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Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Duke Case — DOJ No Go on Nifong Investigation

Items of interest - updated:

Matt Dees / News & Observer:
Justice Department won't investigate Nifong -- The U.S. Department of Justice will not investigate whether former Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong engaged in criminal misconduct in his handling of the Duke lacrosse case, a DOJ spokesman said today.

"We believe the State of North Carolina has the primary interests in this matter: protecting the integrity of its judicial proceedings, holding Mr. Nifong accountable for his actions as an officer of its courts, and vindicating the principles of justice under state law," Peter Carr, a DOJ spokesman, said in a prepared statement.

"North Carolina has begun that process," he said. "Well-established principles of federalism and comity discourage federal intervention when the state has the primary interest and the state is taking remedial action. We believe the allegations relating to the North Carolina state proceedings should be addressed and resolved by the State of North Carolina."

Nifong resigned and was disbarred for his conduct in bringing rape charges against three former Duke lacrosse players that were proven false.

The announcement that no federal investigation will ensue does not mean Nifong won't face criminal charges. [...]

Tamara Gibb / ABC11-TV:
Request for federal probe denied in Duke LAX case -- After months of interviews and reviewing documents related to the Duke Lacrosse case, federal investigators have decided against assisting the state with a possible probe.

In a written statement to ABC11 Eyewitness News, the U.S. Department of Justice said: "We believe the State of North Carolina has the primary interests in this matter: protecting the integrity of its judicial proceedings, holding Mr. Nifong accountable for his actions as an officer of its courts, and vindicating the principles of justice under state law."

Sources told ABC11 Eyewitness News that federal investigators had collected testimony and other court documents from Mike Nifong's ethics trial and his contempt hearing. There was also the possibility a potential federal probe would have targeted current and former members of Durham's Police Department and the Durham County District Attorney's Office. [...]

LieStoppers forum:
U.S. Dept. of Justice won't investigate Nifong, It's NC's problem

DOJ will not investigate Nifong
Jeff Baker / AP / Charlotte.com:
Justice Dept. won't investigate Nifong -- The U.S. Department of Justice will not investigate former Duke lacrosse prosecutor Mike Nifong for his handling of the case, a spokesman for the agency said Wednesday.

That decision also jeopardizes a possible investigation at the state level, according to a spokeswoman for Attorney General Roy Cooper, who said prosecutors in North Carolina can't indict someone on charges of lying to investigators.

The DOJ carefully considered the case but decided that it was an issue better resolved inside the state, said spokesman Peter Carr in a statement.

"We believe the State of North Carolina has the primary interests in this matter: protecting the integrity of its judicial proceedings, holding Mr. Nifong accountable for his actions as an officer of its courts, and vindicating the principles of justice under state law," Carr said.

Jim Hardin, who stepped in as an interim Durham district attorney after Nifong resigned from the office, requested that the State Bureau of Investigation determine whether any person involved in the case should be prosecuted.

SBI spokeswoman Noelle Talley said "it would be difficult to conduct additional investigation into this matter without federal participation."

"Our attorneys and the SBI will discuss the impact of this refusal," Talley said. [...]
LieStoppers blog:
US DOJ won't investigate Nifong -- One wonders what besides prosecuting three totally innocent young men for over a year over a crime they knew that never happened, withholding exculpatory evidence, violating Durham Police department policies & procedures, would cause the US DOJ to investigate?
comment: RICO for Vick, but not for Nifong?

The Feds landed like a swarm of fruit flies on a ripe banana when they went after Michael Vick for operating an illegal interstate dog fighting ring, but they won't investigate a man who rigged an election by prosecuting a hoax?

This is not right. Dog fighting becomes a federal crime, however, a criminal conspiracy involving a corrupt DA and police department who prosecuted innocent men in order to fix an election is not a federal offense? The Feds use RICO on Vick and his Bad Newz Kennels, but not on Nifong, his Durham PD cohorts and their pet nurse? That just seems backwards.

We are a indeed a "nation of sheep" and we have "beget a government of wolves" when we accept this selective application of a "metastasized" law.

Judge Andrew P. Napolitano's recent book, A Nation of Sheep, makes the point that we need to "recognize that they are being led down a very dangerous path and that the cost of following without challenge is the loss of the basic freedoms that facilitate our pursuit of happiness and that define us as a nation."

Prof. William Anderson analyzed the Vick case and makes the same observation: "the greatest threat to our liberties is an out-of-control federal government."

Bill Anderson said:
Therefore, let me start at the beginning, and then work through my various points. The first – and most important – point is that Virginia law makes dogfighting illegal. If Michael Vick and his Bad Newz Kennels were a dogfighting venue, then he and his cohorts can be charged under Virginia criminal statutes. [Note: The state announced they will prosecute Vick and this is double jeopardy]

At this time, I do not know if Virginia authorities were looking into this alleged operation – or if authorities were looking the other way. However, even if they were looking the other way, that still does not mean that the federal authorities should have intervened.

Second, there is no legal justification for federal involvement. True, the feds (thanks to the courts, which have expanded Washington’s power well beyond any Constitutional bounds) constantly invoke the "Interstate Commerce Clause" of the Constitution, but that clause is used only as a tool to increase the government’s authority over nearly every aspect of our lives. What once was a statement that gave Congress authority to deal with issues of commerce between the states has become a legal excuse for Congress to stick its nose where it never was intended to go.

Of course, it is not the members of Congress who have arrested and charged Michael Vick; it is the employees of the U.S. Department of Justice. In other words, Congress might have given itself authority it did not have, but then it made things worse and turned that authority over to the executive branch, which has few checks and balances keeping federal prosecutors from doing whatever they please – and the law, and more important, justice, be damned.

If Vick decides to plead guilty, it will be one more episode of the disappearance of the right to a fair trial. Why would Vick plead out? It is because federal prosecutors are preparing to bring in more indictments, this time under the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, or RICO. This abominable "law" (if one can call it that) takes so-called bad acts and then bundles them into the federal "crime" of "racketeering," which is a nice way of saying that under RICO, people are charged with what only can be called imaginary crimes. [...]
Hypothetical legal question: If Michael Vick's Bad Newz Kennels had been transporting dogs between the states of Idaho and Wyoming where dog fighting is a misdemeanor and not a felony would the Feds have applied the RICO statute to his case?

The Coup-de-grâce in the Federal prosecution of Michael Vick was that they delivered him into the arms of PETA. Anderson said:
To make matters worse, to demonstrate that he somehow was "contrite," the feds had him attend mandatory workshops run by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, an organization begun by the infamous Peter Singer of Princeton University. The people at PETA believe the following:
  • Humans and animals are no different spiritually, morally, or otherwise;
  • Harming of animals in any form is wrong, including the eating of meat;
  • Human beings can and should be aborted, and Singer has held that "defective" children up to one year old should be killed.
There is very strong argument that PETA is a terrorist organization.
KC Johnson / Durham-in-Wonderland:
Updates: Book Q&A -- In an unusual rationalization, given that the state had requested federal intervention, Justice Department spokesperson Peter Carr said, “Well-established principles of federalism and comity discourage federal intervention when the state has the primary interest and the state is taking remedial action.” [...]

Next Monday’s post will be a Q&A on the book. If you have questions about Until Proven Innocent, please ask them in the thread below; I will pick out the more intriguing ones for a response. General or specific questions are welcome.
John in Carolina:
DOJ’s No To Nifong Investigation -- Will this DOJ decision be final as to any DOJ investigation into events related to the attempted frame-up and on-going cover-up of same?

I ask the question because since early in the case a number of attorneys I respect who have no direct involvement in the case have told me what would most likely bring the DOJ into the case, if it entered it at all, would be evidence suggesting violations of the victims’ civil rights.

From tonight’s news reports it sounds like the DOJ is responding to a request it become involved in matters involving state law. [...]
Alex Fanaroff / Duke Chronicle:
Not About the Truth -- Alex Fanaroff knows it's no longer injustice that is motivating the online lacrosse discussion [...]

The lacrosse case is over. The horse is dead. Stop beating it.

It smells funny; it's covered in maggots (still trying to get their piece of the action!); and no one wants to look at it anymore.

It's dead. Get it? D-E-A-D, dead.

Yes, I know there are still lawsuits to be settled, and I'm not trying to suggest that they're not important. Yes, I know Brodhead's performance review is still pending. Yes, I know that Stuart Taylor is still selling books and that KC Johnson is still blogging.

But I don't care-and neither do most of the people on this campus. No one talks about it on campus anymore. No one wants to hear about it anymore. We are (for the most part) done with it. [...]
LieStoppers forum: LAX Case "Dead"-- Time to "Move On" -- Duke Chronicle Commentary Buries Case
Forum topic of note:
LieStoppers: Change in Status for Sgt. Gottlieb

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