Saturday, June 16, 2007

Nifong and DNA: Closing Statement

The information was present for Nifong--learns of it on April 10; knew that it should have been turned over promptly, because it was exculpatory evidence.

Nifong never provided complete report of result to the defendants; never memorialized the meetings.

Nifong was required to turn over full report, under the NTO statute. Needed to turn over material to everyone in NTO. A report is a summary of the results.

Williamson: interjects that Bar doesn't even have to go prove statutory violations, Nifong seems t have violated ethics rules anyway in not turning over exculpatory material.

Also have court order requiring turning over these results--this is an additional violation.

Wants to be clear on what Nifong was and was not charged with--he was charged only with failure to comply with discovery request and then lying to the court about it.

Williamson: not sure there's much evidence of agreement between Nifong and Meehan on concealing DNA.

There is a "reason not to" believe what Meehan says about why he limited the information.

Williamson appears skeptical of Bar's charge that an agreement between Nifong and Meehan existed given Meehan's apparent retraction in Wednesday.

Misrepresentations to Court, Defendants, and Grievance Committee on DNA

Even Nifong has admitted that violation of this rule (not knowingly making false statement to a tribunal). Brocker points to specific language of rule to show that even if the DHC believes Nifong's testimony (he never read the Meehan report), Nifong violated the rule.

Real question is whether he did it intentionally--would be aggravation of the rule.

Courts and lawyers have to be able to rely on what they're told by other lawyers. Shouldn't be able to hide behind a laziness defense.

Nifong's misrepresentations in chambers and in court about DNA--"this is the first I've heard about this situation."

At Dec. 15 hearing, Nifong never acknowledged that anything had gone wrong, that he had known about the results. Nifong made no corrective comments to the court--effectively misled the court.

Nifong assertion that he never read the May 12 report "is inconsistent with common sense."

Look at Nifong's behavior with SBI--constantly calling the SBI, taking particular interest in the information, which SBI considered unusual. Then, takes three personal trips to Burlington to meet with Meehan meeting. And, May 12 meeting, everyone says that they reviewed the report.

And now Nifong is claiming that he had no idea what was in the DNA Security report?

Gottlieb says in his deposition that they went through the May 12 report line by line.

Nifong also read into record 9-22 letter from Meehan that report was limited. Nifong didn't respond to defense concerns that the report was incomplete.

49 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank goodness for Bannon--he's the real hero in this story.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

10:00 -- Group of 88 will say nothing except that "it came out in the testimony that something happened"

And as for Bud Dwyer -- I don't want that. I want to watch Nifong twist in the wind for years.

Anonymous said...

1003..hey it's a gang of 88 member, or is it cy?

Anonymous said...

Er, who's Bud Dwyer?

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Bud Dwyer was a corrupt Pa. elected official who pulled a gun out of an envelope during a press conference and killed himself live on TV. It was televised live in Pittsburgh, PHilly, Harrisburg, Scranton, etc.

Anonymous said...

PA politician who used a magnum to blow his head off on the news.... naw, nifong doesn't have the integrity, nor the regret...

Anonymous said...

Bud Dwyer: blown by magnum

Nifong: blown by Mangum?

Anonymous said...

Thanks to the person who posed the WRAL link. Nifong is getting absolutely skewered. I cannot see any possibility he will not be disbarred. He clearly saw this as an opportunity for the media exposure and riches to be gained by high profile cases. This was all about Mike, and damn a few innocent kids of wealthy upbringing. It just make his case that much more newsworthy, when the "victim" was black. Man, even Sharpton and Jesse stayed away.

Anonymous said...

10:08--very clever!

But to be fair, I really don't think that. He's just a meglomaniac.

Anonymous said...

Hmm, I think Dwyer may have gotten the better deal...

Anonymous said...

nifong won't shoot himself, but he may shoot everyone else in the room.
more his style.

Anonymous said...

I didn't realize that Nifong was directly accused with directing Dr. Meehan to produce a false report and withhold evidence.

WHile I believe this is true, I don't know if the record is complete enough. On the other hand, Dr. Meehan testified as to this at the Dec 15 hearing. But Meehan changed his testimony now.

Anonymous said...

Look for light punishment.

Anonymous said...

wlms'n: "you may not believe what he said, and you certainly have reason not to"...priceless!

Anonymous said...

10:08. Too funny!

Anonymous said...

Great, great comeback from the bar on the point that the order was not limited to POSITIVE MATCHES... rather was for POSITIVE RESULTS. You report whatever you find.

Anonymous said...

10:08: hmmm, Nifong did say he met with her but didn't discuss the case...thanks for letting us known what happened when they met!

Anonymous said...

THe industry standard is to report positive results, not just positive matches. The SBI agent made that clear. To suggest otherwise is misleading...

Anonymous said...

Brocker is doing well... bringing up the Dec 15th 'privacy' concerns

Anonymous said...

Brocker gets a B+.

wine country dude said...

@Anon 10:10

Your contrarian outlook is interesting. I am a practicing attorney--30 years now--and have some thoughts.

I would like to see Nifong disbarred. That said, I think the punishment imposed will fall short of that. In approaching discipline cases, the Bar factors in also the length of time practicing law without prior complaints as a mitigating factor. I assume Nifong has had his 30 years also of complaint free practice.

I see a lengthy suspension--3 years, 5 years. That effectively ends Nifong's career, because he would find it extraordinarily difficult to pick up practice at the age of 60 without having practiced for 3-5 years. Who would be his client?

I am fully aware that there are arguments to the contrary. Sometimes, the nature of the act charged is sufficient to warrant disbarment, regardless of whether a prior pattern of misconduct exists. Also, Nifong has shown a pattern of misconduct in this case, over a period of more than a year. This is not a momentary blip in his judgment.

That said, and I hope I am wrong--I see 3-5 year suspension.

Anonymous said...

"Reasonably diligent inquiry" standard. LOL. No way Nifong can argue he met that standard with respect to his conduct on the discovery issues. How many reports and requests did he not read?

Great job by Brocker on this one.

Anonymous said...

10:21. I agree. I see 5 yr suspension.

He will have plenty of chance to get clients in the poor areas of Durham after the suspension. Collecting fees may be tough.

Anonymous said...

I might hire Nifong for a few hours just so I could go to his office and insult him to his face for 120 straight minutes.

Anonymous said...

Now Brocker is showing that Nifong is guilty of more than incompetence.

Anonymous said...

If he in not disbarred, then who?
Exactly what does gets you disbarred in NC.

Anonymous said...

The irony here is that the accuser is actually named "man gum".

Anonymous said...

"didn't make corrective statements to the court"

hee! hee! hee!

Anonymous said...

What a softball that Williamson just threw up about the Nifong approach of "Well, we gave you 1800 pages - it was all there."
But the Bar failed to hit it out.

Overall, Williamson is creating a high quality record with his questions that show he has considered the Nifong arguments. He also is defusing the arguments the defense will make later.

jamil hussein said...

it is freightening to know that there are people in NC law community (including judges, and head of innocence project) who maintain that Nifong is honest. What if bar committee has these lunatics as well?

In anycase, judges are corrupt in this country. Btw, all judges in Brooklyn bought their position for $50,000 from local democratic party boss. I wonder what was the going price in Durham?

Anonymous said...

Williamson throws up the softballs, and Brocker fails to hit them out of the park....

Anonymous said...

Brocker is pointing out "what wasn't there."

Anonymous said...

"that assertion is inconsistent with common sense"

I love it.

gak said...

I fear Williamson's tone as showing leaning to Nifong

Anonymous said...

gak, again, I think Williamson is trying to short-circuit Nifong's counter-argument.

At least I hope so.

Anonymous said...

Or Williamson is trying to appear fair and impartial ... as in ... still no judgment in this matter, even though it doesn't seem that any other decision could be made but to disbar.

Of course most of us felt the same way in the OJ trial too.

Anonymous said...

10:35 - You'll see him swing over to the other side when questioning Nifong's counsel. He has to show his impartiality and create a record on some of these points. In some cases, he may have made up his mind but wants the bar to buttress his conclusions so he asks further questions about the issues to support panel's conclusions.

Anonymous said...

Williamson is 2x the lawyer Ito is.

Anonymous said...

10:37 But there's no chance of jury nullifcation here (thank goodness).

Anonymous said...

I think williamson already thinks nifong is guilty as charged.
His questions are to give Brocker a chance to change his mind, if not answered to his liking.

Anonymous said...

Brocker is trying to prove intent, which will intensify the penalty.

Anonymous said...

10:21: I'm 10:10. I agree, he deserves disbarrment. But that won't happen IMO, for reasons you stated as well as the Bar itself.

The can be no explanation for Nifongs false tears followed momentarily by him saying "something happened" other than a back room deal. My prediction of the outcome is based upon removal of emotion and only applying logic.

The Bar's words have bark, but doubtful there is bite to match the misdeeds conducted by Nifong. The Bar is like the hurricane that gets much hype and talk because it is headed towards landfall, but never hits land. There will be some blustery wind, some nasty showers, but sunshine to follow soon. A month or less from now, Nifong won't be a blip on the radar.

As I've said before, I hope I'm wrong. I'm not a lawyer but many in my family, including a State AG (NOT this state), therefore I feel that my perspective isn't baseless.

Good day to you. I enjoyed your post.

Anonymous said...

Does Nifong lose his pension if he is disbarred or suspended?
If he can get his pension with a suspension, I think that's the way they will go.
Nifong brought his son to play the pity game and it just may work.

Anonymous said...

ROFL. Two tic-tac-toes.

Anonymous said...

new thread

Anonymous said...

Typically one cannot take away the pension. Perhaps it can be garished if he is found civilly liable. Depends on state law.

Anonymous said...

10:21:00 I assume Nifong has had his 30 years also of complaint free practice.

Are you suggesting that the longer one engages in Nifonging people before getting caught, the less the penalty should be?