Defense: Lineup in lacrosse case flawed

Defense: Lineup in lacrosse case flawed
December 14th, 2006  
Team Infidel

Topic: Defense: Lineup in lacrosse case flawed

Defense: Lineup in lacrosse case flawed


Associated Press

RALEIGH, N.C. - The woman who said she was raped at a party thrown by Duke's lacrosse team misidentified her alleged attackers in a photo lineup that was "an incoherent mass of contradiction and error," defense lawyers argued in court papers filed Thursday.
In a motion filed the day before a scheduled hearing in the case, attorneys for the three indicted players asked a judge to bar prosecutors from using the photo lineup at their clients' trial and prevent the accuser from identifying the players from the witness stand.
Duke University law professor James E. Coleman Jr. said the case would be "effectively dismissed" if the court finds the lineup inadmissible "and rules that it is so suggestive that there can't be an in-court identification."
An earlier defense motion argued the lineup was "unnecessarily suggestive" because the accuser was shown only photos of lacrosse players.
Thursday's motion adds details about efforts by police investigators and District Attorney Mike Nifong to assist the accuser in identifying the three men she said gang-raped her in a bathroom at a March 13 team party where she had been hired to perform as a stripper.
Based in part on those identifications, Reade Seligmann, Collin Finnerty and David Evans were indicted on charges of rape, kidnapping and sexual offense. All three players have insisted they are innocent.
"There is quite simply no evidence that any of the accuser's identifications or descriptions of her alleged attackers are in any way reliable," the defense motion says. "Rather the state is left with an incoherent mass of contradiction and error, one which not only raises the issue of a 'substantial likelihood of misidentification,' but which establishes that the accuser has in fact misidentified the defendants."
Nifong, who has generally refused to comment about the facts of the case, did not immediately return a message seeking comment.
In court papers Wednesday, defense attorneys said DNA testing found genetic material from several males in the accuser's body and her underwear - but none from any member of the lacrosse team.

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