June 06, 2007

Duke Lacrosse Judge Takes Aim at Nifong

As if having the case thrown out and ethics charges brought against him by the N.C. State Bar weren't enough, now Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong may face action from the judge presiding over the now dismissed Duke lacrosse rape case:

Superior Court Judge W. Osmond Smith III wrote that significant concerns about evidence arose during a Dec. 15 hearing, months before the state Attorney General's Office dismissed the charges. At the hearing, DNA expert Brian Meehan testified that he and Nifong agreed to withhold test results from the defense, including the fact that DNA from unidentified men was found in and on the accuser's body.

The N.C. State Bar has charged Nifong with a number of ethical violations, including withholding DNA evidence favorable to the defense.

Under North Carolina law, the State Bar and trial court judges both have the power to discipline lawyers for misconduct, so Nifong faces the prospect of punishment from both.

Trial judges such as Smith can take a wide range of actions in disciplining lawyers; Smith could scold Nifong, disbar him or even send him to jail for contempt of court.

Another judge in Durham is awaiting the results of the N.C. State Bar ethics case against Nifong before considering a request by a Durham native to have Nifong stripped of his office.

It couldn't happen to a nicer guy.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at June 6, 2007 01:36 PM