LAWFUEL – Lead story from the New York Times – Why did the prosecutor who misbehaved in the Duke lacrosse case so inflame the public and lose his job, when other prosecutors found to have done similar things have kept their licences and their jobs? Adam Liptak from the New York Times reports.
The misconduct that cost the prosecutor in the Duke lacrosse case his career certainly seemed to call for a severe penalty: he withheld evidence from the defense, misled the court and inflamed the public.
Yet other prosecutors found by the courts to have done similar things have almost never lost their jobs or their licenses to practice law. Even in the aftermath of prosecutorial wrongdoing that helped put innocent men on death row, discipline has been light or nonexistent.
What makes Michael B. Nifong different?
The answer, it appears, is that he got a taste of something like his own medicine, a trial in the court of public opinion.
“The very same facts that made this case attractive to a prosecutor up for election and a huge publicity magnet — race, sex, class, lacrosse stars, a prominent university — also led to his undoing when the case collapsed and his conduct was scrutinized in and beyond North Carolina,” said Stephen M. Gillers, a law professor at New York University and the author of “Regulation of Lawyers: Problems of Law and Ethics.”