Thursday, January 25, 2007

Nifong hoist by his own petard

The North Carolina Bar Association has amended their complaints against Mike Nifong. And he's in a whole heap of trouble. As one law professor says,
"Lying is really at the top of the list in terms of things lawyers just can't do. The whole thing is premised on integrity," said Joseph Kennedy, a UNC law professor. "And then lying about something as important as evidence suggesting innocence in a serious case, it just doesn't get any worse than that."
He clearly lied to the judge and the defense about the DNA results from Meehan's lab. And, as the amended complaint points out, he had sought the original warrant from the judge, he said that the DNA tests would rule out the innocent. But that was until the results came back and there was no DNA from any of the lacrosse players. Then he submitted the DNA test to Meehan's lab and got back results showing that there was DNA from four different males in the accuser, but none from the lacrosse players. It was after Nifong got that information that he went ahead and charged Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligman. The Bar complaint explicitly points out that Nifong sought that indictment after he had received the evidence that he himself had said would be exculpatory. And Nifong refused to meet with defense lawyers to examine evidence that they had to exculpate their clients despite the responsibility of a prosecutor to make efforts to be sure not to prosecute the innocent.

Nifong continued his nefarious habits by continually refusing and lying to the court about not having DNA evidence. KC Johnson goes through the various excuses that Nifong offered as to why he didn't turn over the information of the other men's DNA from the accuser. He tried to claim that he was protecting those men's privacy while he was trumpeting the names of the lacrosse players and totally unconcerned about their privacy, even players who were never indicted.

As you read through the amended complaint, you can read between the lines about how ticked off the Bar Grievance Committee is at Nifong's lies to the Court, the defense attorneys, and their own committee. I can't imagine that Nifong won't be disbarred after this. I wonder if he'll still get a pension once he has been disbarred. If I were in the Durham government, I'd want to quick pass a provision that would deny him any pension if he is disbarred. They can use that money for the legal expenses the county is going to have not only defending themselves from any suit that the lacrosse players might bring but also from those who had been convicted in prosecutions run by Mike Nifong and now will ask for new trials. Especially if there was any DNA evidence involved. How can anyone have any faith in any other prosecution that this man conducted now that it is so clear about how easily he corrupted the whole procedure in this case?

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