The State Bar has released the official findings of fact and conclusions of law of the Disciplinary Hearing Committee, which resulted in Mike Nifong’s disbarment.
The findings of fact make for chilling reading—in a chronological fashion, Lane Williamson laid out Nifong’s record of misconduct, from the DA’s first move on the case on March 24, 2006 to his repeated false statements to the State Bar’s grievance committee.
The findings regarding discipline are even more chilling. The DHC determined:
Nifong’s misconduct resulted in significant actual harm to Reade Seligmann, Collin Finnerty, and their families . . . Nifong’s misconduct resulted in significant actual harm to the legal profession. Nifong’s conduct has created an impression among the public within and outside of North Carolina that lawyers in general and prosecutors in particular cannot be trusted and can be expected to lie to the court and to opposing counsel . . .
Nifong’s misconduct resulted in significant actual harm to the justice system. Nifong has caused an impression among the public within and outside of North Carolina that there is a systemic problem in the North Carolina justice system and that a criminal defendant can only get justice if he or she can afford to hire an expensive lawyer with unlimited resources to figure out what is being withheld by the prosecutor . . .
No discipline other than disbarment will adequately protect the public, the judicial system, and the profession, given the clear demonstration of dishonest conduct, multiple violations, the pattern of dishonesty established by the evidence, and Nifong’s failure to recognize or acknowledge the wrongfulness of his conduct with regard to withholding of DNA and making false representations to opposing counsel and to the Court.
An appropriate legacy for the person Doug Brocker described as Durham County’s “minister of injustice.”