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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Duke Case — State Won't Defend Nifong

Today's items - Updated:

Mike Nifong mugshotWRAL:
State Won't Defend Nifong in Lacrosse Players' Suit — The North Carolina Attorney General's Office on Thursday rejected a request by former Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong to represent him in a federal lawsuit filed by the three former Duke University lacrosse players.

Nifong last week asked the state to provide him with defense attorneys in the case or pay for his legal fees because he was a state employee at the time of the sexual assault case involving members of the Duke lacrosse team. [...]

discussion:
LieStoppers forum: State will NOT defend Nifong, His request is denied
LieSoppers forum: Nifong takes shot at AG, "I don't know why I continue...

FreeRepublic: State Won't Defend Nifong...

sources:
WRAL: Grayson G. Kelley letter to Mike Nifong, dated Oct. 16, 2007

N&O:
James B. Craven III letter to Grayson Kelley, dated Oct. 18, 2007 [2 pge, pdf] -- As Mike Nifong said to me this morning, "I don't know why I continue to expect people to do the right thing."
related:
Anne Blythe / News & Observer:
Nifong appeals state's denial of aid in suit -- a letter to Nifong and his lawyer, James B. Craven III of Durham, Grayson G. Kelley, the state's chief deputy attorney general, declined his request.

"The state must refuse to provide for such representation if the attorney general determines that the actions or omissions were not within the scope of the employee's official duties: the acts or omissions involved fraud, corruption or malice; defense of the action would create a conflict of interest; or, defense of the action would not be in the best interests of the state," Kelley said in the letter, dated Oct. 16.

Craven responded with a letter today.

"Obviously we are disappointed in your decision, and disagree with it," Craven said in his response. "It is certainly not a decision that provides much comfort for state employees threatened with civil liability for actions taken in the course of their employment with the state."

Craven cites two cases in his appeal for the state to reconsider.

"Even Allstate and Nationwide, neither known for their generosity, would have provided a defense here under a reservation of rights," Craven said. "I hope you will reconsider for no other reason than to provide some comfort to other potential defendants in similar cases. Otherwise a district attorney in North Carolina can only rest assured that the state may or may not be behind him or her, in this instance way behind him. As Mike Nifong said to me this morning, 'I don;t know why I continue to expect people to do the right thing.'" [...]
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LieStoppers blog:
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AP / Winston-Salem Journal:

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Editorial / Greensboro News-Record:
State shouldn’t pay anything to defend former prosecutor -- Mike Nifong needs a lawyer, and he wants the state to cover the cost.

The state should refuse.

Nifong was relieved of his license to practice law and his job as district attorney for Durham County for misconduct in his prosecution of the Duke lacrosse case. He’s being sued by the vindicated defendants, who should have a strong case. After all, the N.C. State Bar and the N.C. Attorney General’s Office, in carrying out their own investigations, laid out plenty of information that can be used against Nifong.

Last week, Nifong wrote to the Administrative Office of the Courts asking for representation for his defense. Nifong contends he’s entitled because he was a constitutional officer of the state and was exercising the duties of his office in handling the Duke case.

It should matter, however, how he was performing his duties. As district attorney, he had an obligation to uphold the law. Instead, he was making unwarranted and prejudicial public comments about the case and disparaging Duke lacrosse players. He also was keeping potentially exculpatory evidence from the defense and making misleading statements to a judge, for which he eventually was found in criminal contempt of court and jailed. Those should be ample grounds for denying Nifong’s request. [...]
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Paul Edward Hamilton / The Minnesota Daily:
Innocent and loving every minute of it -- Former members of Duke's lacrosse team were falsely accused of rape. District Attorney Mike Nifong is now paying the price. -- I was surprised when I first was made aware of these allegations and found it hard to believe that a rape and beating could occur in the full view of so many people at a party without anyone trying to stop it or calling the police.

The lawsuit asserts that "the defendants conspired to keep alive a pitifully weak case as Nifong faced a hotly contested re-election bid for the Democratic primary for district attorney." [...]

Apparently the financial compensation and legal reforms requested are not that unusual in civil rights lawsuits, according to Carl Tobias, a law professor at the University of Richmond.

"They really do feel like they need to be vindicated and money won't do it. They had to spend a year vindicating themselves. I can understand why they would want to have full relief, especially reforming the system if possible." [...]

Perhaps there is something to what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said when he stated, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."
comment: Here! here!
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Ann Coulter / HumanEvents.com:
Another Liberal Noose-ance -- Liberals are so invigorated by the story about a noose being found on an obscure Columbia University professor's door that now nooses are popping up all over New York City. Liberals love to make believe the Night Riders are constantly at their doors.

I'll be shocked by a noose appearing on a college campus the day an actual racist does it.

Could Columbia at least produce one student or professor who supports racism before holding another "rally against racism"? Every concrete example of the racism allegedly sweeping the nation's campuses keeps turning out to be a fraud. Far from "institutional racism," there is "institutional racial hoaxism" run amok in this country. Will anyone rally against that?

Out of legions, here are just a few hoax hate crimes on college campuses.

-- In 1997, at Duke University, a black doll was found hanging by a noose from a tree at the precise spot where the Black Student Alliance was to be holding a rally against racism. Two black students later admitted they were the culprits and were immediately praised for bringing attention to the problem of racism on campus. Indeed, four years later the president of Duke gave a baccalaureate address nostalgically describing the hoax as a "protest" against racism. Next stop: the Nobel Peace Prize.

-- In 2003, vile racial epithets were scrawled on the dorm room doors at Ole Miss, producing mass protests and a "Say No to Racism" march. And then it turned out the graffiti had been written by black students, against whom no charges were brought. A "Say Yes to Racism" rally at Ole Miss was later canceled due to lack of interest.

-- In 2005, obscenity-laced racist and anti-Semitic messages appeared on dormitory walls at the College of Wooster in Ohio. The fliers were instantly blamed on "typical white males," even though all the letter I's in the epithets were dotted with little hearts. Breadcrumbs left by the culprits included the message "Vote Goldwater" among the obscenities. The matter was dropped and flushed down the memory hole when the perpetrators turned out to be a group of leftist students led by a black studies major. [...]

The one real example of racism on a college campus in recent memory was perpetrated against white men of the Duke lacrosse team. As that injustice was being perpetrated, gender and ethnic professors at Duke kept droning on about the "racism and sexism" students "live with every day" -- as the professors put it in an open letter that falsely presumed the players were guilty of rape. We don't expect a rally against the prejudiced professors, but an apology might be nice. [...]
comment: One college hoax hate crime that has been noted here before:

Prof. Kerri Dunn - faked hate a crimeKerri Dunn: this diversity advocate discovered her car vandalized with hate slogans on March 9, 2004. In response, classes were closed, on March 10th, and students staged demonstrations. A few days later, police discovered that Dunn vandalized the car herself. Instead of condemning Dunn, university officials framed the protests in a positive light as still having meaning given the context.

An FBI investigation eventually confirmed that Dunn herself was the perpetrator of the vandalism on her car. She was sentenced to one year in prison and ordered to pay a $20,000 fine.

comment:
Compare Dunn's punishment to the non-punishment that Crystal Gail Mangum received. Also, the FBI was involved in the Dunn case, but not the Duke case?
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Duke Chronicle:
  • Editorial:
    Nifong out of line, again -- It looks like former Durham County district attorney Mike Nifong is at it again.

    After the city of Durham announced that it would not provide legal defense for Nifong in the civil suit filed against him earlier this month, Nifong sent a letter to the state of North Carolina asking it to pick up his legal fees.

    Nifong says that because he was an officer of the state "at the time that the complaint arose and at all times therein," his legal fees for a private attorney should be covered by the state.

    Once again, Nifong is completely out of line in this unreasonable request. [...]

  • Elliot Wolf:
    The duh… end the what!?! -- Duke students are here not only to be educated; we also need to be "developed."

    So says the presence of hundreds of Student Affairs employees trained specifically to "develop" us. They are trained to nurture our "psychosocial and identity" needs, with respect to "cognitive-structural" considerations and "typology." [...]
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KC Johnson:
Updates -- In a move that could define "gall," Mike Nifong is demanding that the state pay for his civil suit attorneys--even though he's being sued, in part, for behavior that led to his conviction on criminal contempt charges. The Rocky Mount Telegram--among the first papers in the state to editorialize against Nifong's conduct--editorializes that "state taxpayers shouldn't have to foot the bill in a civil case of someone who already has been found 'guilty' of misconduct and lying, two apparent elements that are key to the players' lawsuit." [...]

And Shreya Rao reveals in the Chronicle that DIW has spawned a spoof site.
comment: Mel and Al must have heard that some of us were having a hard time finding their new blog. So they kindly put a message up on their old site. Their Durham-in-Wonderland spoof-site, Bull City-in-Wonderland, moved from bullcity-in-wonderland.blogspot.com to bullcityinwonderland.blogspot.com. They've been added to the TJN lax links now that we know where they are.
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Rocky Mount Telegram:
Editorial: Nifong's tab -- State taxpayers shouldn't have to foot the bill in a civil case of someone who already has been found "guilty" of misconduct and lying, two apparent elements that are key to the players' lawsuit.
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Michael Gaynor:
Duke case: It's best to dread Richard Brodhead -- Legendary Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski to Duke University President Richard H. Brodhead, September 18, 2004: "When you leave Duke, Dick, your book won't be called, 'The Good of This Place.' It'll be 'The Great of This Place.'"

I don't think so. [...]

I am amused with the it-was-PR-driving-Duke explanation, as though public relations and political correctness are unrelated and that variance Duke needed from extremely politically correct Durham was not much more important to the persons controlling Duke than Duke's white lacrosse players.

Based on everything I've learned about Mr. Brodhead, especially the James Van de Velde episode when Mr. Brodhead was Yale dean (too lengthy for inclusion in Until Proven Innocent: Political Correctness and the Shameful Injustices of the Duke Lacrosse Case).

Reality: Mr. Brodhead is politically correct in the extreme as well as acutely PR sensitive and he did not need to kowtow to the 88, since he was with them in spirit. He did not criticize them when basic decency demanded they be admonished, because they are folks he protects instead of punishes.

What is most telling is not what Mr. Steel reportedly told Mr. Trumpbour (horrific as that was), but Mr. Brodhead's cowardly refusal to review the prosecution's document production when Kevin Finnerty offered him the opportunity. (A fair-minded man would have reviewed the documents and then re-instated Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann, because, as even Cash Michaels conceded, there was no evidence of guilt in that material.)

If the false accuser had been white and the persecuted defendants and all but one of their teammates had been black, would the President of Duke University have passed on a review of the prosecution's evidence and the Chairman insisted that a trial was necessary?

Who are the real racists in the Duke case--the lacrosse players or the false accuser and her enablers (including Mr. Brodhead, Mr. Steel and Mr. Nifong)?
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