KC Johnson has a very interesting bit up on an apparent conflict between the
stories that the N&O has broken on the lacrosse story and the stand of Steve
Ford, who argues that defeating Nifong at the polls would have been
unjust: "To throw [Nifong] out of office on the sole basis of that
performance [would] have had the effect of substituting the judgment of voters
for the judgment of jurors."
But if a prosecutor refuses to follow the law, as we're inclined to think is
the case here, are the voters irresponsible if they don't vote him out?
KC refers to the Allen Gell case, which is important. If you're not
familiar with it, Gell was convicted for murder and it was later proven
that the prosecutors set him up (Gell faces life in prison now on sex
In fact, there have been a number of cases of prosecutorial misconduct (or
allegations of prosecutorial misconduct which have not yet been conclusively
proven) recently in North Carolina, several involving death penalty cases.
The N&O reported
on this rather vigorously. It gets
fairly depressing actually.
To take a slightly more extreme hypothetical, had Richard Nixon's impeachment
gone to trial, would Ford's argument hold?
The reality is this: voters have every right to reject a district
attorney who engages in legally dubious methods; in fact, we'd argue they are
morally obligated to do so.
In the Gell case, even the N.C. bar argued that the prosecutors committed
felonies. Surely the N&O would support the voter's right to fire the
prosecutor in that situation.
The N&O has done some very impressive work on this case, arguably the
paper's best since they got a Pulitzer for covering hog poop and the
consequences of same. You'd think Ford would want his reporters to be
aggressive and demanding. Perhaps not.
Joseph Cheshire neatly sums up the particulars against Nifong. Back To Wonderland!
And here's a direct link.