From Lane Williamson:
When I think back to those early days in the spring of last year and we think of how public opinion was so overwhelmingly against these defendants and you think of the public aggravation that they suffered and then you look at how the truth came out slowly in small increments and look at the situation now as to what public opinion is there is a 180-degree turn. And those who made a rush to judgment based upon an unquestioning faith in what a prosecutor had told them were made to look foolish and many still do look foolish.Who knew that urbane writers like Duff Wilson and elite educators like the Duke 88 could be made to look so foolish. The self-deception Mike Nifong indulged, the media and most of the academy indulged in, too. And still, like Nifong, no humility, no grace--not even from Nancy Grace the supposed champion of victims.
Mike Nifong damaged an already hurting legal system. He unwittingly revealed a weakness in the system. An unchecked prosecutor can be a terrifying beast, indeed. KC Johnson says this:
Finally, it’s worth considering two cautions expressed by Jim Cooney in the post-hearing press conference. Though the case ended as it should—with the AG’s declaration of actual innocence and Nifong’s disbarment—this was a very close call. First, the defense demanded and then closely examined Meehan’s underlying DNA data not as a matter of course but only because the DNA was the only evidence even remotely implicating Brad Bannon’s client, Dave Evans. Had Mangum picked a lacrosse player other than Evans, the DNA conspiracy might have passed unnoticed. Second, the State Bar’s grievance committee voted to charge Mike Nifong with ethics violations by a mere one vote, with grievance committee chairman Jim Fox casting the tie-breaking vote.This was a close-call for these young men. The cause of justice seemed to hang by a thread throughout the process.
If the defense attorneys hadn't been meticulous, if Meehan hadn't revealed Nifong under examination, if dogged journalists like KC Johnsom hadn't pursued the truth, I fear that this case would have ended predictably. With so many like the Duke 88 and Mike Nifong sticking to the delusion until the bitter end, how could anyone hope for justice?
Some criminals won't be prosecuted because of the judicial distrust Nifong fomented and some innocent victims will remain free because people will be slower, to rush to judgment. At least, that's my hope.
Scott Johnson from over at Powerline says:
It is a remarkable fact of the Duke case that the legal profession has acquitted itself with greater honor than the professoriate.Indeed.