Thursday, September 18, 2008

Even Hardened Nifong Critics Support the Premise of Selective Justice in North Carolina

Unbekannte, an ardent critic of former Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong, made the following blog comment: "Yes it is atrocious that Nifong is the ONLY prosecutor who has been disbarred. Many more prosecutors in NC should have been disbarred for concealing Brady material from defendants."

Thank you for supporting the premise that other prosecutors, who should have been disciplined, were not and that Mr. Nifong was selectively chosen to be given the harshest discipline possible, though his alleged misdeeds were not as egregious as others, and his defendants (the three Duke LAXers) suffered far less injustice (including no time incarcerated) than innocent defendants of other prosecutors (many who spent years on death row).

The problem with invoking the principle of "equal justice for all" is that if other prosecutors are held to the unreasonably high standards used to disbar Mr. Nifong, then the entire staff of North Carolina prosecutors would be depleted. Therefore, I favor the more practical approach of attaining equity by reinstating the license to practice law for Mr. Nifong. Furthermore, the North Carolina State Bar has vividly demonstrated that it has no will to discipline prosecutors (who follow the tenet of "selective justice based on Class and Color"). That's what it is doing now in the James Arthur Johnson case by having private sector prosecutor David McFadyen conduct a bogus investigation into the "accessory after the fact" charge against Mr. Johnson. The prosecutor's actions in that case, Assistant Wilson District Attorney Bill Wolfe, were far more grievous than anything Mr. Nifong is alleged to have committed. Unfortunately, the state officials do not realize that many North Carolinians are apathetic, and not ignorant. Like, Unbekannte, they realize that Mr. Nifong was selectively and unjustly treated.

The Committee on Justice for Mike Nifong will be establishing a website shortly (the address will be posted in this blog with a link), and it will include both volumes of the Nifong Manifesto, the comic strip "the MisAdventures of Super-
Duper Cooper" and other documents and information supporting our position which is as follows: The State of North Carolina selectively and unjustly disbarred former Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong, and it should be held accountable and take responsibility for this gross mistake by reinstating Mr. Nifong's license to practice law in the state unencumbered. If "equal justice for all" is to be a reality for all North Carolinians, it must begin with Mr. Nifong.


unbekannte said...

Hey, Justice4Nifong! Have you been reading? Are you blind? Are you aware why ethics charges were filed, why Nifong was disbarred.

Nifong made multiple inflammatory public statements about the case which were violations of Constitutionally guaranteed individual rights, right to be presumed innocent, right to trial by a fair and impartial jury, right to be represented by counsel, right to remain silent when questioned by authorities.

When Nifong got evidence about the crime, it indicated that no crime, no rape had occurred. Nifong was obligated by the Code of Ethics not to proceed with the case at that point. Once he violated the Code of Ethics by choosing to proceed, he was bound not only by that code of ethics but also by the Brady vs. Maryland Supreme Court decision to turn over the evidence to the Defense. Instead, he concealed the evidence and lied to the Court and to the Defense about it.

Nifong refused to hear exculpatory evidence from defendants. Nifong intimidated witnesses who could provide evidence which could exonerate the evidence. Nifong threatened to file charges of aiding and abetting against lacrosse players who refused to testify against fellow lacrosse players. In my opinion that was using his office to suborn perjured inculpatory testimony against the defendants. All his offenses were glaringly obvious. They were argued and proven in open court.

I do not deny that NC has unjustly tolerated Prosecutorial misconduct. What relevance does that have to Nifong? Do the misdeeds of other prosecutors somehow nullify the misdeeds of Mike Nifong? Do you to argue that the unjust imprisonment of Jonathan Gregory Hoffman, Alan Gell, Charles Wayne Munsey, or Darryl Hunt would have justified the wrongful attempt to convict an imprison Reade Seligman, Colin Finnerty or Dave Evans. Are you saying that the solution to Prosecutorial misconduct is more Prosecutorial misconduct. That is what it seems like you are saying.

If you believe your original allegation, that Nifong was selectively disciplined because he prosecuted well off Caucasians who were accused of a crime by a poor black woman, then you are promulgating a lie. If you say I support your original premise, you delude yourself. I DO NOT BELIEVE THE ANSWER TO PROSECUTORIAL MISCONDUCT IS MORE PROSECUTORIAL MISCONDUCT.

Nifong was disciplined because he tried to prosecute and convict innocent men of a non existent crime and violated the law, violated legal ethics and violated the Constitution of the United States in the process. There was nothing race influenced or class influenced in this whole sordid mess except Nifong's decision to prosecute rich white boys, to curry favor with black voters in Durham.

If you want Nifong reinstated to the practice of law, then you are not out for justice. You are out to get a pass for another rogue prosecutor.

unbekannte said...

Nifong's prosecution of anyone for the "rape" of CGM would have been misconduct of the most egregious kind, whether he accused African Americans, Hispanics, Caucasians, Orientals, or Native Americans. The point Justice4Nifong misses, the point he wants everyone else to miss is, NO CRIME HAD BEEN COMMITTED!!!

That says to me the charges against Nifong were not racially motivated, that the disciplinary actions were not racially motivated. Even in the climate of North Carolina, his misconduct was so gross, so out of line it could not be tolerated.

I would not be surprised to find that other people supporting Nifong's reinstatement would be other NC prosecutors guilty of Misconduct. The disciplinary action against Nifong have put prosecutors on notice that misconduct may have consequences. Reinstating NIfong would revoke that notice

Justice4Nifong is arguing, therefore, that Prosecutorial Misconduct should be tolerated. How he can argue that is an argument for Justice for all is beyond me. Considering he has not received a whole lot of support, it is beyond the ken of most reasonable people in the state of NC.

unbekannte said...

I say that Justice4Nifong really does not give a d__n about Prosecutorial Misconduct or the effects thereof, particularly the imprisonment of individuals wrongfully convicted via Prosecutorial Misconduct. Res Ipsa Loquitur. If he cared, he would not be arguing for the reinstatement of the a prosecutor guilty of such obvious misconduct, would not be arguing that the most egregious example of that misconduct was an "insignificant revelation", would not attribute the disbarment of that prosecutor to selective prosecution based on factors of race and class.

unbekannte said...

Justice4Nifong, please explain, if you can. How can you call it justice to prosecute someone when no crime has occurred, when the prosecutor knows no crime has occurred. If you are calling it equal justice for all because the person who falsely alleged the crime was black and the people she falsely accused were white, then YOU are making judgments based on race and class. Your argument that Nifong was unfairly prosecuted is based on racial and class prejudice, nothing more.

unbekannte said...

Hey, Justice4Nifong. How about the case of African American Frankie Delano Washington, whose conviction was vacated because it took the Durham DA nearly 5 years to bring him to trial. Further, the evidence in the case indicated he did not commit the crime of which he was accused but for which he was tried and convicted. The trial and conviction happened while "decent, honorable" Mike Nifong was DA of Durham County.

This is the "decent honorable" DA whose law license you are trying to reinstate.

Isn't your recollection of instances of prosecutorial misconduct a bit selective?

unbekannte said...

Justice4Nifong, do you have any comment on Michael Jermaine Burch.

About a year after the incident that led before the attempted Duke Rape frame up, this African American individual attacked and raped an 18 year old Duke coed at an off campus fraternity party as she emerged from a bathroom.

Durham's "decent, honorable" district attorney Mike Nifong did not devote as much energy to this inter racial rape as he did to the phony Duke Lacrosse Rape case.

Let's have an answer, Justice4Nifong. Under these circumstances, how did the illegal, unethical, unconstitutional prosecution of the Duke Lacrosse players illustrate the principle of equal justice for all regardless of race or class?

unbekannte said...

"Like, Unbekannte, they realize that Mr. Nifong was selectively and unjustly treated."

Yes I do believe Nifong was unjustly treated. Justice is getting what you deserve. Nifong got less than what he deserved.


Do you get it, Justice4Nifong?

unbekannte said...

What relevance does it have that the Lacrosse players were never incarcerated? How does it mitigate Nifong's misconduct?

The essence of the case against Nifong was that he knowingly, maliciously and SELECTIVELY prosecuted them without probable cause. The fact that he failed to imprison them was irrelevant. What he did to them was bad enough to warrant severe disciplinary action, acknowledgement to morally bankrupt Duke President Richard Brodhead.

And, I say again, the misconduct of other prosecutors in other, unrelated cases, has no bearing on whether or not Nifong should regain his law license. Can you make a case for Nifong based only on his performance as a lawyer and a prosecutor?

I believe Nifong can not. There is a lawsuit pending against him which, if nothing else, is his chance to prove himself innocent, his chance to prove himself in open court to have been decent and honorable during the Lacrosse prosecution. He is trying to avoid open court and avoid having to testify under oath.

unbekannte said...

I may have agreed that Nifong was prosecuted and other prosecutors were not. I have never said that the actions of other prosecutors were more egregious than Nifong's actions. I have said that Nifong's actions were so gross, so out of line that they demanded action on the part of the North Carolina Bar. If you continue to maintain Nifong was selectively prosecuted because he prosecuted well off white males who were accused of rape by a poor black woman, you are just blind and biased.

Did it ever occur to you that a State Bar does not simply prosecute an Attorney for ethics violations. Someone has to formally file a complaint against the attorney with the State Bar Grievance Committee. In the attempted Duke Rape frame up, I imagine the Lacrosse players' attorneys filed the grievance, based on the fact that Nifong was knowingly prosecuting their clients for a crime which never happened, SELECTIVELY prosecuting their clients based on their race and class. By that time, the case had drawn so much adverse publicity to North Carolina and its legal system, publicity unleashed by Nifong's 50+ interviews with the media at the start of the case, the Bar was forced to act. I say again, the scope of Nifong's misconduct was laid bare in open court.

So you see, Justice4Nifong, Nifong brought this all down upon himself.

unbekannte said...

The initial publicity on the case came from Nifong. Nifong, by his own admission, gave more than 50 interviews to the media, print or otherwise. The gist of Nifong's statements was, CGM had been raped, the rape was racially motivated, Duke Lacrosse players were the perpetrators, and the Duke Lacrosse team was stonewalling the investigation. All this came before there was any hard evidence one way or the other about the case. Other publicity came from the Duke University leadership, the Duke Faculty gang of 88, the potbangers, the New black panthers, the NC NAACP, all of it hostile to the Lacrosse team, all of it presumptive of guilt, and Nifong did nothing to curb it.

The case was big in the public consciousness when facts came out and before anyone alleged any misconduct on Nifong's part. When those facts came out, the public, not only in North Carolina but in the entire USA saw something terribly wrong with Nifong and with his case.

Nifong proclaimed loud and long that DNA evidence would make or break the case, identify the guilty, exonerate the innocent. Results from the State crime lab indicated no rape had taken place. Nifong then proclaimed the DNA was irrelevant. He proclaimed that the guilty, using methods they had learned from CSI, had obliterated the DNA evidence. Nifong then got identification of suspects from CGM. He got indictments of the three and had them arrested and charged. What came out subsequently was the lineup procedure was tainted. The police showed CGM pictures of the Lacrosse team and told her to pick out the three who had attacked her. Prior to that tainted lineup, CGM had been unable to firmly identify any Lacrosse player as an attacker.

Nifong had Brian Meehan's DNA Security do more sophisticated testing on the rape kit material, which had been taken from CGM shortly after the alleged rape. The result, as we all know, was that no DNA from any Lacrosse player was found, but DNA from multiple unidentified males was found on CGM's person. The twofold significance was: 1) if there had been a rape the perpetrators had to be males other than the Lacrosse players; 2) it was impossible that anyone had done anything to CGM prior to the taking of the rape kit to remove DNA evidence. Nifong was obliged by NC law and the US Constitution to turn this evidence over to the defense. It came out in open court, prior to his ethics trial, that he deliberately did not do so and that he lied about the evidence.

This is by no means an exhaustive review of the case. Nifong's violations are obvious. Nifong himself was the source of all the publicity that made it impossible for the North Carolina State Bar to ignore his violations. If he was selectively prosecuted, it was SELF selection.

Nifong, himself, prepared the juices in which he ultimately stewed.

JSwift said...

I agree that Nifong has been selectively punished.

I find it appalling that other prosecutors have faced no punishment for their misconduct. The failure to punish these prosecutors likely encouraged Nifong. Nifong and others acted openly and brazenly—as though they had no fear of the consequences of being caught. They actively sought publicity even while they deliberately framed three young men for a crime that never occurred.

I wish that we could go back in time and properly punish others guilty of abusing their authority. This may not be possible. If not, Nifong’s punishment should serve as a warning to others that misconduct, tolerated for far too long, will no longer be accepted. Justice4nifong’s proposal serves only to eliminate all standards.

Nifong’s selective punishment can, however, be addressed and remedied in other respects.

Mr. Nifong could not have carried out this “fiasco” without help from others, including his investigator and others in his office and, most importantly, officers in the DPD. This prosecution was a deliberate frame of three young men for a crime that Nifong and the DPD knew had never occurred.

Yet only Nifong has been punished.

Nifong’s disbarment hearing and contempt trial were focused only on Nifong’s misconduct. These proceedings avoided all questions regarding the actions of others. I call for a criminal investigation of the actions of the police and prosecution in this case. Nifong, Gottlieb, Himan and all others responsible should face the consequences of their actions. They should go to jail if they committed crimes.

The assertion by the City of Durham that any errors were all Nifong’s fault is utterly preposterous. Its claim that the DPD was conducting a “good investigation” before Nifong became involved on March 24 is demonstrably false. The “investigation” was already seriously off-track before Nifong was given control.

The DPD investigation violated departmental guidelines and procedures. Virtually every step of this investigation was deeply flawed. The DPD repeatedly failed to interview witnesses, investigate available evidence, re-interview witnesses when their statements were contradicted by evidence, and, most importantly, make any attempt to reconcile the many versions of the accuser’s story or to challenge her when her accusation was contradicted by all other evidence. The DPD ignored, avoided and ultimately hid exculpatory evidence. They allegedly attempted to create evidence by filing inaccurate affidavits and reports, providing false and misleading testimony before the grand jury, and intimidating and influencing witnesses. Members of the DPD apparently violated policy with their inflammatory public statements, the method in which they conducted lineups, and their failure to maintain a contemporaneous record of their activities.

This deeply flawed investigation demonstrated a complete failure in the DPD chain of command. Senior DPD officers apparently either failed to supervise the investigation or failed themselves to follow standard procedure.

Information available in media reports and in defense filings showed a case that had no substance and had fallen apart. In spite of these obvious problems, the chain of command took no apparent action. They either failed to step in to review the investigation or demonstrated an utter inability to comprehend its failure.

This breakdown in the chain of command continued long after the case had fallen apart. In January, after Nifong’s agreement to hide exculpatory evidence had triggered the Bar complaint and his recusal, DPD Deputy Police Chief Ronald Hodge expressed the view that the case would move forward and proceed to trial. I paraphrase Investigator Himan: With what?

In May, in an attempt to salvage his widely discredited report, DPD Police Chief Chalmers made the incredible claim that “at the time we did go to the grand jury, Mangum’s accounts were consistent.” Chalmers' claim is patently false. This report has been shown to be a transparent attempt to shift blame from the DPD to other parties.

Justice4nifong, given your criticism of the selective punishment meted out to Nifong, I welcome your support in the call for this investigation. All those guilty should be punished.

Justice4Jack said...

I will be calling for a Federal Investigation into ALL of Durham's governmental agencies, and want nothing but COMPLETE disclosure, and all of the rats run out of town on a rail with a ticket straight to Federal Prison for their crimes in office that are most definitely Human Rights violations! No, Fong was not the lone rogue, but he is knee deep in the same "bull" the rest of Durham's posse is, and is true that none of them are above the law, and use it only for their own personal and political agendas.
Rhonda Fleming
Cleveland, Ohio
Sister of Allen J Croft Jr
Murdered In Durham May 11, 2005