After standing by Defendant Nifong for a year while the rogue prosecutor tried to imprison innocent men, Fitzpatrick, the jilted cheerleader, expressed his disillusionment to the Herald Sun:
"It's kind of deflating to think he could prosecute someone when the evidence was so insurmountably lacking," lawyer John Fitzpatrick said of Nifong, who has declined comment…"I would love to hear why [Nifong] chose to proceed on this case," he said.To understand the totality of Rev. Fitzpatrick’s turnaround, we’ve prepared a chronology of his encouragement, support, and apologies for Defendant Nifong and his hijacked Hoax.
April 10, 2006
"So far, he's showing he's not afraid to take on a challenge," said John Fitzpatrick, a lawyer in Durham for 10 years who is not connected to the Duke lacrosse case. "But he's got to come through with a charge."May 11, 2006
Fitzpatrick, the Durham lawyer, said the case might not be the only thing voters will consider in the district attorney race, but it will certainly have a bearing.
"His chances for re-election are not going to be made and determined on this one case. It can help or it can hurt. It's the handling of the case that the public wants to see," Fitzpatrick said.
In an initial round of analyses, the State Bureau of Investigation found no DNA from the 46 lacrosse players in or on the dancer's body, on her clothing and belongings or under her fingernails.May 24, 2006
However, a private laboratory then was contracted to do additional testing. The final results from those tests were not yet available Thursday.
Two other lawyers not involved in the case said the new findings could be significant.
"The district attorney has the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt but not beyond every doubt," said one of them, John Fitzpatrick.
"If there was DNA evidence under a fingernail, I think it lends credence to the victim's story," Fitzpatrick added. "It could help corroborate what she has said. The momentum had been swinging in favor of the lacrosse players. This could swing the pendulum back toward the prosecution."
Several attorneys not connected with the case said Tuesday if a rape had occurred without condoms, the likelihood would be great that DNA from the assailants would have been left in or on the woman's body.
"That would be expected," said lawyer John Fitzpatrick. "But the flip side is, how would she know if a condom was used? A rape victim usually doesn't have time to ask her attacker to use protection."
Fitzpatrick also said the lack of vaginal injury, or trauma, might be a matter of semantics.
"You would think there would be more than tenderness if there had been forcible entry," he said. "But it could all be in how you play the words. No one can say a rape isn't traumatic. But what constitutes traumatic physical damage? That's the question."
Lawyer John Fitzpatrick, who is not connected to the lacrosse case and who teaches periodically at the UNC School of Government in Chapel Hill, said Monday it could have great impact for the prosecution.December 3, 2006
"It is evidence to show that some kind of orgasm occurred. It gives more credence to the prosecution's theory that something happened. It is a potential link to a crime. It is a big thing," Fitzpatrick said. "The prosecution can say the semen was there because the alleged victim was right. Of course, the defense will probably try to explain it by saying the guys just masturbated."
The new association's first meeting was held Thursday night, with roughly two dozen people in attendance. Attorney John Fitzpatrick was named president.December 23, 2006
"We're not going to come from an angle of griping or an angle of fussing at the DA this time," Fitzpatrick said in an interview. "We'll come from an angle of helpfulness instead.
Earlier in the day, John Fitzpatrick, head of the Durham Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, lauded Nifong for dismissing the charges.
"I think that if the DA has new information that a penis was not involved, there's no way he can proceed on a rape charge," said Fitzpatrick, who is not involved in the case. "It's admirable that he dismissed that charge."
Fitzpatrick said the dismissal conceivably could strengthen Nifong's case on the kidnapping and sex-offense charges.
"He no longer has to explain away the lack of semen," Fitzpatrick said. "If a penis was not used, it would automatically explain the lack of semen. Mike [Nifong] doesn't need the semen part now."
“We still don't know all the facts."
John Fitzpatrick, president of the Durham Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, also was scratching his head over the governor's statement.February 27, 2007
"An answer like that is more confusing than it is clarifying," he said. "It's an answer without substance. It begs the question of consistency. Does this same standard apply just to Mike Nifong or to other appointees as well? That's what people are asking. The public clearly voiced their position that they wanted Mike Nifong to be DA. He just answered the call of the people."
"The public has a right to hear her side of the story from her mouth under oath," says John Fitzpatrick, a black defense lawyer.April 3, 2007
"He may have recognized the magnitude of the media exposure without appreciating the possible effects of it," said Fitzpatrick. "One could interpret his response to the bar as somewhat of an apology. It might have been a cry for forgiveness. We in the community should embrace that."April 11, 2007
Suspicions lingered in Durham's black community, said local attorney John Fitzpatrick. He said Cooper's move to overrule a grand jury indictment fuels the perception among some "that the justice system could be bought."
“Just because a district attorney makes a mistake on one case, that does not mean he’s going to make a mistake on every case. Hopefully, he’s learned his lesson here. Hopefully, he will realize that he should handle these cases different next time,” said John Fitzpatrick, a defense attorney.April 12, 2007
But John Fitzpatrick, an attorney and president of Durham Criminal Defense Lawyers Association who has been a strong supporter of Nifong through both primary and general elections, said he thought Cooper went a little far when he used the word "innocent."
"That's why we don't have three-member juries instead of 12-person juries," Fitzpatrick said.