Monday, February 04, 2013

Only in Durham, Vol. 99

[Update, Tuesday, 10.57pm: The Durham News has an interview with Judge Hudson, who was on the committee that selected the photos. He told the News, “We knew that (Nifong’s and Cline’s presence) might be somewhat controversial, but, you know, it is the ultimate history of the courthouse. We can’t strike the bad, we live with it as part of our history.”

I'm a historian, so obviously do not favor whitewashing the past. But I'm unconvinced that a hall of justice is an appropriate venue for posing photos of unethical figures. If the goal was to ensure that people didn't forget the bad, photos of Roy Cooper announcing the exoneration, or Lane Williamson presiding over the Nifong ethics proceedings, would have been more appropriate.]

ABC-11 brings welcome news that Durham is scheduled to open a new county courthouse. As part of the design, the county created a mural containing photos honoring some of the key legal figures in the county's history.

The photo array includes these two items:

Only in Durham could the hall of justice feature photos of chief prosecutors removed for unethical behavior. A spokesperson suggested that "random" selections explained the design.

"It's a great day," said Judge Marcia Morey, former character witness for both Mike Nifong and Tracey Cline, "and I think it's a new day for justice in Durham."



Anonymous said...

Well at least they will have less excuses for not remembering the past.

Anonymous said...

Is Judge Marcia Morey a communist?

Jim In San Diego said...

It is highly unlikely that Mr. Nifong and Ms. Cline are the only ethics challenged attorneys selected for positions of responsibility within Durham's legal system. The way these two got their jobs is exactly the way others got theirs.

Judge Marcia Morey appears to come from the same genetic stock. We recall how she testified at Mr. Nifong's disbarment hearing that she expected attorneys to be honest in her Court at trial, but not necessarily before then.

We struggle from afar to see on what basis Judge Morey could testify under oath as to the good character of Nifong/Cline. It does not appear to be on the basis of a clear understanding of the ethics expected of attorneys, including especially public prosecutors. (and Judges?).

There are two particularly troubling conclusions. First, there is no likely way the mess in Durham will be cleaned up. One of the last possibilities has been foreclosed by a Fourth Circuit deathly afraid to hold prosecutors civilly liable.

The second troubling conclusion is Durham is almost certainly not unique. Durham can, and has, happened elsewhere. We just do not have the spotlight of DIW to show us the light.

What we can see, to help illuminate the full scope of the problem, is the number of convicted felons proven innocent and exonerated by groups like the Innocence Project. That number now approach 300, for just this one group, using essentially only one technique.

In the nature of things, this is just a drop in a large bucket of those convicted of crimes they did not commit.

We keep coming back to the underlying irony as it affects those infatuated by the race/sex/gender religion. That is, by far the largest percent of those who are victimized by unfairness in the Durham legal system, and elsewhere, are minorities.

Yes, I have to thank my lucky stars that I and my children are white. What a terrible thing to have to say.

Those who pretend to be looking out for the interests of minorities, but are not, share responsibility for this.

Jim Peterson

Bumper said...

Why do I get the feeling that the town fathers, and mothers, sit around solving all the problems of Durham and in a moment of clarity say to one another, "Ya know we just haven't disgraced our community enough. What say we lob a couple more softballs to that KC fella..."

Anonymous said...

Is Mike Nifong a communist?

Anonymous said...

Is Tracey Cline a communist?

Anonymous said...

Is Tracey Cline a communist?

NCProsecutor said...

Has anyone done any real work to understand why the last two elected district attorneys from Durham have been removed from office? I'm not talking about the specific misconduct involved but rather the systemic flaws that led to these outcomes?

Anonymous said...

I think the systemic flaws must include the failure of the local media to vet the candidates.

Certainly the endorsement of Cline by anyone (including the local Indy), after her known role in the lacrosse case fraud, should have been questioned by the press. (Of course, it wasn't.)

Durham needs its own version of the Detroit Free Press (ie, a media that will take on the establishment and hunt for corruption). It needs a watchdog press, not a lapdog press.

Absent that, there's very little chance the town will clean up itself, IMHO.

Dan Kurt said...

re: "I think the systemic flaws must include the failure of the local media to vet the candidates." Anonymous 2/11/13, 6:02 PM

What about the Nation's Main Stream Media not vetting Obama?

Dan Kurt

Lois Turner said...

I believe the approved Birther/Tea Party term is Lame Stream Media, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

Durham's Public Defender has a conflict of interest with Duke. Magnum is forced to be her own lawyer because of this and the fact that Duke was the one who actually murdered the person she is on trail for murdering. Does anyone else have a problem with that??? We now get to watch Magnum defend herself against the most corrupt judge (Cline was right about Hudson - who also has a conflict of interest with Duke) for a murder that Duke committed.

Anonymous said...

Don't you think it a bit odd that all Cline's complaints against Hudson actions and attitude are proving to be based in truth, and Hudson's action's appear to based in prejudice, discrimination, and harrassing Cline through the paper and then stating he won the election to become judge again over the contender DA because as Hudson put's it - He is black and the DA contender was white???
Don't you think it odd that the Public Defender of Durham has a conflict of interest with Duke (he graduated from Duke) and Magnum has to defend herself from murder charges because her court appointed lawyers also seem to have a conflict of interest against her - and because it is contended that Duke killed the man with their medical treatment - he did not die from the knife wound - but from Duke's medical error of sticking a tube down the guy's troat the wrong way?