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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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Monday, June 18, 2007

I read one good quote about the Nifong disbarring in the Durham Herald-Sun. The rhetoric on this case, from commentators, principals, and lawyers, gets really high and self-righteous. I am not a fan of Nifong. I don't think the evidence shows that the young men committed rape. I think the case was handled wrong, and I am glad that attention has been drawn on the way that public comments by law enforcement and court officials affect the chances of justice for the accused. Here is the quote from Duke University Law School professor James Coleman.

Everybody wants to say that Mike Nifong is some kind of rogue prosecutor, but in fact, what he did is not that different from what other prosecutors do on a regular basis in cases out of the spotlight.

The defense attorneys and the NC bar officials have spoken in idealistic terms about how prosecutors, and perhaps defense lawyers, too, should handle themselves in public statements. It is a very high standard they are describing. Lawyers I hear on radio or read about in the newspaper do not always reach this standard. I wonder how widely it will be enforced. Is this case the beginning of a new day for respecting the rights of defendants? Let's ask the prisoners at Guantanamo what they think.


Ryon Price said...


James Coleman raises an incredibly important point. Nifong has been harangued in part because he came out and called the accused a bunch of "hooligans". DAs do this day in and day out in our criminal justice system and it often prejudices the public.

What is most disturbing to me, however, was not what Nifong said but what he didn't say. He was not forthcoming about DNA evidence which favored the defendants. I heard on NPR that Nifong defended himself by citing an overwhelming case load - a simple oversight.

Of course, that excuse didn't hold water because this was THE Duke Lacrosse case. But if it had been a less public case then the public might very well have been willing to accept Nifong's excuse as valid - something that I suspect happens quit a lot.

Which raises another point...if Nifong was telling the truth and he didn't have enough time and staff to get all the ducks in line in THE Duke Lacrosse case, then what does that tell us about the quality of attention being given to scores of other lesser known - and far less politically important - cases? Not good.

Mike Broadway said...

Hey, Ryon,

It's good to hear from you. Nice outfit in the picture. Just today the Herald-Sun had a follow up article on a fellow who spent 28 years in jail, but has now been exonerated. I wonder what kind of evidence was ignored or suppressed. I wonder what the law enforcers called him.

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