Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Nifong Still Acting Like A Man With Nothing To Lose

My daily stop over at KC Johnson's place left me incredulous. Mike Nifong tendered his resignation effective a month from now:

Instead, in a resignation letter that was publicly released just after noon, Nifong said that he planned to stay on for four more weeks, collecting more than $10,000 in salary and fortifying his pension.
The man acts like he has nothing to lose. He acts like he has lost nothing so far. Maybe he hasn't lost enough. In fact, I'm quite sure of it. In January, I said this:
Mike Nifong needs to be prosecuted precisely because he's so inept, corrupt and prideful. So convinced of his superiority or at least so convinced of the states corruptness that he would be allowed to continue his case unmolested, he needs to be on the receiving end of "justice" to understand justice. Some people learn no other way.

Mike Nifong had no love of justice, law, fairness or equity as he brought this Duke case, justice for him will be more than he deserves. False mercy mocks justice.

I'm not sure how to feel about Duke University settling with the three victims. Truthfully, I wanted blood, (I wanted to know how much each and every member of the Duke 88 would pay) instead, the university leadership decided to cover the potential liability of all the nefarious actions by the Duke 88. I just wonder how alumni feel about their money being used to cover the liability of ignorant, racist, sexist professors. If ever an institution seemed ripe for a house-cleaning, it is Duke. Doesn't look like that will happen. And those professors are oh, so uncharacteristically quiet. At least there's that.

The biggest concern coming out of this case is the power of prosecutors. That is the issue that needs to be addressed in North Carolina and everywhere. From the Charlotte Observer:
And North Carolina prosecutors have too much power. They can set the dates of trials. They can in effect shop for judges. They even can avoid preliminary hearings to determine whether there is enough evidence to proceed with charges, by going directly to a grand jury to bring charges.

U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Gerald Bard Tjoflat, a Duke Law School graduate, recently explained how N.C. prosecutors' control of trial dates also means judges are not assigned to cases, but to courtrooms on specific dates. Thus no judge was in control when Mr. Nifong was busy tainting the jury pool and prejudicing the case against the players. Prosecutors, Judge Tjoflat said in a recent speech, "don't do what he did unless they are absolutely confident that the court will give them free rein." That must change.

Fortunately, the defendants' families were wealthy enough to hire the best lawyers. Those lawyers discovered Mr. Nifong had not turned over evidence clearing the players. The State Bar saw this pending miscarriage of justice and filed ethics charges against Mr. Nifong, in effect moving him out of the case and allowing the attorney general to take over.

In this case, the system did not work. It failed the players, the state of North Carolina and the public interest in truth and justice. Legislators must learn from this situation and rein in the power of a prosecutor to run roughshod over justice.
This problem exists everywhere from one extent to another. The whole legal system has come under suspicion. Hopefully, Mike Nifong will be a catalyst for at least some small good.

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