Duke University Tries To Shut Down Lacrosse Players' Blog

from the apparently-streisand-doesn't-play-lacrosse dept

It would appear that officials at Duke aren’t particularly familiar with The Streisand Effect. As you may have heard, a few years back there was a case that got a ton of media attention, with some Duke lacrosse players being accused of rape. Eventually, after fanning the flames in the media, prosecutors had to drop the case for lack of any actual evidence — and the prosecutor who led the charge was disbarred. The lacrosse players are striking back, suing the University and the city of Durham. As the case moves forward, they’ve put up their own blog, at DukeLawsuit.com. However, the university and the city aren’t too happy about it and have tried to get the court to force the blog offline — which, of course, is only drawing a lot more attention to it.

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Comments on “Duke University Tries To Shut Down Lacrosse Players' Blog”

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14 Comments
BTR1701 (profile) says:

Gag Orders

This isn’t exactly unheard of. Quite often in high-profile cases like this, the judge will issue a gag order prohibiting the parties from talking with the media while the case is ongoing. Such orders have been challenged in the past and found not to violate the 1st Amendment.

It certainly wouldn’t be a stretch for a judge to hold that posting information to a web site is nothing but an end-run around a legitimate gag order and shut it down.

However, in this case it doesn’t appear that any gag order has been issued so there’s nothing for the plaintiffs to violate. Here it seems like the defendants just want the web site silenced because they don’t like it, which isn’t really a valid legal basis for anything.

Rose M. Welch says:

Gag orders...

…are to protect individuals, such as Britney’s kids during her divorce, or to keep from polluting a jury pool in a criminal case. They do not generally take place in civil cases and when they do, they are generally opened at a later date.

If the University were sued for something it said it didn’t do, a gag order would be appropriate until the facts were decided, to protect the reputation of the University in the event that they were vindicated.

In this case, the facts are proven (the guys were wrongfully arrested and their University did not stick up for them.), only the legality of those actions are being debated, so a gag order is neither neccesary or appropriate.

The University wants to run from the bad publicity and they want the courts to provide them with a tent until the downpour stops, but the court system is not designed to protect you from a backlach of your own admitted actions.

Reality Check says:

Duke = meh

First, my opinion – some of these guys are guilty. No one in this case is completely innocent and to think differently is completely absurd.

Now, these guys should, most definitely, be ticked off – the case was handled almost as bad as the OJ case and we all know HE was guilty…

But enough of my thoughts…focusing on the issue at hand – these guys have all the right to post what they want. HOWEVER, they need to be careful not to committ libel based on their blogging.

In either case, I dont see this ending well for EITHER the university of the lacrosse players – plenty of cases to pick from in which blogging (in a fashion like the lacrosse players are doing) has backfired. The players are just going to end up hurting themselves and the university.

Its a lose-lose situation for all.

For once, wont somebody think of the children!!!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Duke = meh

First, my opinion – some of these guys are guilty.

Of what? Where’s your evidence?

No one in this case is completely innocent and to think differently is completely absurd.

For you to proclaim them guilty after a court examination of the evidence found otherwise is what’s really absurd.

HOWEVER, they need to be careful not to committ libel based on their blogging.

Perhaps you should follow your own advice.

In either case, I dont see this ending well for EITHER the university of the lacrosse players – plenty of cases to pick from in which blogging (in a fashion like the lacrosse players are doing) has backfired. The players are just going to end up hurting themselves and the university.

So, how long have you worked for the university?

anon2 says:

Re: Duke = meh

The state atty general stated that the accused were “innocent”. Two of the three had documentary evidence (ATM photos, cab receipts) showing they were not there at the time of the alleged acts.

The accuser was (and probably is) profoundly mentally disturbed.

To assert that “some of these guys are guilty” demonstrates an interesting approach to truth and reality—unfortunately one shared by many.

Anon2.

Chris Halkides (profile) says:

Re: Duke = meh

If the laws of chemistry and physics work in Durham the same way they work in the rest of the planet, there is zero chance that the three accused players had sex with the accuser. No DNA was found, even though the alleged victim was in police custody less than an hour after the party. One of the players was photographed by a security camera a mile away, and another had his cell phone records triangulated to show that he was not at the house at the time the rape could have occurred, either. The three accused players were declared INNOCENT by the attorney general of North Carolina. The knavery of Nifong and the duplicity of the DPD are what should have shocked the conscience of the nation, not an ill-considered stripper party.

Chris

Bobbknight says:

Guilty?

The only thing The boys from the Duke Lacrosse team are guilty of, is “Affirmative Action”. In that they hired a lying black crack whore for one of the strippers.
Because Mike Nifong wanted to get re-elected, he lied and hid the truth about the whole thing.
The administration of Duke University, because the so called victim was black and the boys white, they let them to the jackals. You see the lairs and cheats are now in charge of the school system in America today.

The top law enforcement for the state the state attorney general came out and proclaimed them to be innocent of all the charges.

These boys deserve every nickel that can be bleed from Duke and Nifong.

Greg says:

Duke is just

This is from from the blog-Durham in Wonderland-http://durhamwonderland.blogspot.com/
Duke acknowledges that the material on the website either quotes or closely paraphrases the allegations contained in the plaintiffs’ complaint. Duke also concedes that the material thus falls within the safe harbor provided by the local rules for attorney comments that convey information in a public record

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