June 16, 2007

State Bar Lowers The Boom On Nifong

Mike Nifong's legal career came crashing to an end today. After finding Nifong guilty on a number of counts of unethical behavior for his actions in the Duke lacrosse non-rape case, the North Carolina State Bar disbarred Nifong, who had resigned as Durham County DA yesterday:

Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong has been disbarred after being found guilty of a battery of ethics violations for his handling of the Duke lacrosse investigation, a North Carolina Bar disciplinary committee announced Saturday evening. ...

"We are in unanimous agreement that there is no discipline short of disbarment that would be appropiate in this case," said F. Lane Williamson, the committee's chairman.

Before the panel announced its punishment, Nifong said he believed disbarment would be appropriate and that he planned to waive all rights to appeal the findings of the bar panel, his attorney David Freedman said in court Saturday afternoon.

The Bar had some damning things to say about Nifong before disbarring him. They found that Nifong deliberately acted with malice in order to boost his political career, a conclusion most reached after the results of DNA testing became fully known. They also found that he lied to the court and to Bar investigators.

That may continue to complicate his life. The victims of Nifong's attacks have announced that they will seek criminal contempt charges against Nifong on the basis of deliberate misrepresentations to the Durham court. The Bar's findings of multiple counts of deliberate deception will have a strong influence on that case. Nifong could find himself in jail.

Nifong has already announced that he will not appeal the disbarment, although he has the option to do so. His resignation and acceptance of the Bar's punishment might convince a court to keep from sentencing him to prison for his actions, and that has to be what Nifong hopes to accomplish. However, the court should take into account the destruction of trust in the criminal justice system that Nifong has wrought. The impact of his actions under color of authority at least equal that of which Scooter Libby is accused, and the remedy should be similar.

UPDATE: I should have included a link to the one blogger who has owned this story -- KC Johnson. Start at the top and keep scrolling down for the full coverage at Durham in Wonderland.


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Comments (23)

Posted by J. Ewing | June 16, 2007 7:21 PM

Seems to me that running him through the criminal justice system doesn't help near as much, as regards proper punishment OR restoring trust in "the system," as would a good civil case for wrongful prosecution and damages paid to the former defendants. Those boys' lives were ruined, at least for a time, and they need restitution.

Posted by Bill Faith | June 16, 2007 7:33 PM

I can't think of a reason in the world why he shouldn't be sent to jail and left penniless by a civil case. I linked.

Posted by Mwalimu Daudi | June 16, 2007 7:58 PM

A Democrat got punished for his crimes. Maybe there is justice in the world after all.

Posted by kingronjo | June 16, 2007 8:04 PM

For some reason there is a consensus of thought that Nifong will be convicted. He is a liberal Dem drawing a jury from a liberal Dem area. I will play the race card and say that there will be people who will vote not to convict for no other reason than (as stated so eloquently at the meeting between Duke President Brodhead and a black student at UNC Durham) doesn't matter if they were guilty or not, it was justified cause they were white. This may be the total punishment for The Nife.

Look, Cold Cash Jefferson is just as much a slam dunk as NIfong and I have no doubts Dollar Bill's counsel is telling him to hold firm, he won't be convicted. Big contrast to Republican lawbreakers taking their punishment and the Dems. Shows a huge difference in mentalities.

Posted by NahnCee [TypeKey Profile Page] | June 16, 2007 8:25 PM

If Nifong were to be put on trial, and his jury were made up of the same black voters who put him in office, what are the chances that any of those jury members would be related to the racist retards who acquitted OJ?

Posted by km | June 16, 2007 10:47 PM

I think the point of pushing for the criminal contempt is to set the table for the Civil Rights suit by the 3 players. A criminal conviction pretty slam dunks a civil action.

I only hope the 3 players' lawyers figure out a way to get at some of Duke's $1 billion plus endowment (libel, maybe). If each player could walk away with multiple millions out of Duke, there might be a move to reign in the crazy faculty.

Posted by KYJurisDoctor | June 16, 2007 11:14 PM

"Nifong"ed accused get sweet revenge against their tormentor. A lesson to those who put politics over principles.


Posted by Douglas V. Gibbs | June 17, 2007 12:13 AM

Anytime somebody plays underhanded games with our legal system like Nifong did, they should be punished to the full extent of the law. Being disbarred, in my opinion, was not enough punishment for what he pulled.

Posted by Carol Herman | June 17, 2007 1:16 AM

There was a question raised over at Tom Maquire's Just One Minute site; asking why did Nifong put himself through this?

Among the answers? THE BUBBLE. And, THE PENSION.

Nifong's got 28 years in. So, what has to concern him most is how he's gonna get to pay his bills, now that he's lost his license. (It's forever. Since he says he's not going to appeal. Which means he can't even go back in five years; and ask if he can become a lawyer again.) Ain't in the cards.

But what he has, IN THE BUBBLE, is immunity.

Has he stepped outside the bubble, enough, so that civil tort lawyers will follow him? It seems it would be worth it, for the headlines, alone.

Professional sharks will soon move in.

While i academia, nobody's afraid of having their robes blown over their heads.

To be "fong-ed" by justice. And, ya know what? The Internet made this possible!

So, if you have to ask why Nifong didn't just throw himself on the mercy of the court ... I learned ... reading comments elsewhere; that he was "cutting a deal." Because he wants to keep his pension. Earned over 28 years. And, he wants to keep "THE BUBBLE." The immunity.

While if you're waiting for something to fall on Fitz? You'll probably have to wait for Libby's paperwork to be butt kicked into the supremes. (A good detail. Also picked up on the Net. Is that in the case called "Edmond" ... Scalia had a majority of his fellows on board.

Ah, yes. Something worth looking forward to; would be Scalia snark. At congress. Da Sooner Da Bettah.

Posted by Carol Herman | June 17, 2007 1:56 AM

I think I read someplace that Duke U settled.

Posted by Michael | June 17, 2007 3:59 AM

I wonder what Mike Nifong plans to do now. What other careers allow people to frame other people, when the cause is good?

-- Michael from The U.S. Desk at TheNewsRoom.com

Posted by Adjoran | June 17, 2007 4:44 AM

We've been lectured for decades that "women don't lie about these things" unless they are accusing Bill Clinton, and membership in an ethnic minority gains extra victim credits, so naturally Nifong was shocked to find the hooker lied.

Who would have thunk it?

Now, he cruelly manipulated the case to his political advantage; before it broke he was thought to be in a tough primary battle, but after his media and community performances he won reelection in a walk. Yep, nothing like prosecuting rich white boys in a minority city, backed by the rush to judgment of the University's leftist faculty and administration. That they were innocent never seemed to be of any concern to Nifong at all.

Come to think of it, Nifong pretty much played the Al Sharpton role from his Tawana Brawley days. He has prosecutorial immunity, but of course Al didn't and never paid a dime anyway.

Posted by just me | June 17, 2007 5:17 AM

Nifong's actions were scary, because he got caught, had the media attention not been so focused on this case nationally, it is always possible Nifong would have gotten away with this-at the very least he wouldn't have gotten the case to trial.

It also helps that the accused were wealthy enough to pay for their defense and bond. Had the accused been poor-or poorer, who knows if it would have turned out differently (although I can't help but wonder if the accusers goal the whole time wasn't to get money out of the accused).

Posted by howard lohmuller | June 17, 2007 6:11 AM

Let's not forget to charge the stripper who made the false charges.

Posted by True Observer | June 17, 2007 8:12 AM

The real culprit:

It's true Nifong kept the case going long after he should have known to drop it.

The question is why?

The answer is that he was swept along by the siren song of the liberal main stream media.

The liberal media had a perfect story line. They made him into a hero defender of poor blacks.

Nifong made the mistake of believing all the hyperbole.

He was too weak to realize that he had been used by the likes of the New York Times.

Posted by Dennis | June 17, 2007 8:20 AM

What about prosecution for the real cause of actions like this - those in academe who erect the underlying structure and philosophy of race and gender baiting. The Gang of 88 should be prosecuted under their own beloved "Hate Speech" laws for slander. Slander that was based on the fact that these young people were both male and white. Nifong is just the tip of the ice berg.
If I was the one of the families that will sue Nifong I would use the money to bring suit against every one of the Gang of 88 and the Dean.

Posted by Keemo | June 17, 2007 8:24 AM

This decision is a good start on the road to justice. A loud signal will hopefully be sent out to the likes of Fitzgerald; those who would use their position to destroy the lives of others for personal gain.

Hopefully this path will lead to the gang of 88; NYT, WAPO, & CNN just to name a few of the guilty. Rev's Jackson & Sharpton are as guilty as anybody in this case.

Posted by MarkT | June 17, 2007 9:31 AM

>Those boys' lives were ruined, at least for a time, and they need restitution.

Trial lawyers might be useful in this case then.

Posted by vet66 | June 17, 2007 10:31 AM


I agree. Any civil suit should also bring the gang of 88 from Duke University into court for violation of civil rights and slander along with Nifong.

As much light as possible should be shined on the conspiracies propagated by the leftist elite in academe whether it be Duke, or by extension, the leftist influence in our institutions of higher learning.

Higher learning indeed. There is a contradiction in terms!

Posted by pilsener | June 17, 2007 10:50 AM

The part of this entire case that no one has questioned is the grand jury system.

It gives me serious pause that a prosecutor can indict 3 innocent people with no real evidence and a completely dishonest, unreliable witness. But none of the NC Attorney General, the Nifong prosecutors, the media, or the blogosphere have noticed that another grand jury simply went along with whatever a disorganized, dishonest prosecutor wanted.

Ham sandwich, indeed!

Posted by KBK | June 17, 2007 11:14 AM

> at least equal that of which Scooter Libby is accused

A gross understatement, of course. Whose lives did Libby ruin? How many counts were proved against him compared to Nifong? How do his transgressions, even if true, compare to Nifong's? How does his character and service compare to Nifong's?

Posted by unclesmrgol | June 17, 2007 11:15 AM

Time for triple indemnity. First, the disbarrment. Second, the civil suit by those harmed by Nifong in this case. Finally, the Federal civil rights prosecution, because, by Nifong's own admission in the media, this prosecution was race-based.

Posted by LarryD | June 18, 2007 9:47 AM

Carol, Duke has settled merely minor peripheral issues, a case of grade retaliation for instance.

The fact that grade retaliation is very hard to prove, and yet Duke settled on it, implies a lot.

The major issues that Duke has regarding this case, the behavior of the Gang of 88 and the University's President, are still unattended to. I want to see those issues addressed, though if they're not Duke might suffer Antioch Collage's fate