Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Duke Players Innocent, Justice System damaged

Attorney general, Roy A. Cooper, said the players — Reade W. Seligmann,
David F. Evans, and Collin Finnerty — had been wrongly accused by an
"unchecked" and "overreaching" district attorney who
had ignored contradictory evidence and instead relied on the stripper’s "faulty
and unreliable" accusations.
New York Times


In a country that prides itself for its judicial system, the Duke rape case has been a rude awakening to the vast majority of its citizens. This kind of travesty of justice is supposed to occur in totalitarian and third world nations, not the United States, but it did and this is not the first time. This time wealthy white kids were being railroaded instead of poor minorities.

While minorities commit a disproportionate amount of crime, they also are most likely to be falsely accused and convicted. Unlike the Duke players, they cannot afford high-powered attorneys and have to rely on an over worked, and under funded public defenders. They also are less likely to benefit from pretrial diversion programs.


20 percent of white defendants charged with crimes providing for
the option of pretrial diversion received that benefit, while only 14 percent of
similarly situated blacks and 11 percent of similarly situated Hispanics were
placed in such programs.
San Jose Mercury


Minorities are also less likely to receive leniency during sentencing.

One-third of minorities sentenced to prison would have received a
shorter or non-incarcerative sentence if they had been treated like similarly
situated white defendants.
New York State Division of Criminal
Justice Services


The Duke case focused on prosecutorial discretion. District Attorney Nifong was involved in a reelection bid during the incident. It seems Nifong issued defamatory statements and prosecuted the case in order to secure black votes for reelection. His conduct of the case has resulted in serious ethic charges filed by the North carolina bar Association against Nifong

"It almost doesn't get any worse than lying to the judge in terms of
ethical violations, but lying to the judge about information that suggests the
defendant is innocent is even worse,"
University of North Carolina
at Chapel Hill law professor Joe Kennedy

For a nation that professes to operate under "The Rule of Law" the Duke fiasco shows that may be a chimaera for many.


Update

Since the first post the State Attorney General announced the three
defendants were "Innocent"



Legally this is the strongest exoneration the state can make. The State also says ‘there is no evidence a crime was committed’ Wrong. A crime was committed in this case. The criminal is District Attorney Mike Nifong.

He has committed perjury, obstruction of Justice, Prosecutorial Misconduct along with violation of a long list of Bar Association Rules. He must face the Justice, he denied the defendants. Mike Nifong must be indited for his crimes and face the maximum punishment.

Not only has he destroyed the reputations of three young men, he has seriously wounded faith in the American of Jurisprudence. That is a worse crime than any he may be charged with.

It is traditional to develop a word describing some one like this. Perhaps when anyone is railroaded by the legal profession, we would call it "Being Nifonged"

1 comment:

Lanai said...

Interesting to know.