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The Asylum

Welcome to the Asylum. This is a site devoted to politics and current events in America, and around the globe. The THREE lunatics posting here are unabashed conservatives that go after the liberal lies and deceit prevalent in the debate of the day. We'd like to add that the views expressed here do not reflect the views of other inmates, nor were any inmates harmed in the creation of this site.

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Another Call For Nifong's Removal From the Duke Case

This one is courtesy of the News and Observer, which the Instapundit,/li> reminds us that they used to be really friendly to him:

Whether the defendants in the Duke lacrosse case are guilty or innocent, Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong should disqualify himself, or be disqualified, from the case.

On Friday, Nifong's own witness essentially accused him of breaking the law. An actual conflict of interest now exists between Nifong's need to defend himself against possible charges of misconduct and his obligation to prosecute the case fairly and effectively.

In court Friday, the head of a lab that Nifong retained to analyze DNA samples testified that he and Nifong intentionally decided to exclude from the expert's report the fact that DNA analyzed from the clothes and body of the accuser did not belong to any of the defendants but came instead from unidentified males.

N.C. General Statute 15A-903 requires that a prosecution expert provide a report of the results of any tests performed and that the prosecutor furnish that report to the defense. Deciding to exclude these results is deciding to violate this law.

A prosecutor also has an obligation under the U.S. Constitution and under N.C. Rule of Professional Conduct 3.8 to disclose to the defense evidence which tends to suggest the innocence of a defendant -- including evidence that calls the credibility of a state witness into question. DNA results showing the absence of DNA material from the accused and the presence of DNA material from other men goes to the credibility of the accuser's account and therefore needs to be disclosed.

In addition to these disclosure requirements, a prosecutor has an ethical obligation not to ignore evidence which suggests the innocence of the accused. A comment to Rule 3.8 provides that "a prosecutor should not intentionally avoid pursuit of evidence merely because he or she believes it will damage the prosecutor's case or aid the accused." It is not clear that Nifong has ever followed up on the DNA evidence described.

I suppose Mike Nifong could assume he's still liked in the newsroom, but that would be a stretch. They're laying out the case not only for his removal, but definitely an investigation into his ethics, and possibly disbarment. There is a debate as to whether or not he can be prosecuted for his gross malfeasance. I personally believe it's an option that should be left open. His actions during this case have been entirely politically motivated, and are without excuse.

No matter how much a prosecutor wants to put away defendants, they can't simply hold onto evidence that can exonerate the accused. And I state this regardless of the crime. If some evidence shows that a crime wasn't committed by the accused, then there is no case for those charges. If you have DNA evidence clearing a man of murder, then that charge is dropped. If you have him on another crime, that prosecution goes forward. This isn't a plea deal here. The defendants have a "not guilty" answer to their charges entered itno the record. They're fighting it because they know they're innocent.

And we have DNA evidence showing them, apparently, to be correct. Mike Nifong wanted to withhold that from their defense team. And that should have the residents of North Carolina scratching their heads. Why would a prosecutor hold back evidence from a defense team if that evidence can end the case? As I said above, this case is politically charged. Nifong camapigned on this case. Rather than admitting that he was wrong, dropping the charges, apologizing to the lacrosse players, and move on, he's opted to double down; that includes his false statements before the judge last Friday.

I have maintained from the start of this circus that Nifong had very little in the way of a case against these young men. As time went on, it continued to unravel. Now it's in shreds at his feet, and he's scrambling to gather it all back together. He thinks he can still win. In the end he should lose .... everything. He should be removed from office, disbarred, and face some sort of repercussion for his ethically-challenged antics. There is no excuse for this sort of a behavior from any lawyer, let alone a district attorney.

Sabrina McKinney


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