Monday, September 14, 2009 has been set for Committee on Justice for Mike Nifong Lay Advocate Sidney Harr to guest on the “Bill LuMaye Show” on talk radio WPTF – 680 AM. Although he is currently scheduled to guest beginning in the four o’clock time slot, efforts are being made to get the North Carolina State Bar to also participate, which could garner an extra hour, beginning at 3 pm. It is best to tune in at 3:00 pm, in the event the entire show is devoted to the unjust and selective disbarment of Mike Nifong.
The timing of the program comes earlier in the week in which another prosecutor, Gregory C. Butler of Johnston County, finds himself in the crosshairs of the State Bar. A rare event (a grievance complaint against a prosecutor), Mr. Butler is being charged with withholding evidence from the defense team of Tiffany Bassett, a defendant who later pled guilty to the second degree murder of her boyfriend. This case against Butler, from a review of the complaint and its response, seems to be totally without merit. Even the defense attorney and the seated judge both feel the accusations lodged by the State Bar are unwarranted.
It is ridiculous that the North Carolina State Bar would elect to bypass the egregious misconduct of Prosecutor Bill Wolfe (James Arthur Johnson case) which resulted in a gross miscarriage of justice as Johnson served 39 months in jail without a trial on charges of murder, rape, kidnapping, and armed robbery (all which were later dropped), and set its sights on Prosecutor Butler in a case in which justice was not denied, but may have possibly been delayed for six months.
The Bar’s Grievance hearing against Gregory Butler, scheduled for 10:00 am on Monday, September 14th, on the third floor courtroom of the Wake County Courthouse, promises to be very interesting. I cannot imagine that he could possibly be disbarred on such a flimsy case, but then anything is possible with the State Bar. The case against former Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong was just as shaky as the one against Butler, and yet Mr. Nifong was disbarred… the only prosecutor to be disbarred by the North Carolina State Bar since its inception in 1933. One prosecutor disbarred in 76 years, this despite the fact that North Carolina follows only the states of Illinois and Louisiana in the number of death-row inmates to be eventually exonerated (most, if not all, convicted due to some sort of prosecutorial misconduct).
When prosecutors David Hoke and Debra Graves withheld exculpatory evidence which exonerated defendant Alan Gell in the commission of a murder, a gross miscarriage of justice incurred, as Mr. Gell spent nine years in prison, half on death row. Justice was definitely denied. Yet, when the State Bar held a disciplinary hearing for them, they received only a written reprimand, as their adjudicators decided that the egregious actions of Hoke and Graves were “unintentional.” The defendants prosecuted by disbarred Mike Nifong, on the other hand, spent no time in jail, received $7 million each in an out of court settlement with Duke University, and were proclaimed “innocent” by the Attorney General Roy Cooper. Even the defendant prosecuted by Butler was not inconvenienced or subjected to an injustice.
The North Carolina State Bar, by its arbitrary and senseless actions, has demonstrated that this unregulated state agency, which has no accountability, is out of control. The justice system of the state, and therefore all Tar Heel residents, is at the mercy of this mysterious and secretive group. Regrettably, the state General Assembly has just passed into law a bill (H. B. 360) that allows this agency to borrow money for the enrichment of the Bar elite at taxpayer expense. It is understandable that legislators, the majority of whom have law licenses, are not confrontational when it comes to legislation that benefits the State Bar, the agency empowered to disbar (without reason or rationale).
Although the Committee on Justice for Mike Nifong hopes that the North Carolina State Bar will participate in the September 14th Bill LuMaye program, we believe that such a prospect is not very likely. But then, how can you blame the Bar for not being willing to defend its actions against Mike Nifong when those actions were unethical and are indefensible. The Lay Advocate promises to take on all issues and questions related to Mr. Nifong’s disbarment head-on. Don’t miss the show.
Also, the finishing touches are being applied to the latest episode (Episode IV) of “The MisAdventures of Super-Duper Cooper,” so check the website www.justice4nifong.com for a sneak preview, to be posted the first part of September. Episode IV’s Part 1 (of 4) will be posted later in the month of September, or in early October.