Tuesday, September 4, 2007


While Mike Nifong surely did it his, “own way” (synonym for prosecutorial misconduct), he apparently had expectations of a greater pension given his reelection to Durham DA. Nifong reaped the whirlwind and was found guilty for his deceitful and criminal contempt actions. As Associated Press writer Aaron Beard put it, “Nifong charged forward with a strident determination that the guilty would end up in jail. Ultimately, the since-disgraced former prosecutor only succeeded at putting himself behind bars.”

We are nearing the end of this whole debacle with Nifong’s unprecedented conviction for lying to a judge during his prosecution of the falsely accused Duke lacrosse players Reade Seligmann, Collin Finnerty and David Evans. We can now honestly insert the label convicted criminal into Nifong’s portfolio. That seems to fit nicely with former district attorney, disbarred lawyer and disgraced, humiliated man.

Superior Court Judge W. Osmond Smith III had the option of sentencing Nifong to as many as thirty days in the pokey along with a substantial fine but opted for a more symbolic one day in jail. I’m OK with that for it still carries the stigma of a convicted criminal who served time.

Even now I can’t get too sympathetic for Nifong who, while now admitting that his DNA report was incomplete, trips the light fantastic around the issue by stating further, "I now understand that some things that I thought were in the report were in fact not in the report, so the statements were not factually true to the extent that I said all the information had been provided." Wow, only from a lawyer! Nifong still continues to dance around the core issue of his dishonest, selfish actions, apparently hoping that in some future life his reputation will be restored.

Well, it ain’t gonna happen with special thanks to several in the media and especially the AP for always taking the high road. They apparently didn’t fall prey to sensationalism, looking to evolve the story in their medium. We can also give great thanks to the stalwart authors of Until Proven Innocent, Stuart Taylor and K.C. Johnson who hit the nail on the head with their thorough, candid, honest assessment of this miscarriage of justice.

We owe a great debt of gratitude to K. C. Johnson, professor of History at Brooklyn College and the CUNY Graduate Center who with his Durham in Wonderland blog took on Nifong, the Group of 88 and the whole issue of “academic McCarthyism.” This writer strongly recommends some time over on
http://durhamwonderland.blogspot.com. You will be able to honestly capture the whole chronology of this affair.

As an Ole Miss graduate I was particularly pleased and proud with the review of the book by John Grisham who opined, “Brutally honest, unflinching, exhaustively researched, and compulsively readable, Until Proven Innocent excoriates those who led the stampede—the prosecutor, the cops, the media—but it also exposes the cowardice of Duke’s administration and faculty. Until Proven Innocent smothers any lingering doubts that in this country the presumption of innocence is dead, dead, dead.” Hotty Toddy, John.

The above photo of Nifong (courtesy of AP) with his hand on the Bible agreeing to “Tell the truth, the whole truth, so help me God” is repulsive to this writer and surely seems at odds with his reality and the ultimate truth. Well, that’s why he went to jail.

With Nifong put to bed (will there be civil suits against him?) and with Duke University settling with our stalwart three, that leaves the City of Durham and the enabling Group of 88. The City of Durham may be behind the eight ball and appears to have substantial liability. The Group of 88 whose disgraceful actions substantially helped to fan the flames of racism, bigotry and political correctness tarnished the reputation of a great university.

Of course those crazed, misdirected Duke University students who bought into Nifong and the Group of 88 all characterized by student demonstrations (You Tube – Potbangers) and many posting/carrying wanted posters of Duke Lacrosse players and banners calling for their castration will have to deal with the unexpected truth and reality in their own little spheres. This writer finds solace that some of these students correctly predicted that there would be dire consequences for their actions! May they live with those consequences for the rest of their lives though many will probably excuse/opt out their behaviors as “exercises in academic freedom”. Worse yet, they won’t give a damn and go on to their next “crusade”. We hear that many haven’t faced the truth and in a case of ultimate intellectual and academic dishonesty, now reflect that the lacrosse players would have done it if they could?

The Duke students are well outflanked by the academic dishonesty of some North Carolina Central University students who still believe that Crystal Gail Mangum was “trampled by the justice system”. Many have little faith in the American Justice system with peer and class pressure appearing to be a factor here. After all justice is blind and this is just payback for three centuries of social injustice. By the way, can you say, “OJ” fast, three times?

Moving right along, there has been some talk that the other members of the Duke Lacrosse Team may be contemplating a suit against Duke University. Go for it

So, this won’t be over until all these folks get their just desserts. Don’t let the flame of righteous indignation be extinguished. Maintain the pressure and we’ll try and keep you informed. Nifong will be serving his jail time on September 7 (coincidentally my brother’s birthday) and I will be celebrating all day…


Ned Buxton
An Old Midfielder

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