Durham DA Breaks The Law*

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by clayj, Dec 15, 2006.

  1. clayj macrumors 604

    clayj

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    #1
    * Or at least he doesn't have any respect for it.

    From the Charlotte Observer today:

    How is it possible that Nifong hasn't yet been brought up on criminal charges or faced disbarment? This is crap, and convinces me 100% that the Duke lacrosse players are innocent of any criminal wrongdoing in this case. (Not to say I think they're saints... they do have poor judgment and a distinct lack of class.)
     
  2. Thomas Veil macrumors 68020

    Thomas Veil

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    I agree completely. This guy should be fired immediately and brought up on charges.

    This is the second time I've heard of overzealous prosecutors. A year or so ago there was a case here where there was a man who'd been in prison for years on a murder rap. I've forgotten the names of the people involved, but let's call this guy Smith. Smith was convicted of the murder even though his DNA did not show up on the victim.

    Now, one day, two other inmates -- let's call them Jones and Robinson -- are talking, and Jones admits to committing the crime that Smith is in prison for. Well, Robinson, upon hearing this, thinks he'll get reduced time if he tells someone, so Robinson calls his lawyer, who calls Smith's lawyer. Smith's lawyer asks the court for new DNA tests, and lo and behold, Jones' DNA matches that found on the victim.

    Do you know that the prosecutor in the Smith case fought tooth and nail against that evidence in court? He did his best to keep Smith in jail, even though Jones had admitted to committing the murder, and his DNA proved it. Fortunately the judge saw it differently, and IIRC, Smith is now a free man.

    But the idea that that prosecutor was protecting his turf instead of trying to convict the right man...that just makes me ill.

    This is worse, though.
     
  3. clayj thread starter macrumors 604

    clayj

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    Well, if I were any of the accused-and-soon-to-be-let-off-the-hook, as soon as the charges were dismissed, I'd file a lawsuit against the DA's office for malicious prosecution and a civil suit against the individual Mike Nifong for having had my name dragged through the mud in the national press.

    I think it's pretty obvious that Nifong pursued this matter for the sole reason of getting himself reelected as DA (Durham County has a very large black population). In the grand tradition of Tawana Brawley, Nifong went after these guys based not on evidence (the weight of which has taken us way past "reasonable doubt" and into the territory of "framed"), but spurred by demands for "justice" for the so-called "victim"... and screw whomever gets tapped to be the bad guy(s).

    I hope Nifong goes down in flames... and I hope he gets his ass sued off and he loses his license to practice law.
     
  4. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #4
    Wow - this whole thing is disgusting. And yes, I'm convinced the Duke Lacrosse team did nothing wrong either at this point. A shame that the whole program there has been affected negatively.
     
  5. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    And if the accusation isn't true, a special place in hell is reserved for the woman whos lies make it harder for the next woman raped by a sports star -- or anyone else for that matter -- to be believed...
     
  6. stillwater macrumors regular

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    #6
    Unfortunately, this kind of thing happens all too often. Prosecutors will often do just about anything to protect their record of successful prosecutions.

    I remember a case in Texas where a death row inmate was exonerated by DNA evidence and the local prosecutor tried like hell to keep the guy from being released from prison.

    This case is actually worse. Hiding exculpatory evidence while continuing to press a case against defendants who've been excluded by DNA is absolutely criminal.
     
  7. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #7
    Hard to resist being snide, so I won't: DNA is science. DAs are lawyers. Lawyers don't like science, since it's rather difficult to negotiate a settlement with reality. Nor can you legislate Pi into becoming 3.00000000..........

    :), 'Rat
     
  8. nbs2 macrumors 68030

    nbs2

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    Problems with your solutions - Judicial officers (judge/prosecutor) have immunity from civil liability for actions that they take in the course of performance of their duties. From what I remember there is no criminal liability for the prosecutor for violation of the Brady Rule (what happened here) - only possible responsiblity for attorney's fees and reversal of conviction (not yet possible here).

    However, action by the bar should be effective. Additionally, I don't know how the DA's office is controlled, but I imagine that impeachment might be possible (or inevitable if the license is suspended or revoked).
     
  9. princealfie macrumors 68030

    princealfie

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    #9
    And American pi then???
     
  10. clayj thread starter macrumors 604

    clayj

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    I'm sure a clever lawyer could find a way around the immunity from civil liability. After all, Nifong has obviously leveraged this case (such as it is) to get himself reelected as DA; him running for DA is a "civilian" matter and as such should be beyond the immunity granted to the office. The argument might go something like this: "My clients have been wronged by Mike Nifong the individual (not Mike Nifong the DA), who used their prosecution as a plank in his run for reelection to the office of Durham County DA."
     
  11. nbs2 macrumors 68030

    nbs2

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    The issue as far as I understand (I should mention that I am just expounding as far as I know MD law applies) is one that you can't get around.

    Public policy promotes the idea of civil immunity for prosecutors and judges in order to protect them from being affected in their decision making as far as it relates to the execution of their office. The same holds for the POTUS - if he is acting in the capacity of his office, he is immune from liability (whereas, if he is acting as an individual or "civilian", he remains liable).

    Your thought about using the case to leverage his campaign is good, but I think that it would be too easy for Nfong to argue that based on the concerns of the case and the investigation as it stood, it behooved the DA's office not to release the information until later in discovery. While the campaign was him acting in his individual capacity, the acts of a DA in executing his office will be protected. For financial recovery, I'm not sure who the best folks to go after are - this is why we have the sharks.;)
     
  12. CorvusCamenarum macrumors 65816

    CorvusCamenarum

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    #12
    I saw an article this morning that was talking about this very point. It's from Fox News, but still informative. Der link. Long story short, he might not be completely immune after all.
     
  13. nbs2 macrumors 68030

    nbs2

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    The difficulty is that I could see this heading to the SCOTUS, and the NDAA (National DA Assoc.) will pull out every overblown-worst-case-scenario to stump the Court and public opinion against it (not that public opinion should matter, but...).

    What really worries me is that the article points out one of the great failings of partisan politics. If evidence and rulings make it possible to strip immunity for actions clearly designed to gain election rather than carry out the office, it could change the face of politics...
     
  14. clayj thread starter macrumors 604

    clayj

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    #14
    So now Nifong has dropped the rape charges against the three guys, but the kidnapping (??) and sexual assault charges remain.

    Anyone else think Nifong is trying to slooooooooowly worm himself out of this situation? If he dropped ALL of the charges at once, he'd get lynched by the local black community (irony absolutely intended) and it would provide "proof" that he kept the charges going for as long as he did PURELY to get himself re-elected.

    If the man has one shred of integrity, he will drop ALL of the charges and then resign his office.
     
  15. clayj thread starter macrumors 604

    clayj

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    #15
    Now the proverbial fecal matter is hitting the rapidly rotating blades...

     
  16. Dont Hurt Me macrumors 603

    Dont Hurt Me

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    Prosecuter needs a ass beating and the lab should loose its license.
     

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