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Your e-mails: Lacrosse players deserve apology

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(CNN) -- All charges have been dropped in the sexual assault case against three former Duke University lacrosse players due to "insufficient evidence to proceed on any of the charges," North Carolina's attorney general announced Wednesday.

"We believe that these cases were the result of a tragic rush to accuse and a failure to verify serious allegations," Attorney General Roy Cooper said. (Watch Cooper exonerate the players Video)

CNN.com asked readers what they thought of the case. Below is a selection of their responses, some of which have been edited:

Elizabeth Clark of Frankfort, Kentucky
This case should have been totally dismissed a long time ago. I am glad that the young men who had been accused can rest easily now that this tremendous pressure has been lifted. It is unfortunate that they will each be forevermore remembered as the accused from the "Duke Rape Case." Regardless of the degree of celebrity involved, the identity of the accuser AND the ACCUSED should remain protected until the charges have at least been significantly substantiated. It is far too easy for someone to cry wolf and leave a trail of destruction with no consequence.

Randy Behrens of Harrington, Washington
Another example of government officials in a hurry to be politically correct. Because an African American was the alleged victim and white boys were the suspects, the district attorney felt that he had to take care of this quickly. As a result, he wasn't as thorough as he should have been. He was afraid of being accused of delaying punishment if he took the required time.

Matthew Cleary of Miami, Florida
As a criminal defense attorney in Florida, I deal with many cases that involve wrongly accused young men and women who are victims of incomplete or overzealous prosecution. None of them ever make media attention. I find it ironic and sad that these three young men, who are still guilty of boorish, immature, spoiled behavior, are the poster children for wrongful prosecution. How about the dozens of defendants that spent years in prison only to be exonerated by DNA evidence?

Pamela Scott of Johnson City, Tennessee
I applaud the attorney general of North Carolina for his serious efforts in this case. I wish the Duke students the very best as they move on with their lives. It is a shame that these young men have had to live with this dark cloud over their heads for a year because of the overzealousness of a local district attorney.

Herb Cottrill of Charlottesville, Virginia
Decision was absolutely correct!

Evelyn Dibben of Annapolis, Maryland
Perhaps these young men were not guilty of any crime, but they are far from innocent. If they choose to have a party, drink to excess (illegally?), hire women to strip and then have sex with these women, then they deserve to suffer the consequences -- even if these consequences involve false allegations. False allegations are only some of the consequences of drunken casual sex. It's about time that they learn this very hard lesson.

Eileen Willet of Windsor Locks, Connecticut
Since CNN has been on top of the Imus story, I hope CNN will follow this one -- especially since Rev. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton were so quick to put these boys in jail. Let's make sure the boys get the apology they deserve from Rev. Jackson and Rev. Sharpton.

By all accounts this was not an isolated event and the university routinely turned a blind eye to what was going on. Shame on all of them.

April Day of Charleston, South Carolina
I believe that it was a travesty to publicly humiliate these athletes as well as their coach without proper evidence. If the alleged crimes occurred, I feel the offender should be held accountable. But in this case there was NO evidence other than the late accusation from the drunken dancer. The fact that she didn't call police but instead cried wolf when she was questioned by police made me suspicious all along!

Conrad Conero of Rougemont, North Carolina
What took them so long? This was obvious from the beginning.

Zack Sexton of Atlanta, Georgia
I have close ties with a member of the Duke lacrosse team and am so happy to see the charges dropped against these GOOD GUYS. So what if they are rich, smart, talented and groomed for success. That is no excuse to persecute them to better the DA's personal political agenda! Furthermore, shame on Duke for how poorly they handled this case. They came out looking as bad as Nifong.

Jim Clay of Portland, Oregon
CNN would do well to review and revise its style guide for headline and copy writing. You mischaracterized the alleged crimes by referring to "sex charges." In fact, the alleged charges were assault and kidnapping. I understand the demands of keeping a low word count, but when you have only room for one adjective to describe the charges, "sex" is not the appropriate choice.

John Smith of Troy, Nebraska
Minority leaders are calling for Imus to be fired over inappropriate comments related to women of color. Weren't these same minority leaders leading the charge against the Duke lacrosse players? Shouldn't they step down for something that is certainly more troubling: false legal cases?

Angela Lenkowski of Durham, North Carolina
I think this was the right decision. The facts in this case seemed to change from the accuser day to day. That is never a strong indication of guilt and neither was the evidence. I hate that the media played the two universities against one another, and that this whole case was clouded by race. I wish that some way from the very beginning, everyone's identities and races could have been kept secret and then we could have seen the outcome of this case. I believe the truth would have surfaced and that a lot less lives would have been ruined.

Mark Lloret of Boston, Massachusetts
This was a politically motivated indictment.

Debbie Gibbons of Bellflower, California
It is about time. Those players and families went through so much, financial, reputations, etc., should be compensated by the state, the DA's office and the so-called "victim."

Art Porto of Chicago, Illinois
Is it any wonder that racial divides in this country continue to abound? A nationally syndicated radio host makes a racially insensitive comment and CNN provides wall to wall coverage. Yet, three upper class white college students are wrongfully charged with the rape, kidnapping and other crimes against a black woman that could have exposed them to lengthy prison sentences and your network provides five minutes of legal analysis. I'm not sure what the agenda is that you are pushing but its disturbing to say the least.

Mary Durkin of Lawrence, Massachusetts
Will we be seeing Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson apologizing for their involvement in this case? Of course, they had nothing to do with it, but their quick rush to form a judgment caused a huge disservice to these fine young athletes! Because, aren't we all innocent until proven guilty? I'm not going to hold my breath to even hear them utter one sentence regarding this case. As usual, those two will go hide under a rock after today's news.

Beverly Prince of Foley, Alabama
I feel the whole thing was a big rush for the former prosecutor to make a name for himself. I also think it is appalling for Al Sharpton to be criticizing and wanting apologies from Don Imus, claiming he hurt the sporting events of this Rutgers team. (I am a former Rutgers student.) Has he ever apologized for what he did to the Duke lacrosse team? I doubt he ever did. Not only was their season ruined, but they have lost an opportunity for careers. Racism is also always thinking that one race always hates another!

Laura Mills of Germantown, Maryland
Shame on her and the woman involved in the Kobe Bryant case for trivializing the brutality and emotional scars of rape. I pray for the millions of men, women and children who are victimized every year but stay silent for fear of being lumped into the same despicable category as these vindictive women.

Jay Duke of Boca Raton, Florida
Now, this is the story that Imus should have been commenting on!

Scott Lewis of Houston, Texas
What those guys have had to go through and the expense incurred when no credible evidence justified bringing charges against them is an abuse of power by the DA's office. No mere apology is acceptable. the cost of their defense should be picked up by the county district attorney's office.


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