Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Mike Nifong, Possibly Losing More Than Just His Dignity

Remember Mike Nifong? You know, the overzealous prosecutor in North Carolina that basically convicted the Duke lacrosse players before the evidence had been examined.

Well, most of us probably thought he had hit rock bottom when he had to spend a night in jail for lying to a judge. However, that's not nearly as bad as having to claim bankruptcy because you're faced with "$180 million in liabilities".

In his bankruptcy filing, Nifong lists liabilities of $30 million for each of the cleared players as potential damages in that lawsuit. In addition, it lists a potential of $30 million each for three unindicted players who accused Nifong and dozens of others of inflicting emotional distress in a lawsuit last month.

It also lists roughly $300,000 in other debts, including $8,897.71 owed to the North Carolina State Bar for costs tied to his June disbarment trial.

Prosecutors generally have immunity for what they do inside a courtroom, though legal experts have said some of Nifong's actions - from calling the lacrosse players a bunch of "hooligans" to putting himself in charge of the investigation - might leave him vulnerable to a civil case.

I would like to say that I'm somewhat surprised, but really I'm not. Nifong mishandled this case from the very beginning, and anything bad that comes back on him is probably deserved.


Anonymous said...

Living not too far from Durham, NC, I actually feel a bit sorry for Nifong (but I feel HORRIBLE for the players!); knowing that area, I know racial problems & cries of discrimination can result in major rioting and looting. Nifong was wrong, period. As I recall, he said he didn't realize he hadn't sent that info to the defense - a lame excuse, for sure. But if he had, then the town would have been put in an uproar over the race issue ("see, a white man can get away with doing anything to a black person' is an example of what we'd hear), &the town would literally be torn apart. The person I hold most responsible is the attorney general of NC; he was obviously aware of the racial tension there,& should have taken a proactive part in this investigation, & would have found the DNA evidence sooner; then when it was released to the press, the outrage would have been directed at a higher level; the lives and reputations of the duke players and Nifong would have been less affected and justice served more quickly.

BDoc said...

Yeah, I think that things would have been different had Nifong not seemed to be so hellbent on convicting the lacrosse players on rape charges.

Everyone is capable of making a mistake, but Nifong appeared to let his desire to put those kids behind bars get in the way of his responsibilities in upholding the law. That ultimately doomed him, not just in the court of law but also the court of public opinion.