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Friday, August 4, 2006

Duke Case: The Sinking Ship Nifong

The Durham Herald Sun seems to think that Mike Nifong is Captain Courageous. Actually, Nifong is more like Captain Queeg. Lt. Cmdr. Philip Francis Queeg was the mentally unbalanced naval captain portrayed by Humphrey Bogart in The Caine Mutiny motion picture.

Bogart gave a great performance with his tormented face, constant twitching, and with his hands squeezing the famous marbles. Nifong is also giving a great performance as an evil, pandering opportunist, who his trying to pull of a great legal hoax for political gain.

Captain Nifong steers his office and the Durham police in circles, instead of muttering about missing strawberries, he mutters about missing DNA evidence.

God knows what Nifong is squeezing.

Let's hope the real jury in Durham, the voters, relieve Captain Nifong of duty.

Attorney and Friends of Duke University spokesperson Jason Trumpbour responds to the Durham Herald Sun's August 1st editorial:

In an August 1 editorial, you found District Attorney Mike Nifong "courageous" and "contrite" in his discussion of the Duke lacrosse case at a recent press conference.

Unfortunately, there is little courage to be found in a desperate appeal to sympathy by an embattled politician. And Nifong was hardly contrite as he continued to obfuscate the relevant legal standards for his conduct.

You also stated that Nifong "still believes he has a good case" and find that significant for some reason. Yet, Nifong apparently lacks the courage of those convictions. After ramrodding evidence through a hopelessly backlogged SBI crime lab and racing to get indictments before the election, Nifong is now trying to postpone the day of reckoning until next spring.

Nifong refused to even look at any of the exculpatory evidence proffered to him by the defense. This action violated North Carolina Rule of Professional Conduct 3.8 which prohibits a prosecutor from avoiding "pursuit of evidence merely because he or she believes it will damage the prosecutor's case."

In hiding his eyes from that evidence, Nifong abdicated the responsibilities of the office to which he was appointed and should have no further claim to it.

While, ideally, the voters of Durham County should elect the person who will be their district attorney, at least they have the opportunity to choose who they do not want for that office. The writer is a member of Friends of Duke University.

JASON TRUMPBOUR
Parkton, Md.
August 4, 2006
Addendum:

Another letter to the Durham Herald-Sun by Mr. Panoff reminds us that Mike Nifong was appointed not elected to his job as district attorney.
Nifong is on the mark

Referencing the astute obsevation that District Attorney Mike Nifong made during his press conference today about political appointments, he affirmed: "I am struck by the irony that this group of citizens wants to use this procedure to make an end run around the electorate now," Nifong said. "I believe that Durham's district attorney should be selected by the voters of Durham, not by the governor."

I hope Nifong was listening to himself when he said those words, because Nifong ironically embodies the truth of that very mistake. Look at the mess we have been saddled with when the governor appointed the current DA.

ROBERT MICHAEL PANOFF
Durham
August 4, 2006

via John in Carolina

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