Friday, June 29, 2007

Loyal Until the End, Stevenson Spins For Nifong

In his Order to Show Cause issued yesterday to Mike Nifong, Judge Osmond Smith tells the defrocked District Attorney:

"You willfully and intentionally made false statements of material fact to the
Court."

Thankfully, John Stevenson translated Judge Smith's words for readers of the Herald-Sun who who may have missed the recent State Bar trial in which Mr. Nifong was found guilty of, among other offenses, intentionally making false statements to the Court:

"A judge suggested Thursday that former District Attorney Mike Nifong may have lied about evidence in the now-dismissed Duke lacrosse case."

11 comments:

bill anderson said...

I think that Stevenson's words are like saying that what appears in the Book of Exodus are the Ten Suggestions.

Eric said...

Here's another bit of spin.

Stevenson:
"The contempt hearing was requested by a team of defense lawyers, embittered at Nifong for putting their clients through a year of legal turmoil before the lacrosse case finally was tossed out in April and branded a sham by the state Attorney General's Office."

Judge Smith:
"Upon motion of the defendants and on its own motion..." (emphasis added)

In other words, this isn't just a request by "embittered" defense attorneys. The judge also *INDEPENDENTLY* asserts that Nifong's actions constitute contempt of court.

Anonymous said...

Come on people, Stevenson is barely able to write. It's unfair to expect him to read, and downright ridiculous to expect him to make an effort to comprehend.

- Jim C

Anonymous said...

This time Stevenson understated (no surprise) and LieStoppers overstated (gasp!).

Nifong is contemptible, to be sure, and I want a federal investigation as well as a criminal contempt hearing, but what Judge Smith did should be presented accurately, not overstated or understated, for the sakes of Judge Smith, accuracy and due process.

Judge Smith did NOT tell Nifong:
"You willfully and intentionally made false statements of material fact to the Court."

LieStoppers took that quote out of context from an order to show cause.

Judge Stevenson's order to show cause involved only a finding of probable cause (like the indictments of the Duke Three), NOT a finding of fact after a fair hearing.

All Judge Stevenson found so far was probable cause.

And His Honor should have.

I expect that the probable cause finding will become definitive in due course, but suggesting that His Honor prejudged Mr. Nifong disrespects Judge Smith.

But for Judge Stevenson, that underlying documentation might not have been produced and there might have been a very ugly and utterly undeserved trial.

Michael J. Gaynor

Anonymous said...

Gaynor:

Who is Judge Stevenson?

Judge Smith writes:

"TO: Michael B. Nifong

Upon motion of the defendants and on its own motion, the Court finds probable cause to believe that you should be held in criminal contempt of court for your willful behavior committed during the sitting of the Court in its immediate view specifically, that while appearing before the Court in your capacity as District Attorney in the prosecution of these actions, you willfully and intentionally made false statements of material fact to the Court on September 22, 2006 by representing to the Court that the May 12, 2006 report of Dr. Brian W. Meehan as provided to the defendants included all of the statements made by Dr. Meehan to you regarding the results of all examinations and tests conducted by DNA Security Inc. and that there was nothing else to provide; and in doing do, you thereby failed to disclose the existence of material exculpatory and impeachment evidence within your knowledge that the defendants were entitled to under our laws of discovery. This behavior is in violation N.C.G.S.5A-11(a)(2)."

Smith finds probable cause that Nifong's acts as definitively spelled out by Smith in unequivical terms constitute criminal contempt of court. Smith does not allege that Nifong may have made material misrepresentations, he says TO MIKE NIFONG...you did this and there is probable cause to believe that in doing so you committed criminal contempt of court. What Smith alleges is contempt of court. What he states TO NIFONG is: "you willfully and intentionally made false statements of material fact." What he orders is that Nifong show cause why he should not be punished for his "willful behavior committed during the sitting of the Court." He does not order Nifong to show that he did not committ the acts but that he should not be punished for them.

Anonymous said...

8:53, I am going to have to agree with Michael Gaynor on this one. Judge Smith has not already found Nifong to BE in contempt of court. Rather, he has found probable cause to believe that Nifong MAY be in contempt of court.

Judge Smith is going to conduct a mini-trial on the issue. He has even appointed a special prosecutor for that purpose. If at the conclusion of the mini-trial he determines "beyond a reasonable doubt" [GS Sec. 5A-15(f)]that Nifong committed facts that constitute criminal contempt, then he may find him in in criminal contempt.

I do not think that the fact that the DHC already found that Nifong has been dishonest, etc., can substitute for Judge Smith's independent findings. This is because the standard of proof at the Bar hearing, which was a civil case, is "clear, cogent and convincing evidence," a crucial half-step below the "beyond a reasonable doubt" standard in a criminal contempt case.

So, Stephenson has acted properly by not saying that Nifong has already been found guilty of criminal contempt.

At least that's the way I see it.

Ken Duke

Anonymous said...

There is no way any intelligent person can undertand issues by depending on only one source of news. I have never found any newspaper, magazine, television or radio station that provides accurate and unbiased reports. I make it a practice to read both the Washington Post and the Washington Times, for example, because I know that each is biased. Somewhere in the middle lies the truth. I will say one thing about the WT: they actually make an effort (not always successful) to keep their editorial opinions on the Oped pages. In the WP and the infamous NYT, their bias fairly pours from the papers' "news" pages. The same truth holds, to a degree, in the Triangle area, though neither the N&O or the Hurled Scum could be construed as being anything but arch-leftist. Always remember that most reporters are on the left end of the political spectrum so read their "reports" cum grano salum.

Anonymous said...

I don't think that the poster at 8:53 or the original blog post state that the Judge has found Nifong in criminal contempt of court. In fact, 8:53 states the opposite:

"Smith finds probable cause that Nifong's acts as definitively spelled out by Smith in unequivical terms constitute criminal contempt of court. Smith does not allege that Nifong may have made material misrepresentations, he says TO MIKE NIFONG...you did this and there is probable cause to believe that in doing so you committed criminal contempt of court. What Smith alleges is contempt of court"

Maybe I am reading Smith's order incorrectly too but it reads as if he is stating that Nifong's willful actions may constitute criminal contempt of court. He doesn't state that if you lied you may have committed criminal contempt. He states you did this (lied) and because you did this there is probable cause to believe you are in criminal contempt(impaired the respect due its authority). The question, as per the order, does not appear to be whether Nifong lied but whether in lying he committed criminal contempt of court. The order is based not only on the defense motion but also on the judge's own motion. The order does not instruct Nifong to appear and answer whether he lied to the court. Instead, it orders Nifong to show why he should not be punished by being found in criminal contempt for doing so.

Smith's order definitely does not "suggest" that Nifong "may" have lied to the court and definitely does spell out "specifically" the "Willful behavior committed during the sitting of a court in its immediate view and presence".

What the order finds probable cause for is the belief that the conduct specifically detailed is criminal contempt.

Anonymous said...

Stevenson must have been a classmate of Nifong. They also must have gone to one of those new magnet schools. You know--the ones that specialize in different areas. Both of them went to non-reading schools. That is apparent since neither can (or will) read. Also, they teach critical thinking at those magnet schools--critical of anything not politically correct or personally self-serving.

Anonymous said...

Nifong has not been convicted, but he will have his day in court.

Anonymous said...

Stevenson must have either gotten a lot of comments about this or gotten tired of being called out. I wrote him an email asking a short and simple question about his persistent spin in his articles about the case. I received two long-winded, defensive, and abrasive replies lecturing me about the Constitution, due process, and the difference between "may have" and "did". It's a good thing I didn't ask him the time or I would still be reading how to build a watch.
Rob L.