Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Nifong Office: No Witnesses for Us

For the "only in Durham" file:

Today's Herald-Sun brings news of a de facto new policy in the office of DA Mike Nifong. As if to institutionalize the practice in the lacrosse case in which he waited months to interview the non-credible, mentally imbalanced Crystal Mangum, Nifong held a recent meeting to take note of a lower-court decision requiring prosecutors to memorialize all conversations with witnesses.

ADA Saacks told the H-S that Nifong had discussed the matter with his ADA's but had not instituted a new policy. Yet all the prosecutors quoted by the H-S said they would scale back on interviewing witnesses about their cases.

Why, it seems, let inconvenient facts get in the way of pursuing justice?


Gary Packwood said...

You mean getting at the truth is being discussed in the DA's office?

I thought process was their most important product.


GPrestonian said...

KC, loath as I am to give Stevenson any credit, this isn't a bad article.

He actually goes for some balance (quotes from defence attorneys), and in simply reporting the facts manages to make the PD 14 ADs look like idiots.

KC Johnson said...

I agree--it's a fair article. It's the policy that's outrageous.

Anonymous said...

Why do these ADAs stay? Are their resumes so bad they can't go anywhere else? Why would someone be associated with this nightmare if they had options?

Anonymous said...

"It's frustrating for me," said Assistant District Attorney Jim Dornfried. "It ties my hands. Unless I have a tape recorder or a pad of paper handy, I might be reluctant to talk to people now. When I do conduct interviews, I will have to think very carefully about how I ask my questions. Otherwise, it could give away my case strategy."

I am just dumbfounded by this comment.

"Unless I have a tape recorder or a pad of paper handy"

What kind of fantasy land do these ADAs live in? I take notes when my wife is telling me about her day!

It strikes me that this a very unprofessional group who has gotten away with some shoddy proceedures for a long time.

GPrestonian said...

Aonon 5:47pm:

Why do these ADAs stay? Are their resumes so bad they can't go anywhere else? Why would someone be associated with this nightmare if they had options?

Good questions all, 5:47. I was cogitatin' on that earlier today, and came to the conclusion that they really have no options. Cannon was lucky to get out when she could (w/ a sexual harrasment charge as cover).

Until all the investigations are done, all those folks in PD 14 are radioactive.

Anonymous said...

Amazing how resistant to this the prosecutors are.

Anonymous said...

I bet the ADAs can't wait for this guy to be gone. I am surprised they don't use tape recorders now.

Soobs said...

Well that settles it. They don't WANT to provide notes, so therefore, they'll talk to FEWER witnesses. Does that make sense to ANYONE outside of North Carolina's prosecutors offices???

Gary Packwood said...

Police Accreditation Time!

Timing of this newspaper article is great.

The police and the DA's office need more resources as would be expected.

And the ruling from the State of North Carolina does establish the need for more resources and ...guess what...?

The police accrediting agency is coming to town for their inspection.

In Business we would call this creating a demand.


Anonymous said...

I hope at least one of them is talking to Cooper and the state bar. Can't they see the writing on the wall?

Bella said...

Who really needs to talk to witnesses? Psh, details.

Anonymous said...

Truly it is one sick DAs Office! The search for the truth is what Justice is all about. If the Police must keep records & notes why not the DA?

Of course nobody keeps records in Durham so what difference does it make?

Anonymous said...

Don't you mean, "why let inconvenient facts get in the way of pursuing prosecutions"? Not sure they're pursuing justice when the deliberately avoid finding information that could hamper the prosecution.

Anonymous said...

Why would Mike Nifong refuse to interview his witnesses? [Abundant authority makes it clear that DA's don't become witnesses by talking to their victims.] Why would he refuse to hear the defendants' alibi evidence? Why would he fail to follow-up the leads produced by the DNA tests, which suggested that 4 other men might have been the perpetrator? There's one & only one possible explanation of Nifong's conduct: he knew the defendants were innocent & he wanted to ensure that he remained "ignorant" of their innocence. I'm a former prosecutor & I can assure you that prosecutors want every shred of information we can get - if only to counter the defendants' arguments at trial. If Nifong really believed the accuser's story for even a moment, he would have looked for the 4 semen donors to exclude them as suspects, thereby bolstering his case. The obvious & undeniable fact is that Nifong knew the defendants were innocent & that any zealous investigation would produce undeniable evidence of their innocence, which would make his continued prosecution impossible. He should be disbarred - no question, no doubt, no alternative.