Monday, June 18, 2007

Duke Non-Rape Case: Nifong Disbarred

I know that it's old news now, but the District Attorney who tried to prosecute boys he knew to be innocent was disbarred by the North Carolina Bar. He got the maximum penalty.

And Drudge just linked that one the players is suing him. I'd say his chances are good.

Let me publish my dad's theory on this case: people who hate become what they profess to hate. Nifong portrayed this case as one where a poor individual was destroyed by powers too strong for her to resist. She was a victim of an evil machine and he was going to challenge that machine. Well, as it turns out, Nifong was the man who was bringing the power of the state against three boys who had done absolutely none of the things the "dancer" said they did. The government became the oppressor in the name of helping the oppressed.

The English professor who said that the case should be viewed through the lens of Emmit Till became instead the leader of a lynch mob which convicted these boys without a shred of evidence. In fact, their "conviction" was based on their race, their wealth, and their social status.

I have a great idea: let's not try to judge people based on their race, their wealth, or their appearance. It's wrong to convict people of being black and poor, which is exactly what happened in this country for decades; it is equally wrong to convict people of being white and rich. Let us focus on what actually happened instead of taking stock characters and making them fit our political storyline. There is no room for a jurisprudence or a politics of "false-but-accurate" in a free society governed by law.

But let me add two more things. First: What Nifong and Duke did in this case is truly horrible. It shocks my sensibilities (if I have sensibilities). But I do not agree that the enemy of my enemy is my friend. These Duke players did nothing to warrant the ordeal they have been through, but that doesn't mean they're great guys. I will defend their rights, but I will not defend their character. I think wisdom tells us that students who don't engage strippers to dance at under-age parties rarely get accused of raping strippers while drunk. The players' wrong is a small one when compared to the evils of Nifong and Duke (and the complicit media), but wrong is wrong. These guys are not welcome anywhere near my single sister.

Second: this case serves as a good counterpart to my earlier post about the frivolous (pants) suit judge. The lawyers were the good guys in this case, which is really saying something.

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