Or at least that's the message being sent on various blogs which are anticipating that the North Carolina Attorney General's office will drop all charges against the 3 defendants when it announces the result of their office's review of the Duke Rape case.
It's no longer surprising to me that all that talk last year about innocent until proven guilty and the need for due process for the Duke lacrosse players and the demand that the offensive email from a lacrosse player about skinning women at the next party be seen as saying nothing about the sender's character or potential guilt magically disappears.
We were supposed to see these men in the best possible light and ignore their troubling behavior which wasn't disputed until the case was closed, but we are supposed to assume the worst about this alleged victim and label her a proven criminal.
If the charges are dropped because the AG's office doesn't believe it can prove the charges beyond a reasonable doubt that doesn't mean that the alleged victim told even a single lie. One of the issues in this case is identification. If the AG's office believes that the only reasonable doubt is in that area, it could still be enough to end this case.
Not being able to prove a specific crime was committed by a specific person doesn't mean that the crime never happened. Yet those who yelled "Hoax!" from the day this story broke are acting as if that's exactly what it means.
It will be interesting to see if these bloggers continue to be interested in defendant rights even when the defendants aren't white or college sports players. Based on the reactions I've read regarding another, more recent rape allegation near the Duke campus I have little reason to have any faith in the Duke "hoax" bloggers declared belief regarding how all rape defendants should be treated.
Post-press conference update: I watched the AG statement about what their office believes regarding this case. The weaknesses in this case came down to inconsistancies in the evidence and the fact that the pictures in the line up only included lacrosse players. The legal case against the Duke lacrosse players is closed.
There was a mention of "normal" inconsistancies in rape cases with the statement that the inconsistancies in this case are outside the range of what they consider normal. Since some of the evidence inconsistancies depend on timestamps, and since if I look around the room I'm sitting in and see 4 different times, I can't consider timestamps and reported times to be more than estimates.
Many spam comments have come in and been deleted because they conflate this prosecutor's belief with legal proof. When Nifong publicly stated his beliefs about the validity of this case, many people who considered the case a hoax made it clear that what a prosecutor believes should never be confused with legal proof of what happened and who committed a crime.
Yet again another concept is applied selectively.
While the Duke "hoax" bloggers have been going on and on about how the legal system doesn't work for the Duke lacrosse team including comparing them to the 1931 Scottsboro case, this press conference actually shows that our legal system worked quite well for these men. None of them went to trial and none of them were convicted. The railroading hype was just that in this case: defense team hype.
As for what it will take for me to believe that this case involves a false accusation: evidence beyond a reasonable doubt.