the criminal case on reputations of the three students was also very wrong.


Cole, S. A. (2007). How much justice can technology afford? The impact of DNA technology on equal criminal justice. Science and Public Policy34(2), 95-107.

Devine, J. R. (2008). Duke Lacrosse Matter as a Case Study of the Right to Reply to         Prejudicial Pretrial Extrajudicial Publicity under Rule 3.6 (c), The.Vill. Sports &           Ent. LJ15, 175.

Kosse, S. H. (2006). Race, Riches & (and) Reporters-Do Race and Class Impact    Media Rape Narratives-An Analysis of the Duke Lacrosse Case. S. Ill. ULJ31,             243.

Mosteller, R. P. (2007). The Duke Lacrosse Case, Innocence, and False      Identifications: A Fundamental Failure to’Do Justice’. Fordham Law Review,76.

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