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Judge Assigned To Handle Duke Lacrosse Rape Case

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DURHAM, N.C. — State Chief Justice Sarah Parker has signed off on an agreement that will allow a judge to preside over all proceedings in the Duke lacrosse rape case.

Superior Court Judge Osmond Smith will be assigned to the case, which is expected to go to trial in the spring.

District Attorney Mike Nifong as well as attorneys for the three defendants -- Collin Finnerty, Reade Seligmann and David Evans -- asked for the case to be designated as exceptional and to have one judge oversee it.

Doing so, Senior Resident Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson wrote in a recommendation to Parker, would "promote efficient administration of justice" because a single judge could, in part, "more expeditiously handle and rule on the motions and issues as they arise by having a thorough knowledge of the history of the actions and of the legal and factual issues."

The three defendants are accused of raping an exotic dancer at an off-campus party involving Duke lacrosse players in March.

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