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Saturday, September 1, 2007

Nifong's Hoax — Durham's Disgrace

Rogue Prosecutor — Rogue City — Rogue Justice System

KC Johnson:
Disgrace and Redemption -- Over the last two days, Mike Nifong disgraced not only himself but the Durham attorneys who, supposedly, represent the “people.”

Nifong’s disgrace was obvious.

Four times on the stand he referred to Crystal Mangum as the “victim.” He made it clear that—unequivocal apologies notwithstanding—he still believes her story/stories, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. [...]

[Nifong's criminal] behavior manifested itself as part of an effort to send three demonstrably innocent people to jail for 30 years—for a crime that never occurred. The Durham prosecutorial establishment, however, appeared not to care. [...]

[Judge Ronald] Stephens also hailed Nifong as a mentor to the next generation of Durham ADA’s. Perhaps he had in mind Judge Marcia Morey, who testified on Nifong’s behalf and then returned to the courtroom to offer solace to Nifong’s family as the verdict was rendered. In her willingness to defend Nifong, Morey disgraced her own office. [...]

Sitting alongside Morey was current ADA Jan Paul. Paul vigorously nodded as Nifong attorney Jim Glover insisted in his closing argument that not only did Nifong not lie, but he couldn’t really see any errors his client had made. Paul then visibly wept as the guilty verdict was rendered. Remember, this is someone whose job it is to uphold justice for the people. [...]

comment: Is there any doubt that Durham needs to be further "punished" for providing a safe haven for Nifong's brand of criminal behavior to flourish? Nifong was a rogue prosecutor from a rogue city/criminal justice system.
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Forum topics of note:
Tony Soprano, LieStoppers:
I'm embarrassed for my State, Corrupt Place -- I have never been more embarrassed by North Carolina in my life.

The quality of legal representation trying this case; the Judges; Ron Stephen's dropping the name of the Governor and playing the tired old tune of how Mike Nifong was known for his integrity and all his other sh!t.

The fact that no one challenged the many false statements Nifong made under oath; Judge Oz Smith's contrived comments and amateur acting.

The puffery afforded Stephens when he made claims that he had made before the illegal moves by Nifong in the Duke case. [...]

This was not Justice in that courtroom today. This was a continuation of the farce that we saw starting last March. This was another form of the Dog and Pony shows put on by Stephens with the Players threatened in open court beforehand and then Stephens coming in to lecture on how integrity-filled Mike Nifong is and how he was concerned so with the 3rd party PRIVACY rights of those numbers on the Hookers cell-phones, this from a man that had no concern whatsoever when the NTO showed up calling for a Huge Dragnet of DNA testing and Stephens signed it without reservation. [...]

Tortmaster, TalkLeft:
Nifong Guilty of Contempt, Gets One Day in Jail -- Michael Nifong can add the words "contemnor" and "jailbird" to the long list of terms that aptly describe him. These include the following: Ex-prosecutor, Ex-attorney, Ex-District Attorney, Model for the new verb "Nifonged," proven liar, adjudicated liar and "Rogue Prosecutor." Soon, new phrases will certainly apply as well, including "bankrupt," "civil litigation defendant" and "albatross around the neck of Durham." Phrases that might apply in the future include: "federal criminal defendant," "felon" and "DOC # 94523." [...]

The Bad:

1. The witnesses for the defense, smugly claiming that they were served a subpoena and forced to appear, then sucking up to the most reviled prosecutor in American history. Judge Morey even went as far as to imply that lying to a Judge is fine, as long as it does not occur during trial. Judge Stephens needs to be called to account for his role in the Hoax. [...]

William L. Anderson, DIW comment -- think we saw the corrupt nature of Durham and Durham politics in full flower this past week. For people like Nifong and his cohorts, it is all about "winning," even as they mouth the words about justice.

When judges testify (under oath) that lying really isn't so bad, and that liars are "thumbs up" people, then we understand what is happening. [...]
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Judge Marcia Morey
An unusual moment came before Nifong's testimony, when a judge testified that she expected lawyers to be more honest during trial than during pretrial hearings.

A prosecutor asked the judge, Marcia Morey, whether a lawyer would be following his duty to be candid if he assured a judge that a report was complete when the lawyer knew it to be incomplete.

It depended on whether the case had reached trial, Morey said.

"I do think it makes a difference," Morey said. "Are you are at a trial stage, are you at a pretrial conference." N&O
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NPR:
Documenting the Duke Rush to Judgment [audio] -- In their new book, Until Proven Innocent: Political Correctness and the Shameful Injustices of the Duke Lacrosse Rape Case, Taylor, a columnist for National Journal, and Johnson, a history professor at Brooklyn College and CUNY, document the facts of the case and how they were misconstrued to assume guilt. [...]

The book singles out several Duke faculty members who were particularly scathing in their attacks against the players. Local and national media also come under scrutiny for their slowness in accounting for the publicly available evidence.

Scott Simon spoke with Stuart Taylor about the questions the Duke case raised about the culpability of the press and the climate on many American campuses.
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Anne Blythe and Joseph Neff, News & Observer:
Nifong gets 24 hours in jail for contempt -- The man who was once Durham's chief prosecutor is found to have lied about evidence that would have helped three Duke lacrosse players facing charges -- Judge W. Osmond Smith III sentenced disbarred District Attorney Mike Nifong to 24 hours in jail for intentionally lying in court, an action designed to serve more as a deterrent than a punishment.

Nifong, already stripped of his law license for his misconduct in the Duke lacrosse case, is to report to the Durham County Jail at 9 a.m. Friday and stay behind bars until 9 a.m. Saturday.

Smith could have sentenced Nifong to as many as 30 days in jail and fined him up to $500.

"If what I impose with regard to Mr. Nifong would make things better or different for what's already happened, I don't know what it would be or how I could do it," Smith said Friday after a two-day criminal contempt hearing.

The sentencing brings to a close the final chapter in the criminal case that Nifong brought against three former Duke lacrosse players in 2006. [...]
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William West, Herald-Sun [reg. required]:
Nifong guilty, gets day in jail -- Mike Nifong has been ordered to spend 24 hours behind bars -- starting at 9 a.m. Friday -- for contempt of court in the former Duke lacrosse case.

Superior Court Judge Osmond Smith found the disbarred former Durham County district attorney guilty of making false statements about having provided exculpatory evidence at a Sept. 22 hearing.

Smith at 5:32 p.m. Friday ruled that Nifong violated state law by failing to disclose that Brian Meehan -- director of a private DNA testing lab used by Nifong -- had not included complete results of DNA testing in a May 2006 report.

Smith also ruled that Nifong misrepresented the fact -- at the Sept. 22 hearing -- that there was nothing else to disclose.

Smith, before ruling, made it clear his decision was not about unwarranted prosecution of three young men in the lacrosse case, politics, Nifong's 2006 election campaign, Nifong's statements to the media, the state's dropping of charges against the Duke trio, Nifong's disbarment or even Nifong himself.

Rather, Smith said, "What it is about are matters essential to the court's existence, to the office and to the orderly and efficient administration of justice.

"It's about the candor, accuracy and truthfulness in representations to the court, particularly in important matters where the liberties and rights to a fair trial of those accused of crimes may be jeopardized by the absence of such honesty by counsel," Smith said. [...]
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Aaron Beard, AP/Forbes:
Judge Sends Duke Prosecutor to Jail -- From the day he took over the Duke lacrosse rape case, Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong charged forward with a strident determination that the guilty would end up in jail.

Ultimately, the since-disgraced former prosecutor only succeeded at putting himself behind bars.

Nifong was sentenced Friday to a single day in jail, having been held in criminal contempt of court for lying to a judge during his pursuit of rape charges against the three falsely accused lacrosse players. [...]

Kevin Finnerty, Collin's father, said the family would have accepted any sentence Smith thought appropriate.

"It's not a happy day for us, but we're thrilled the system works, that justice has happened, and we're moving on," he said. [...]
related:
Martha Neil, ABA Journal: Nifong in Contempt, Gets 1 Day in Jail
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Jason Trumpbour, FODU spokesperson:
Announcements and a Follow Up -- Professor KC Johnson, Durham in Wonderland blogger and coauthor of Until Proven Innocent, will speak in Duke’s Page Auditorium on September 11, 2007 at 7:00.

This event is cosponsored by Duke Students for an Ethical Duke and the Program for Values an Ethics in the Marketplace. [...]

Follow up to Duke and the Police


First, a Duke official contacted me after I posted the last update and took issue with two statements I made there. I repeated information that had been told to me personally and which had also been widely reported. However, this official says these two statements are inaccurate and offers an alternative view. As the other bloggers in this case have done, I reproduce this person’s comments below in order to allow a fair opportunity to reply. I also appreciate this person’s willingness to respond and engage us in a dialogue, something lacking among Duke officials up to this point. [...]
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There was a DA named Nifong
He committed a criminal wrong.
He lied to the court.
Hid a vital report.
And now his career is all gone.

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