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Thread: Duke Lacrosse

  1. #11
    Leo
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    When this is all over, it'll be the DA who'll end up in trouble.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20061229/...acrosse_ethics

    Duke D.A. charged with ethics violations

    By AARON BEARD, Associated Press Writer Fri Dec 29, 3:36 AM ET

    RALEIGH, N.C. - Ethics charges filed against the prosecutor at the center of the Duke lacrosse sexual assault case might constitute a conflict of interest that forces him off the case, legal experts said.

    "It's hard for me to imagine how he can be effective as an advocate, with either the court or a future jury, when he has ethics charges pending against him ... concerning his conduct of this very same case," said Joseph Kennedy, a University of North Carolina law professor.

    The North Carolina bar filed the ethics charges Thursday, accusing District Attorney Mike Nifong of violating four rules of professional conduct by making misleading and inflammatory comments about the athletes under suspicion.

    Kennedy said Nifong should recuse himself, but added that the judge overseeing the case could also order his removal. The ethics charges carry penalties that range from admonishment to disbarment.

    The bar said it opened a case against Nifong on March 30, a little more than two weeks after a 28-year-old woman hired to perform as a stripper at a lacrosse team party said she was gang-raped.

    The ethics charges will be heard by the state's Disciplinary Hearing Commission, made up of lawyers and non-lawyers, at a forum similar to a trial. A date for the hearing has not been set.

    Nifong did not return several calls and e-mails seeking comment. But in an October interview with The Associated Press, he said his only regret in handling the case was speaking so often to the media early in the investigation.

    "Certainly what I was trying to do was to reassure the community, to encourage people with information to come forward," Nifong said. "And that was clearly not the effect."

    The bar cited 41 quotations and eight paraphrased statements made to newspaper and TV reporters, saying many of them amounted to "improper commentary about the character, credibility and reputation of the accused."

    Among them:

    • Referring to the lacrosse players as "a bunch of hooligans."

    • "I am convinced there was a rape, yes, sir."

    • "One would wonder why one needs an attorney if one was not charged and had not done anything wrong."

    Nifong also is charged with breaking a rule against "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 condoms.

    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 condoms.

    Last week, Nifong dropped the rape charges against the athletes after the stripper wavered in her story, saying she was no longer certain she was penetrated vaginally with a penis, as she had claimed several times before. The men still face charges of kidnapping and sexual offense.

    Stan Goldman, who teaches criminal law at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, questioned how the ethics charges will affect the case should Nifong continue as its prosecutor.

    "Is this going to result in him treating the case more gingerly and deciding it's not worth pursuing, or is he going to get his back up and decide he's got to pursue this case to the end regardless?" Goldman asked.

    The athletes, Reade Seligmann, Collin Finnerty and David Evans, have maintained their innocence and called the charges "fantastic lies." The case is not expected to go to trial before the spring.

  2. #12
    a jumble of useless facts gracie's Avatar
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    I wondered when the bar association would get after Nifong. The case won him the election, but will most likely lose him his license.
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  3. #13
    Dreamer rt1ky's Avatar
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    I always thought Nifong seemed in a rush to get indicments and to talk to the press. Sometimes justice takes time. Collect the evidence first.

  4. #14
    Dreamer rt1ky's Avatar
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    Duke lacrosse prosecutor asks off case

    Facing ethics charges that could lead to his disbarment, the embattled district attorney in the Duke lacrosse sexual assault case has asked the state attorney general to appoint a special prosecutor to take over the case.

    Noelle Talley, a spokeswoman for the attorney general, said Friday in an e-mail that District Attorney Mike Nifong sent a letter requesting the special prosecutor.

    Nifong's attorney insisted the veteran prosecutor was not running from a weak case and said Nifong was disappointed he would not take it to trial.

    "He feels, as a result of the accusations against him, that he would be a distraction and he wants to make sure the accuser receives a fair trial," attorney David Freedman told The Associated Press. "He still believes in the case. He just believes his continued presence would hurt her."

    Nifong met with the accuser this week to tell her of his decision, Freedman said.

    Attorney General Roy Cooper's office declined to comment on whether it would take the case. Officials planned to speak with reporters Saturday.

    Last month, the North Carolina State Bar charged Nifong with violating four rules of professional conduct for making misleading and inflammatory comments about the athletes under suspicion. The ethics charges carry penalties ranging from admonishment to removal from the bar.

    It was not immediately clear what impact Nifong's decision would have on the troubled prosecution of Reade Seligmann, Collin Finnerty and David Evans.

    If the attorney general accepts the case, "then they would transfer the files over, and they would probably have a lot of interviews to do," said Peg Dorer, director of the North Carolina Conference of District Attorneys. "It would probably stop things for a while, I imagine."

    Under North Carolina law, only a district attorney can formally request a special prosecutor. The request can be made when there are potential conflicts of interest, when a case is particularly complex or when there are other unusual circumstances.

    Once the ethics charges were filed, Nifong "had a conflict of interest with respect with the case," said Ron Sullivan, a criminal law professor at Yale University. "It's probably safe to say that Nifong felt that he couldn't be completely objective."

    Legal experts and observers have railed against Nifong in recent weeks, calling his case pitfully weak and casting doubt on his chance of winning.

    "I think we're all delighted that we're going to have objective and competent prosecutors reviewing this case," said James P. Cooney III, an attorney for Seligmann. "We look forward to cooperating with those prosecutors fully and completely in bringing this prosecution to an end."

    Wade Smith, an attorney for Finnerty, was also pleased and pledged to meet with any new prosecutors. "We will assist them in every way we can," he said.

    From the case's earliest days, Nifong has led the investigation into allegations that a 28-year-old student at North Carolina Central University — hired as to perform as a stripper — was gang-raped and beaten at a March 13 party thrown by Duke's highly ranked lacrosse team.

    Experts have said it appears Nifong's case is based only on the testimony of an accuser who has told wildly different versions of the alleged assault. Her shifting account of that night led him to drop rape charges on Dec. 22.

    The three players remain charged with sexual offense and kidnapping.
    Link

    Things seemed to be unravelling for Nifong.

  5. #15
    Big Blue - Tayshaun! superfly's Avatar
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    The three lacrosse players should slap a civil suit on the stripper. Quid pro quo.

  6. #16
    Leo
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    Re: Duke Lacrosse

    ABC News: Duke Lacrosse Case Charges to Be Dropped

    Duke Lacrosse Case Charges to Be Dropped
    Three Players Were Facing Charges of First Degree Kidnapping, First Degree Forcible Sexual Offense

    By LARA SETRAKIAN
    ABC News Law & Justice Unit

    April 10, 2007 — The office of North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper will announce that he is dismissing all charges against three Duke Lacrosse players, ABC News has learned from sources close to the case.

    The three players, Reade Seligmann, David Evans and Collin Finnerty, were facing charges of first degree kidnapping and first degree forcible sexual offense. The charges stem from an off-campus party on the night of March 13, 2006.

    In the hours after the party, one of two dancers hired to perform for the players claimed she had been violently raped in a bathroom by members of the lacrosse team. The players had also been indicted for first degree rape, but that charge was dismissed on Dec. 22, 2006.

    Special prosecutors from the Attorney General's office took over the case after Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong recused himself in January, citing charges of unethical conduct filed against him by the North Carolina Bar. Since then, Jim Coman and Mary Winstead have examined the case from scratch, interviewing key witnesses and working through reams of evidence.

    The reasons that will be cited for the dismissal are not yet known, though the case has been riddled with criticism and colored by controversy since its early months. Defense attorneys released documents showing the accuser changed key details of her story in the weeks and months after the alleged assault.

    Legal analysts and forensic experts have criticized what they call a critically flawed photo identification lineup — a lineup that led to the identification and indictment of Evans, Finnerty, Seligmann. No DNA evidence was found matching any lacrosse players with samples from the rape kit, while DNA from unidentified men was found on the accuser's body and clothing.

    On Tuesday, a spokeswoman for the Attorney General confirmed to ABC News that his office had completed its investigation into the Duke lacrosse case. A press conference on the outcome of their inquiry is widely expected sometime this week, though members of that office have not yet revealed a date and time.

  7. #17
    Premium Member canuckinchile's Avatar
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    Re: Duke Lacrosse

    There was a really good article about this in the "New Yorker" magazine, Sept.4/2006 called "Big Men on Campus", by Peter J. Boyer. I found it really comprehensive and remembering having a ton of doubts about the prosecutor when I finished reading the article.

  8. #18
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    Re: Duke Lacrosse

    I hope, hope, hope, hope, hope that the voters of Durham remember this when Nifong comes up for re-election (if he runs again).

  9. #19
    Dreamer rt1ky's Avatar
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    Re: Duke Lacrosse

    Even with this dismissal these young men are going to have this shadow follow them for the rest of their lives. I hope Nifong gets his. At the very least he was too interested in his own fame and career than justice. I also hope the people who are victims of rape will still be taken seriously in light of this case and its fallout.

  10. #20
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    Re: Duke Lacrosse

    Wow - strong words from the NC Attorney General in announcing not just that the charges were being dropped, but that the three players were innocent. You hear reference made often in a story like this to the old quote "Where do I go now to get my reputation back". I guess we now know, the answer to that is "to an ethcial attorney general who is committed to justice".

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