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Mike hopes to see the world turned upside down through local communities banding together for social change, especially churches which have recognized the radical calling to be good news to the poor, to set free the prisoners and oppressed, and to become the social embodiment of the reign of God on earth as it is in heaven. He lives with the blessed memory of his wife, in Durham, NC, and has three adult children living in three different states. He also shares his life with the Mt. Level Missionary Baptist Church in Durham, the faculty and students of Shaw University Divinity School in Raleigh, NC, and the faithful fans of Duke and Baylor Basketball in his neighborhood.

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Saturday, June 16, 2007

According to the Durham Herald-Sun, in an article printed on June 14, 2007, Marsha Goodenow, an assistant district attorney in Mecklenberg County testified before the Disciplinary Hearing Commission of the North Carolina State Bar:

Marsha Goodenow, a senior assistant district attorney in Mecklenburg County, said she believed Nifong's conduct had created "a lack of confidence in the justice system, a perception that justice might depend on who your lawyer is, how much money you have and whether you're white or black."

Nifong handled it wrong. I'm glad he resigned. I am sorry for the young men that they had to endure public ridicule because of false charges. No one should have to go through that.

On the other hand, Goodenow's remarks stretch credibility. The lack of confidence in the judicial system did not start with this case. She is concerned about the "perception that justice might depend on who your lawyer is, how much money you have and whether you're white or black." Any careful analyst of the legal system in the state of North Carolina, in other states, and in the United States, would already know that these three factors have an enormous impact on justice.

Money can often trump justice. Lack of money leaves the accused poorly defended and unable to challenge the lack of evidence against them. Race has enormous impact on justice. Pay attention to jury selection processes. Notice the difference between court treatment of crimes against whites and crimes against blacks. Don't forget the terms "racial profiling" and "driving while black" which were coined to make note of differential law enforcement. Finally, who your lawyer is must make a difference or else people with money would not pay the exorbitant fees to get the lawyers with a record of winning.

Goodenow is worried about perceptions. I think we need to be more concerned about injustice structured into the legal system. Otherwise, all Goodenow is defending is a perception of justice which is a facade upheld by a system of power which continues to exclude the poor and minorities from justice.

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