01.15.07

For Shame

Posted in Politics, Rant at 6:59 am by Jason G.

In recent news, Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong has asked to be recused in the Duke Lacrosse scandal… err… case. He has also retained counsel to represent him before the N.C. Bar in an investigation into prosecutorial misconduct which accuses him of making improper, inflammatory and misleading comments about the case.

Now, if Mike Nifong was innocent, he certainly wouldn’t need to retain counsel, now would he?

Of course he would retain counsel, as anyone accused of a serious crime or indiscretion would do. But, somehow Mr. Nifong made the same statement about the Lacrosse players back when the situation was first surfacing back in April of last year. A direct quote from March: “And one would wonder why one needs an attorney if one was not charged and had not done anything wrong.” (To be fair, the team members had been questioned, searched, issued subpoenas, implicitly accused of a crime, but not officially charged yet.)

Now it’s one thing for me to say that innocent people don’t need lawyers (especially since I don’t believe it), but it’s a completely different thing for a Prosecuting District Attorney to claim that the suspects that he intends to prosecute don’t need a lawyer. In fact, that’s almost the definition for prosecutorial misconduct. It’s not the D.A.’s job to get a conviction. It’s the D.A.’s job to make sure justice is done.

And it’s for that very reason that I say shame on you Mr. Nifong.

I also have to give credit to the attempts of the State Bar to investigate Mike Nifong’s errant behavior and restore confidence to the judicial system. While it would have been nice if they had acted in a more timely manner, they are at least broadcasting the message that we no longer live in that South where a District Attorney is untouchable and can prosecute whomever he wishes.

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