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Wednesday, October 4, 2006

Duke Case: Traffic 'Tude

"If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you; that is the principal difference between a dog and a man." - Mark Twain

The N&O's "The Editors' Blog" posting by Linda Williams toots their own horn about the Nifong profile they published:
As Niolet discovered, Mike Nifong the man is almost unknowable. The prosecutor, his family members and some close associates declined to be interviewed for the profile published in Sunday's N&O. But there is an extensive public record that helps to explain Nifong the prosecutor. What we learned from a series of interviews, digging into court files and listening to tapes of court sessions is that even after taking on the job of district attorney, Mike Nifong very much remained the prosecutor that he had been for all of his professional life...

Mike Nifong is a prosecutor who doesn't often make deals, but likes to fight before juries. And, he's not especially nice when doing so....

We knew that there was an appetite for the profile among people who are closely following the criminal case. But our work needed to serve the general reader for whom this case may be an opportunity to satisfy a curiosity about the criminal justice system in their community.

And, of course, the people of Durham. Ultimately, our profile is about accountability. The people of Durham get to see and rate the man who says he is working for them.

The comments made in response to Williams' spin on the spin story are hardly kudos. The problem is that Mike Nifong is not working for the people of Durham anymore. He is working for himself. Since he decided to prosecute the Duke lacrosse rape hoax himself he is cheating the people of Durham out of a full time district attorney. His priority is to salvage his professional reputation by taking three innocent men to trial and letting his complainant perpetrate her own fraud on the court.

Nifong will simply throw an unfounded case, a lying rape accuser, and no real evidence against the wall of a Durham jury and hope that something might stick. As the 1994 State v. Timothy Malloy case demonstrated, Nifong has no fear of failure when it comes to going to a jury trial, with no evidence and a inconsistent lying rape accuser. He has no fear and no judgement.
...the District Attorney's Office was reeling from a scandal in traffic court....

he [Nifong] seemed a good choice to clean up traffic court...

In 2003, Nifong's salary was $87,082. When Gov. Mike Easley appointed him district attorney, he began earning $133,082. [N&O correction: Just before he was appointed district attorney, Nifong earned $106,397. When he became district attorney, he began making $123,670. He now earns $133,082.]
Nifong is a perfect demonstration of the Peter Principle. The Peter Principle is that in a hierarchy every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence. Nifong was appointed to the district attorney's job from traffic court. He clearly does not have the big picture, ethical and moral judgement to make decisions about which cases to prosecute. He also does not have the good manners and leadership ability to manage and inspire a DA's office. As the N&O profile shows, Mike Nifong is not management material and he's not a politician. Nifong is way out of his comfort zone and as a consequence the people of Durham will be way out of the good justice zone until he is removed from office.

"Working with Mike, you never knew from one day or the other who you'd be dealing with," said Glenn Gray, a lawyer who handled a high volume of traffic cases. "He would curse you, scream at you, call you names over nothing."

Nifong's moods became just part of dealing with him.

Sending Nifong to traffic court was like beating a pitbull and putting him in a cage with lap dogs. He enjoyed grabbing the little fellows by the scruff of their neck and shaking them. Once you ruin a dog like that you can't take him out of the cage and bring him to Westminster. No matter how much you clean the dog up he "ain't gonna be right."

's belligerent, petty, mean-spirited 'tude should have stayed in traffic court.
No one expects run into a nice sane person in traffic court. The people of Durham would have, over time, come to appreciate safe driving just so they would never have to deal with "that a-hole traffic ADA." The attorneys dealing directly with Nifong in traffic court would have continued to suffer a tyrant, but they would probably have made more money as they all raised their rates to compensate for "hazardous duty." Durham could have become the poster city for safe driving and "Nifonging" would have just been a local term for getting screwed in traffic court.

Duke lacrosse: Three "top-of- the-line" posts [JinC] - thanks John!
Snooze Room Update [LieStoppers] - thanks LieStoppers!
NiFibber & Big C: Joined at the, um, hips? [Crystal Mess]

Duke Lacrosse Case [TJN Archives]

Calculated Risk

MishTalk - Mike Shedlock

Paul Krugman - NY Times

The Big Picture - Barry Ritholtz

naked capitalism - Yves Smith

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Washington's Blog

Safe Haven

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