Monday, January 08, 2007

Do D.A.s get do-overs?

Apparently not - and I say it's a good thing.

La Shawn Barber's been following the Duke case since it broke, and she noted the holes in the story almost from day one. As a black woman, she has been especially upset over the way the race angle has been handled, and I must say I agree with her. This gem in particular stands out in her most recent post (linked above):

Nifong [the D.A.] played the race card to the hilt, even going so far as to speak at the black college the stripper-accuser attended. One pea-brained black student said the men should be prosecuted whether they committed the crime or not. “It would be justice for things that happened in the past.”
Leaving aside the sort of resentful non-thought that doubtless led to the student's statement, Nifong's behavior in this instance is inexcusable. Not only did he show undue preference to his client by speaking at her university, he acted in a way calculated to inflame racial tensions in an already divided area. Instead of admitting that the woman's story was full of holes, he made a reprehensible attempt to garner votes at the expense of three young men whose only crime appears to be poor judgement. The North Carolina bar has filed an ethics complaint against Nifong (article) for, among other things, making prohibited comments "that have a substantial likelihood of heightening public condemnation of the accused." In other words, trying to whip up a mob. Combine this breach of ethics with the mindset of the student quoted above, and it's a recipe for disaster for whoever's on trial. It's like Dinesh D'Souza said (badly quoted, but I don't have the book on hand): "You can't have a working system based on whose ancestors did what to whom." Small-scale, it leads to neighborhood divisions and resentment. Large-scale, it leads to the nastier bits of human history - you know, the ones where entire peoples got wiped out (or nearly). In this case, three young men and their families had their lives needlessly upset over an accusation that anyone not blinded by prejudice (or greed) could have seen through in a moment. Nifong should be disbarred, in my opinion. I wouldn't be surprised if civil suits are brought against him in the future.

No comments: