Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Mike Nifong, "Public" Servant

Only in Durham is the swearing-in of a public official not open to the public.

This morning, Mike Nifong was sworn in at 8am for a four-year term as Durham County's "minister of justice." Present for the event was his wife, Cy Gurney, and their son.

The public, including the media, were not allowed into the courtoom until 8.30am. By then, the ceremony was over. N&O staff photographer Shawn Rocco was able to get a picture of Nifong skulking in the background.

All this from the man who once ridiculed defense attorneys as "poultry" and a "bunch of chickens."

A few months ago, Ruth Sheehan jokingly referred to the city as the "People's Republic of Durham." This type of behavior is reminiscent of the "peoples' democracies" at their worst.

38 comments:

bill anderson said...

So, Nifong continues with his in-your-face deceptions and lies. Just more grist for the Bar mill.

GPrestonian said...

No word on who administered the oath?

I can't get the thought/image of Adolf & Eva getting married while Berlin burned out of my mind...

Victim in Massachusetts said...

The swearing in was closed off to the public? Only in Durham is correct. Nifong just could not face any of the people that he walked on in order to keep his job. Now I have heard everything.

Anonymous said...

KC,
Charlotte Observer editorial calls for Nifungu to be removed from case, 1/2/07.
Kemp

GPrestonian said...

What should have been a happy event for Nifong, a crowning achievment in his career, is instead hidden in the darkness in sordid secrecy.

What a sad little man he is.

Anonymous said...

Only in Liberia ?

Wilt

gs said...

Liesttopers say:

Senior Resident Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson

did the "Honors"

Interestingly most accounts do not metion him.

GPrestonian said...

Just saw that, gs. A little more from LieStoppers:

"In a private ceremony attended by his wife, his son and some members of his staff, District Attorney Mike Nifong was sworn in by Senior Resident Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson this morning. The press and the public were locked out of the courthouse while the ceremony took place. The excuse given at the courthouse door was that a scheduling errror prevented public access to the courthouse which does not open until 8:30AM, while the swearing-in was scheduled for 8:00AM.

Curiously, last months's swearing-in of Clerk of the Court, Archie Smith was open to the press and the public despite also taking place at 8:00AM (Monday December 4, 2006). After Nifong took his oath of office, the press was allowed access to the courtroom although it was not yet 8:30AM.
"

Curiously... ;>)

Chicago said...

Truthfully, it is a compelte embarrassment and disgrace to both Durham and Nifong that a DA does not have the balls to be publically sworn in. If a DA can not be sworn in while in public out of shame, what other things does he do behind closed doors out of shame?

Bill, KC, ANYONE...can ANYONE ever in the history of man think of a swearing in ceremony in which the doors were closed to the public?

Anonymous said...

It must have been a most memorable event for Judge Orlando Hudson?

Chicago said...

I hope they washed off that Bible when Nifong got done with it. If in fact he even swore on the Bible.

Anonymous said...

The people of NC should lobby their legislature to enact laws that would prohibit such a travesty from happening again. That there is no apparatus for removing Nifong or preventing his taking the oath of office is simply unbelievable. It would not surprise me that now that he is sworn into office, NC will invent yet another reason why he cannot be removed. You have to admit that the State seems to come up with a new rule everytime there seeems to be a logical way to remove this criminal from office. All we have to do is look at the situation with the NC Speaker of the House to see that the State has a very high threshold for criminal activity among their leadership. NC the world is watching.

Anonymous said...

I just hope the fongs perp walk is public. I wonder if he will smirk?

QuadDog

GPrestonian said...

Chicago:

Someone, I think on FR, suggested that a penatgram & book of satan would be used. ;>)

Judge Hudson's 'Senior' title suggested that he's at the end of his career and not likely to be standing for reelection?

Anonymous said...

I suppose one reality could be;Nobody accepted the Fongs invites to the party?

Wilt

GPrestonian said...

10:01 QuadDog:

"That there is no apparatus for removing Nifong or preventing his taking the oath of office is simply unbelievable."

Nifong can be removed, at least from the case. Removal from office will take a while longer.

Taking the oath? Well, we do have those concepts of 'innocent until proven guilty' & 'due process' that we seem to think are important - around here, anyway.

GPrestonian said...

'scuse, my 10:11am was meant for 10:00am Anon, QuadDog!

Interesting, I thought for sure that Victoria would be there!

Chicago said...

Nifong will justify swearing on the Bible by saying he had his fingers crossed.

Seriously, I can not think of any ceremony where a public servant was not sworn into office with out the public welcome.

Anonymous said...

Is it being suggested that when Nifong is indicted he may still be able to hold onto office?

There must be a mechanism (impeachment) in NC

GPrestonian said...

On the spot report from Jon Ham:

Nifong has private ceremony, no media allowed

"Durham DA Mike Nifong was indeed sworn in this morning at 8 a.m. in the Durham Judicial Building. The only problem is the building does not open to the public until 8:30 a.m. Consequently, a gaggle of upset media types were stuck outside until the ceremony was over. At 8:03 a.m. there was a bit of excitement when a deputy opened one of the doors and said, “Come on in, cameras in hand.” But he was shouted down by two other deputies who yelled, “Don’t let them in.”

At about 8:10 a.m. Sheriff Worth Hill made an appearance on the other side of the glass doors and mouthed the words, “It’s over.” Then, at 8:25 a.m., the media was let in. We rushed up to Nifong’s office on the sixth floor but he wasn’t there. We learned he was in a courtroom on the fifth floor watching judges get sworn in, so we trooped down there.
"

"It's over" - isn't that what they say after an execution has been carried out?

Anonymous said...

Letter to the Editor, Charlotte Observer 1/2/07:

http://www.charlotte.com/mld/observer/news/16364325.htm

Lacrosse case isn't racial tug of war

In response to "Blacks aren't judging Nifong" (Dec. 24):

I read with disbelief the statement by Michael Page, Durham County commissioner, after the release of evidence tending to exonerate the Duke students: "It's not going in our favor at this point."

Who is "our"? Did a rape have to occur for "it" to be going in "our" favor?

DNA doesn't lie. The truth is what we all should want.

Bill Grandy

Anonymous said...

This tale is far from over. Cornered rattlesnakes do not roll over and play dead. This must be hell on the three players and their families. They no doubt want to be optimistic, but they know they cannot let their guard down for even a moment.

At some point, probably already, it's going to be hell for Nifong's son too.

Durham Lawyer said...

chicago 9:57, I could not have said it any better!

Durham Lawyer

GPrestonian said...

10:26 Anon:

Stunning comment by a County Commissioner, what?

I'd love to see the 'Blacks aren't judging Nifong' [Dec 24] the letter writer referenced, can't seem to pull it up on the Observer site, tho. It'd be in the pay archives by now, anyway. :(

Anonymous said...

Mike Nifong has to be the most cowardly and disgusting pos on the face of the earth.

I hope all the media play up the reality that he hid from public view, much like a thief taking something he does not own---the public trust.

Let's see how his group of cheerleaders at the Herald Sun covers this pathetic pos as he has now been "sworn in".

Debrah

Michael said...

Regarding swearing on the Bible:

Exodus 23:

1 "Do not spread false reports. Do not help a wicked man by being a malicious witness.

2 "Do not follow the crowd in doing wrong. When you give testimony in a lawsuit, do not pervert justice by siding with the crowd,

3 and do not show favoritism to a poor man in his lawsuit.

7 Have nothing to do with a false charge and do not put an innocent or honest person to death, for I will not acquit the guilty.

Leviticus 19

15 " 'Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor
or favoritism to the great, but judge your neighbor fairly.

Deuteronomy 25

1 When men have a dispute, they are to take it to court and the judges will decide the case, acquitting the
innocent and condemning the guilty

Anonymous said...

Matthew 16:26

For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

GPrestonian said...

10:52 Debrah:

As both Bill Anderson & I surmised on another thread, the H-S site was offline this AM since the entire H-S staff was probably down at the Courthouse as invited guests attending the fongster's ceremony. ;>)

Could take them a while to get the web hamsters up to speed! lol

locomotive breath said...

"I hope they washed off that Bible when Nifong got done with it."

Not possible. I have it from a reliable source that the Bible burst into flame during the ceremony.

Anonymous said...

What a disgrace this man Nifong is, and how sad that this community elected to give him the reins of legal power. There may be no justice in Durham courts, but some day this man will have to answer to a higher Authority for what he has done -- and he won't be able to keep anything secret when that day comes.

Anonymous said...

Nifong swearing in and his comments.

http://abclocal.go.com/wtvd/story?section=triangle&id=4898253

Wilt

Anonymous said...

the Fong lies to the reporters about who ordered the ceremony closed, then the sherrif's deputy throws him under the bus!! Looks like the blue wall of silence is crumbling!

Jeff H said...

GPrestonian: "...Well, we do have those concepts of 'innocent until proven guilty' & 'due process' that we seem to think are important - around here, anyway."

Those are the standards for criminal defendants. They are not the same as standards of behavior for publicly elected officials' conduct of their duties. Nifong does not have to be "proven" guilty of any crime in order to be removed from office (assuming laws in NC allow such removal).

GPrestonian said...

2:28 Jeff H

All good points, Jeff. My remark you quoted was intended specifiaclly toward the concept of not allowing Nifong to take the oath because he is under investigation.

It's true, apparently, that the burden of proof & the details of what constitutes 'due process' may well differ in the NC State Bar proceedings from what we would expect in a normal criminal trial, but the fact remains that he is entitled to some form of due process.

I'm wasn't saying we should cut him any slack, but rather trying to explain to someone why it might not be possible to prevent someone from taking the oath. I didn't mean to make the comment come out as snarky as it did. :)

Anonymous said...

To GPrestonian 11:36AM---

Ha!

No doubt the H-S editorial staff must be wondering why Nifong didn't roll out the red carpet for them after they spent this entire year--since March--highlighting his talking points with each editorial.

It's very sad, really.......just how that paper has gone down the tubes. The new publisher Geoff Moser is a nice guy.....who has yet to find out just what Durham is like.

He didn't hire Bob Ashley, btw. That whole staff was in place long before he moved here from Michigan.

Moser seems to be a progressive and intelligent man. Hopefully, he will see fit to clean out the H-S editorial staff. I told him that I thought the level of writing had gone down drastically, and that in a place with three major universities the paper really needs some talented wordsmiths.

Right now, he's just familiarizing himself with the area. Man, oh man......does he have a bumpy ride ahead of him.

:>)

Debrah

Anonymous said...

I cant believe this poor excuse of a human being put his hand on a Bible.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Mikey used the Quran for his swearing in.

All praises be to Allah!

Dynastes said...

I’ve heard 60 Minutes is calling former associates of Brian Meehan
D