In today’s only-in-Durham moment, N&O reporters uncovered that the appointment of interim DA David Daacks might violate a
In today’s N&O, Anne Blythe and Eric Ferreri write,
A bill that Easley signed into law Aug. 19 says nobody can be appointed to fill a vacancy in any state or local elected office without being qualified to vote for that office.
"No person is eligible for appointment to fill a vacancy in any elective office, whether state or local, unless that person would have been qualified to vote as an elector for that office if an election were to be held on the date of appointment," the law states.
Easley’s office contends that the appointment is legal: a spokesperson for the governor contended, “The North Carolina Constitution created the office of district attorney, established eligibility requirements and gave to the governor the exclusive and sole authority to fill a vacancy. The legislation enacted by the General Assembly is not applicable to the
Perhaps so. But why didn’t Easley or his aides make this claim when they appointed Saacks? It appears as if they forgot the recently passed law.
UNC political scientist Thad Beyle: “This is a real tricky situation. I would think they could make the argument that what trumps [the new legislation] is that the governor has these powers.”
Senate Majority Leader Tony Rand: “This just sets in place a mess” in
Given that Saacks was easily the most qualified of the candidates that Easley was reported to be considering, it would be unfortunate if the governor’s oversight caused further chaos in the Durham DA’s office.
My thanks to those who attended last night’s talk. A video of the talk will be available soon; on the Ethical Duke site. I’ll post a link as soon as it becomes available. The talk, I believe, went very well—as the N&O reported, several hundred people attended, the questions were all excellent ones. I divided the talk into three segments (Nifong’s allies within the
My thanks to Ken Larrey and Gary Hull for arranging everything for the talk (and to defense attorneys Bill Thomas and Brad Bannon for attending).
In the talk, I singled out three criminal justice enablers of Mike Nifong: Tara Levicy, Mark Gottlieb, and Ron Stephens, each of whose actions was critical in keeping the case alive for Mike Nifong to exploit. A commenter in a thread below noted that Saacks signed the non-testimonial order, and asked whether Saacks shouldn’t be held equally responsible as Judge Stephens, who then authorized the order.
The answer is no. The person in the DA’s office who participated in drafting the NTO—assistant district attorney Tracey Cline—should be held responsible for the civil liberties violations in the NTO. Saacks signed the NTO only because Cline was out of the office at the time Det. Himan came by: in short, his signature was nothing more than a professional courtesy to a colleague.
Stephens, on the other hand, had an independent responsibility, as a judge, to determine that some cause existed to treat each of the 46 white lacrosse players as suspects. He failed to perform his job, and instead blindly authorized the order that brought the case into the media.