The anti-Nifong biased media is at it again, with an entry in the “Up-and-comers in ’09” article in today’s News & Observer newspaper. Authored by staff writer Anne Blythe, it alludes to former Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong’s tenure at that position as “the stormy days of the Mike Nifong era,” and she infers that as district attorney, Mr. Nifong’s approach was not “even-keeled.”
What constituted the “stormy days” of his era other than the media-propelled Duke Lacrosse case? The media, working with State Attorney General Roy Cooper, the North Carolina State Bar, Duke University, and families of the Duke Lacrosse case defendants, whipped up the furor that turned a zephyr into a hurricane. And it is not only to the detriment of Lady Justice, but to Duke University and the city of Durham itself. Duke, the State Bar, and the media try to blame Mr. Nifong for the slew of lawsuits currently pending against the city and the university, but they are at fault for undermining the work of a rare prosecutor with integrity who would not follow the directives of the powerful university or other state officials.
Duke University, by caving into the outrageous demands of the Lacrosse defendants and settling with them for multiple millions of dollars without putting up a fight, and the persecutorial and prosecutorial onslaught against Mr. Nifong by the state, itself, as well as the sympathetic media coverage of the three defendants, laid the groundwork for the legal turmoil that will envelop the Raleigh-Durham area for some time to come.
The carpetbagger families of the three Duke Lacrosse defendants have already cost the cash-strapped city of Durham more than a million dollars of taxpayer money in preparing a legal defense and the avaricious litigants are seeking to extract at least thirty million. Money that is desperately needed for Durham’s programs (including funds needed to improve the probation system).
According to staff writer Blythe, public scrutiny is on for the new Durham district attorney, Tracey Cline, presumably due to the Duke Lacrosse case. Well, how about some scrutiny for Wilson District Attorney Howard S. Boney, Jr. who’s prosecutorial missteps racially divided a city; held a hero in jail for 39 months; attempted to introduce two bogus eyewitnesses (both with connections to the Wilson police department) against an innocent man (James Arthur Johnson); worked with the family and friends of Brittany Willis to renege on the $20,000.00 reward with Mr. Johnson earned; conspired with Forsyth County District Attorney Thomas Keith to have Assistant District Attorney Belinda Foster (as a special prosecutor) drop charges of murder, kidnapping, rape, and armed robbery against Johnson (which they knew that they could not prove) and instead bring the charge of “accessory after the fact” against Johnson (for wiping fingerprints [which played no role in the conviction of the murderer] from the victim’s car); and is working with current private sector special prosecutor W. David McFadyen (at extra taxpayer expense) and Superior Court Judge Milton F. Fitch (who refused a defense motion for a change of venue and has expressed his wish to hear the case) to win a conviction against a young man who, is by all accounts, a person who had never been in trouble with the law, had no prior criminal record, and who was planning to attend college on a soccer scholarship. The label of being a convicted felon will follow Johnson (if convicted) the rest of his life, but the Wilson district attorney has no qualms about ruining the life of a young African American lad in order to protect his prosecutor from being disciplined by the State Bar for prosecutorial misconduct (something that will never happen).
The media, including the News & Observer, is doing its part to protect Wilson prosecutor Bill Wolfe, by keeping the public ignorant about crucial events taking place in Wilson regarding the case against Johnson. Instead, the media wants the public to place its attention on Durham District Attorney Tracey Cline, who I believe is the only African American district attorney in the state of North Carolina.
It looks like in 2009 the News & Observer will continue its course of supporting the current tenet of North Carolina’s justice system – “selective justice based on Class and Color,” by refusing to report on stories that are favorable to the only prosecutor to be disbarred by the NC State Bar, Mr. Nifong. Like most of the media, it wants to keep the public ignorant about misdeeds and malfeasants of other district attorneys by refusing to publish articles, such as the complaint filed against James “Jim” Hardin and Freda Black for withholding exculpatory evidence from the defense attorneys of novelist Michael Peterson, and activities occurring in Stanly County by District Attorney Michael Parker against defendant Theodore Jerry Williams.
Unfortunately, public scrutiny is, in large measure, determined by the media. The stories upon which the media chooses to focus are, very often, to the detriment of the public which it serves.