Thursday, December 28, 2006

What took them so long?

The North Carolina Bar Association has filed ethics charges against District Attorney Mike Nifong. The charges concern his many statements to the press in the first days of the story.
The North Carolina State Bar has filed an ethics complaint against Duke lacrosse prosecutor Mike Nifong, accusing him of breaking four rules of professional conduct when speaking to the reporters about the high-profile case.
Among the rules the bar complaint says Nifong violation is a prohibition on making "comments that have a substantial likelyhood of heightening public comdemnation of the accuser."
That was back in March and April. They're just now figuring out that that was a violation of their rules?

They opened the investigation back on March 30. At least they noted that he was lying in public about the investigation.
Another of the rules Nifong was charged with breaking forbids "dishonesty, fraud, deceit and misrepresentation." The bar said that when DNA testing failed to find any evidence a lacrosse player raped the accuser, Nifong told a reporter the players might have used a condom.

According to the bar, Nifong knew that assertion was misleading, because he had received a report from an emergency room nurse in which the accuser said her attackers did not use a condom.
How long will it take them to get around to filing violations on the improperly conducted photo identification and the agreement with the DNA chief to hide some of the results from the defense? Both violated state standards.

This is probably just the beginning of the many such ethics charges against Nifong. Punishment can range from an admonishment to disbarment. Once they add in the charges from his other actions, he should be toast. Disgraced and disbarred. That won't help the three defendants, but it will still be fitting.

UPDATE: Read KC Johnson's detailed analysis of the filing. He thinks that Nifong will have to recuse himself from the case since he is now a defendant on ethics charges arising from the case. His entire office may have a similar conflict of interest since their boss is in this position. Will any other law official in North Carolina want to touch this sinkhole of a case? That's doubtful.

This filing may indeed be the beginning of the end for Mike Nifong and this case.