Another wcbstv.com online article, this one titled: “Ousted DA Nifong’s Past Convictions May Appeal,” is totally misleading and prejudicial. It is yet another arrow from the quiver of a biased media agenda to destroy former Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong by misleading the malleable media consumer with outrageous lies and innuendos. Another headline patent made for pulling the wool over the eyes… another Jedi mind-trick. This ridiculous headline infers that Mike Nifong’s actions in handling the Duke Lacrosse case were not only far outside the bounds of acceptable prosecutorial practice, but that his past convictions were won using unacceptable practices. What’s worse is that it states that those who were convicted by Mike Nifong in the past are entitled to an appeal. How absurd. Again the media insults the intelligence of those who no better, while misleading those who don’t.
Steve Cron, a defense lawyer from Santa Monica, California, stated: "But his behavior in this case was so outrageous and so beyond what's required of an ethical prosecutor that everyone's going to start going back and looking." Please give me a break. Mr. Nifong acted well within accepted standards of prosecutors within the state. Mr. Cron did not mention what Mr. Nifong did that was so “outrageous.” Mr. Nifong did not withhold evidence from the defense attorneys, like prosecutor David Hoke did in winning a wrongful conviction against Alan Gell, or like prosecutor Tom Ford did in winning a wrongful conviction against Greg Taylor, or like Jim Hardin did in winning a conviction against Michael Peterson and depriving him of a fair trial. Furthermore, Mr. Nifong did not lie to the court, as the court would want everyone to believe. The court purposely misinterpreted Mr. Nifong’s statements in order to levy the cockamamie charge against him… then, used it as a basis for a contempt of court charge and a 24 jail sentence. This chain of events is totally mind boggling. Statements Mr. Nifong made to the press, which defense attorneys labeled as so prejudicial and inflammatory, were made prior to indictments being handed down. They were mild, and made for the purpose of encouraging party-goers to break from the “athletic no-snitch rule” and give truthful honest statements about what transpired during the party.
The headline is, in fact, cruel in giving false hope to those convicted under prosecutor Nifong, and it encourages those convicted by Nifong to entertain the possibility of seeking an appeal. Worst of all, the headline suggests that others convicted by Mr. Nifong were victimized by his inherent prosecutorial misconduct. The article presents nothing to substantiate its reckless, illogical, and biased headline.
If one wants to investigate past cases, then I would strongly recommend looking into convictions won by Wake prosecutor Tom Ford. His conviction of an innocent man, Gregory Taylor, should be overturned by the three judge panel at its hearing which begins on February 9, 2010. The vendetta prosecution by Ford was made against Mr. Taylor because Taylor refused to wrongfully implicate another innocent man (Johnny Beck) in a murder. Ford offered Taylor a reduced sentence if only he would implicate Beck, an African American male. When Taylor refused, he was sentenced to life in prison for a murder he did not commit. And Ford won a conviction against Greg Taylor on the testimony of two witnesses… a prostitute and a jailhouse snitch. Both had received deals, similar to the one Ford offered Taylor… testimony Ford wanted them to give in exchange for a reduction in their sentences. It was an offer which they could not refuse, because they did not have the moral values of Greg Taylor. And, it was an offer that Prosecutor Tom Ford withheld from Greg Taylor’s defense team, in violation of ethical rules.
Rather than do the right thing and get the conviction overturned, Wake District Attorney Colon Willoughby is fighting to keep an innocent man in jail in order to protect his prosecutor, Tom Ford, from complaints of prosecutorial misconduct.
From the prosecution of Gregory Taylor in 1993, Tom Ford displayed a propensity of winning convictions by making deals in exchange for testimony to suit his agenda. This type of conduct by a prosecutor is frightening, and leads one to question the testimony used by Ford to convict others in the seventeen years since. If past cases should be examined for prosecutorial misconduct in hopes of establishing grounds for appeals, then Wake Prosecutor Tom Ford is the ideal prosecutor with which to begin investigating. They should scrutinize whether backroom deals were made with witnesses in exchange for a favor from Ford, and whether the knowledge of such deals was withheld from the defense team.
Don’t expect the media to advocate such a position, however, because it operates under the PAPEN (Protect All Prosecutors Except Nifong) policy. The media wants to stir the public and those convicted under Nifong into a frenzy against a prosecutor (Nifong) who acted well within acceptable standards, yet tiptoe around the minefield of misdeeds of the truly unethical prosecutors and shield their wrongdoings from the public. This is indeed a pathetic situation.