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An Institutional Perspective on the Duke Lacrosse Case


An Institutional Perspective on the Duke Lacrosse Case



We can organize the Duke lacrosse story around our three major sociopolitico-legal institutions. Like the mortal characters on Simon’s show, the team members—particularly, most obviously, Seligmann, Finnerty, and Evans—were acted upon and nearly crushed by those institutional forces. That the outcome of the case ultimately was successful seems beside the point. All still endured hardships largely perpetrated by the institutions themselves. Each institution failed to perform its role properly in the case, at least initially. A larger question is how to reconcile the ultimately successful outcome with the notion of institutional failure. Did the institutions right themselves and self-correct, producing the proper outcome? Or did the case resolve itself appropriately in spite of those institutions? To understand the Duke lacrosse controversy is to study these institutions and to answer questions about the performance of each: to learn what each did right and wrong, to learn why, and to consider how each can improve in the future.



Publication Date



Ashgate Publishing


New York, NY


Duke Blue Devils (Lacrosse team), Malicious accusation, Mass media, criminal justice, Prosecutorial misconduct, Rape, Investigation, North Carolina, Durham


Criminal Law | Law

An Institutional Perspective on the Duke Lacrosse Case