Friday, January 12, 2007

Goodbye Mike It's Been Good To Know You...NOT!!: DA Nifong Asks Off The Duke Rape Case

You guys may know this by know but Durham (NC) District Attorney Mike Nifong has asked the State's attorney to assign another prosecutor to the Duke Lacrosse Rape case. It has been a disaster from the beginging. I still cannot figure out what Nifong was thinking about when he brought the charges. There was a rush to judgment and condemnation of the boys involved, who forever will have their reputations sullied by a District Attorney who seemed more interested in the publicity he could get from the case than doing justice.

A prosecutor has a different set of Rules than most lawyers. He doesn't represent a client unlike defense attorney's or even civil lawyers. He represents the power of the state. He doesn't have a right to put his interest before those of the state. He has an obligation to bring to justice people who it seems committed a crime by at least a preponderance of the evidence...that's the credible evidence.

The word credible was what Nifong missed throughout the case. Sadly he never took the time to speak to the alleged victim. In the fear I guess that he might further the harm to her, he decided not to speak to her. WRONG! He had an obligation to investigate and in this racially charged case he had an obligation to move ponderously so as to not rush to judgment.

In NY right now I have been listening to complaints about the Queens District Attorney's office handling of the Club Kahlua/Sean Bell police shooting. I have refrained commenting on the case because I have been involved with both Kahlua club and another area club in the past.

Despite my distaste for the vice squad and their tactics, I nevertheless, commended the District Attorney's office for taking time to investigate the case and not be pressured by community activists and outside pundit's comments. I do not know what happened the night of the shooting, but I do know that on its face, it would be easy to condemn the police officers who shot Shaun Bell. Condemnation however is different from using the criminal justice system to destroy and potentially jail an otherwise "innocent" person.

If criminal charges are brought against one or more of the police officers whose bullets killed Mr. Bell, well at least we know that the decision to prosecute them was made diliberately and with thought.

The kids from Duke cannot say that. In fact they probably can say that with Nifong facing a tough re-election and needing the minority vote to win, their case was political and he used it for his own political gain. Win lose or draw, the damage to the Duke 3 is done, and there is nothing anyone can do to give them back their youth.
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