"You'll get a fair trial followed by a first class hanging." - Judge Roy BeanJudge Roy Bean called himself "The Law West of the Pecos." Mike Nifong is the law in Durham, North Carolina. How much has changed in one hundred and twenty years?
Allen G. Breed of the AP writes - Deep questions remain in Duke rape case:
There's not much middle ground in the legal community when it comes to opinions of local prosecutor Mike Nifong's most famous case.District attorneys have absolute legal power and can use it anyway they want.
His law school classmate Patricia McDonald, citing "an utter lack of evidence that a crime even occurred," wrote to Gov. Mike Easley and urged him to pressure Nifong into stepping aside in the Duke University lacrosse rape case.
"Mr. Nifong has lost his moral compass despite his claim that he is a `committed advocate for the truth,'" wrote McDonald, a former assistant in the Maryland Attorney General's office...
If the American legal system is a machine, the prosecutor is the On/Off switch. The prosecutor decides whether a person should be charged with a crime and, if so, which among a wide array of statutes should be used. Ultimately, it's his choice whether to go to trial or drop the case...So the deepest question of all is - what can the public do if "the law" is corrupt?
"One of the luxuries of being a prosecutor is the ability to look at a case at any stage of the proceedings and say, `You know what? Ixnay.'"
From the movie, "The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean" (1972) -
Whorehouse Lucky Jim: You call that justice?
Judge Roy Bean: Justice is the handmaiden of law.
Nick the Grub: You said law was the handmaiden of justice.
Judge Roy Bean: Works both ways.
Deep questions remain in Duke rape case [Allen G. Breed |AP, Oct. 7, 2006]