The Daily Grind Video

The latest from Durham and the legacy of the Duke Lacrosse case shows why our legal and political system works until when we apply the law in earnest, not through the guise of emotionalism.

The Duke Lacrosse legacy took another strange twist indirectly with the arrest of Crystal Magnum last week during a violent argument with her boyfriend. The incident was scary enough to prompt Magnum’s 9-year-old to call 911 as Magnum threatened to kill her boyfriend after repeatedly assaulting him and committing arson – all in front of children.

With all apologies to the folks at CPAC this past weekend, this may be one of the most subtle but important events for their cause over the past 7 days.

I do not want to rush to judgment on Ms. Magnum, not so much because I am an advocate of hers or think that she is not guilty of the crime she has been charged with, but because I do not want to make the same mistakes that Prosecutor Mike Nifong and others made during the 2006 fiasco.  As we saw then, there was a violation of the process and a rush to judgment that trumps the legal system in a fashion that makes conservatives cringe when they hear the term “judicial activism” or see a continued need to augment legal code that should – by its very nature – ensure justice.

You may think that I have a personal stake in how this Duke Lacrosse legacy is playing out, as if I should be personally offended. I am – and so should all Americans everywhere.

We should not be offended by the aftermath of the 2006 case or the actions of Ms. Magnum (which, by the way, does not necessarily prove that she was not a victim in 2006 in and of its own accord) this past week, per se. However, the unraveling of new incidents of harmful actions from Ms. Magnum’s live should be a reminder to all Americans that we must be very careful in our legal pursuits to avoid “rushes to judgment” and other activist maneuvers in order to ensure that justice is provided for all regardless of race or gender – or our historical perspectives or current emotions.


The participants at CPAC can talk about how the principles of conservative government are good for all Americans, although usually there are speaking from a fiscal perspective. However, for Black America, we have to make sure that we are giving their message some credence from a legal and societal angle as well if we are going to pursue all aspects of justice (including fiscal) for African-Americans today.

Judicial activism – not conservative interpretations of the law – brought about the disparity between crack cocaine sentences and power cocaine sentences.

Judicial activism – not conservative interpretations of the law – brought about the discrepancies between Black offenders receiving longer sentences for the same crimes that other Americans commit in America.

Judicial activism – not conservative interpretations of the law – opened the door for the Jim Crow laws that poisoned America for nearly 50% of our existence as a nation