Bar Files Complaint Against Duke D.A.
Dec 28 5:36 PM US/Eastern
By AARON BEARD
Associated Press Writer
The North Carolina bar filed an ethics complaint Thursday against the prosecutor in the Duke lacrosse case, accusing him of breaking four rules of professional conduct when speaking to the reporters about the sensational case.
The punishment for ethics violations can range from admonishment to disbarment.
Among the rules District Attorney Mike Nifong was accused of violating was a prohibition against making comments "that have a substantial likelihood of heightening public comdemnation of the accuser."
In a statement, the bar said it opened a case against Nifong in March 30, a little more than two weeks after the party where a 28-year-old student at North Carolina Central University hired to perform as a stripper said she was raped.
Nifong did not immediately return a call for comment.
Nor did defense attorney Joseph Cheshire, who represents one of the three lacrosse players charged with sexual offense and kidnapping.
Last week, Nifong dropped the rape charges against the three athletes after the stripper wavered in her story.
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[QUOTE][B]Experts Say Ethics Charges May Force Nifong Off Duke Lacrosse Case
Friday, December 29, 2006[/B]
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP)— Ethics charges filed against the prosecutor at the center of the Duke lacrosse sexual assault case might constitute a conflict of interest that forces him off the sensational case in which a black woman claimed she was reaped by three white college students, legal experts said.
"It's hard for me to imagine how he can be effective as an advocate, with either the court or a future jury, when he has ethics charges pending against him ... concerning his conduct of this very same case," said Joseph Kennedy, a University of North Carolina law professor.
The North Carolina bar filed the ethics charges Thursday, accusing District Attorney Mike Nifong of violating four rules of professional conduct by making misleading and inflammatory comments about the athletes under suspicion.
Kennedy said Nifong should recuse himself, but added that the judge overseeing the case could order his removal from the case. The ethics charges carry penalties that range from admonishment to removal from the bar, the equivalent of losing his license to practice law.
The bar said it had opened a case against Nifong on March 30, a little more than two weeks after a 28-year-old woman hired to perform as a stripper at a lacrosse team party said she was gang-raped.
The ethics charges will be heard by the state's Disciplinary Hearing Commission, made up of lawyers and non-lawyers, at a forum similar to a trial. A date for the hearing has not been set.
"I'm not really into the irony of talking to reporters about allegations that I talked to reporters," Nifong said outside of his office Friday. He declined to answer any other questions.
In an October interview with The Associated Press, Nifong had said his only regret in handling the case was speaking so often to the media early in the investigation.
The bar cited 41 quotations and eight paraphrased statements made to newspaper and TV reporters, saying many of them amounted to "improper commentary about the character, credibility and reputation of the accused."
— Referring to the lacrosse players as "a bunch of hooligans."
— "I am convinced there was a rape, yes, sir."
— "One would wonder why one needs an attorney if one was not charged and had not done anything wrong."
Nifong also is charged with breaking a rule against "dishonesty, fraud, deceit and misrepresentation." The bar said that when DNA testing failed to find any evidence a lacrosse player raped the accuser, Nifong told a reporter the players might have used condoms.
According to the bar, Nifong knew that assertion was misleading, because he had received a report from an emergency room nurse in which the accuser said her attackers did not use condoms.
Last week, Nifong dropped the rape charges against the athletes after the stripper wavered in her story, saying she was no longer certain she was penetrated vaginally with a penis, as she had claimed several times before. The men still face charges of kidnapping and sexual offense.
The athletes, Reade Seligmann, Collin Finnerty and David Evans, have maintained their innocence and called the charges "fantastic lies." The case is not expected to go to trial before the spring.
this case will probably get dismissed because nifong is corrupt and the boys have great lawyers... but the facts remain even a corrupt DA cannot bring a kidnapping/sexual offense case to trial without evidence.
If this case was really a pure sham all three charges would be dropped.
[QUOTE=bitonti]this case will probably get dismissed because nifong is corrupt and the boys have great lawyers... but the facts remain even a corrupt DA cannot bring a kidnapping/sexual offense case to trial without evidence.
If this case was really a pure sham all three charges would be dropped.[/QUOTE]
you must have missed the other duke thread on the first page:
[QUOTE=BrooklynBound]based soley on what we know, bit, are these guys convictable?[/QUOTE]