The first came from Jeff Taylor, who had penned a similarly incisive piece on the case in June. Taylor correctly point out that Nifong’s has forced “fans of limited government confront an ugly truth. Despite the sensible urge not to federalize every issue, sometimes only another layer of government can fix bad government.”
The Meehan testimony, with its suggestion of a conspiracy between Nifong and the doctor to exclude exculpatory evidence for the defense, provided both a cultural (the Nancy Grace SNL skit) and an intellectual watershed (Susan Estrich’s searing denunciation of Nifong)—but it also brought to national attention the question of who can stop the Durham D.A.
As Taylor notes, North Carolina governor Mike Easley ands AG Roy Cooper have steered wholly clear from the case, constrained by their offices’ limited power (but also politically timid to confront Nifong); the state legislature has shown little concern, given that the defendants aren’t constituents of any North Carolina politician. Until the arrival of Osmond Smith, the judiciary had enabled Nifong. The state bar? “Loathe to get involved absent some sort of cover provided by the African-American lawyers.”
Taylor, correctly, identifies one other possible brake on Nifong: the university the targeted students once attended. But, he laments, “Duke has been thoroughly pro-Nifong, with the conspicuous exception of Duke Law professor James Coleman and the heroic attempts by some university supporters to nudge the institution away from the cliff”; he dismisses the Monday statement of President Richard Brodhead as continuing to “promote the tortured notion that the accuser deserves to air her claims in a court of law.”
Who, then, can act to restore the Constitution to “North Carolina, America’s very own banana republic”? Alberto Gonzales. When the AG “becomes the key to protecting basic civil liberties in what should be a routine criminal prosecution by local officials,” Taylor concludes, the “truth does not get much uglier than that.”
Meanwhile, in the Philadelphia Inquirer, Christine Flowers perceptively revives a comparison made several months ago by the Times’ Nicholas Kristof, and deems the case a modern-day version of the Scottsboro Boys.
She, to, recognizes that in the post-SNL/Estrich environment, Nifong’s image is irredeemable: he is now “every lawyer’s worst nightmare—a caricature wrapped in a stereotype of the proverbial shyster.”
Unfortunately, she notes, Nifong’s actions have tarnished the profession, since most people, when thinking of lawyers, focus not on the accomplishments of towering figures (think James Coleman in this case), but “on the mediocrities like the Durham County D.A., who sacrificed whatever integrity he might have had to win an election. He is, if anything, more prostitute than prosecutor.”
The Meehan revelations, Flowers argues, show that Nifong “is not only immoral and opportunistic. He must be disbarred.” Race and class, she realizes, have played a role in this case (how else to explain the NAACP acting as cheerleaders of an unethical prosecutor?)—but it was “Nifong who struck the match.”
The real problem isn’t the color or net worth of the protagonists. It’s the fact that an officer of the court duty-bound to see that justice is done made political hay out of personal tragedies and trampled on the civil rights of three young men.
Let’s hope he gets his own dose of justice. The poetic kind.
Gonzales will act only with continued public pressure. The columns by Taylor and Flowers therefore help the cause.
The MSM finally is turning on Nifong, and this does not bode well for him or his case. North Carolina continually looks bad in the national picture.
Keep in mind that North Carolina tries to present itself as a "progressive" state, and playing the "it's our state and we prosecute whom we want" image is not going to play well nationally. Sooner or later, the image-conscious people of that state will take action.
This case will end after the motion to suppress the accusers identification is ruled upon. As a lawyer, the only intereesting question in my mind is not whether the motion will be granted, but what possible arguments can be marshalled in opposition to it. If you haven't read the motion posted on this website, you must.
I'll acknowledge that it is unusual for a court to suppress not only the unlawful photograph line-up identification, but any subsequent in court idenfication by the victim. It is unusual because such a ruling ends the prosecution. But after reading the motion, I ask: how could a judge possibly deny the motion without reaping the whirlwind of scorn that is presently being unleashed upon Nifong.
Is anyone with legal expetise defending Nifong at this juncture?
KC, there's another Duke figure that's worth attention, Michael Munger, who is chair of the PoliSci department with concurrent appointments in Economics, and I believe the law school as well. As far as I can tell, he has some African-American background and qualifies as such at Duke apparently by the "one drop" rule. I believe this is important only insofar as he seems to make a point of this background himself, and doesn't seem to want to get much crosswise with the Group of 88. However, he dyes his hair blonde. His campaign blog is at this site.
He claims to be a libertarian and is running for Governor of NC in 2008 as a Libertarian. He has been silent on the lacrosse team until (apparently) some posts on my blog prompted him to state his opinion (in brief, the Duke 3 basically deserve what they've gotten, it hasn't been a harsh punishment, but Nifong should now be fired and the case dropped because they've suffered enough for underage drinking and racism).
This is an odd attempt to gloss over the conflicts between putative libertarianism and the "Group of 88", and it supports the view that libertarianism isn't really an adequate solution to the problems the Duke lacrosse case poses. But remember that libertarians tend to idealize the Confederacy as a better model for federalist government in any case. Munger simply doesn't strike me as a serious policy advocate of any sort, but he should be reminding us that libertarians aren't especially allies of centrists or anti-idiotarians.
BARRY SCHECK -
You are a hero. We need you to enter into this issue. If we are wrong - tell us how and why. Yor are a smart guy and can see what is happening. HELP
This has become a seedy case so full of lies and deceit that it begs for a screenwriter. Think of it as a redneck version of Chinatown.
What is interesting is that the Duke professors, the Durham newspaper editor and the fong and his investigators are now playing a zero sum game. Presently the fong and the duke faculty are trying to minmax their way out of this situation, but I suspect unless the judge intervenes in some unexpected way they will not be able to.
The change of venue motion was detailed and powerful and is one strategy the fong could use to make this case go away - if the fong were smart he would not oppose a venue change as it would relieve him of the glaring publicity and at the same time allow him to recuse himself. But who said the fong is smart, clever yes, smart no. There is no way KC Johnson will let go of this and now it appears that the media is reading and stealing KC's excellent body of work. So much the better - there's blood in the water and the feeding frenzy will start up again only this time the prosecutor, investigators and the Duke BOI, president and faculty are the ones in the water. Goody !
BREAKING NEWS - WRAL!!! -Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong moved Friday to drop rape charges against three Duke University lacrosse players.
News just came in that Nifong has dropped the first degree rape charges....but still clings to the assault charges, apparently.
He still can't let go.
Things are developing.
There's a poll here in which some of you may wish to vote.
I'll leave it to you to vote your conscience.
That desperate criminal Nifong is still trying to hang onto something.
It will take the jaws-of-life to pry that freak away from his criminal environment in Durham.
Here is a quick link
As predicted, Nifong drops the charges right before Christmas, when very few are following the news.
Nifong is in full damage control mode.
There are "rednecks" everywhere...just as there are black racists everywhere.
I live in Chapel Hill and I wouldn't be living in the Triangle if it were a backward place. Some people are....most are not.
BTW, I am a product of the North and the South so I can say with some authority that I have met more "rednecks" in upstate New York than I have in North Carolina.
Unfortunate, however, to have in the area a criminal like Nifong and his black criminal counterparts who have behaved like the Klan.
It might be all over now but the crying......LOL!.....(by the giddy, expectant lowlifes who wanted to prosecute 3 innocent men).
Correction: According to FOX Nifong dropped rape charges only.
from a non-lawyer: will this action by Nifong enhance the motion for a change of venue? Also aren't the staged lineup issues the same and there is a motion pending?
Nifong has NOTHING. My guess is he is hoping for a plea bargain so he can make it look like something happened. I pray that the accused do not take ANY please bargain, even if it is 5 hours of Community Service. These boys are innocent, Nifong is trying to appease both sides of the fence and cover himself.
remember early in this mess, the question was raised doesn't the investigation typically come before the indictment? Now if Nifong will just investigate the remaining charges, this mess will be over. By the way, I do not have any confidence that Nifong will do the right thing. He is just desperate now.
Isn't Feb 5 close to the accuser's due date? Wouldn't this create a very sympathetic environment for the accuser, justify a no-show, and provide plenty of cover for criticism of the defense team?
Who knew her due date, and when did they know it?
Nifong dropped the rape charges after the accuser said she didn't know if she was penetrated or not -- how conveinent. Kidnapping and false imprisionment charges still stand - but it's just a matter of time....
Correction - kidnapping and "sexual offense" charges still stand.
The motion to suppress the identifications is just as relevant to the kidnapping and assault charges as to the rape charges. So the entire case will soon be dismissed as soon as the motion is ruled upon.
Moreover, what is left of the credibility of witness who recants a serious charge of rape, but then maintains a claim that she was kidnapped and assaulted? I don't know an honest prosecutor who would even contemplate in a million years going forward with such a case based on "she said, he said" evidence. Nifong is still hopeless.
Which means the DNA materials found within her are still relevant, and will be explored by the defense at Trial.
That's the whole point of Nifong dropping the rape charges, he wants these materials and the fact he committed a Brady Violation out of jury purview at Trial. It won't work, because her statements exist, and they are now fatally contradicted.
boy, it sure seems like a stretch to me to say that you were kidnapped when you willingly showed up to the house, shook your fat black ass around, collected a fee and were helped to the car by one of the lax players (because you were too drunk to make it own you own).
this case is done. there's blood in the water here and nifong is scared.
but let's go back. weren't the original allegations that she was penetrated orally, anally and vaginally? and now she's not sure if any of it happened?
MR NIFONG RESIGN NOW!
I had a feeling Nifong was going to drop the rape charges but keep the other counts. He's just doing what he's been doing the whole time. Changing the story to fit the evidence, instead of telling the truth and letting the evidence prove it.
I think someone got to the accuser and told her exactly what was going to happen to her on the stand in Feb.5th hearing. She now wants know part of this. It's about time she woke up to the real world. The rest of the charges will fall just watch.
Without the rape charge Nifong can't prove sexual assult not in a million years.
Fox News will be busy today.
Here's the quote from the written report on the WRAL site:
"Nifong's investigator interviewed the woman Thursday, and she told the investigator that she couldn't testify "with certainty" that she was raped."
CGM is now pissed that Nutfong didn't drop the whole thing and she's still going to have to testify at the 2/5 hearing and still be subject to the same withering cross-exam regarding why she said x then and is saying y now.
Nutfong still wants a conviction or hung jury on something.
A half a loaf Christmas present to the families but better than a lump of coal. Nutfong is on the run.
while we all want to believe that the case is over, we should not underestimate the stupidity of a black jury in durham.
nifong will get a hung jury if this is tried in durham. the facts and evidence do not count. the only significant data point is that the accuser is black and the defendants are white. end of story - blacks on the jury will still side with her no matter how incredible she is.
This is an even bigger outrage. First, she tells a lurid tale, now she changes her story, but the timelines remain the same, people.
Nifong is trying to save his career, so now we need to put on more heat. What a disgusting and dishonest person.
Question 1 to Mr. Nifong: Why did you wait nine months to interview the accuser?
He still hasn't He sent two dectives to interview her.
How does one reconcile the original statement by the AV that she was either 90% or 100% sure of her attackers with the following new info from the WRAL article...
"Nifong's investigator interviewed the woman Thursday, and she told the investigator that she couldn't testify "with certainty" that she was raped."
It's sorta like...
"Yes, yes, he did it!"
"Ummm... don't know..."
ESPN news is reporting that while the accuser can no longer be sure she was "penetrated with a male organ", prosecuters still think she may have be penetrated with "something else". I have never heard this, anyone care to enlighten me?
The latest revelation doesn't seem to match Gottlieb's 33 page (from memory) description of the pain the accuser was in after the alleged incident. How does Gottlieb (and Nifong and the NYT) explain this?
I will be on WBAL in Baltimore at a little past five this afternoon to discuss the latest developments in the case. I promise not to use any curse words to describe what Nifong has done.
HOORAY!!! This is quite the Christmas present!
I think Nifong needs to be "anally penetrated by a male sex organ" when he ends up in prison. He needs understand what it is like to be around real rapists, not just ones that he creates in order to gain desperate votes from blacks and liberal whites.
link to the dismissal document
"ESPN news is reporting that while the accuser can no longer be sure she was "penetrated with a male organ", prosecuters still think she may have be penetrated with "something else". I have never heard this, anyone care to enlighten me?"
It probably means that she is now saying that she was violated by one her alleged attackers using some object on her. Its a way that Nifong can say "Gee, no DNA evidence... Well here's why"
Apparently Nifong's new theory of the case involves both a fake mustache and a strap-on. Truly a brilliant legal mind.
This makes you wonder if the accuser told "investigators" that she wasn't certain about being raped yesterday, or if this occurred last spring and the DisgrAce decided to withhold this information also for his own gain.
How convinient that she made this revelation the day before the slowest press coverage weekend of the year!
What a DisgrAce
From my recollection, some months ago the accuser's father was telling the papers that she was penetrated with a broom handle or some such. Evidently she said the same thing the first time she made an apocryphal charge of gang rape against three men when she was 14.
While Nifong should certainly be imprisoned, I look forward to the day, years hence, when I see him in Durham. I imagine pulling up to a stoplight and seeing a very hairy, wild-eyed man standing on the median holding a crudely lettered cardboard sign. And I'll say to my passenger, "You see that poor bastard? He used to be the Durham County district attorney!"
Of course, I also hope that by then our neocommunist sity officials will have had the sense to ban panhandling. But I can dream, can't I?
Mike Nifong, Sandy Berger.
Both will get away with their misdeeds.
"I imagine pulling up to a stoplight and seeing a very hairy, wild-eyed man standing on the median holding a crudely lettered cardboard sign. And I'll say to my passenger, "You see that poor bastard? He used to be the Durham County district attorney!"
That's funny :-)
And the sign will say "Will pander for food"
I'm sorry, but this gets even more ludicrous. In desperation to get his, Himan's, Meehan's, and Gottlieb's "little" DNA evidence with holding conspiracy problem to "go away", Nifong apparantly decided "the time was right" to meet with Precious again.
Now that lying skank is rising up again and rejecting all her past testimony about condomless penises and guys coming in her, and ejaculating into her mouth.
Watching Nifong trying to explain Dukies wearing strap-ons and false moustaches guarantees a new level of absurdity. This is desperation and the rats are clawing the bucket they are drowning in, thinking they will scratch their way to safety.
This has all moved into the twilight zone, become even higher farce.
Watch as all the lynch mob now begins to re-form into the self-annointed "peacemakers", urging all parties to allow the victims, especially Precious, to "move past this and let the community heal."
Ain't gonna happen.
Nifong is still looking for a pleas bagin. Five years in traffic court did something to his brain. Give it up Nifong.
Bill A - tell us how the radio interview went.
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