I would like to challenge all of former Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong detractors (especially Walt-in-Durham, JSwift, William Anderson, K. C. Johnson, Durham Dad, Rhonda, and other blog commenters) to answer one simple question, which follows: “Who is more deserving of disbarment… Mike Nifong for his handling of the Duke Lacrosse case, or David Hoke for his handling of the Alan Gell case?” This is an either/or question. Responses such as “both” or “they are equally” are not acceptable. No straddling the fence, as I ask you to respond with either the name “Nifong” or “Hoke.” If you respond “Hoke,” then no explanation is necessary as it is obviously the sensible response. However, if you reply “Nifong,” then I would request that you supply accompanying dialog in support of your answer.
Now I am aware that this is difficult for the anti-Nifong throng to do, because to answer “Nifong” would bring their common sense and reasoning ability into question. However, to answer logically by saying “Hoke,” would give credence to the position that the unregulated North Carolina State Bar acted selectively and unjustly in disbarring Mike Nifong while giving David Hoke a gentle slap on the wrist. This question represents the biggest conundrum for the anti-Nifong throng… how do you explain it? I am looking forward to the responses.
In the event memories of the Alan Gell case have faded, or been subconsciously blocked out, let me refresh them as succinctly as possible. Prosecutor David Hoke, in seeking a first degree murder charge against Alan Gell, withheld exculpatory evidence from the Gell defense team. The evidence withheld included 17 independent eyewitness statements from individuals who had seen the murder victim alive after Mr. Gell had been incarcerated. He, in fact, was behind bars when the murder for which he was convicted took place. Additional evidence withheld consisted of a wire-tapped phone conversation from the star witness for the prosecution in which she stated that she had to make up a story (implicating Gell) for the investigators. Mr. Gell languished in prison for nine year, more than half on death row, before these facts came forth. Gell’s conviction was set aside, and the Attorney General’s Office, in light of the new evidence, disregarded its role as a “minister of justice” and proceeded to retry him. With the previously withheld exculpatory evidence now in play, the jury immediately found in favor of Mr. Gell’s innocence at his retrial. In this case justice was definitely denied, as an innocent man was sentenced to death (and spent more than nine years wrongfully imprisoned) by a prosecutor (David Hoke) who knew, or should have known, that the defendant had to be innocent.
A refresher about the Duke Lacrosse case: The Duke University lacrosse team had a history of bad behavior, including hosting raucous parties, and disorderly conduct. In fact, the 2006 team had nearly of third of its 47 member roster charged with criminal activities (mainly drunken and disorderly conduct, and public urination). Duke had a “fixer” on hand to smooth over the criminal misdeeds of its students, so that the criminal activities of these students were routinely swept under the rug and kept out of the media. The president of the university even warned the lacrosse coach, Mike Pressler, to rein in his unruly players. In March 2006, hosting a Spring Break party, a Duke lacrosse player used false pretenses to schedule two exotic dancers (strippers) to perform. He used an alias, and told the escort service that the request was for a small bachelor party of four or five (when he knew that more than 40 guests were expected at the beer-guzzling extravaganza). When two African American dancers showed up at the event, despite the request for two white dancers, the party-goers paid each $400.00 in expectation of a two hour performance. Because of sexual degrading, lewd, and vulgar trash talk directed at the dancers, they quit within minutes of their routine and exited to the bathroom. What transpired next is subject to debate. One African American dancer stated that she was sexually abused by several party-goers within the bathroom, and the money paid for her services was stolen from her. The party-goers, on the other hand, say nothing happened, and deny taking back the payment they had made earlier. Upon leaving the house on Buchanan Street, neighbors state that the party-goers hurled racial slurs and epithets at the retreating females. When Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong heard of the incident, he was appalled and outraged at the alleged gang-like sexual abuse coupled with the ugly racial component involved, so he took the lead in the prosecution of the case. Because of Mike Nifong’s independence (comparable to that of Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Beckett in defying England’s King Henry II) and his unwillingness to allow the case to be customarily hushed up with charges dropped, the state powers-that-be had the North Carolina State Bar file an ethics complaint against Mr. Nifong in order to force him off the case. The basis for the Bar’s complaint, as accurately observed by Miami attorney Kendall Coffey, was that Mr. Nifong failed to “promptly disclose DNA” results to the defense team. Being a prosecutor with integrity and having a stellar 27 year reputation, Mr. Nifong turned the case over to the Attorney General’s Office, which then set about to persecute and destroy Mr. Nifong (not unlike what happened to Beckett). Mr. Nifong was disbarred, sentenced to serve 24 hours in jail, denied absolute immunity, and an attempt was made to bring federal criminal charges against him. The purpose of the actions against Mr. Nifong were to set an example to other prosecutors who do not follow the state’s tenet of “selective justice based on Class and Color,” and to quench the blood thirsty vengeance of the vindictive and avaricious carpetbagger families of the Duke Lacrosse defendants. Unlike Alan Gell, the Duke Lacrosse defendants spent no time in jail, received $7 million each from Duke University, and were proclaimed “innocent” before a national audience by Attorney General Roy Cooper; a promulgation which was given credence by the media and went unquestioned, even though the attorney general is part of the executive branch of government, and not judicial.
This simple question of “who is more deserving of disbarment… Hoke or Nifong” is one that people in politics, media, and legal arenas refuse at address, and those who do respond do so only on the condition that their response is strictly “off record.”
I have just completed programming my questionnaire for posting online on our website: www.justice4nifong.com. I hope that everyone will take the time to participate, especially the anti-Nifong throng. Taking the survey, with an open and fair mind, should enlighten the test-taker and give new insight into the Duke Lacrosse case and its prosecutor, Mike Nifong.