“A University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill law professor said Monday he also believes there should be an investigation of Mike Nifong's management of the Duke lacrosse rape investigation."I think the best course of action, at this moment, is for Mike Nifong to remove himself from this case or for him to be removed," said University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill law professor Joe Kennedy.“
"The statement comes after Rep. Walter Jones, R-North Carolina, last week, sent a letter to the Department of Justice asking for a federal investigation into possible prosecutorial misconduct and to determine whether the defendants' civil rights were violated.
“Kennedy said that Jones' request seemed overblown to him until allegations later arose that Nifong and a lab director purposely withheld DNA results showing none of the charged players' DNA was found on or in the accuser's body.“He said the allegations create a serious conflict of interest."I think his actions with respect to nondisclosure of this DNA information needs to be investigated," Kennedy said.
“According to Garry Frank, president of the North Carolina Conference of District Attorneys, however, other district attorneys have also expressed concerns about Nifong's conduct.
"It's premature to comment while the court is still contemplating," Frank said. "I think the conference will address this at some point"
“The goal is supposed to be to convict the guy who did it, not frame the guy you’ve got.
“Somebody should tell that to Mike Nifong. Or to the judge who is in a position to do something about who prosecutes the Duke lacrosse players charged with rape.
“What is going on in the prosecutors’ office in Durham North Carolina is disturbing in ways that go beyond the ugly allegations that started this case.
“The District Attorney has clearly lost sight of his mission, and with it the last remnants of any ethical compass. The case has been characterized, since the outset, by a clear failure to follow the office’s own procedures and practices.
“According to testimony given under oath this week, the head of a private DNA lab said he and the District Attorney together agreed not to release evidence that there was DNA from other men, but not from any of the defendants, in the woman’s underwear and on her person the night of the alleged incident.
“Together, they decided not to release it. Imagine. One of those people is supposed to be an officer of the court and the representative of the people, not head gladiator.
“How could the District Attorney keep that information to himself, or try to?
“What is he out to do here?
“Enough is enough.
“What will it take for Mike Nifong to be replaced on this case?
“If ever a prosecutor had shown himself to be no longer capable of exercising the sort of judgment required of him to be fair, it would be this prosecutor in this case.” FOX News
"After all this time, it finally came out in court last week that the DNA samples collected from the underwear and private parts of the alleged victim contained DNA from other men -- but none from the Duke lacrosse players who were accused of raping her. The head of the DNA testing laboratory testified in court under oath that both he and Nifong knew this and kept it secret.
"You think that is incredible? How about a statement made afterwards by District Attorney Nifong that he didn't say anything about this publicly because he was "trying to avoid dragging any names through the mud"? He certainly did not avoid dragging the names of the Duke lacrosse players through the mud. He not only denounced them, they were paraded in handcuffs in front of the national media. Their pictures were on every television news program across the country.
"If these young men get completely exonerated, this episode will still follow them the rest of their lives. Yet they have not been convicted of anything and have not even gone to trial -- which is scheduled for next spring, if it ever takes place.
"Indeed, they have not even been interviewed by the police or by the District Attorney who issued denunciations of these white lacrosse players when he was running for office and making a play for the black vote. Nor has the District Attorney
interviewed the woman who claimed to have been raped.
"In a "he said, she said" situation, anyone interested in the credibility of the two sides would at least have tried to find out what specifically they claimed.
"But that is only if you care about the truth, rather than the politics of the situation. Politically, the District Attorney had a black woman who claimed that white men had raped her. That's all he needed to get elected.
"Far more is involved in this case than the misdeeds of one District Attorney. There is a segment of the black community -- a small segment, we can hope -- that figures it is payback time for all the black men who have been railroaded to jail on trumped-up charges involving the rape of white women.
"The local branch of the NAACP, an organization which fought against such injustices in times past, has thrown its weight behind those who are trying to railroad three white students, who were not even born when these other injustices occurred."
"I tell you, the more you hear about his missteps, the more you have to question whether it's purely a matter of incompetence or worse,"
The U.S. Attorney General says his department is considering whether to investigate the Duke Lacrosse rape case. North Carolina Congressman Walter Jones sent a letter to the Justice Department asking for a federal probe. Eyewitness News has learned the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division is reviewing the letter. WTVD
"I think the way this district attorney has handled the case is questionable at best," Jones said in an interview with The Chronicle. "There are serious questions as to whether these three young men have had their Constitutional rights violated."
In a letter yesterday to U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, Third District Representative Walter B. Jones (R-NC) reiterated his December 7th request for a federal inquiry into Durham County, North Carolina District Attorney Mike Nifong’s prosecution of three Duke University student athletes accused of an alleged sexual attack on a woman at a party earlier this year. Specifically, Rep. Jones asked the Attorney General to review new evidence that Mr. Nifong withheld exculpatory DNA results from the defendants to determine if his conduct has illegally denied the students their civil rights as U.S. citizens under federal law. More from Rep. Jones
"State Rep. Stephen LaRoque, a Republican from Lenoir County, also weighed in. He endorsed Jones' call for a federal investigation and suggested a change in state law to allow prosecution of prosecutors who engage in professional misconduct.
"Only the N.C. State Bar has the authority to punish incidents of legal misconduct. "That's like having the fox guard the henhouse," LaRoque said."
“Yesterday, the Friends of Duke University enthusiastically endorsed Congressman Walter Jones’ call for the Justice Department to open an inquiry into the misconduct of Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong. We also urged Richard Brodhead, President of Duke University; Robert Steel, chairman of the Duke University Board of Trustees; and all other members of the Board of Trustees to publicly endorse Congressman Jones’ request.”
"As I told Ed Bradley during a '60 Minutes' interview last summer, given the concerns that have been raised, when it goes before a judge and jury the DA's case will be on trial just as much as our students will be," Brodhead said. "In the meanwhile, as I have said before, our students must be presumed innocent until proven otherwise."
“Let's consider the case against Nifong. There is no question the DA has made mistakes in handling this hot potato of a case. He said things he shouldn't have, such as calling the players "hooligans" and wrongly predicting DNA tests would implicate them. He gave too many media interviews at the start, a mistake he has corrected by falling competely silent except in court.
“And as we learned in court Friday, the director of a DNA lab in Burlington at first withheld results showing the accuser had DNA from other men -- not the lacrosse players -- in her underwear and on her pubic hair. The defense is trying to imply a conspiracy existed between Nifong and lab director Brian Meehan to keep the results secret. But those alleging prosecutorial misconduct have to deal with a simple fact -- Nifong did turn over the data. Defense lawyers' only real complaint is that they had to fight to get it.
“Nor did Nifong explain the information sufficiently, defense attorney Joe Cheshire complained. "We had to try to discover what it meant," he said. Sorry, but we don't think a judge will dismiss the case because Nifong didn't provide Cliffs Notes.
“Of course, Friday's DNA revelation was as much about the accuser as it was about Nifong. We may find the results disturbing, but let's remember what we're supposed to know about rape cases. Rape is still a crime even if if the accuser was provocatively dressed or if she was a stripper. Rape is still a crime if the accuser had
consensual sex with other people. We know she is not a paragon of virtue. But that does not rule out rape.
“The biggest elephants in the room are still sitting there -- the accuser's charges and the players' presumption of innocent until proven guilty. Yes, there is information that may cast doubt on whether a crime was committed. But is it enough to outweigh the accusation? That's for the courts to decide. There have also been instances of, at a minimum, prosecutorial sloppiness. But are they enough to toss the case?
“That's for a judge to decide, as part of the judicial process, which should be allowed to work.”
"The state is not aware of any additional material or information which may be exculpatory in nature with respect to the defendant [Seligmann],"