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Thursday, June 21, 2007

Nifong/Mangum Hoax — June 21, 2007

Updated — today's items:

Jim Hardin press conferenceWRAL:
Hardin: 'We're Going to Learn and Move Forward' [+video] -- Durham County's interim district attorney said Thursday afternoon that he will evaluate the office, its staff and its procedures, but that his main goal is to restore integrity.

"I made it very plain and very clear (to the office's staff) that every decision we make is essentially going to be based on one thing: Do the right thing for the right reason, do it in an ethical way and a legal and efficient way," Hardin said. "We're going to do that from start to finish." ...

Hardin refused to speak about Nifong and the Duke lacrosse case.

"What is in the past is in the past," Hardin said. "We're going to learn from this and move forward in representing the people of Durham County in an ethical and legal way in everything we do...

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William West, Herald-Sun:
New DA Hardin vows fresh start, relegates Nifong to history -- Jim Hardin today promised a fresh start as Durham's interim district attorney, saying he is going to put the days of disbarred predecessor Mike Nifong and the Duke lacrosse case behind.

"We're going to move forward," Hardin told reporters moments after meeting with the district attorney's office staff. Hardin stated that ethics and transparency will be standard operating procedure while he is temporarily in charge.

"I hope all of us learns from the events of this past year," he said. "I'm not going to dwell on that. And frankly I told the staff that we were going to mention it once in [the] staff meeting. And beyond that, it was ancient history as far as I was concerned."

Hardin, 50, earlier in the day was sworn in by Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson while the two were attending a judicial conference in Asheville...
discussion:
LieStoppers forum:
Hardin press conference at 4:30 p.m., Watch live on WRAL or WTVD
------
ABC11-TV/WTVD:
Interim Durham D.A. Sworn In -- Jim Hardin was sworn in Thursday as Durham County's interim district attorney, taking the place of disgraced Duke lacrosse prosecutor Mike Nifong...

Hardin was sworn in Thursday morning by senior resident Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson while they were at a judicial conference in Asheville, said Candy Clark, a legal assistant in the district attorney's office.

Hardin is scheduled to speak with reporters at a Thursday afternoon news conference.

Easley appointed Nifong -- who had spent nearly three decades in the district attorney's office -- to take over for Hardin after he was appointed to a judgeship...
related:
WRAL
Hardin In, Nifong Out as Durham DA -- Meanwhile Thursday, Nifong's wife, Cy Gurney, was seen at the Durham Courthouse, where she was cleaning out her husband's belongings. Earlier this week, Durham County Sheriff Worth Hill took Nifong's keys and his access card to the building when he served him at his home with Hudson's suspension order.

discussion:
LS forum: CY cleans out Mikey's office
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Chip Bok, Akron Beacon-Journal /EditorialCartoonists.com:
Prosecutor Mike Nifong
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Some guy, MySpace.com -- For several years I worked with Mike Nifong. Our sons played little league together. Still I find it difficult to understand how a man could so completely destroy his own life over nothing more than an over-inflated ego. But, if anyone was capable of doing it, Mike is the one.

For 2-3 years I negotiated with him every day, four days a week, month after month. I usually had 15-30 minor traffic/misdemeanors each day to talk with him about. Many times Mike would look for something to try and chastise me about. Other times he was the nicest person you could know. He is erudite and incredibly smart. Yet his bi-polar personality would repeatedly have him taking pleasure in his attempts to belittle other attorneys, including me. He would yell and curse at you over the smallest matter.

The last time he got in my face about something I decided to fight back. You see he was the "designated" district attorney at the time to deal with traffic court matters, so each day I was forced to deal with him and only him. So, it was customary, if I wanted to continue to represent my clients, I had to simply sit and bear his abuse quietly. Anyway, this last time I yelled back at him, speaking loudly and very slowly "Mike, you can do and say anything you want. But, that does not make the way you treat people right!" Then I abruptly told him that we would discuss another case. Things went fairly smoothly between us for a while after that. But, he never really understood what I was telling him. He continued abusing other attorneys. In the end, this need to feel superior to other attorneys not only cost him his job, but, everything important in his life, outside his family, was destroyed.

Still I at times I feel sorry for Mike. But, whenever I start to feel sorry for him I simply think of what the young men and their families were put through. Then I can only shake my head at how such an intelligent person could do what Mike did. Mike made these young men and their families endure an emotional distress that is hard for anyone to truly fathom...
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Signe Wilkinson, Philadelphia Daily News/EditorialCartoonists.com: Ready, Aim..
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Bob Parks, MensNewsDaily.com:
Sarge Speaks on the Duke 88 -- Sarge57 sent me an account of a message sent to the "Concerned Duke Faculty", now affectionately known as the "Gang of 88". His letter was impassioned, but never rude or obscene. The response he received was telling….

"I got the response below:"
Your continued messages have now moved into the realm of harassment and I have reported you to your service provider for using abusive and inappropriate language in your email which was sent through their servers.

Paula D. McClain
Professor of Political Science
Professor of Public Policy
Department of Political Science
Co-Director, Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity
and Gender in the Social Sciences
Duke University
discussion:
FreeRepublic: Duke Faculty Marxists
FreeRepublic: Sarge speaks...
----------
Bob Parks, MensNewsDaily.com:
Time To Name Names -- So let's be fair. The Gang of 88 had no problem plastering the faces of innocent college students all over the Duke campus for the expressed purpose of ridicule and intimidation.

How would you like it if someone posted your names for not only the Duke student body to see, but to warn prospective students coming to Duke who's classes to avoid…?

Here's a public service to the Duke male students-to-be…. [Gang of 88 list]
---------
DELUSIONAL
Letters to the Editor, News-Record (Greensboro, NC):
Nifong gets punishment just for doing his job -- Mike Nifong should never have had to step down as district attorney. He did what he was elected by the people to do. I wonder if we will go after all attorneys who have prosecuted innocent men and take their licenses.

Let's consider the countless African American men who have been falsely accused of rape with no evidence against them. These men's lives have been destroyed, but no one cares...

These Duke boys were inconvenienced; they don't have a clue about having their lives disrupted. In a few years, this will be forgotten. I say give Mike Nifong back his job. We need fair men like him.

Michele McMillan
Greensboro
comment: Getting a traffic ticket is being "inconvenienced." This hoax was a captial injustice.
--------
SLIME MONGER/DISTORTION
Andre Stephens, BlackStarNews.com:
Op-Ed: Duke Case: Some Loose Ends -- The Duke Rape case and our legal system’s speedy reaction to the way it was prosecuted is another example of how justice in America is different for white and Black folks, in perception and reality...

The former players may have been the victims of an overzealous prosecutor, but are they totally innocent victims? No mention is ever made that these same innocent young men used an Escort Service to hire two women to strip and who knows what else. The team house had a reputation for rowdiness and unruly behavior. Neighbors reported students urinating out of the house windows. There were also reports of racial epithets being hurled at Black students that passed by.

Who can forget the e-mail that was recovered from one of the player’s computer in which they described a sick homicidal fantasy involving the dismemberment of one of the strippers. This also wasn’t the first time that members of the Duke Lacrosse team had run-ins with the law.

At the time of the rape investigation, 15 of the 47 players on the team had been cited by police for public and underage drinking. One of the defendants in the rape case had been arrested in Washington, DC with two other friends for beating a man in a bar, while taunting him with “gay” slurs...
--------
Duke Chronicle: A Great Day for North CarolinaDuke Chronicle:
Wenjia Zhang:
A great day for ‘North Carolina’ -- Families, Duke agree to terms of settlement

related: Duke Chronicle front page .pdf

Kristin Butler:
Judgment day -- with all deliberate speed -- Closure is in the air for the lacrosse case. . .

Chauncey Nartey (left)Among other things, mystery still surrounds Brodhead's decision to appoint Chauncey Nartey, Trinity '07, to the Campus Culture Initiative and take him on tour for the "A Duke Conversation" series. As we now know, Nartey sent former head lacrosse coach Mike Pressler an e-mail message asking "What if Janet Lynn were next" during the early days of the scandal, which Pressler (appropriately) interpreted as a threat against his daughter.

Yet when asked about the inexplicable decision to reward Nartey's behavior with student leadership positions, Brodhead offered no explanation...
discussion:
John in Carolina: Duke's "baggage" problems
----------
KC Johnson:
Due process of 88 -- But the president has shown little, if any, curiosity as to why-in the highest profile case of prosecutorial misconduct in modern American history-so many Duke professors made statements or took actions that attorneys for Duke students considered highly prejudicial to the victims of Nifong's misconduct.

Moreover, while Brodhead has publicly suggested on at least three occasions that critics of the Group of 88 misinterpreted the ad's words, the administration's actions reflect a different recognition. The recently signed settlement between Duke and the three accused players contained a clause shielding all members of the Group from potential lawsuits-an implicit recognition that the Group's critics might have been right all along...

This week's settlement has minimized the institution's liability in acknowledging shortcomings in the faculty's Spring 2006 behavior. The Brodhead administration should take advantage and explore why so many of its faculty members found so appealing the metanarrative misleading offered last spring by Mike Nifong.
--------
Editorial:
So long, Mike Nifong -- In addition, it's somewhat worrisome that in the interest of pushing everything under the rug once and for all, the settlement will allow administrators to overlook the serious concerns about academic freedom raised during this case and formally acknowledged when Duke settled up with former lacrosse player Kyle Dowd, Trinity '06, earlier this summer.

It's clear that everyone here at Duke wants to move beyond the lacrosse case, but, this board reiterates, the University absolutely cannot lose sight of the many issues raised by the case.

Chelsea Allison: Students and administration say Bar made right move
Shreya Rao: Nowicki named as undergard dean

David Graham, Sean Moroney & Shreya Rao:
Nifong resigns, loses law license; sheriff takes badge
-------
Nifonged part of Ameerican's slang vocabularyVideos:

Blinkx/NECN [video] --
What does it mean to be 'Nifonged' -- Troubled North Carolina prosecutor Mike Nifong is now having an effect on America's slang vocabulary. WTVD reporter Rebecca Hall has the story.

Blinkx: Nifong

KC Johnson:
Nifong: What?! Non-Laxers Were There?
Nifong: "I Don't Read Discovery Requests"
Nifong Explains His Approach to DNA
Nifong & Emostafa
Nifong Explains His Approach to DNA
Nifong & Emostafa
"Something Happened"
--------
WRAL
Former Duke Lacrosse Coach Slams Nifong -- Former Duke lacrosse coach Mike Pressler said the investigation into former Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong's handling of the Duke lacrosse case should continue.

"He maliciously pursued this case, knowing that those boys were innocent, for his own ambitions and political gain," Pressler said...

Pressler said he has several questions to ask the former Durham prosecutor if they were to meet face-to-face.

"Why did you do this? You could have put the brakes on this numerous times. Why did put all of those boys and their families through the wringer here for your own ambition, for your own job?" ...
---------
Ray Gronberg, Herald-Sun [reg. required]:

Lacrosse case detectives have secured legal help -- The two detectives who led the Durham Police Department's investigation of the Duke lacrosse case have secured legal help through the N.C. Police Benevolent Association, the group's executive director said.

A Greensboro lawyer, Bill Hill, is representing Sgt. Mark Gottlieb and Investigator Ben Himan.

The officers retained Hill just before the N.C. State Bar opened its disciplinary hearing against since-suspended District Attorney Mike Nifong last week. Hill attended the Bar hearing, which ended Saturday with Nifong's disbarment.

"We felt it was important for our members to be under the advice of counsel, given the totality and enormity of the case," said John Midgette, the PBA's executive director. "Everybody else there was being represented by counsel. Officers deserve the same rights as the citizens they risk their lives protecting."

Both officers are receiving legal assistance as one of the benefits of PBA membership.

The move to retain counsel also occurred as Durham officials prepare to launch an outside review of the department's handling of the lacrosse case. A 12-member panel chaired by former N.C. Supreme Court Justice Willis Whichard will conduct the probe.

Midgette said PBA officials "look forward to our members cooperating" with the Whichard committee, a comment implying that Gottlieb and Himan would testify. But Hill couldn't be reached for comment on his clients' intentions. A secretary in his office said he is on vacation.

City Council members this week made it clear they would, if necessary, use the subpoena power granted them by Durham's charter to compel witnesses to testify. They and City Attorney Henry Blinder expect that to come in handy only if the committee wants to talk to people other than city employees...
discusion:
LS forum: Gottlieb and Himan lawyer up
-------
Matt Dees, News & Observer:
Police review details remain -- Meeting may have to wait in Durham -- The committee charged with assessing the Durham police department's handling of the Duke lacrosse case probably won't meet until after the July 4 holiday.

Willis Whichard, a former state Supreme Court justice who was appointed chairman of the review panel by Mayor Bill Bell, said in an interview Wednesday that "staffing and process questions" remain. Whichard had his first meeting with city administrators Tuesday.

City staff will assist the committee with some functions, such as taking minutes of meetings.

But Whichard said the committee likely would seek outside assistance on certain "legal issues" that may arise, though he didn't elaborate on what those might be.

Whichard said city employees are collecting documents for committee members, such as the deposition transcripts of Durham police officers questioned as part of the N.C. State Bar proceedings against former District Attorney Mike Nifong.

"We're simply trying to be as organized as we can be before we start into the task," Whichard said...
-------
Jim HardinBenjamin Niolet & Lynn Bonner, News & Observer:
Hardin returns as Durham DA -- Easley taps the former prosecutor for a two-month stint as he seeks a replacement for Mike Nifong until the 2008 elections -- Gov. Mike Easley on Wednesday picked a trusted former Durham district attorney to temporarily fill the void created by the suspension of Mike Nifong.

Jim Hardin, who has been a special Superior Court judge, will temporarily leave the bench and run his former office in Durham while the governor continues to search for a person to be Durham's top prosecutor. Hardin is expected to be the district attorney for two months. He will return to his role as a traveling judge when the governor appoints someone to serve until a November 2008 election.

"People have a lot of confidence in him," Easley said in an interview Wednesday. "He can go back and restore integrity." ...
discussion:
LS forum: Jim Hardin
----------
LieStoppers:
Flashback: Greatest Hits of Jim Hardin, Vol. XV -- "Walking papers withheld" - The News & Observer (August 19, 1994)

Flashback: Greatest Hits of Jim Hardin, Vol. XIV -- "Tag-team justice" - The News & Observer (May 21, 1999)

Flashback: Greatest Hits of Jim Hardin, Vol. XIII -- "Bargains by the bunch" - The News & Observer (September 21, 2001)
x
Flashback: Greatest Hits of Jim Hardin, Vol. XII -- "Judge orders DA to look for more police subpoenas" - Jaleh Hagigh, The News & Observer (May 19, 1994)

Flashback: Greatest Hits of Jim Hardin, Vol. XI -- "City leaders underscore need to fight hate crimes" - The News & Observer (March 8, 1999)

Flashback: Greatest Hits of Jim Hardin, Vol. X -- "Durham DA gets 'judge-shopping' reputation " - John Sullivan, News & Observer (May 19, 1999)

Flashback: Greatest Hits of Jim Hardin, Vol. IX -- "After ordeal, 'carrying on with my life'" - James Eli Shiffer, News & Observer (August 12, 1995)

Flashback: Greatest Hits of Jim Hardin, Vol. VIII -- "Durham courthouse sees changing of prosecutorial guard" - Benjamin Niolet, News & Observer (April 28, 2005)

Flashback: Greatest Hits of Jim Hardin, Vol. VII -- "Judge seeks files mystery answers" - John Sullivan, News & Observer (August 25, 1999)

Flashback: Greatest Hits of Jim Hardin, Vol. VI -- "Durham judge asks SBI to look for crucial paper" - John Sullivan, News & Observer (August 28, 1999)

Flashback: Greatest Hits of Jim Hardin, Vol. V -- "Durham's courthouse favors" - News & Observer (October 21, 1999)

Flashback: Greatest Hits of Jim Hardin, Vol. IV -- "A smudged picture of justice" - Ruth Sheehan, News & Observer (October 22, 1999)

Flashback: Greatest Hits of Jim Hardin, Vol. III -- "Black lawyers claim Durham prosecutor plays favorites" - John Sullivan, News & Observer (December 24, 1999)

Flashback: Greatest Hits of Jim Hardin, Vol. II -- "Durham district attorney picks veteran to be his deputy - Nifong fills post vacant for 8 years, aims to speed cases " - Jaleh Hagigh, News & Observer (February 26, 1994)

Flashback: Greatest Hits of Jim Hardin, Vol. I -- "Durham DA has own trials" - John Sullivan, News & Observer (December 28, 1999)
---------
KC Johnson:
Judge Tjoflat's Perspective -- The Honorable Gerald Bard Tjoflat, a judge with the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals and Duke Law alumnus (Class of 1957), recently addressed a group of law school alumn . . .

Tjoflat observed that Nifong’s behavior built off the established prosecutorial culture: “Prosecutors like Nifong—who had been in the Durham D.A.'s office for 27 years—don't do what he did unless they are absolutely confident that the court will give them free rein. This is especially true in a case, like the Lacrosse Case, in which the result will be reflected in the ballot box.” Nonetheless, Nifong’s conduct was extraordinary and clearly poisoned any Durham County jury pool; indeed, Tjoflat noted that he had been “on the be
nch for nearly 39 years and have never seen the like of it.”...

Second, Brodhead and the Board of Trustees “need to apologize” for the Group of 88:

They need to tell the Duke community and beyond that 'The Duke 88' issued their statement at an inopportune time, and in so doing, disregarded the accused's right to a fundamentally fair proceeding. It is true that a college campus is a place for open debate, discussion, and disagreement, but there is a critical difference between using accusations like those made here as a jumping off point for on-campus classroom and private discussions, and making broad public statements likely to incite vitriol at a time when all the facts are not known and somber contemplation is called for. . .
--------
Letters to Editor, Herald-Sun:
It wasn't just Nifong

In an article on the front page of June 16 Herald-Sun, Duke University President Richard Brodhead states that the Durham DA made Duke look bad. I hope Brodhead doesn't live in a glass house. Brodhead and some Duke professors who wanted heads to roll before facts were even considered made Duke look bad.

Johnny Boykin
Durham
-------
Time to make amends

With the debacle in Durham winding down, I will be looking forward with great interest as those such as Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, the students and the faculty who expressed such outrage and horror at how this poor exotic dancer was treated at the hands of these hooligan white players now made amends.

Will they call numerous press conferences and publicly apologize with the same zest and zeal? I somehow doubt it. If they don't, they should be sued for slander -- each and every one of them.

Bill Lawler
Salem, Ore.
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Editorial, Fort Wayne News-Sentinal:
Nifong’s fiasco -- As long as we view each other as groups, we will be manipulated by scoundrels. -- It’s no secret that harmony will come only when we learn to view each other as individuals, each with our own potentials and weaknesses. It is also no secret that we are a long way from reaching that harmony. The slower we go, the more scoundrels such as Nifong will prey on us.
discussion:
FreeRepublic: Nifong’s fiasco
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Marc H. Rudov, MensNewsDaily.com:
Beware the Trojan Pig -- The Irony of Evolution -- The well-deserved demise this week of former district attorney Michael Nifong, who almost ruined the lives of three innocent Duke University lacrosse players, gave new hope to American men. Postpone the celebration, guys. The maker of Trojan condoms just launched a new campaign, called “evolve,” that portrays men, literally, as pigs...

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