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« Study: Housework Cuts Breast Cancer Risk | Main | Kempermanx Scoop: Nifong Dead Man Walking »
December 29, 2006

Bull Dog At Ankle Biting Pundit Offers Former Prosecutor's Take On Nifong Complaint

Nice to have intuitions confirmed by an expert. Not an expert on par with a Joseph Rago, mind you, but at least a lesser sort of expert.

To classify this as a “stunning rebuke” would be an understatement. I am not familiar with North Carolina law or procedure, but in Pennsylvania not once have I ever a seen a prosecutor or assistant prosecutor actually brought up on an ethics complaint for their official duties (there have been complaints filed when a prosecutor is arrested for a crime, like DUI, drug possession, etc.).


Some of you may be thinking that there is so much more they could go after him for, such as the dubious (and in my opinion unconstitutional) lineup procedure, his failure to consider alibi evidence offered by one of the defendants prior to charges being filed, failing to turn over DNA results in a timely fashion, and his failure to even speak with the accuser (I refuse to call her a “victim”, because I think it’s pretty clear nothing happened to her at the party), on whose word the entire case rests, for nearly a year, and for bringing charges when the accuser had given multiple, and differing accounts of the event.

Given all that, it seems like nailing him with an ethics complaint for his press comments is akin to getting Al Capone on tax evasion charges.

But at this point I think it was the only thing they could do. The main reason is that all of the actions mentioned above are still in the process of playing themselves out at trial. But after the trial is completed or the charges dropped (and if there is any justice in the world the charges will be dropped), Nifong could be looking at a whole new set of Ethics Complaints.

He also agrees with Michael's take that the NC Bar feels forced to take this action to avoid looking like scumbags. Here' s Michael:

I don't think so, although this is a popular slam against lawyers. Attorneys get suspended or disbarred every day for a wide range of professional misconduct, some of it fairly technical ethical violations. The information is public -- you can look in the back pages of any bar association journal from a substantial state for the proceedings of the ethics panel, and you will see what I mean. But these efforts normally get no publicity in the media. Still, in my experience the overwhelming majority of lawyers have no tolerance for the sleazebags that demean the profession.

The situation with Nifong is more complicated than an attorney in private practice. As a prosecuting attorney representing the state, Nifong has virtually absolute discretion regarding who he chooses to prosecute. (This is especially true if he works with a grand jury which formally issues the indictment.) If people don't like it, they can elect a new prosecutor to represent them. So it's pretty much impossible to challenge him for bringing charges against the accused, even if their reputations were "besmirched" in the process.

Looks to me like the N.C. Bar is disgusted with him anyway, and went looking for anything else they could find to smack him down. The mere fact that the Bar is bringing charges on its own motion, I should hope, would be enough to irrevocably "besmirch" Nifong's professional reputation and kill any aspirations he may have had to advance in N.C. politics or obtain a judicial appointment.

My take -- Nifong fucked up and the legal community in N.C. wants him to pay for embarrassing them.

Huck agrees that it's not as hard to be disbarred as I suggested, and thinks that's Nifong's fate:

If the allegations about Nifong are true (lying to the court, the public, unethical practices as to the lineup, etc.) he probably will be disbarred, or at least suspended for some period of time. If he's prosecuted and convicted, disbarment would be automatic.

Both lawyers, though, again, not experts in the law like Joseph Rago.

Monty asks:

Nifong should be disbarred, no question about it. Whether he will be is another question (and I think it's unlikely). But this really isn't the most important question to ask. The important question is, why did the Duke faculty, supposedly guiding lights of reason and tolerance, fall all over themselves to believe in the guilt of these boys? Even when it became obvious that the whole case was a lie? And why have no public apologies been tendered, not just to the accused but to the entire Lacrosse team, whose season was terminated for what turns out to be no good reason at all?

Entropy responds with the obvious -- by quoting Bonfire of the Vanities:

Weiss had an election coming up, and the Bronx was 70 percent black and Latin, and he was going to make sure the name Abe Weiss was pumped out to them on every channel that existed. He might not do much else, but he was going to do that

Every assistant D.A. in the Bronx … shared Captain Ahab's mania for the Great White Defendant.

It's a liberal tenet that most black people are good, wise, and honest, and most white people (save those who are members of the Church of Latter Day Liberals) are lying, cheating, oppressive and greedy bigots, the sort of people who would rape a black stripper just because they could.

So of course they assumed the lying whore was telling the truth.

No, one shouldn't be prejudiced against blacks. And yes, prostitutes can be raped, and frequently are.

But honestly, this woman's story was changing from the first moments she told it. She was drunk off her ass, but how much latitude do you give to a rape-charge just because the alleged victim is falling-down inebriated? Is that really something, as Nifong seems to believe, that adds credibility to a charge?

He was obviously pandering to his minority voters, but to the extent he really believed this bullshit, it was partly because he drank the liberal Kool-Aid. Women never lie about rape. Just because you're a sketchy stripper who may or may not be a part-time prostitute doesn't mean you can't be as upright and honest as a church leader. Etc.

He took these silly talking points to the extreme, and now he's thoroughly trashed them.

In a way, this might be the NC Bar's way of saving those liberal articles of faith by purging itself of someone who's compromised them. Shoot the messenger, keep the message.

More... Mary Katherine Ham does the best HamNation report she's ever done, says Allah. A tour of things that did not happen in Durham; on the scene reporting from where sordid events did not take place.

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posted by Ace at 02:54 PM

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