In the end, the road to justice was filled with injustice

District Attorney Mike Nifong has been disbarred and suspended from his job because of his actions in the Duke lacrosse rape case. His career as a District Attorney and a Lawyer are over. To be honest, I am not sure where he would go now.

Slate has a really good article about what Nifong did and what it means.

As Angela Davis explains in her book Arbitrary Justice: The Power of the American Prosecutor, young prosecutors too often see their goal as winning rather than doing justice. The culture of their offices and the adversarial nature of the criminal justice system push them in this direction. Over time, they move further toward, and eventually across, the line separating fair play from systemic manipulation. How often this actually happens is hard to say. Because more than 90 percent of the criminal cases result in pleas, most instances of prosecutorial misconduct never even come to light. Nonetheless, in the rollicking back and forth of a normal state trial, it is a rare case in which problems involving the withholding of potentially exculpatory evidence (as Nifong was accused of doing) don't arise. In most of these instances, a judge deals with late disclosure by adjourning the trial to give the defense more time to respond, or by issuing an ineffectual reprimand. This isn't exactly remedying the problem.

And this quote is very telling. It shows the conflict between "Believe the Victim" and "Innocent until Proven Guilty"

Mike Nifong did what prosecutors almost always do when a complainant comes to them alleging a sexual assault: He took his complainant at her word and went full speed ahead with a prosecution. The fact is that few if any prosecutors wait for corroborating evidence or insist on more than one person's say so before initiating a sexual assault prosecution. Indeed, they'd be vilified if they did. The cardinal rule of sexual assault complaints is "believe the victim," and since anyone who complains is deemed a victim, even a semi-credible complainant can generate an arrest and prosecution in the absence of physical evidence, additional witnesses, or even a prompt accusation. This isn't just the case in Durham; it's true almost everywhere. The widespread support for this questionable practice is such that if the Duke case had gone to a jury and the defendants had been convicted, Nifong would not only still have his law license—he'd have been lionized for his dogged pursuit of rich white kids.

Pet Peeve: If I hear one more sports reporter mention that it was the rape charges that got Duke's season canceled, I am going to freak out. It was the e-mail from Ryan McFadyen that got the 2006 Duke lacrosse season canceled. I think Duke made the right call to cancel the season after that e-mail. Even with the complete innocence of the accused, it was was the right call to cancel the season. Let me get back on topic

This whole case is a mess to me. On one hand I think this case worked out to the only place it could work out to. If the DA did not charge the men, people would say that rich white kids got over on the justice system. If they were charged and it was dropped people would still say that the DA was racist.

Right now I can hear people say that this case was not about these men and the events at that party. The case is about the larger issues of race and privilege that surround Duke University and Durham NC. It is about larger themes of justice and race in our culture. It is about much more than these students.

The problem is that cannot be true in our culture. You cannot put three men on trial for rape because of how a University interacts with a community. To have justice in a society you need every court case to be about the facts in that case. When the case is about anything else, there will be a miscarriage of justice.

It is unfortunate that the only way that the only way that these three men could be declared innocent of this crime was for them to be dragged through hell. This was the only way to diminish the cloud of suspicion over their head. It changed their lives forever.

I think there are a lot of lessons here. There are stories about race, gender, politics, wealth, politics, college, media, sports, and law, just to name a few. I am worried that few people will learn these lessons. I do not think Nancy Grace learned any lessons about the way she covered this case. I have not heard on person in the media say they were wrong for the way they covered this case.

In the end, this case was bad for everyone. It only reduced people's faith in our justice system. That will be the legacy of this case.


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