Those of you following the news are aware of the "prosecutorial abuse" charges being hurled against District Attorney Michael B. Nifong of North Carolina.
Nifong is the lead prosecutor of a criminal case involving members of Duke University's lacrosse team. (On March 14, 2006, three of the University's students allegedly raped a "stripper" who had performed at a team party.)
Although the rape charges were recently dropped, the criminal case is still pending. (Apparently, the students remain charged with kidnapping and sexual offense counts.)
In an interesting twist, on December 28, 2006, the North Carolina State Bar commenced a disciplinary proceeding against District Attorney Nifong charging him with a series of ethical breaches in the Duke University matter that could lead to his disbarment.
In a scathing 17-page complaint, Nifong is accused of making "extrajudicial statements he knew or reasonably should have known would be disseminated by means of public communication and would have a substantial likelihood of materially prejudicing an adjudicative proceeding, " and that he allegedly "engaged in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation."
In e-mails we have received throughout the day, attorneys have come down on all sides of this controversy. Some have congratulated the North Carolina Bar for taking such aggressive action against someone widely perceived as a "grossly irresponsible" prosecutor, while others have suggested that we not jump to conclusions (based, among other things, on unreliable news reports) and that Nifong be afforded a "presumption of innocence."
Where do you stand?
To download a copy of the North Carolina State Bar's disclipinary complaint, please click on the following link: Nifong