Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Compilation of Endorsements of Lewis Cheek

“When the history of this episode is written, we hope that Duke Students, faculty and staff will be proud of their actions on Election Day. This election is one of historical dimensions. Do the right thing. Recall Nifong, restore justice in Durham, vote Cheek”
"I ask that you, the 10,000 voters who supported me in May, vote for Lewis Cheek. This district attorney's race truly stretches beyond all lines and the outcome will affect every citizen in Durham. We have an opportunity on November 7th to better our community and our justice system. Please take that opportunity."
"Keep in mind that Nifong is more of a "dummy candidate" than Cheek. The Grievance Committee of the North Carolina Bar has indicated that it will not pursue the numerous grievances filed against Nifong until after the lacrosse case has been concluded. When they do, however, Nifong will be distracted and unable to effectively perform his duties and will spend up to a year defending himself against the bar inquiry. Because it is almost certain that Nifong will be suspended or disbarred, he will not be able to continue in office. And as the governor may be choosing the next district attorney in Durham County, the best option is to start looking to the future now and save the community the disruption and pathetic spectacle of Nifong's protracted death throws."
“I just hope the voters of Durham understand that the general election is not, in fact, a referendum on their loyalty to Durham. In many ways, it is not even a referendum on Nifong. Much as they might wish it were otherwise, this DA's race is a referendum on the Duke lacrosse case. If Nifong wins, how can he do anything but take this case to trial? That is what's so scary. At this paper, and in this column, my colleagues and I have written plenty about prosecutors with tunnel vision, who press forward with flawed cases at any cost. Here's a chance for voters to say, "Not here. Not in Durham." Durham voters can set this case before new eyes. If only they would.”
“We recommend a vote for Lewis Cheek for Durham District Attorney. We hope that well intentioned, but misled Republicans will not throw a "monkey wrench" into this election and thwart the will of the people by diluting the recall vote. If you want a new DA, don't throw away your vote.”
"There’s still some “light” in Durham. Defense attorneys and some few others, using mostly Nifong’s own case material and “evidence,” have exposed the frame-up he hatched in the “dark” when people couldn’t see what he was doing. Durham has a chance to throw that rascal out and assure that our DA’s office can stand “exposure to light.” But if Nifong’s elected, Durham will endure “dark years” with a rogue DA and a city news editor who’s cheered him on.""With only 5 days to Election Day here in Durham, there really do seem to be a fair number of undecided voters. At least there are among the people I talk to.What’s more, a lot of voters who say they’re voting for one or the other of the candidates are unenthusiastic about their choice.So I’m ignoring what the polls say and continuing to try to get “undecideds” and some “unenthusiastics” to vote for Lewis Cheek."
“We're hesitant to tell anyone how to vote, but having learned what we've learned so far about the lacrosse case, we've become deeply skeptical about that and more importantly, about the fairness of the D.A.'s office. If you live in Durham, one of your choices is to get shed of Mike Nifong, and if you think that's the right course of action, then you should visit www.recallnifong.com
"We normally don't issue endorsements in elections, but this time, we are making an exception, and endorse the Cheek campaign.Our concern with how Nifong has handled this case isn't really about guilt or innocence, although we have come to believe that the accused are innocent. The more important issue is whether or not justice is being fairly administered and whether they are being treated equally under the law. In our judgment, Mike Nifong has miserably failed this basic test and therefore does not deserve to retain his position."
"Mike Nifong needs to go home…He needed to secure the black vote, and increase his name recognization…The certainity which Nifong spoke when the case first surfaced, let me ( and I am sure many others) that Nifong had strong evidence to place charges on some of the players. Yet, the first round of DNA tests came up empty. Then, Nifong did the most despicable thing so far. At a forum at North Carolina Central ( a historically black university), he strongly affirmed that he believed a rape took place and some privileged kids were not going to get away with it. The worst thing is at the time, he knew the initial results, he knew the shaky procedures that the police used to get an identification, and he had not talked to the victim yet! ( which he still has not) Nevertheless, he exploited the anger and fear among the black community to secure his election."
“Durham voters will face an easy choice this Tuesday at the polls: elect a district attorney who has failed his office or vote to recall him by selecting Lewis Cheek…By selecting Cheek as DA, Durham residents can send a direct message to the governor that this county needs better. North Carolina Governor Mike Easley is no fool; he would not subvert the democratic process by re-appointing Nifong or someone like him. The choice is clear. The Chronicle formally endorses Lewis Cheek for district attorney.”
"Instead of never minding, the Durham County voters need to mind greatly and, in voting, send this message to Mr. Nifong and his toadies and protectors: NEVERMORE! THAT MEANS VOTING FOR LEWIS CHEEK AS THE VIABLE ANYONE BUT NIFONG CANDIDATE AND REJECTING MR. NIFONG AS AN ABOMINATION AND STEVEN MONKS (the ridiculous Republican write-in candidate) AS A NUISANCE TRYING TO SPLIT THE ANTI-NIFONG VOTE. "
"Of course Mr. Cheek can win. Of course, he should win. And, if the approximate 30 percent of voters yet "undecided" last week have been keeping up, he will win...Are you a previously "undecided" Durham County parent horrified by the prospect of your own children being prosecuted by an apparently mentally ill madman who would, first, personally enflame simmering racial divisions for his own benefit, then lie about it, and then seek to incarcerate your boy or girl for thirty years not on the strength of something so inconvenient as evidence of guilt, but because doing so is the "first step to addressing those divisions?" Vote Cheek."
“Our fellow students are not on trial because of evidence, but in spite of it. This is a moral, social and legal outrage. It is an assault on our peers, our community and the core values of our nation. To successfully unleash this depraved injustice, it seems our DA has managed to go against criminal procedure, legal precedent, constitutional protections, hundreds of years of common law and thousands of years of ethics tracing back to the Old Testament…This travesty has been allowed to continue because we live in a nation paralyzed by racial paranoia. It's not that leaders don't recognize this is an injustice the same way they would if the races were reversed-it's that because this case has been turned by professors, activists and of course Nifong himself into a white vs. black issue, they are terrified that their efforts to put a stop to Nifong's crusade would be perceived negatively by the black community and that there would be a political price to pay. And these political concerns trump their commitment to justice. So it us up to us, the Duke community. First, all who are registered to vote in Durham need to vote for Cheek tomorrow. The only justifiable vote is a vote to oust Nifong…”
While we understand that this election is critically important to the people of Durham County, we make our endorsement not only in the interests of Durham, but also in the interest of justice throughout the country. The precedent to be set by the removal of a rogue district attorney, who has clearly disregarded his responsibilities as a prosecutor, will serve as a reminder that great power and responsibilities entrusted to district attorneys can also be taken away by the people they are sworn to serve. Failure to remove Mr. Nifong from office will send an equally clear message that actions such as Mr. Nifong’s over the past several months are acceptable.
In conclusion, we affirm our support of the courageous members of the Committee to Recall Nifong-Vote Cheek in their efforts to remove Mr. Nifong from office. The removal of Mr. Nifong from office is not only a cause to be supported by those within Durham County, but also a movement that stands to benefit the entire nation. As such, it deserves support, not only from those whose votes will make a difference in this referendum, but also from those beyond, whose voices and actions might help to stop this menace to justice everywhere.
Durham County has been manipulated, deceived and divided by inflammatory, ambition-serving words uttered by the man entrusted to protect it. RNVC believes that the role of the District Attorney should be that of a protector, and not that of a divider. RNVC believes that the community deserves a District Attorney that inspires trust and not fear. It is the fear of Mr. Nifong and distrust of his words, motives and competency for office that has inspired this movement.

If one of our daughters were the victim of a violent crime, we do not want the person pursuing justice on her behalf to be one who compromises the pursuit of justice either by serving his own self interests, or by his own failure and unwillingness to follow procedure. If one of our sons were to be accused falsely, we do not want a District Attorney who would see those false accusations as an opportunity to defeat a bitter rival in a primary election. We believe that our justice system must not be compromised by misdeed or willful mistake.

We believe that our district attorney must be one who allows a thorough investigation to precede his public proclamation of guilt or innocence. We believe that indictments should be brought based on evidence at hand, and not evidence hoped for. We believe our District Attorney must value procedure, due process, the rulings of our state’s Supreme Court and the constitution this nation was built on. We believe that our District Attorney must not be allowed to interject himself into a Police investigation in such a way that he instructs them to disregard the recommendations of the North Carolina Actual Innocence Commission, as approved by the NC Supreme Court. We believe that our District Attorney must not be a man who manipulates our law enforcement investigators into violating the Department’s own written policies simply to secure indictment before election.

We have heard Mr. Nifong ask Durham to consider the entirety of his career in the District Attorney’s office. We fail to see the relevancy of his performance in lesser roles within the office as an indicator of how he will perform when holding the power of the Office of District Attorney. We ask all of Durham to instead inspect his actions, his words and his motives while he has briefly served as District Attorney. We believe it is far more relevant to this referendum to examine his conduct, questionable ethics and lack of performance in the short time that he has held the extensive powers and responsibilities of District Attorney.

Of all that we believe in, and of all that we ask of our community, with regard to this referendum on Mr. Nifong, what we hold most dearly is the notion that we all must speak. We believe this election is what the Durham that we love is about and, as such, requires a true and full measure of consideration by each of its citizens. We ask that Durham show, not only to Mr. Nifong, but also to Governor Easley and to the nation that watches, that Durham cares, that Durham has pride and, most importantly, that Durham has a voice. We ask that you add your voice to ours.

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