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Saturday, June 16, 20071182035305

Thoughts on Mike Nifong's Disbarment (and why he should be executed)

Mike Nifong, the prosecutor who falsely charged undergraduate students at Duke University with rape in order to help his re-election campaign, was disbarred this afternoon. He had already resigned, from the witness stand, yesterday.

I am happy this much has been done, but generally saddened by what has not and will not be done.

  • I regret that Mike Nifong will not be imprisoned for his crimes.

  • I regret that Crystal Gale Mangum, Nifong's co-conspirator, will not be charged.

  • I regret that Jesse Jackson, who offered to pay Crystal Gale's bills even if she was lying, will not be charged.

  • I regret that the above three thugs will not be prosecuted as sexual predators and be listed as such, for the sadistic way they used the sex act to terrorize youths.


For that matter, I regret that Mike Nifong will not be executed by the State of North Carolina.

Capital punishment is both a harsh and a severe punishment. It justly reflects society's verdicts that some crimes are so harsh they can never be undone or forgotten, while it humanely avoids caging persons like dogs for decade upon decade. It reduces crime, saving innocent lives for every guilty life taken.

Some new core states, like China, execute corrupt officials who pervert justice for their own ends. Thus reduces corruption and increases public trust in government. However, Mike Nifong's nightmarish rule as prosectur shows (as if there were any doubt) that terrible corruption is not limited to places "over there," but exists here in America, as well.

It's been said that "the new Core sets the new rules:" in other words, the days of Europe influencing foreign laws are ending while the days of successful, developing countries influencing the world has started. Let's hope this is the case. Let's hope that in the future, criminals like Mike Nifong can get the justice they deserve.

Comments

Hardly. This would set a very dangerous precedent. Sure, what they did is pretty damn unethical, it's nothing more than a glorified libel/slander case and should be delt with accordingly. The victims have every right to sue and seek compensation, but killing him would solve what, exactly? He's been disbarred and disgraced, he can do no further harm.

Besides, slander/libel is civil, not criminal. I'll leave the fine details with legal professionals, not "internet people".

Posted by: A member of the Christian Left | Saturday, June 16, 2007

I think you've missed the point member of the Christian Left, this isn't just a matter of someone committing libel, or even someone using just any old position of authority to do so... it was someone acting with the authority of the state, the full legal authority that could be used against those they wish to, used against these innocent young men.

In North Carolina, Michael Nifong had the authority to seek the ultimate punishment in criminal cases. Given this level of authority and the level of abuse he committed with it, shouldn't whatever punishment he face suit the crime?

Sure it's likely that Mr. Nifong will never be in such a position of authority ever again, but so what? What's to stop someone else from coming along and doing something similar at a later date? Simply being sued for the petty infraction of libel/slander doesn't seem to be much of a deterrent as what he did was far far worse... it's like being charged simply with murder for the assassination of a head of state. There is a reason for higher penalties and crimes so as to better fit the crime involved.

Sure, maybe the death penalty *might* be a tad severe (for the record I am in favor of it in more than just cases of murder)...

Perhaps you'd be more in favor of a legal system where if someone was found to be telling a lie under oath or in an official capacity with regards to a criminal case, that they are punished in the same extend that the defendant was/is faced with?

Of course... in this case that'd mean a number of years behind bars for Mr Nifong and Crystal Gale Mangum (the accuser), as well as likely being forced to register as sex offenders if/when they get out.

Posted by: Brendan | Saturday, June 16, 2007

Say what you want, but you have no beef with me. I only posted my opinion here because someone told me to.

But I sense the concept of punishment as a means of retribution is common in the right wings, I support rehabilitation more, after all which one offers the best net result overall?

Finally, your remark about him being a sex offender is just absurd. By no legal definition is he.

If you've got issues with the way this case has been handled, do it properly. Don't be an armchair columnist, go out there and write a letter to your congressman, calling for the death of Mike Nifong, and see a lawyer about filing a case.

Otherwise you're just hearing yourself in an echo-chamber.

Posted by: A member of the Christian Left | Saturday, June 16, 2007

I agree with the proviso that the death penalty should also be mandatory for any and all corrupt judges and prosecutors. They pervert the justice system as well as damage public confidence in the system itself.

Posted by: Eddie | Saturday, June 16, 2007

I agree wholeheartedly; Nifong deserves execution. All levels of government are out of control in the US. I can only hope the housing bust leads to a deflationary spiral and a breakdown of government. Maybe Nifong will need to run for his life yet.

Posted by: Mark | Saturday, June 16, 2007

This thread is on digg for any who wish to "digg it" [1]

A Member of the Christian Left,

Thank you for your comments. However, your criticism all go to minor details (whether false prosecution is "civil slander" or not). This is strange, as your name implies that you have an ideological opposition to the death penalty, or at least to its use in cases of corrupt prosecution.

And of course, I disagree with the "slander" comparison. If a corrupt white prosecutor in 1960s North Carolina was falsely prosecuting black men for "raping our white women" for political reasons, surely that would be more than just civil slander!

Brendan,

Thanks for the post, and the "digg."

"Perhaps you'd be more in favor of a legal system where if someone was found to be telling a lie under oath or in an official capacity with regards to a criminal case, that they are punished in the same extend that the defendant was/is faced with?"

Fascinating.

Eddie,

Some degree of corruption is necessarry, and an even larger amount is acceptable.managing. Corruption, that is managed crime, can be a way of indirectly extending control to areas that it is difficult to directly control. [2]

Of course, race-based sexual prosecutions like Nifongate are hardly acceptable!


[1] http://digg.com/political_opinion/Should_Mike_Nifong_be_executed
[2] http://tdaxp.blogspirit.com/tag/managing+crime

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Saturday, June 16, 2007

Mark,

Are you an anarchist, or is your post satire? (This is a serious question -- I cannot determine which is the case.)

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Saturday, June 16, 2007

"This is strange, as your name implies that you have an ideological opposition to the death penalty, or at least to its use in cases of corrupt prosecution."

I do, but it's futile discussing it (especially here). The most I can muster is picking apart the smaller details, since they don't need a graduate thesis to explain.

E.O.F.

Posted by: A member of the Christian Left | Saturday, June 16, 2007

Dan,

Speaking of corruption, I'm reminded of what a friend in Singapore (who studies naval and aviation defense acquisition contracts among other things) noted about corruption there.

1. "Wet Corruption": Type that greases the wheels of motion and decision in everything from business to society, with minimal to manageable effects. This is largely tolerated as long as it does not become public or devolves into....

2. "Hard Corruption": Type that interferes with the flow of business, politics and society because of its audacity or its nefarious effects (i.e. something along the lines of Enron or a faulty product).

Most corruption within the justice system has an adverse effect on people's lives. People are wrongfully imprisoned, a few even wrongfully executed. The public's faith in the effectiveness of the system is weakened. The cause of justice for the weak and the aggrieved is diluted. In some states or localities, it could even lead to costly litigation.

Part of my problem with directly electing judges and prosecutors in the first place. Too many political and societal pressures on them to do the wrong thing instead of what's within the law.

Posted by: Eddie | Saturday, June 16, 2007

I wonder why such corruption and severe abuse of power in elected and/or officially appointed public servants (tongue-in-cheek term) isn't considered treasonous?

In the 4GW/5GW world, in which degrading or subverting the internal processes of a society is perhaps **the** primary activity any of our foes would require to defeat us, then officials who do this from within are giving aid and comfort to our enemies.

I suppose the non-linear types of conflict in a 4GW/5GW world produce a difficulty in defining treason. Perhaps the pre-4GW style of methods for aiding foes -- those methods must feed into their pre-4GW schemes, or give aid to those enemies' pre-4GW strategies -- has led to a formal definition of treason that may be becoming antiquated. Yet the non-linearity, which gains significance in a globalizing world, causes indirection which in turn muddies the definitional aspects of 'treason.' Indeed, for 5GW warfare, one might be able to say that nearly anything can be treasonous, even seemingly-innocuous behavior much less blatant than Nifong's behavior.

Hmmm....

Posted by: Curtis Gale Weeks | Sunday, June 17, 2007

I see this discussion has spread to Microsoft's Channel 9 developer community. [1]

A member of the Christian Left,

I am sorry you withdraw from substantive debate. I've enjoyed what you have had to say so far.

Eddie,

I think the wet / dry contrast is a good one. It's probably also useful to look at some corruption as a result of Gap-like feedback. The Nifong scandal is an example of that Gappish corruption. [2]

Curtis,

Nifong certainly did't help, our, America's, or the Core's correlation of forces...


[1] http://channel9.msdn.com/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=317106#317106
[2] http://tdaxp.blogspirit.com/archive/2007/04/12/america-s-non-integrating-gap.html

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Sunday, June 17, 2007

I think execution is a bit extreme. I do, however, agree that Nifongs villany went well beyond slander or defamation and, as such, any punishment should be well beyond tort litigation. Perhaps the maximum sentence for a rape conviction and, as mentioned above, the scarlet letter of sex offender is more in line.

Posted by: Jay@Soob | Sunday, June 17, 2007

This seems a little silly to me. Sure, fine Nifong for being a jerk, but I don't see how justice was perverted in any way. Didn't the justice system do its job? The charges were dismissed, Nifong has been disbarred and will never be in a position to do this again, the three falsely accused guys are all doing fine to my knowledge and will probably get rich off suing Nifong for everything he has.

Posted by: a517dogg | Sunday, June 17, 2007

The conversation has spread to "Hot Air" [1]

Jay,

I agree. However, Nifong should be branded a sexual predator because he is one, not just because he falsely charged three youths with that crime.

He perverted the sex act into a sadistic attempted-lynching. He sexually humiliated three youths for the kick of power and re-election.

a517d0gg,

Do I understand you correctly? Is it your contention that knowingly, falsely charging innocent people is a civil offense, and should not be a criminal one?

If this is your belief, then please answer the hypothetical I put to the Christian Leftist: If a corrupt white prosecutor in 1960s North Carolina was falsely prosecuting black men for "raping our white women" for political reasons, then the prosecutor is not a criminal?

[1] http://hotair.com/archives/2007/06/17/video-julie-banderas-suggests-novel-punishment-for-duke-lax-accuser/#comment-477011

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Sunday, June 17, 2007

Good luck proving that he acted with malice towards the young men. The way I understand the case (I haven't followed it closely at all) is that he believed the stripper's accusations were true, and then attempted to use the case to catapult his career. Unethical yes, but certainly nothing deserving the death penalty. And in the end, the correct outcome was reached - dismissal of charges at the accused and disbarment for the prosecutor.

The hypothetical you present is analogous only in that it's an abuse of power. In your hypothetical, the prosecutor targets a specific victim. It's basically an assault, using the law and the state as a weapon. Nifong didn't try to use the law as a weapon to target an individual like the prosecutor in your example. Instead he tried to use it to catapult himself to fame (he was successful, but not in the way he intended).

If my facts are wrong, if it's accepted that Nifong was acting with malice towards the individuals, or that there was collusion between Nifong and whatsherface, then I suppose it wouldn't be different at all and I'd favor criminal charges (I'm opposed to the death penalty in general though).

Posted by: a517dogg | Sunday, June 17, 2007

a517d0gg,

"Good luck proving that he acted with malice"

Maliceness" refers to intent to harm or recklessness as to whether harm will result.

One of the questions the ethics panel considered was whether Nifong intentionally told untruths v. knowingly told untruths. The prosecution's claim, that he intentionally did not tell the truth, was that Nifong said things that he knew were incorrect. Nifong's attorney maintained that he merely knowingly did not tell the truth -- that he said things with no regard to whether they were correct or incorrect.

Among the prosecution's witnesses was the officer who briefed Nifong immediately before he went to press, telling him that the case was insubstantial and that Nifong responded with "You know, we're fucked." [1] Immediately after this Nifong spoke with the press, claiming the players were rapists.

"Nifong didn't try to use the law as a weapon to target an individual like the prosecutor in your example."

How so?

"(I'm opposed to the death penalty in general though)."

Why?

[1] http://durhamwonderland.blogspot.com/2007/06/himan-testimony.html

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Monday, June 18, 2007

"How so?"

In your hypothetical, the prosecutor acts the way he does because of who the victim is (when I say victim I mean the victim of the prosecutor's actions, not the alleged victim in the case, sorry if there's any confusion). There really is no difference between your example and an old-fashioned lynching. My interpretation of Nifong's motives are that he was trying to get famous on this case, and that he didn't really care who he indicted as long as he was able to prosecute someone in a high-profile case. It's like the difference between first-degree murder on the one hand, and negligent homicide or involuntary manslaughter on the other.

I'm against the death penalty in general because it will lead to the state executing innocent people (possibly by people like Nifong).

Posted by: a517dogg | Monday, June 18, 2007

"If this is your belief, then please answer the hypothetical I put to the Christian Leftist: If a corrupt white prosecutor in 1960s North Carolina was falsely prosecuting black men for "raping our white women" for political reasons, then the prosecutor is not a criminal? ..."


I don't know about the 1960s, but in the 1970s I was arrested in North Carolina and charged with 7 felony drug counts and a misdemeanor traffic violation.

I had never done drugs at all. I did have long hair.

They held court once every two weeks. There were about 300 black people on trial and me, the hippie lookalike.

So yeah, it felt like I was the victim of a criminal act, though the prosecutor, in the end, dropped the drug charges about one minute before the trial was to begin. He later told my lawyer he knew I was innocent the whole time, but had felt dropping the charges would set a bad precedent and anger the local police.

There was a sign, and I'm not making this up, at the county line that said:

This is KKK Country.

I was lucky to get out of it, and will never say a bad thing about a lawyer again as mine saved my life.

Posted by: sonofsamphm1c | Monday, June 18, 2007

a517d0gg,

Take another example: owing to his connections with the Governor, a Catholic gets named prosecutor in a county in the deep South, where the Klan is a powerful force. This Catholic has no ill will toward his co-religionists, Jews, blacks, or foreigners, but in order to secure his office knowingly/intentionally falsely charges members of the classes with crimes in order to win re-election, get famous, earn his salary, etc. Is this the equivalent of "negligent homicide or involuntary manslaughter"?

Or this one: the Catholic has no government office, but merely opens a murder-for-hire shop. He is a psycopath -- he clinically does not care about others -- but because the Klan is his major client, he tends to kill blacks, Jews, Catholics, etc. Is this the equivalent of "negligent homicide or involuntary manslaughter"?

"I'm against the death penalty in general because it will lead to the state executing innocent people (possibly by people like Nifong)."

Certainly keeping murderers alive will lead to more murders, as violent crime has a high recidivism rate (in or out of prison) and the dead are unable to attack others.

If yours is an ideological objection -- that the State shall not directly shed innocent blood -- then it is beyond argument. If you are concerned about the State causing death and misery to innocent people, you may want to consider that someone dying from arson, beatings, rape, etc, in prison is just as dead as a man hanged.

If yours is a practical concern -- you don't want unnecessary suffering -- the question would seem to come down to how much you want inmates (guilty or innocent) to terrorize each other v. the net reduction in violence caused by executions (while acknowledging that Type I and Type II errors will both exist).

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Monday, June 18, 2007

RE: the death penalty, it is an ideological argument.

Now for more hypotheticals:

Obviously assassination is first degree murder, as you are intending to kill someone. But your first example I'd say is similar to your original example. The prosecutor goes out and finds people who fit his criteria for victims, and assaults them with the law.

Do you recognize the difference I am seeing?

Posted by: a517dogg | Monday, June 18, 2007

a517d0gg,

"Do you recognize the difference I am seeing?"

If I summarize you correctly, you see the case of a Klan prosecutor (who has internalized racial animosity, and acts on that internal state) as worse than the case of a Nifong prosecutor (who recognizes external racial animosity, and acts on that external state).

To tie the discussion to hate crimes [1 -- I realize I never responded to your last comment on that topic], cold murder-for-hire based on the victim's attributes and social prejudice is less serious than hot murder-for-hire based on the victim's attributes and the murderer's prejudice.

All,

Some further news: Duke has settled with the youths' families [2] and the "I Hate Linux" blog joins the discussion [3].

[1] http://tdaxp.blogspirit.com/archive/2007/05/05/hate-crimes.html
[2] http://durhamwonderland.blogspot.com/2007/06/duke-and-three-families-settle.html
[3] http://ihatelinux.blogspot.com/2007/06/solution-to-future-nifongs-and-mangums.html

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Monday, June 18, 2007

Like some others, I think execution is extreme for Nifong’s crimes. Rather, he should receive the maximum for what those he was prosecuting could have received. For example, if the maximum for the crime was 30 years (complete guess, just for this example) for two of them, and say 25 years for the third; Nifong should get 85 years, in the same prison those Duke students would have been assigned to. Consecutive terms, not concurrent.

I’m not against execution, and personally would rather be dead that go to prison like that, but I think it’s just more fitting in this case.

However, had the potential penalty for what Nifong was maliciously charging them with included the death penalty, that that would be the appropriate penalty for Nifong.

Posted by: Richardson | Wednesday, June 20, 2007

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