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Friday, September 7, 2007

Mike Nifong: The Rogue Hooligan Prosecutor Goes to Jail

Michael a/k/a 'Mike' Nifong - mugshot
Picture Day is here.

The rogue criminal hooligan prosecutor is finally in jail, if only for 24 hours. Justice is beginning to be served in Durham, North Carolina. There are more Nifong aiders, abettors, and enablers, who need to be punished.


WRAL [+video]:
Nifong Reports to Jail -- After nearly 30 years of building what some called a solid reputation as a prosecutor, former Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong surrendered Friday morning to serve a one-day jail sentence for criminal contempt.

With a crowd of supporters by his side, some carrying signs reading "We Believe in Your Integrity and Goodness," Nifong, along with his wife, son and attorney, marched into the Durham County Jail shortly before 8:45 a.m.

Nifong declined to comment, but said it was "a lovely day" and that he didn't want to talk to reporters anymore.

"What's it like to feel like a common criminal?" and "We love you, Mike," members of the crowd shouted at the disgraced prosecutor as he entered the magistrate's office.

Legal experts said Nifong is the first prosecutor in North Carolina to be convicted of something he did while serving in the district attorney's office.

Sources told WRAL he will be in isolation, away from the general jail population, while he serves his 24-hour sentence. [...]

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Mike Nifong Mug Shot--------


Phlanax of Nifong Enablers
Phalanx of Nifong supporters escort him to jail
source:
News & Observer Video: Nifong arrives at jail

discussion:
KC Johnson: Nifong video -- The procession has to be seen to be believed.
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Nifong walks to jail with supportersStanley B. Chambers Jr. / News & Observer:
Nifong reports to Durham jail -- The journalists to no avail sought a comment from Nifong, who sported a cream golf shirt, tan pants and brown loafers under his scruffy face. He locked hands with his wife, Cy Gurney.

"No comment, keep moving," Peterson said, her voice a few notches under a scream. "The sign says it all."

The group had to slightly push their way through the crowd of journalists to reach the jail entrance. Some in the crowd with Nifong are members of his brother's church, Orange United Methodist, in Chapel Hill.

Some motorists slowed to watch. One honked a horn.

Nifong in lockup"He's guilty, he's a dirt bag," said one man, who stood near the jail entrance, before pulling away on his bike.

Duke lacrosse player Thomas Clute missed morning practice to be at the jail. Sporting team shorts and holding a digital camera, Clute, 20, said he was willing to do some extra practice drills to see Nifong in jail.

"I wanted to watch vindication, the culmination of everything ending," he said. [...]
discussion:
LieStoppers forum: WTVD- finally steps up to the plate
LieStoppers forum: He's there
KC Johnson: Nifong Reports to Jail
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Nifong arrives at jailFox News:
Nifong Reports to Jail; Exonerated Duke Lacrosse Players Seek $30 Million Settlement [+video] -- Mike Nifong, the former Durham County District Attorney who led the now-discredited Duke lacrosse rape case, reported to jail Friday to begin serving a 24-hour sentence for contempt of court. [...]

Meanwhile, the three Duke lacrosse players who were falsely accused of rape are seeking a $30 million settlement and reforms in the legal process, a person close to the case said Friday. [...]

During a discussion Wednesday with Durham officials, players' attorneys Brendan Sullivan and Barry Scheck stressed that the money they are seeking in the settlement — about $10 million each for David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann over five years — must be accompanied by legal reforms, the person said.

The attorneys are seeking the creation of ombudsman positions to review complaints of misconduct about North Carolina district attorneys, and they want Durham city officials to lead the lobbying for any legal changes that would require action by the state's General Assembly, the person said.

City Attorney Henry Blinder and City Manager Patrick Baker briefed elected officials on the settlement discussions Thursday, according to The Herald-Sun of Durham, which first reported on the settlement demands. It said the city has a $5 million liability insurance policy with a $500,000 deductible.
discussion:
LS forum: 3 LAX Players want 30 Million from Durham
FreeRepublic: Report: Exonerated Duke Lacrosse Players Seek $30 Million Settlement
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Ray Gronberg / Herald-Sun [reg. req.]:
Players seek $30M settlement from city -- The figure -- $10 million each for David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann -- was part of a settlement demand that also would require the city's backing for reforms to make sure police investigations remain independent of the prosecutors who try cases in court.

The players' attorneys, Brendan Sullivan and Barry Scheck, put the demands on the table Wednesday during what they billed as a courtesy meeting with city attorneys and administrators, sources said.

They told city officials they'll file the lawsuit early next month unless there are "meaningful discussions" in the meantime about a settlement.

Wednesday's meeting was not a bargaining session. Sullivan and Scheck showed city officials the draft of a 126-page complaint and allowed them to take a few notes, but took the document with them when they left the 2¬Î©-hour session. [...]

Missteps that could become the focus of a civil-rights case against the city start with detectives' use of an out-of-policy photo lineup to secure identifications of the players from their accuser, a 28-year-old stripper.

They also could include a variety of false statements made early in the investigation by the Police Department's public relations staff that supporters of the players say whipped up public sentiment against the lacrosse team. Detectives could also come under fire for false statements they made on warrants and to the grand juries that indicted the three players. [...]
related:
Matt Dees / News & Observer:
Reports: Lacrosse players want $30 million -- If Durham does decided to settle, $30 million would well outstrip the city's $5 million liability insurance policy. Taxpayers would be on the hook for the remaining $25 million.

Ray Gronberg / Herald-Sun:
Challengers hit council over lacrosse review -- By commissioning its own review of the Duke lacrosse case, the City Council put taxpayers into further jeopardy in the event of a civil suit, two council candidates said Thursday.

Challengers Steve Monks and Melodie Parrish criticized the decision during a joint news conference with a third candidate, Laney Funderburk. The three are Republicans running as a ticket for the council.

Parrish said the review chaired by former N.C. Supreme Court Justice Willis Whichard would inevitably create a paper trail that attorneys representing lacrosse players David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann could exploit.

"I think there should have been much more forethought before that happened," she said.

Monks agreed. "To go out front and say we're going to have this investigation prior to resolving the civil matter was, in my opinion, potentially financially foolhardy," he said of Whichard's probe, which the council has put on hold on the advice of its insurer. [...]

discussion:
LS forum: Steve Monks criticizes City Council for, Investigating the Duke LAX Case! -- Monks is an ass.

background:
TJN: Steve Monks is a Lying Loser
KC Johnson: Thank You, Steve Monks!
--------

Nifong/Lacrosse update -- if we were Bizarro-Overlawyered I'd be rambling about "Profits over People" or something, but since we're not, I'll just point out that it simply demonstrates the perverse incentives of the legal system and its unbounded discovery rules. As long as everything you put on paper can be used against you -- even in hindsight -- then the incentive is not to put it on paper. (Of course, I'm not suggesting that the specific wrongdoing in Durham was only obvious in hindsight; people like K.C. Johnson figured it out right away. But the incentives are the same in every case.)
---------
Thomas Wagner / Pittsburg Tribune Review:
Nifong Gets Off -- I am sickened by the one-day sentence of former Durham, N.C., district attorney Mike Nifong, the prosecutor in the Duke University lacrosse rape case.

This man didn't simply make a mistake; he purposefully tried to destroy those kids. The state bar disciplinary committee determined he manipulated the case to boost his election chances, and he pursued it even when it became clear the students were innocent. [...]

I'm not a big fan of retribution through the courts, but in this case the judicial system failed these kids and is continuing to fail us all.

Nifong should get 10 years, Judge "One-Day" should step down and the Duke students should get millions.
--------
Editorial / Wilmington Star:
They been workin' on the railroad -- N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper is being asked to decide whether it might possibly be a crime for prosecutors and police to lie and cheat in order to convict the innocent.

The AG's spokesman says Cooper's been thinking about it for several days. These things take time [...]

possible indictees might include Durham police officers and one of Nifong's investigators. [...]
-------
Enshrinement at The Smoking Gun
TSG: Mike Nfiong
--------
AP / MSNBC:
Former Duke lacrosse D.A. reports to jail -- Meanwhile, three exonerated ex-players want sue Durham for $30 million [...]
--------
Nifong supporters escort him to jailAP / ABC11-TV:
Nifong Serves His Sentence Today [+video] -- The former prosecutor who led the now-debunked Duke University lacrosse case will be protected during his 24 hours behind bars, the sheriff said. [...]

"We'll have to put him in a place where he'll be safe, where we feel he'll be OK," Durham County Sheriff Worth Hill told The Herald-Sun of Durham. "We have to keep an eye on him and make sure things don't get out of hand. We're concerned about it."

Nifong likely will have a cell to himself and won't be allowed to interact with other inmates, Hill said.
-------
Nifong will be in an orange prison suitAnne Blythe / News & Observer:
Nifong to don orange jail jumpsuit -- First he will be processed and given an orange jumpsuit and soft sandals to wear behind bars, lawyers say.

Then, the lawyers speculate, Nifong, a prosecutor for 30 years, is likely to be placed in some kind of protective custody."

The reality of the matter is this is extraordinary," said John Fitzpatrick, a defense lawyer in Durham.

"They should keep him in a place where basically he's by himself."But there will be a lot of people outside waiting for him.

A Sheriff's Office spokeswoman issued a plaintive statement late Thursday urging the horde of expected news crews to abide by parking rules outside the jail.
--------
David Saacks is sworn in as the new Durham DAAnne Blythe / News & Observer:
Saacks sworn in as Durham DA -- David Saacks, a prosecutor in the Durham District Attorney's Office for the past 15 years, was sworn in this morning as the county's third district attorney in a year.

Saacks was appointed by Gov. Mike Easley on Thursday to serve as district attorney until the November 2008 election.

Saacks, a Cary resident, does not plan to have his name on the ballot. Not only does his Wake County residency exclude him from running for the office, Saacks said he would rather be in the courtroom than an administrative office.

"This isn't my passion or my love to do this," Saacks said today after the ceremony. "But I'm willing to do it. I'd just as soon be in the courtroom."

Before Saacks could be sworn in as district attorney, Jim Hardin, a prosecutor-turned-judge-turned prosecutor, once again relinquished the job as the county's top prosecutor. [...]
---------
Titan Barksdale / News & Observer:
Probe sought in handling of case -- Prosecutor accused of misconduct -- In the wake of former Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong's disbarment, the State Bar is being asked to investigate possible misconduct by another North Carolina prosecutor.

Supporters of James Arthur Johnson, who has been jailed since July 2004 in connection with the rape and shooting death of a Wilson teen, say Assistant District Attorney William Wolfe is prosecuting Johnson without probable cause, a violation of State Bar ethics. The state NAACP delivered a complaint about the case to the N.C. State Bar on Thursday. [...]

Although Wolfe is not named in the complaint, it targets the prosecutor handling the case. [...]
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John in Carolina:
Cheshire's Nifong Jest
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LieStoppers blog:

Nifong for DA poster
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