With each new year comes new promise, and I am hopeful that the Committee on Justice for Mike Nifong's dreams for significant and positive changes come true during 2009. Our 2009 wish list for the North Carolina criminal justice system would include the following:
· The state comes to its senses and, without condition, re-instates the law license, without restrictions, of Mike Nifong. This is the only fair and just option when one considers that: (1) Mr. Nifong is the only prosecutor to be disbarred by the State Bar since its inception, (2)that his hearing before the bar was marred by conflict of interest and pre-hearing statements, and (3) that the charges for which he was disbarred (withholding non-exculpatory, extraneous, irrelevant DNA evidence from the defense team) was far less egregious than actions committed by other prosecutors (including withholding exculpatory evidence, fabricating crucial evidence, and destroying material evidence).
· Fair and just resolution of the state’s fiasco of a case against James Arthur Johnson, the hero in solving the murder of Wilson teen Brittany Willis. Such a resolution would include: (1) the immediate dismissal of the bogus “accessory after the fact” charge, (2) payment of the $20,000.00 reward which he earned for solving the crime, (3) a proclamation of “innocent” by the governor, and (4) the payment of the measly compensation of $20,000.00/year of wrongful incarceration.
· The proclamation of “innocent” and the compensatory payment for the wrongful incarceration of Erick Daniels, who, as a middle school student was unjustly convicted of armed robbery based solely on the shape of his eyebrows by the victim/witness.
· The release from jail of Alan Gell, who was incarcerated by a vindictive justice system on a cockamamie and convoluted charge (cooked up by a district attorney) that defies all logic.
· That novelist Michael Peterson be given a new trial (or that murder charges against him be dropped), based on the recent revelation that exculpatory evidence (the existence and test results of a possible murder weapon) was withheld by state prosecutors from Mr. Peterson’s defense team.
· That state-wide media frees itself from the tethers of the NC Attorney General’s Office and all state prosecutors, and begins to report fairly and without bias. Giving coverage to criminal justice stories that merit the attention of the public would be a refreshing and welcomed change, indeed.
There are many other justice issues we would like to see become a reality in North Carolina, but the six referenced above are those to which we give the highest priority.
We, the Committee on Justice for Mike Nifong, are not going to just wish for the aforementioned changes, but we are going to work for them throughout 2009, and beyond.
Here’s wishing all readers of this blog the very best in 2009. May it be one of good health and happiness for you and your family.
- Committee on Justice for Mike Nifong