Updated — today's items:
Nifong’s misconduct resulted in significant actual harm to the justice system. Nifong has caused an impression among the public within and outside of North Carolina that there is a systemic problem in the North Carolina justice system and that a criminal defendant can only get justice if he or she can afford to hire an expensive lawyer with unlimited resources to figure out what is being withheld by the prosecutor . . . — NC State Bar Disciplinary Hearing CommissionNews & Observer:
Bar files order disbarring Nifong -- A disciplinary panel of the N.C. State Bar has issued its written order disbarring former Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong.
The panel last month said it was disbarring Nifong for misconduct in his handling of rape and related charges against three former Duke University lacrosse players. Nifong withheld important DNA evidence from the players' lawyers and misled them and a judge about this, the panel said.
The disbarment takes effect 30 days after Nifong is served with the order, which was filed Wednesday...
LieStoppers blog: Michael B. Nifong is hereby DISBARRED from the practice of law [html]
NCBar.com: Findings of fact, Conclusions of Law and Order of Discipline [.pdf]
N&O: State Bar's findings and order disbarring former District Attorney Mike Nifong. [24 pages, .pdf]
WRAL: Nifong Disbarment Order (July 12) [24 pages, flash]
KC Johnson: Nifong Disbarred: Official Findings
LS forum: Bar order filed re Nifong
John in Carolina: The Real Mike Nifong
John in Carolina: Disbarment Order & Comments
FreeRepublic: North Carolina State Bar Issues Disbarment Order for Nifong
TalkLeft: State Bar Files Nifong Disbarment Report
North Carolina State Bar Issues Disbarment Order for Nifong
State Bar Issues Disbarment Order for Nifong
Lopez poised to be Durham police chief -- Jose Lopez Sr. of Hartford, Conn., is in final negotiations with City Manager Patrick Baker to become Durham’s new police chief, The News & Observer has learned.
Several people with knowledge of the search and hiring process, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Lopez will travel to Durham either tomorrow or Saturday to allow his wife to get to know the area.
“My understanding is that it is Lopez, if she comes and there’s not a problem,” one of the sources said. “Apparently Lopez is excited about it.”
An official announcement is expected next week...
Ray Gronberg, Herald-Sun:
Lopez said to be Durham police chief pick -- City Manager Patrick Baker has decided that Hartford, Conn., Assistant Police Chief Jose Lopez should become the next chief of the Durham Police Department, and will spend the weekend trying to nail down the hire, sources say.
Lopez and his wife, a retired Hartford police officer, are supposed to arrive in Durham on Friday and stay here until Monday.
The visit will allow Lopez and Baker to talk about some of the details of the would-be chief's deal face-to-face, and give Lopez and his wife a chance to look over the city and decide if they'll be comfortable here.
Baker is said to have offered the job to Lopez late last week. Over the weekend, he and city Human Resources Director Alethea Bell assembled an offer sheet detailing salary and other terms and faxed it to Lopez, said officials who asked not to be identified...
LS forum: Lopez poised to be next Durham Chief
KC Johnson: Lopez over Hodge
Nifong gets lawyer for July 26 hearing -- Chapel Hill lawyer Jim Glover said this week that he plans to represent former District Attorney Mike Nifong at Nifong's criminal contempt hearing this month.
Nifong is scheduled to go before Judge W. Osmond Smith III to face charges that as the district attorney prosecuting the Duke lacrosse case, he willfully made false statements to the court.
Glover, a seasoned defense lawyer who has handled many death penalty cases, would not discuss the strategy he would use in Nifong's criminal contempt case.
Smith tapped Charles M. Davis, a lawyer from Louisburg, to prosecute the case against Nifong. The hearing is scheduled for July 26.
TalkLeft: July 26 Hearing on Nifong's Contempt Charge
TalkLeft: Nifong gets Lawyer for July 26th Hearing
NAPPY-HEADED HOAX -- The New York Times alone has mentioned the Scottsboro Boys case from the 1930s nearly 20 times since 2002 (expanding the "news" part of "newspaper" just a bit), so I think I'm entitled to spend at least one more week luxuriating in the Duke lacrosse players' total vindication and the exposure of a Southern liberal prosecutor as a corrupt hack.
Twenty years ago, disbarred Duke prosecutor Mike Nifong would have been Time magazine's Man of the Year. Vanity Fair would have photographed him sitting in a Porsche under the headline: "Speaking Truth to Power."
One hundred years ago, he would have been lynching innocent black men. Southern liberals have stayed the same; only their victims have changed.
To watch the complete destruction of this foolish and evil man, Michael Nifong — despite the mainstream media's best efforts to portray him as a modern-day Atticus Finch — is as great a moment as the annihilation of Dan Rather. Katie Couric's self-immolation is just a bonus — when it rains, it pours! ...
The New York Times has yet to name the woman who falsely accused three men of committing a brutal gang rape...
comment: Ann Coulter is having some wicked good fun and "luxuriating in the Duke lacrosse players' total vindication." Yet again the NY Times gets taken to the well-deserved woodshed for its hoax enabling and "bien-pensant" journalism.
FreeRepublic: Nappy Headed Hoax (Ann Coulter: Let's Nifong The Left Alert)
The Salon blog: Ann Holds Liberal Press' Feet to the Fire Over Nifong Hoax
LS forum: Nifong campaign 'donations', NC BAR hearing had good questions --Brocker: Okay. And if you'll look on the second page of that exhibit it has loan proceeds. The lender is Mike Nifong in the amount of $22,388.88?LS forum: New impressions of Kim and her role, Was she also the source of the names? -- Kim was working her mendacious and criminally-oriented mind every second that she was there. No way to tell how much is premeditated and how much is improvised. But she treats these guys from the moment she arrives as dopes and “lambs to the slaughter”. She is the street-wise smarty who sees herself as completely in control of the situation and able to orchestrate it to her purposes...
Nifong: Yes, sir, I see that it says that.
Brocker: Okay. Were you aware of that loan made to your campaign?
Nifong: Not like this; I mean I was aware that my wife had loaned some money to the campaign, but I was not sure--I mean I don't know why it's in my name, and I did not know the amount. And I don't recall ever seeing this report before.
Did Duke pick on the "right" families? -- It's easy (especially now) to blame the false accuser, Crystal Gail Mangum, and the rogue former prosecutor, Michael B. Nifong, for the terrible tragedy and legal travesty commonly known as the Duke case, but they are hardly the only culprits.
The real "Duke" scandal is the way Duke handled the problem created by a false gang rape claim, not members of the 2005-2006 Duke University Men's Lacrosse Team foolishly (but lawfully) having an off-campus party involving a couple of strippers during Spring Break 2006. (The Duke men's basketball team and the Duke women's lacrosse team had stripper parties too, unfortunately, but if Duke even privately punished any of its other sports team for having a stripper party, please let me know.)
Duke has reason for wanting to look forward: it wants to keep the horrific things that it did to the men's lacrosse team members as little appreciated as possible and its political correctness extremism as fully in control as possible.
After the Dowd family shocked Duke by filing that terrofoc punitive grading lawsuit, Duke resigned itself to giving Kyle Dowd a P instead of a D (thereby raising his grade point average and probably his class standing). The Dowd complaint is an embarrassment to Duke and a matter of public record that Duke cannot expunge...
Duke next quietly settled with the Evans, Seligmann and Finnerty families without putting them to the trouble of filing a complaint in court.
Duke hopes no one will stand up to it and discover and publicize how really badly Duke behaved.
It brings to mind the comments of Rae Evans, co-captain David Evans' mother, that Mr. Nifong has picked on "the wrong families."
No bitter feelings for Duke lacrosse star -- ''We told the truth ... but they didn't want to hear it,'' Danowski says of scandal. -- Even though he was the equivalent in his sport to Troy Smith in football and Greg Oden in basketball during the recent school year, the name ''Matt Danowski'' likely doesn't register with too many sports fans.
But mention that Danowski is a member of the Duke men's lacrosse team and watch the look of recognition roll across their faces.
Danowski came to Allentown's Swain School on Wednesday night to spread the word of his sport to about 100 youth players and adult coaches during a clinic sponsored by local lacrosse promoter Dan Gonzalez of Gonzo Lacrosse.
All that most of those youngsters likely knew of Danowski is that he was the winner of the Tewaaraton Trophy -- the sport's Heisman -- as the top men's player in the country...
The Durham sad status quo -- Thomas Stith opened his mayoral campaign yesterday criticizing incumbent Mayor Bill Bell for making excuses about Durham’s problems rather than taking action. I think he’s got a good point...
Durham has been in a rut for more than 20 years politically. The Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People, which began as a civil rights organization with noble goals, morphed into a “make whitey pay” organization in the ’80s, similar to what the NAACP, also with a noble lineage, has also become. Under the irresponsible influence and later the actual leadership of Dr. Lavonia Allison, the Committee played the race card at every turn, resulting in hesitation to crackdown on crime because, well, that would impact more black youth than white youth, and that would be racist...
Police against 'zone' proposal -- Mayor Bill Bell for more than a month has been urging Durham police to launch a new anti-prostitution initiative, but senior officials have resisted the idea.
Bell wants the city to join Charlotte and Portland, Ore., in labeling selected crime-prone neighborhoods as "prostitution exclusion zones." The designation allows authorities to bar people accused or convicted of soliciting or providing a prostitute's services from entering a neighborhood, under pain of a trespassing charge.
The mayor first asked city administrators to look into the idea on June 1, but they didn't respond for 10 days and have since signaled a lack of enthusiasm. Senior Police Attorney Arnetta Herring e-mailed Bell on Friday to say such programs are merely for show.
"We discussed Charlotte's ordinance when you brought it to our attention and did not think that this type of law was advantageous to us," Herring told the mayor. "It gives the perception of solving a problem when in fact it only serves to relocate it."
Herring did promise, however, that department crime analysts would try mapping the city's prostitution problems. The results were pending as of Wednesday.
Bell -- who heard about Charlotte's program through media reports -- said he floated the idea because of longstanding complaints from East Durham residents about "the number of prostitutes and how they're plaguing the neighborhood." He added that officials should give police "as many tools as you possibly can to help them do the job."
The proposal emerged as Bell prepares for a re-election fight against a challenger, City Councilman Thomas Stith, who says the mayor is soft on crime. It also comes as the department faces allegations, mainly from supporters of the three since-exonerated athletes caught up in the Duke lacrosse case, that it's soft on prostitution.The latter charge stems from the fact that the accuser in the lacrosse case was able to work as an escort for a long time without police interference. Supporters of the players have also focused on a discredited charge from the early 1990s that alleged officers were running a call-girl ring from the department, and on national statistics that suggest Durham police have made relatively few prostitution arrests ...
LS forum: Durham Police against Prostitution measures
The Baker Letter--Slightly Modified -- The Bowen/Chambers report clucked that “in the eyes of some faculty and others concerned with the intersecting issues of race, class, gender, and respect for people, the Athletic Department, and Duke more generally, just didn’t seem to ‘get it.’” Among the faculty interviewed by Bowen and Chambers was Houston Baker. The two “investigators” didn’t seem at all concerned with Baker’s response to the affair, notably his call for the summary dismissal from Duke, without any due process, of 46 students. Indeed, Bowen and Chambers seemed highly sympathetic to Baker’s public letter: they even quoted from it in their report...
Michelle Malkin: Nifong: Disbarred -- The indefatigable K.C. Johnson continues to hammer the Duke faculty witch hunt club.
The Bowen/Chambers Report in Retrospect -- To sum up: The official investigation of the administration’s performance—conducted by members hand-picked by the administration under investigation—concluded:
- The only major Brodhead statement not even mentioning a presumption of innocence struck the right tone.
- Duke shouldn’t have warned its students about security concerns that had come to the administration’s attention.
- Duke should have paid more attention to a police officer whose report described atypical victim behavior and less attention to a police officer whose report about Mangum’s lack of credibility was accurate.
- Duke—and, by inference, other universities—needed to balance the due process rights of its own students against promoting the race/class/gender agenda of its activist faculty.
- There was no need, apparently, for the administration even to inquire about allegations of improper faculty behavior toward men’s and women’s lacrosse players.
Titus Played the Fool: July 17, 2006 Subpoena Hearing Transcribed --
Judge Kenneth Titus : The next matters on for hearing are the motions in the next several cases, -- Mr. Ekstrand, Mr. Thomas, Mr. Williams, Mr. Mack, Mr. Manning.
Judge: Mr. Manning I believe you were the first to file.
Former District Attorney Mike Nifong: If I might just say something briefly about the posture here. In this case, which is the Finnerty, Evans and Seligmann case, the State filed a subpoena with Duke University for certain records of the members of the team that were not indicted in this case. Specifically, we requested the home addresses of the players and we also requested the card access for the 13th and 14th of March which are the 2 days that bookend the time of the incident that took place in the vicinity of midnight on the 13th into the morning of the 14th. As the court is aware, under FERPA, the Family Educational Right to Privacy Act, if the State chooses to get a court order to provide such information sealed, the university is not allowed to disclose the fact that the order has been requested and has to provide the information pursuant to that order. Because the nature of this information, however, was not something that was subjected to that, the State issued a subpoena, a regular subpoena, which requires that the university notify each of the attorneys to give them an opportunity to object to the issuance of that subpoena and the release of that information and we’re here pursuant to those motions. I just wanted to state that for the record.
- Updated Titus Played the Fool Timeline --
- Titus Played the Fool -- It appears that the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99) protected key card records of Duke University students which District Attorney Mike Nifong sought by subpoena 0n May 31, 2006 were actually provided to the Durham Police Department, and in turn to the ex-DA, on March 31, 2006. Although Nifong had access to the records for months, he pretended to seek them with his subpoena and then, incredibly, argued vigorously for their production in a July court hearing. ...
LS forum: LAX Key card info and FERPA
TalkLeft: Illegally-obtained records used in grand jury then asked for in court.
Marlette made us laugh and think -- Political cartooning lost an acerbic and incisive pen this week, and Hillsborough and this region lost a warm, affectionate and generous citizen.
Doug Marlette died on a rain-slick Mississippi highway on Tuesday morning, en route to help a high school group that was to stage his musical, "Kudzu."
Mr. Marlette was a premier editorial cartoonist of his generation. He won a Pulitzer Prize in 1988 and spoke passionately for the satirical art form.
His pen was as merciless as it was funny as it poked at self-importance, hypocrisy, greed, intolerance and a host of other foibles...
comment: "Self-importance, hypocrisy ... and a host of other foibles" that describes the Herald-Sun in a nutshell.
Editorial, (Univ. of NC) Daily Tar Heel:
Apologies from Duke -- Campus owes lacrosse players nothing -- The three Duke Lacrosse players who were falsely accused of raping a stripper at a party reached a financial settlement last month with Duke University, which begs a pressing question: What did they have to settle?
We can only imagine it is for a suspension from Duke when the young men were charged, and to that we must ask what was done wrong. The facts of the case were unclear at that point. It was Duke's responsibility to temporarily deny the players the privilege of attending, at least until all facts came to light.
The players were supposed to represent Duke in a positive light. Even if the rape allegations had not surfaced, the players failed in this responsibility with a party full of free-flowing alcohol and strippers.
We don't mean to be insensitive to the serious ordeal that the three players, as well as the entire lacrosse team, went through. The case was bungled from the beginning by former District Attorney Mike Nifong, who has thankfully paid with his license to practice law. But while the young men might be innocent of rape, they are guilty of suspect morals and a failure to uphold the prestigious reputation of their school...
Duke owes David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann nothing.
The Herald-Sun of the College Press -- Sometimes, it's easy to take for granted the performance of the Duke Chronicle in this case--the first-rate reporting, sterling op-ed commentary from Kristin Butler and Stephen Miller, the on-target, incisive editorials.
A few miles down the road, it appears, we have the college press version of the Herald-Sun. In an editorial out today, the Daily Tar Heel fumes, "The three Duke Lacrosse players who were falsely accused of raping a stripper at a party reached a financial settlement last month with Duke University, which begs a pressing question: What did they have to settle?"
The editorial then answers its own question: "We can only imagine it is for a suspension from Duke when the young men were charged, and to that we must ask what was done wrong . . . Duke owes David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann nothing."
Duke Basketball Report:
The Daily Tar Heel Gets It Wrong (Surprise) -- Their argument is that the university was embarrassed by the party the lacrosse team held, and that the party itself and hiring strippers was “abhorrent.”
We agree with that to an extent, but for whatever reason - and you’d think the editors of a student newspaper would be aware of this - hiring strippers is a big trend in college life, for both male and female parties. We linked to an astonishing story several months ago where the author simply linked to photos from various parties held by collegiate sports teams and greek houses (male and female).
Our argument is that hiring strippers is just a dumb way to stimulate yourself, because if you think the strippers are there for anything but a job, you don’t deserve the money you just wasted anyway. It’s bizarre to pay money to deceive yourself, but people do it all the time. Then there is the whole argument about objectification, which would, we assume, apply to both male and female strippers.We’ve also argued consistently that normal collegiate behavior (in other words, standards) should be extended to athletes. So when someone drinks underage, as virtually all students do, athletes should not treated differently, and the same should, in our opinion, extend to drug use. If half the campus smokes pot at a party, and isn’t arrested, then the standard should be the same for athletes...
Michael Gustafson, Duke Engr. professor DukeEngr93 blog:
Light Blue and White - I'm Red All Over -- the "Apologies from Duke" editorial alas carries with it an unfortunate ignorance of the facts coupled with a tragic willingness to make statements without any actual basis that diminishes my, and presumably others, opinions of the editorial board of that paper. They again try to lay the full blame of everything that happened on an ill-conceived (and apologized-for) party rather than look at the actions of the people in elected and appointed positions of power as well as those sharing their call to journalism. The latter of whom, of course, having made zero statements of accountability with the exception of a few journalists who did pen columns of contrition.
One can only hope that there will be a dissenting voice that is allowed to make itself known on the pages of the DTH, and soon.
DNA Exoneration #205: Byron Halsey -- "Mr. Hirsch also mentions the “Innocence Project, whose DNA testing has “exonerated” 180 wrongly convicted people in the last 15 years. Terms used by experts are important, and the term “exonerated” does not mean “factually innocent.” ... Additionally, the actual number of people taken off death row by DNA is less than 10 people."
- Letter to the Editor – LA Times – June 26, 2006, Paul A. Logli [former] President, National District Attorneys Association & State’s Attorney, Winnebago County, IL
DNA Proves Halsey Innocent Of 1985 Murder, Sex Assault - North County Gazette[...]
Lawyers clash over prosecutorial misconduct -- Some tell a state panel that occurrences are common but discipline is rare. Others say current rules guard against excesses. -- A veteran law professor and a civil liberties lawyer clashed sharply with several district attorneys Wednesday over the extent of prosecutorial misconduct in California and what, if anything, should be done about it.
"Prosecutorial misconduct occurs with some frequency in this state and prosecutors are rarely disciplined for their misconduct," Santa Clara University law professor Cookie Ridolfi said at a hearing at Loyola Law School.
Both the Los Angeles County district attorney's office and the California District Attorneys Assn., however, submitted statements saying the state's current rules of professional conduct are an adequate safeguard against prosecutorial excess.
The debate occurred at the latest hearing held by the California Commission on the Fair Administration of Justice, created by the state Senate in 2004 to study problems in the criminal justice system that have put innocent people in jail.
Justice for Emily Dowdy? Okie-Dokie. -- Exactly two years ago in the paper version of Unfair Park, we wrote about Hillsboro native Emily Dowdy, a former University of Oklahoma student who, in May 1999, was driving a car that rammed into one driven by Ryan Brewer, the 20-year-old son of an Oklahoma City police officer. Critically injured, Dowdy was charged with killing Brewer while drunk. Dowdy claimed she had been drugged with GHB, a date-rape drug, and sexually assaulted by an unknown assailant. Several national experts on GHB testified on her behalf. But she was found guilty and given an unusually harsh sentence: 40 years in prison.
So Dowdy's supporters were stunned yesterday when Oklahoma District Judge Kenneth Watson suspended the rest of her prison sentence and ordered her to a private alcohol treatment center for 90 days. It was especially stunning because, as we revealed in July 2005, there had been evidence of prosecutorial misconduct during the trial that showed Judge Susan Caswell, the wife of a policeman and the judge who presided at Dowdy’s trial, was making rulings biased in favor of the district attorney’s office. Caswell was defeated in the last election by criminal defense attorney Kenneth Watson, who had sat in on some of the testimony in Dowdy’s third and last trial.
Last year, Dowdy’s 40-year sentence was reduced to 26 years by an appellate court. (Considering that others tried for the same crime in Oklahoma had received sentences as low as six years, 26 years is still extremely harsh.)
After the appellate ruling, Dowdy applied for a rehearing on the sentence, and Watson, who took the bench in January, granted permission.
Duke Case: Stefanie Williams Says It All -- "It's really long, so I doubt it will be published anywhere, but I sent it to NYT, Daily News, NYP, Newsday, Long Island Press, and I will be sending it to some NC papers as well....I know it's long, but it has the ability to be cut down. I thought it was a good draft anyway."
So Maryland University senior Stefanie Williams prefaced her lament on the personal and societal tragedy and legal travesty known as the Duke case...
Lincoln (Nebraska) Journal Star:
Judge, high court reject motion in Safi trial -- The state Supreme Court and a district judge have rejected motions from a woman who objects to a judge’s ban on saying such words as “rape” and “victim” at the trial of the man she says raped her.
Judge Jeffre Cheuvront of Lancaster County District Court on Wednesday said Boston lawyer Wendy Murphy, who filed the motion Monday, was not licensed to practice law in Nebraska and he dismissed her court motion on behalf of a woman at the center of a sexual assault trial.
And without explanation Wednesday, the state Supreme Court rejected Murphy’s request for review of the judge’s order.
On Monday, Murphy filed motions in Lancaster County District Court asking Cheuvront to stay a contempt of court finding against Tory Bowen until Murphy could present legal arguments against certain pre-trial orders by the judge. ...
KC Johnson: Trouble for Wendy Murphy
LS forum: Wendy Murphy, Class III misdemeanor
BullSh@t blog: The Road Forward
INNOCENT: The AP needs to correct Finnerty story -- The AP report includes: "Eventually, state prosecutors whotook (sic) over the case from the local district attorney dropped all charges."
As you know, Attorney General Cooper didn't just drop the charges. He made a point to telling the public: "... these three individuals [,David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann,] are innocent of these charges." ...