The Easter Thursday Knucklehead Festival Part One
Some may say the first Knuckleheads were the men and women who crucified Jesus. In memory of them, we'll be having a festival today.
Our first winner today is Mike Nifong. He gets the award for the following.
RALEIGH, N.C. - Three former Duke lacrosse players are innocent of the charges they've battled for a year, the state attorney general said Wednesday, but Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong is guilty of "a rush to accuse."The Duke Lacrosse prosecution was a total miscarriage of justice. This AP article sums it up well, saying there were no winners in this whole affair.
As state Attorney General Roy Cooper dismissed sexual assault and kidnapping charges against Dave Evans, 24, Reade Seligmann, 21, and Collin Finnerty, 20, on Wednesday, he sharply criticized Nifong's handling of a case that put the accused men, Durham and Duke University under a harsh spotlight.
"We believe that these cases were the tragic result of a rush to accuse and a failure to verify serious allegations," Cooper said. "Based on the significant inconsistencies between the evidence and the various accounts given by the accusing witness, we believe these three individuals are innocent of these charges."
Cooper's declaration that the three were innocent brought a long-awaited freedom for the men who have lived the past year under the threat of decades in prison.
It was hours after a March 13, 2006, spring break party that Crystal Gail Mangum, an escort service dancer, reported being gang-raped.
Her story changed with every telling, even during several interviews with Jim Coman and Mary Winstead, the special prosecutors assigned to the case in mid-January.
Cooper said his office did not plan to pursue charges against Mangum.
RALEIGH, N.C. - A year stolen from the lives of the accused. An accuser humiliated and discredited as the world watched. A prosecutor's career in tatters, an elite university's reputation tarnished.Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely as the saying goes. Mike Nifong abused his prosecutorial powers and that makes him our first Knucklehead winner of the Day.
As word spread Wednesday that all remaining charges had been dropped against three Duke lacrosse players accused of sexually assaulting an exotic dancer, there was at least one point beyond dispute: This case was poison for everyone touched by it.
"There are no winners here," said Larry Pozner, a defense attorney for 33 years and the former president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. "The landscape is littered with ruined reputations. Tell me who won. Certainly not the complaining witness. Not the school. Not the defendant. Not (District Attorney) Mike Nifong."
The roster of potential winners is thin. The legal system — eventually — kept a flimsy case from going to trial, but not before much damage was done. The city of Durham kept calm, but still was portrayed as a place of sharp racial and class differences.
• DISTRICT ATTORNEY MIKE NIFONG: Before the case, Nifong was a respected lawyer little known outside Durham. Now, he's on the verge of being disbarred, facing ethics charges from the North Carolina State Bar that accuse him of withholding evidence, lying to a court and making inflammatory comments about the players. Cooper sharply criticized Nifong on Wednesday, indirectly referring to him as a "rogue prosecutor."
"Why do we have all these ruined reputations?," said Pozner, of the defense lawyers group. "Because a man with enormous power didn't take his time and fairly look at the facts."
Also blogging on Nifong and the Duke Lacrosse case- Sensible Mom, Lashawn Barber, The World According to Carl, Michelle Malkin, Lorie at Wizbang, John in Carolina, Betsy,
Linked to- Basil, Bright & Early, Cao, Outside the Beltway, Yankee Sailor,