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Unique DWI defense questions legality of Duke police

Posted November 23, 2010

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— A man charged with driving while impaired by Duke University police is arguing that the school doesn’t have the legal right to make the arrest. In a motion to dismiss the charge filed Tuesday, attorneys William J. Thomas II and James H. Monroe argue that because Duke is a religious institution, a university police department is an illegal entanglement of church and state.

The attorneys cite Duke’s Divinity School and the prominence of Duke Chapel on campus and as a representation of the university.

Thomas Holloway was stopped by Duke police Oct. 11 near the intersection of Main and Ninth streets in Durham. He was cited for DWI and driving after drinking by someone under 21.

His attorneys laid out an eight-page explanation of why Duke University should be considered a religious institution.

Duke campus police Attorneys challenge legality of Duke police force

Current students disagreed.

"I'm not quite sure what it is about the university aside from its founders and charter would make it Methodist," graduate student Brian Goldstone said.

"I think it's very open to pretty much any religious denomination or practice,” freshman Cameron Crawford said.

Holloway’s lawyers quoted the Duke by-laws, which read, in part:

The aims of Duke University are to assert a faith in the eternal union of knowledge and religion set forth in the teaching and character of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

They cite as an example a case where Campbell University was found to be a religious institution.

"The cases that have been brought before the court involve institutions whose policies and practices we believe are significantly different from Duke," said Mike Schoenfeld, Duke vice president for Public Affairs and Government Relations.

Schoenfeld said Duke doesn't even require students to attend a religious course.

The lawyers also point out in the filing that two-thirds of the members of Duke’s Board of Trustees are elected by the United Methodist Church.

Schoenfeld said while some trustees are approved by the church, they aren’t required to be Methodist.

25 Comments

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  • oleguy Nov 25, 9:10 a.m.

    Duke and Chapel Hill are a disgrace to our southern Ideals and way of life,
    They should move both to the city limits of Cary, and then fence them in,,,,
    Or move the entire group to Uath or NY city...

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Nov 24, 6:34 p.m.

    Only in Durham.

  • roaddog3 Nov 24, 4:33 p.m.

    Must be another Democrook lawyer

  • passport423 Nov 24, 10:51 a.m.

    Ranquick, have you been taking wildcat's English course?

  • dixieboy Nov 24, 10:13 a.m.

    Thou shall not drink and drive.

  • lvhv2003 Nov 24, 9:01 a.m.

    To the Durham County DA's office, put the very best ADA onto this DWI case.

  • boolittlek Nov 24, 8:42 a.m.

    Sorry, no sale. I'm a graduate of Duke Divinity School. The Div. School, Chapel, and other religious groups on campus are vibrant communities of faith within the university. But the university as a whole? Not so much. I was a Duke employee long before I was a Duke student, and the university does not close for Easter, the most important Christian holiday. But yeah, keep trying to argue that Duke is a "religious institution."

  • boneymaroney13 Nov 23, 7:58 p.m.

    When every suspect at Duke is treated the same and not by class, then and only then should they be considered a police department. Students, faculty and staff are treated one way and everyone else is treated a differently. Plus, When Mr. Duke endowed the Univeristy it was made known no building on the campus will be built taller that the church. The church (chapel) is to be the center piece of the University. And still is.

  • bigal02282 Nov 23, 7:37 p.m.

    The death penalty. Yup Yup. It's the same penalty that our Savior, Koach K will be meting out to all of his opponents this season.

  • mayhem Nov 23, 7:15 p.m.

    Interesting. I thought Duke's religion was basketball, and their savior is Coach K.

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