Stories like this one from the Duke lacrosse rape case demonstrate why I am against the death penalty in practice (but not principle):
The head of a private DNA laboratory testified Friday that he and District Attorney Mike Nifong agreed last spring not to report DNA results favorable to Duke lacrosse players charged with rape.
The testimony of DNA Security director Brian Meehan could create difficulties inside and outside the courtroom for Nifong. The district attorney did not challenge Meehan’s testimony, but he said after court that he did not withhold evidence. He said the defense could have asked for that material all along.
North Carolina law requires Nifong to hand over all evidence regardless of whether it has been requested.
Hmm, a prosecutor turning a blind eye to significant and disconfirming evidence. He’d make a fine intelligent design advocate too.
Back on topic: it’s becoming pretty clear that Nifong has a weak case, but – in order to save face – he’s willing to destroy the reputations and futures of three men that are most likely innocent.
In court Friday, Meehan said his lab found DNA from unidentified men in the underwear and body of the woman who said she was gang-raped at a lacrosse party in March.
“Unknown men.” As in none of the three that Nifong has been trying to put away. His tap dance continues:
“And we were trying to, just as Dr. Meehan said, trying to avoid dragging any names through the mud but at the same time his report made it clear that all the information was available if they wanted it and they have every word of it,” Nifong said.
Nifong has done little but drag the names of these three young men and their teammates through the mud since the beginning. How, exactly, saying their DNA was not present in or on the accuser would be “dragging…names through the mud” is beyond me.
As for my opening statement about the death penalty, an attorney that is willing to wreck innocent lives may be willing to take innocent lives. That is an unacceptable risk given the finality of the consequences.
Nifong has no shame, no ethical sense, and he should have no future as a prosecuting attorney.
More: Not mentioned in the previous article is this –
A private laboratory hired by the prosecution in the Duke lacrosse case failed to report that it found DNA from multiple males in the accuser’s body and underwear, according to a defense motion filed today.
The lab, DNA Security of Burlington, found that the DNA did not match the three defendants, their lacrosse teammates or anyone else who submitted their DNA to police, including the accuser’s boyfriend.
Is there a way to lock up Nifong for false imprisonment?