Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Easley: Hardin as Interim DA

In a highly unusual move (but then again, what about this case is not unusual?), Governor Easley has asked former DA and current judge Jim Hardin to serve as interim DA for Durham County. "People have a lot of confidence in him," Easley told the N&O. "He can go back and restore integrity and make sure no one leaves the office that's good."

It's worth recalling that: (a) Hardin previously served as Nifong's boss; and (b) Hardin recommended that Nifong replace him in 2005.

Despite obvious separation-of-powers issues, WRAL reports that "after Hardin completes his assignment, Easley expects to return Hardin to his seat on the Superior Court bench."

The N&O has a photo array of Hardin and Nifong in happier times.

56 comments:

Anonymous said...

Nifong's Legacy, Feminism's Shame
By Kathleen Parker
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
WASHINGTON -- Mike Nifong, the Durham County, N.C., district attorney made infamous by his own hand, has been shamed, disbarred and let out the back door for his unethical conduct of the so-called Duke University lacrosse team rape case.

It couldn't have happened to a more-deserving fellow, but the case doesn't end here. Nifong's legacy, which ultimately may hurt women more than the falsely accused men, will be long-lived. And the politically correct culture that allowed his charade to persist remains securely in place, while those who enabled Nifong walk scot-free.

Which is to say, before we applaud the tragedy's finale, we might ask Lady Macbeth if she can recommend a good soap.
It is tempting to convince oneself that Nifong's banishment means that all is right in the Dukedom. Doubtless, many among Duke's faculty and administration, as well as random race-baiters, campus feminists, various reporters, commentators and assorted armchair prosecutors would prefer that no one remember their roles in advancing the Nifong farce. (KC Johnson, Brooklyn College history professor, has it all on his Durham-in-Wonderland blog.)

But they shouldn't get off so easily. All were participants in the scurrilous witch hunt that unfolded during the past year. All were congregants in the PC Church that sanctifies certain groups as unassailable victims (all minorities and females) and others as condemnable perps (all males, but especially descendants of history's white oppressors).

From the beginning, when an African-American stripper -- alternately known as a ``working mother and college student'' -- claimed that three lacrosse players had raped her, few questioned whether she might be lying or that the men might be telling the truth. A spirit of retributive justice prevailed while feminist law professor Wendy Murphy summarized the zeitgeist on CNN's ``The Situation'': "I never, ever met a false rape claim, by the way. My own statistics speak to the truth.''

Really. Even after it became clear that there were problems with the case -- no DNA match, no witnesses, logistical impossibilities, a ``victim'' who couldn't get her story straight and contrary evidence impugning her claims -- rape victim advocates continued their defense.

Thanks to these activists and Nifong -- and the dancer who cried wolf -- real rape victims may be reluctant to come forward. Others may not get their day in court as intimidated prosecutors anticipate defeat before jurors jaded by the Duke spectacle.

Already we may be witness to Nifong's dubious offspring in Cupertino, Calif., where a nearly unconscious 17-year-old girl was sexually ravished at a party by a De Anza College baseball player while several teammates stood by watching. The girl's face was covered with vomit -- not her own -- by the time three other young women burst into the room, rescued her from a mattress on the floor and took her to the hospital.

To any sane mind, a drunk, semi-conscious girl on the receiving end of sexual intercourse doesn't sound like consensual sex, yet the Santa Clara County district attorney has decided not to pursue charges. The problem, she says, is that everyone involved was drinking, including witnesses -- and the girl remembers nothing -- making it difficult to prove lack of consent.

What any reasonable person knows, of course, is that anyone too drunk to wipe someone else's vomit from her face is too drunk to give consent. We also can assume that Nifong, given a similar scenario, would have prosecuted this case (with our blessings) and been declared a hero.

Instead, his abuse of the justice system, indicting three innocent men for his own political gain, may have set the stage for other guilty parties to walk free and at least one 17-year-old girl, thus far, to be denied access to justice. California Attorney General Jerry Brown is investigating the case to determine whether charges should be brought.

Meanwhile, as feminists try to repair the damage they and Nifong have done to the cause of real rape victims, other co-dependents in this folie a plusieurs should avoid feeling smug as the curtain drops in Durham. A little self-examination would seem to be in order, beginning with Duke.

The university recently settled with the three accused lacrosse players for an undisclosed sum in a move that insulates faculty from any claims of liability. Such is cheap grace. If the university really wants to redeem itself, a better remedy would be for university President Richard Brodhead to institute a new academic program to examine how totalitarian, politically correct groupthink is destroying America's institutions of higher learning.

Duke can write the textbook.

Anonymous said...

OMG! Not Jim Hardin again. He's from the Nifong mold. Just more careful about his sleaziness.

Anonymous said...

5:13
That has already been posted with a link on another page. Why don't you read it? It's best not to take up so much space by printing entire columns here.

Anonymous said...

since the DA is only person with power to bring charges its safe to say Nifong and Wilson are breathing a sign of relief

Westpole

Anonymous said...

JLS says...,

Clearly this is going to be all dumped on Nifong. Next we will get the inhouse candidate from the DPD as the new Chief.

Anonymous said...

Think you are correct 5:16. Hope Hardin turns him down and stays on the bench. Easley is such a dope. I also thing Durham needs a black DA.

Anonymous said...

The latest edition of Newsweek is out. Surprise, surprise, no mention of the Nifong disbarment. Does anybody read that rag any more?

Anonymous said...

JLS says...,

I think if Hardin is to be a two month DA, then I doubt he resigns as a Judge. More likely he takes a leave from the bench if he takes the DA position for two months and then goes right back no the bench.

I agree there is a bit of a separation of powers issue but he was DA previously and recommended his successor before going on the bench then. So to me this is a bit odder but not actually different than what happened the last time. Of course making the guy who recommended Nifong DA again is more than a bit odd.

What is it about Easley not wanting to pick someone for this job? Remember Nifong was in Easley's mind supposed to be an interim appointment. I have guessed in the past it was that both black and white factions in Durham want their guy and Easley does not want to give the power of incumbency to one side or the other?

Anonymous said...

I am sure Leon Brown will be happy to hear Jim Hardin is coming back to Durham. Maybe Tracey Cline can run off to a grand jury and indict Leon for something he didn't do for old times sake.

Anonymous said...

5:23. Apparently, you read it!

Anonymous said...

The feminists proved who they really are in the wake of the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal. No matter what one thinks of its merits, (and I tend to think the whole thing was a set-up) the reaction of feminists proved their hypocrisy by defending a political star to which they had hitched their wagon.

Anonymous said...

Hardin would not have been dumb enough to produce Meehan for questioning in December.

Jungle Jim said...

See my post on Knife-Honk's future:

http://provocateurjim.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

Don't be so hard on Easley. What were his alternatives?

Anonymous said...

JLS says....,

re: 5:37

As bad as the feminists were on Clinton's serial abuse of women, they have topped themselves ignoring what is going on in parts of the Islamic world because a GOP president is taking them on.

Anonymous said...

KC -- Thanks for the video clips.

Hoping that sometime you can get the testomony of Mr. Evans. I want to save that one!

Anonymous said...

I have no respect for Hardin where it comes to this situation. Behind the scenes or not, he uttered not one word about this fiasco. A statement from him early on would have stopped Nifong in his tracks. He didn't have the guts.

Anonymous said...

why not Freda Black? Don't know much about her, but she probably hates Nifong enough for her own reasons to indict him. Good enough for me.

Anonymous said...

*Hardin* as Interim DA in Durham??!! This is a joke, right? Even Easley wouldn't be that stupid with his DA pick. I mean, how many mulligans will NC voters indulge this guy with?

Anonymous said...

Easley is a lame duck. Not a smart one, either, apparently. Thanks for nothing you democrat homeboy.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't give Freda Black the job. Her criticism of Nifong was weak at best till last week. Also since they dislike each other so much it might become a issue in the case.

Anonymous said...

Hardin was on active duty in the U.S. Army when this lacrosse scandal broke. He was overseas in Quatar. He also is a Duke University graduate and as a judge, any comments for him would have been inappropriate.

Anonymous said...

Would this not put Hardin in charge of any future investigation(s) into this case?

Like the DPD, Wilson, etc?

Doesn't seem to me like some folks understand or appreciate the gravity or full import of these events.

Anonymous said...

So comments about his past conduct is inappropriate. Whatever.........

Anonymous said...

I have known Jim Hardin for many years and worked with him on several issues. He is NOT in the mold of Nifong. Just b/c he recommended Nifong for INTERIM DA says nothing about his integrity. Remember, Nifong had been doing traffic court for 7 years, not criminal cases. Who would have thought he was capable of this? I guarantee you not one of those who worked with him all those years. As a Durhamite, it took awhile for people to believe that Nifong would do this b/c although he may have had a temper etc, this apparently not surfaced. Lest you think I am a Nifong supporter, I am not. I spent Nov 06 election day standing in the rain, with a recall Nifong sign. I have read this blog since a few weeks after this farce began, but have to say that some of you are so eager to slam almost everyone, even if you have never interacted with them or know anyone who has. You are making assumptions about Hardin, the very thing we have all spent months criticizing others for doing.

Anonymous said...

Since you have known Jim for many years do you know if he every apologized to Leon Brown?

Anonymous said...

Looks like it's back to business as usual in the NC judicial system.

Anonymous said...

http://www.monkeytime.org/archive/September2002.html

9.20.02 - Ok, you tell me if this doesn’t sound weird: There’s a trial going on right now in Durham, according to the Herald-Sun, in which DNA samples taken from a man accused of rape don’t match DNA samples taken from inside the victim. This unusual fact has not stopped the Durham District Attorney’s office from prosecuting the man, whose name is Leon Brown. Brown’s defense lawyer, Douglas Simons, claimed in his opening statement that there was incriminating evidence against someone else - the victim’s cousin:

[Simons] told jurors that Brown voluntarily gave DNA samples that did not match samples from the victim. Nor did pubic hairs surrendered by Brown match...In addition, the victim initially told authorities that she thought her white cousin was the intruder, according to Simons. When the cousin was arrested, duct tape and other incriminating items were found in his car and on his property...District Attorney Jim Hardin Jr. gave the cousin “complete immunity” to testify against Brown, Simons told jurors. “He wanted a deal,” Simons said of the cousin. “He got it.”

Defense attorneys say all kinds of things, of course - only some of them true - so we have to be careful here. But let’s see if we have this right: The white cousin who was initially fingered by the rape victim strikes a deal for immunity with the D.A. in order to testify against a black guy whose DNA doesn’t match the DNA found inside the victim? Is that really what this article is telling us? It’s difficult to understand why the guy being charged with rape is apparently not the one whose semen was found inside the victim. Prosecutor Tracey Cline told the jury that her evidence will be sufficient to convince them that Brown was the rapist. We’ll see if they agree; the trial is expected to end this week. [link]

http://www.monkeytime.org/archive/October2002.html

10.2.02 - Update on that Durham rape trial where the DNA from the man being prosecuted by District Attorney Jim Hardin’s office didn’t match the facts of the case. The Herald-Sun’s John Stevenson followed up last week; the suspect, who’d spent a full year in jail awaiting trial, was completely acquitted of all charges [reg’n req’d]. That’s not all. The jury foreman, Howard Williams, Jr., had extremely harsh words for the prosecution, describing the trial as “a waste of time”:

“We all wondered what we were doing there,” he said of himself and fellow jurors. “The evidence was nonexistent. We’re very comfortable with the decision we made. I can’t understand why that man spent a year in jail when there was no evidence whatsoever against him. It made no sense to us. Where’s the justice?”

Surely something’s wrong when a jury foreman calls out the D.A.’s office for locking someone up for a year with “no evidence whatsoever.” Given the strange deal-making in the case, is it fair to wonder what on earth prosecutor Tracey Cline - who still insists she had the right man - was thinking? And is it fair to wonder - without engaging in moronic cop-bashing - how often this kind of thing happens in Durham, or in other Triangle jurisdictions? I think it is.

Anonymous said...

As I recall, Ms. Montgomery-Blinn told of the "I feel like there's a case/no drop policy " as having been instituted by Hardin. From what I can see, the Durham DA's office is not hampered by the necessity for evidence and likes to keep its no drop policy so that the indicted will plea bargain. Also, wasn't Hardin the DA when the police department were running the prostitution ring? Who took a fall on that one?

Anonymous said...

JLS says...,

It should not be anyone from or associated with the Hardin DA's office including Hardin.

Professor Colemand does have private experience and government experience but not prosecutorial experience it seems. How about Marsha Goodenow?

Anonymous said...

Remember that John Stevenson is the same reporter who continued to write SO MANY pro Nifong articles in the Herald-Sun.(A paper whose circulation #s have dropped through the floor.) Some of these articles were factually wrong!!

Anonymous said...

Is Durham so barren of candidates with integrity that Easley must resort to recycling the former DA?

PixiePets said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
PixiePets said...

Personally, I think Hardin IS the right pick for D.A. over the next couple months. He is most familiar with the position and with Durham, making him the most qualified at this very moment! Why put a "newbie" in office for the last two months of the term (that would have to familiarize themselves with everything)? Makes no sense. Easely made the right choice, given his options at the moment, and needing to put someone in office on short notice. I totally agree with 6:22pm.....at the time Hardin recommended Nifong, "who would have thought he was capable of this"? Surely, not I! ~ Lifelong resident of Durham (and non-supporter of Nifong!)

PixiePets said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Why do so many of you write such insulting comments behind the mask of an "Anonymous" user?

Anonymous said...

JLS--
Marsha Goodenow appears to be a fine prosecutor, but I'm not sure why she would want to leave her job (and, I assume, home) in Mecklenberg County (Charlotte area) to be an interim DA for a brief period in another part of the state.

Anonymous said...

Gov Easley must have given up on any national ambitions. He had a chance to be a leader and rebuilder - His action is as confusing as Nifong's - Why would you do it???

For the safety of innocent Americans Homeland Security should posts signs at points entering NC "Travel through at your own risk, avoid stopping"

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous,
Comments about Jim Hardin's past are not inappropriate. Read my post again. As a sitting Superior Court Judge,Mr. Hardin making comments about Nifong's handling of the case would have been inappropriate.
Someday, may you not live your life being so bitter about Leon Brown. You seem to be a one note wonder.
Peace, my friend!
Love,
Esmeralda

Anonymous said...

John Stevenson is no friend of Jim Hardin's. Be prepared for one nice article, and then nothing nice will be said again.

Anonymous said...

Hardin is Nifong's mentor. The DA's office was a cesspool of favoritism when he was DA.

Easley clearly doesnt get it.

Anonymous said...

I commend Judge/Colonel Hardin for trying to help. He seems to be a public servant in the truest sense of the word.

Anonymous said...

All this stuff about being, Newbie,greem,rookie = it is a wonder anyone can get a new job. Only seasoned folk need apply. This is not brain surgery.

Anonymous said...

I am willing to see how Hardin does - that is, reserve condemnation until some facts are known.

I know a lawyer in Raleigh who is a JAG attorney, and he is as ethical and honest as a human can be. If Hardin is half as good then he will do fine until another democrat pipsqueak is appointed by Easley the worst governor ever.

Anonymous said...

Hardin's daughter is in my grade at Duke and is unbelievably attractive. So I'm inclined to trust the man.

Anonymous said...

Recruiting Hardin does look more damage control in progress. We need a outsider with no ties to Durham to clean this mess up!

Anonymous said...

Carl Fox would have been perfect for the job!

J Bryan said...

I don't know anything about Hardin, but wasn't Nifong just supposed to hold office until an election. And he wasn't supposed to run according to the NC Governor. So maybe Hardin thought he was good enough for a temp.

Anonymous said...

So what happened to Leon Brown doesn't mean anything? I am sorry Esmeralda, I can't go along with that kind of thinking. Did you go back and read what the jury foreman said? He said the case was "a total waste of time". Not that the state couldn't prove the case. Leon Brown was clearly innocent and in America we shouldn't be putting clearly innocent people on trial. You got to ask yourself why did Nifong think he could get away with all of this. Well because he seen Hardin & Company do the same.

Anonymous said...

"Who taught you how to do this stuff?"
"From you, Jim. I learned it from watching you!"

PixiePets said...

To "j bryan": where have you been? This blog and entire Nifong case has evolved around Nifong's ELECTION into his D.A. position ... and how his used the Duke Rape Case for publicity to WIN his election!

Anonymous said...

well, pixipets, where have you been? j bryan is right that, when Nifong was first appointed to his position, the understanding was apparently that he would not run for the office in the next election (that, at least, is what Governor Easley said). So his point is that Hardin may have recommended him on the assumption that he would be good enough to serve as a temporary fill-in until the next election.

Anonymous said...

I nominate 9:50 and 10:05 for consideration as the DA of Durham. Clearly, they grasp the knowledge and expertise the position demands that the rest of us lack. Maybe the two of you, along with others criticizing Hardin, should put your names in the pot for Easley to choose from. Then again, how will he distinguish which brave, competent "anonymous" is which?

Who in the world would essentially take a step back and return to this job, especially in the current state that it is in? A person who legitimately cares about the good of the community. This act, combined with the honest, ethical reputation Hardin holds with many people who (dare i say it?) actually know him, shows what kind of person he is better than the actions of others in Durham or the comments that have been made about him.

Anonymous said...

Nothing quite like anonymous criticism, from a anonymous poster, about someone being anonymous. Well done 12:33 AM, your my hero!

Anonymous said...

The problem of this case was character - and Nifong's lack of it. Once he was in a position with real power and authority, he abused it like a rented mule.

Who gave that power to him? Easley and Hardin.

So to say Hardin is above criticism is like saying Brodhead is above criticism because the circumstance were difficult. Maybe Hardin is a good guy, but I know two things about him:
1. He nominated a bully who was known to throw temper tantrums and abuse his small traffic court power

2. Liestoppers has about 15 articles from the N&O up on Hardin, none of which are flattering or endearing to the man.

To question why others are criticizing Hardin is severely missing one of the many points we have all learned over the last year. If you have REAL knowledge of Hardin and want to explain why he is better than his boot-lackey, I am happy to read it. But saying he is a fine upstanding citizen is about as relevant as saying Nifong was a good little league coach.

Jack Straw

Anonymous said...

I would think this would prove to show further contempt of court, and that Nifong again believes in his OWN "standards?!"
Another fine example of corruption in office, and is doing nothing but eroding our confidence in not only the government officials "WE" voted into office, but also the government itself!
Holding an office has become a system where if you are a member, are entitled to do as you wish without consequence! There are 2 sets of laws, one for us, and the other for "THEM!"
Another lovely fact is the state pays to defend them, meanwhile citizens lose their homes and life savings to have their cases heard! Completely ABSURD!
I must admit to enjoying the side show! Nifong comes into his appointment by deception, continued in deceptive practices, and is STILL trying to deceive us, and himself! He is truly the epitome of a COWARD!
Now that he doesn't have his title to contort and hide behind, he has turned into a sniveling wimp! Hiding his head in the sand and playing his guitar will not change the fact that his avoidance will last only for a season, then his day WILL come!
Until then he is providing us with A LOT of entertainment, and I am glad to see that he is suffering and frightened! This short taste of his own medicine cannot compare to the deaths of innocent lives of citizens whom he has ignored and defiled!
He should be so ashamed, and apologetic knowing he purposely almost sent 3 innocent men to jail for years for a crime he KNEW they did not commit, completely ignore murder cases and the entire judicial system ground to a halt for ONE case?! And do we honestly think this was the only circumstance?!
He cannot hide, nor ignore the fact that he indeed shall reap what he has sewn, and EVERYTHING he did was by his own choice, for his own motives and agenda!
He is now only beginning to have any sort of pain, AND he is GUILTY by his own admission! Whatever feelings of fright he may have are not near as close to the ones HE was responsible for when they were INNOCENT! The bitter taste of the truthful pill is not nearly as bitter of those of tears of horror and death!
Nifong is by far alone in his dubious abuses in power, and to NOT hold him LEGALLY responsible is a MOCKERY to the very laws he was entrusted to obey and uphold!
Rhonda Fleming
Cleveland Ohio