The past month I have been hard at work on the “Super-Duper Cooper” comic strip’s Episode III, which I have just completed. The genre of the comic strip, I believe, is a very important and effective vehicle for which to present issues and cases of North Carolina justice to the public. Therefore, I put a lot of effort into producing them, and consequently it is very time consuming. Episode III will be posted on the “justice4nifong.com” web site beginning the first Sunday in May, with Parts 2 through 4 being posted on subsequent Sundays in May.
While taking a break before beginning work on Episode IV, I will now try to update the web site and publish a few more blogs.
I would like to thank all of the individuals who have taken time to make comments to the blog, as I value all opinions, even those which are not in agreement with ours. Recently we received a comment from “Justice 58” who felt that the blog site should be devoted to going after all prosecutors who have committed misconduct rather than just focusing on restoring Mike Nifong’s license to practice law. This is not an uncommon sentiment, but there are many salient reasons why we chose reinstating Mike Nifong’s law license as our primary and sole goal. Restoring Mr. Nifong’s law license is: (1) practical, (2) symbolic, (3) it is a just cause, and (4) it is achievable.
Although the Committee on Justice for Mike Nifong believes that other prosecutors are guilty of far more egregious behavior than what Mr. Nifong is alleged to have committed, the State Bar and the attorney general of North Carolina have made it perfectly clear that they will not punish, or sanction, or disbar a prosecutor who abides by the state’s tenet of selective justice based on Class and Color. We have made attempts to see that justice is done by filing complaints with the State Bar against prosecutors Jim Hardin and Freda Black (for withholding exculpatory evidence from defense attorneys in the Michael Peterson case), as well as defense attorney Johnny Gaskins (who violated attorney-client privilege against his former client James Arthur Johnson). There are many prosecutors (Michael Parker, Bill Wolfe, David Hoke, Debra Graves, Ken Honeycutt, and others) who have committed prosecutorial misconduct that has been responsible for winning convictions against innocent people, but the State Bar and Attorney General Roy Cooper have made it clear that they lack the will to investigate or discipline them. Therefore, it is impractical for our Committee to pursue a course of trying to see that they are punished to a degree similar to what Mr. Nifong faced.
Like it or not, Mike Nifong has come to represent “prosecutorial misconduct” not only in the state of North Carolina, but throughout the country. This reputation was conferred upon him because of the unjust treatment he received (including being the only prosecutor ever to be disbarred by the NC State Bar since its inception), as well as the uneven and unfair coverage of the Duke Lacrosse case and its aftermath by the biased media. As ridiculous as it seems, North Carolina is subsequently cast as taking responsibility for severely disciplining its prosecutors who do not act as “ministers of justice.” Nothing could actually be further from the truth, for Mr. Nifong was acting well within the standards practiced by other prosecutors in the state, while others, who spat in the face of justice and soiled their robes as ministers of justice, received a pass by the State Bar. Therefore, it is extremely important that Mike Nifong be reinstated in order to tear down the myths of: (1) Mr. Nifong being representative of the worst example of prosecutorial misconduct in history, and (2) North Carolina holding its prosecutors to the highest standards by strictly enforcing disciplinary action against those prosecutors who engage in misconduct.
A JUST CAUSE
The case for reinstating Mr. Nifong’s license is justified and well documented. The state of North Carolina subjected Mr. Nifong to extreme and excessive persecution and prosecution for his actions in the Duke Lacrosse case… actions which were far less egregious than those by other prosecutors. Other prosecutors have withheld crucial exculpatory evidence (including the existence of a murder weapon) from the defense attorneys, destroyed material evidence requested by defense attorneys, manufactured false confessions, enlisted “eyewitnesses” to testify who they knew to be fraudulent, and conspired to assault and bring false charges against an inmate. Attorney General Roy Cooper did not merely overlook these abominable actions, but went to extreme lengths to defend them. Meanwhile, the biased media has defined, for the mindless multitude, Mr. Nifong as being the singularly most vile and despicable prosecutor to ever serve the state of North Carolina. Mr. Nifong’s alleged misconduct: withholding extraneous, irrelevant information about unidentified DNA from defense attorneys – information which was of no value to the Duke defendants. Furthermore, the injustice suffered by defendants of other prosecutors was far more severe (including years wrongfully incarcerated, some on death row) than any injustice Mr. Nifong’s defendants may have endured (they served no time in jail, received seven million dollars each from Duke University, and were proclaimed “innocent” by the attorney general).
The goal of the Committee on Justice for Mike Nifong is to persuade the North Carolina State Bar to unilaterally and unconditionally reinstate Mr. Nifong’s license to practice law in the state of North Carolina without restrictions. That is a goal which is well defined, supported by justice, and within reach. What is ultimately taking place is a battle between the combined power and wealth of the state of North Carolina and the wealthy and privileged families of the Duke Lacrosse defendants, versus justice, which is steadfastly embedded in Mike Nifong’s camp. The state hopes to prevail by using their overwhelming wealth and power to wear down the forces of justice, not by arguing the merits of their position. That is because the state’s position with regards to the disbarment of Mr. Nifong is without merit. The Committee on Justice for Mike Nifong is committed to presenting its argument that Mr. Nifong’s law license should be reinstated, and it will pursue that goal until it is finally achieved. Getting there is possible, but it is not going to be easy.
The Committee on Justice for Mike Nifong is aware that prosecutorial misconduct was prevalent in the past, exists now, and will continue to exist into the future despite efforts to curb it. Symbolically, Mr. Nifong has been saddled by the state and biased media with being the sole cause of the Tar Heel state’s prosecutorial problems of misconduct and injustice. The gross injustice and mistreatment that Mr. Nifong and his family have sustained can best be rectified by the reinstatement of his law license… a goal that is going to be difficult for us to reach, but is definitely within our grasp.