There aren’t many divisive issues on which the Washington Post and Washington Times fully agree. But in a stunning editorial in today’s paper, the Post demands that Nifong drop all charges and accuses him of prosecutorial misconduct.
The editorial, thoughtfully, plays off a quote from former Attorney General and Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson:
The prosecutor has more control over life, liberty and reputation than any other person in
. His discretion is tremendous. He can have citizens investigated, and, if he is that kind of person, he can have this done to the tune of public statements and veiled or unveiled intimations. America
These words, the editors realize, “ring disturbingly true today” about Nifong’s conduct. “It’s been clear for months that Mr. Nifong’s case—to the extent he has a case—is riddled with flaws that raise serious questions about his motives and ethics.” (It would have been nice to have heard from the Post on this score before the election.) As have many editorial boards, the Post seizes upon the investigation’s most serious procedural violation—the “shockingly shoddy,” no-wrong-choices lineup. And the editors make clear they don’t buy Nifong’s excuse that his refusal to turn over the exculpatory DNA evidence was an innocent oversight.
More broadly, the Post correctly observes that Nifong “badly misconceives his job as a prosecutor, which is not simply to robotically prosecute claims or seek a conviction at all costs but to make an independent analysis of whether justice would be served by continuing with the case.”
With the voices of the Capitol’s left and right speaking as one, AG Gonzales has more than enough political cover to launch a federal investigation into Nifong’s misconduct.