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Friday, December 29, 2006

N.C. State Bar files Ethics Complaint against Mike Nifong

"Nifong engaged in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation" — The North Carolina State Bar v. Michael B. Nifong, Dec. 28, 2006
Updated - today's items regarding the State Bar Complaint:

Mike NifongAaron Beard, AP/CBS News:
N.C. Bar files charges against Duke D.A. -- The North Carolina bar filed ethics charges Thursday against the prosecutor in the Duke lacrosse sexual assault case, accusing him of saying misleading and inflammatory things to the media about the athletes under suspicion.

The punishment for ethics violations can range from admonishment to disbarment. The complaint could also force District Attorney Mike Nifong off the case by creating a conflict of interest...

The ethics charges will be heard by an independent body called the Disciplinary Hearing Commission, made up of both lawyers and non-lawyers. A date for the hearing has not yet been set...

The bar cited 40 quotations and eight paraphrased statements made to newspaper and TV reporters, saying many of them amounted to "improper commentary about the character, credibility and reputation of the accused" or their alleged unwillingness to cooperate. Most of the comments were in March and April, in the early days of the case.

N.C. State Bar files Ethics Complaint against Mike Nifong
related:
TheSmokingGun.com: Ethics Rap For Duke Prosecutor + Complaint Documentation - In a stunning rebuke to the North Carolina district attorney handling the Duke University rape case, the state bar today filed an ethics complaint against the prosecutor, claiming that he has made numerous press statements that were "prejudicial to the administration of justice" and also "engaged in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation." The North Carolina State Bar's complaint, a copy of which you'll find below, is filled with dozens of comments D.A. Mike Nifong...

N&O (another copy of complaint - .pdf format, 17 pages):
The North Carolina State Bar v. Michael B. Nifong - Complaint

NCBar.gov (slow link-swamped by traffic try Google cache):
Overview of The North Carolina State Bar's Disciplinary Procedure
-- next step - trial before panel of three (one non-lawyer) selected from Disciplinary Hearing Commission (DHC) comprised of 12 lawyers and eight members of the public...
What Is the Disciplinary Hearing Commission? (Google cache)

John Steele (UC Berkeley School of Law), Legal Ethics Forum:
Nifong Officially Charged with Ethics Violation -- The paragraphs are often short, which may be done to force Nifong to admit the key facts of what he said to whom. I'm also guessing that the recent evidence about the DNA report forced the North Carolina State Bar to accelerate its internal decisions about what to charge, and when. Finally, I'm guessing that, as I stated above, there will be at least one amended complaint filed against Nifong before too much time passes. The circumstances surrounding the DNA report, the statements to the judge that all discovery had been made, the failure to provide discovery, and perhaps even the absurd methodology of the lineup will be included in a subsequent complaint.

KC Johnson: The Complaint -- This filing is the beginning of the end of Nifong’s career as Durham D.A. ...
KC Johnson: The Hammer Drops

LieStoppers blog: State Bar Moves Against Nifong -- With District Attorney Nifong due to be sworn into office on January 2, it appears that one of his first tasks as duly elected DA will be to face a trial himself.

John in Carolina: NC State Bar, KC and God’s mills
Forum topics of note:

LieStoppers: A Reading of the Bar Complaint, It's only the beginning -- This entire sorry mess is going to very seriously undermine the credibility of, and public confidence in, the following institutions or institution-wannabies, at a minimum: 1) our criminal justice system (including in particular, North Carolina'); 2) the motives and tactics of feminist rape activists; 3) the academic and educational power given to agenda-driven academics, particularly those in the social science fields; 4) the integrity and even-handedness of various organizations purporting to promote racial equality, such as the NAACP; and 5) the media as an objective, even-handed and reliable reporter of facts. And this consequence - the undermining public confidence and trust in these institutions and institution-wannabes? It's a good thing.

Reactions to news of complaint --
LieStoppers forum: WRAL announces Ethics complaint filed
FreeRepublic: State Bar Files Complaint Against Mike Nifong
TalkLeft: State Bar Files Complaint Against Mike Nifong
CNN:
Duke lacrosse prosecutor faces ethics complaint -- The chairman of the disciplinary commission will assign a three-member panel (including one non-lawyer) to hear the case, and the panel will set a trial date. Punishment can range from a letter of warning to disbarment. The Disciplinary Hearing Commission comprises 12 lawyers and eight members of the public...

Reuters: NC prosecutor faces ethics complaint in rape case

Andrea Weigl, News & Observer:
State Bar seeks to discipline Nifong -- The N.C. State Bar is seeking to discipline Durham County District Attorney Michael Nifong for pre-trial statements he made to the media about the criminal investigation involving Duke University’s lacrosse team. The State Bar’s complaint filed today against Nifong alleges he violated rules that prohibit prosecutors from making statements that may prejudice the defendants and the court case....The 17-page complaint details many of the statements Nifong made to various media outlets since March about the case. The complaint concludes that Nifong should have known his conduct was "prejudicial to the administration of justice" and that "Nifong engaged in conduct involving "dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation." Nifong could not immediately be reached for comment.

WRAL:
State Bar Files Ethics Complaint Against Mike Nifong -- The North Carolina State Bar has filed an ethics complaint against Duke lacrosse prosecutor Mike Nifong. The complaint accuses him of breaking four rules of professional conduct when speaking to the reporters about the high-profile case. Among the rules, the bar complaint says Nifong violation is a prohibition on making "comments that have a substantial likelihood of heightening public condemnation of the accuser."

Another of the rules Nifong was charged with breaking forbids "dishonesty, fraud, deceit and misrepresentation." ...

In a statement, the bar said it opened a case against Nifong on March 30 -- a little more than two weeks after the party -- and that after an investigation, it found reasonable cause on Oct. 19 to refer the case to the bar's Disciplinary Commission for trial...

Mike McCusker, Crystal Mess:
MICHAEL B. NIFONG, Attorney, Defendant. -- He is going to be disbarred. He is going to jail. Let the games begin. "MICHAEL B. NIFONG, Attorney, Defendant" has such a lovely ring to it, doesn't it?

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