After a private swearing-in ceremony on January 2, 2006 at which the public was as welcome as concentration camp victims would have been at another private ceremony, Hitler's marriage to Eva Braun in a bunker in Berlin in April 1945, Durham County, North Carolina District Attorney Michael B. Nifong declared his intention to help Durham heal the wounds of the Duke case.
No wonder Brooklyn College Professor Robert K.C. Johnson thinks of Durham as Wonderland.
Mr. Nifong, facing ethics charges (and more to come) and abandoned by all of his fellow North Carolina District Attorneys, is pretending to be part of the solution instead of part of the problem (a BIG part of the problem).
Is he deluded?
Is he setting up an insanity defense?
The News & Observer's Ben Niolet reported that Mr. Nifong "said his work as Durham's top law enforcement official will be to help the community recover from the [Duke] case, which has drawn international attention."
Does a patient on whom a physician commits malpractice intentionally opt to stick with that physician?
As a result of the Duke case, in the cases of patients in Durham, one may wonder.
Mr. Nifong: "I don't feel that I'm part of the problem. I feel that I have assisted in revealing the problem. Durham has some healing to do. And I need to be part of that healing process, and I need to have something to do with how we move forward."
Hitler didn't think he was part of the problem either. He said the problem was the Jews, and then the problem was the German people letting their Fuehrer down.
The only things Mr. Nifong can do to help Durham move forward would be to dismiss the remaining charges in the Duke case, resign and give a full confession to the North Carolina State Bar that acknowledges not only his own egregious misconduct, but that of his enablers, both in and out of the Durham County, North Carolina District Attorney's Office.
Mr. Niolet: "Senior Resident Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson swore in Nifong in a morning ceremony before the courthouse was opened to the public. Hudson said he was not aware of any specific requirement that the oath be taken in the open."
Just what Durham needs: judges who accommodate Mr. Nifong!
Mr. Niolet reported that Judge Hudson said, ""I'm not sure it violated anything but common sense."
So why did Judge Hudson violate "common sense"?
Is it a Durham thing?
Mr. Niolet: "Nifong refused to say whether he would recuse himself in the wake of ethics charges filed last week by the N.C. State Bar. The agency, which regulates and licenses lawyers, charged Nifong with misconduct for his many public comments about the case. Nifong refused to respond Tuesday to a call by the state Conference of District Attorneys for him to step aside from the case."
Reade Seligman is not "dead man walking," thanks be to God (and those who agree that JFK was right when he said, "On earth, God's work must truly be our own").
When it comes to his career as a prosecutor and his license to practice law, Mr. Nifong is nearly dead.
"If it appears that my presence in an investigation and anything like that is a hindrance, then we can deal with that at that time. I have been elected to do a job, and I intend to do that job. Part of my job is to constantly re-evaluate everything that's going on in light of the information that I have.
"Because you make a decision based on information that you have on hand at a particular time doesn't mean that you do not revisit that decision later on when other information is available."
Mr. Nifong has choices: dismiss the Duke case, recuse himself from the Duke case or be removed from the Duke case.
With all the other North Carolina District Attorneys calling for Mr. Nuifong to be off the Duke case, it's a no brainer that Judge Osmond Smith (not to be confused with Judges Ronald Stephens and Kenneth Titus) will remove him upon request of the defense, and perhaps on his own initiative.
The defense seems to be giving Mr. Nifong time to recover from the shock of public exposure and to do himself the favor of dismissing the Duke case.
Mr. Nifong does not deserve the courtesy, but he's getting it anyway.
Mr. Niolet: "The criticism of Nifong has built steadily since March when an escort service dancer told police she had been raped and sexually assaulted. But in December, Nifong's critics got louder. A DNA expert hired by the state testified that he and Nifong agreed to leave off a report test results that were favorable to the defense. The accuser told an investigator in Nifong's office that she was no longer sure that she was vaginally raped, and Nifong subsequently dropped the rape charge."
AND it was realized that Mr. Nifong had affirmatively represented to the court that he was unaware of anything more that may be considered exculpatory evidence!
"Beth Brewer, who helped lead a campaign against Nifong in the November election, waited with reporters to attend the swearing-in. In an interview Tuesday, Brewer said whatever wounds need healing in Durham were inflicted by Nifong.
"'I personally think he is the one that caused this problem,' Brewer said. 'To say now that he was not part of the problem and he needs to be part of the solution is just bogus.'"
Exactly, Ms. Brewer.
"Jackie Brown, who ran Nifong's primary campaign before joining his opponents in the November contest, said Nifong could help Durham heal by removing himself from the lacrosse case.
"'Sadly, his performance today only confirms that he doesn't realize that he is the bigger part of the problem,' Brown said. 'How can anybody who comes through those doors up there, from a traffic ticket to a murder trial, trust that they're going to get a fair trial?'"
Mr. Brown asked the right question, but did not request enough: Mr. Nifong should resign and Governor Easley should try again to appoint an ethical district attorney for Durham County.
Mr. Nifong: "I'm tempted to say because 2007 has got to be a better year than 2006."
It will be, with the Duke case finally over and the wrongfully pursued and a new district attorney doing some rightful pursuing in both criminal and civil court.
The Wilmington Star took offense at Mr. Nifong's remarks in an editorial titled "Durham should be ashamed!"
Ironically, the title seems intended to have been ironical, but it actually states a profound truth: Durham SHOULD be ashamed!
After all, last November, a plurality of the registered voters of Durham County who voted elected Mr. Nifong to serve as district attorney for a four-year term beginning in 2007.
THAT was shameful!
"After hiding from the public while he took the oath of office, Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong explained something: 'The problem' isn't him.' 'The problem' is Durham." [Note to editor: "him" should have been "he"]
"Apparently it was Durham that, without examining all the evidence, announced to the world that three Duke lacrosse players were 'hooligans' who probably raped a stripper.
"Apparently it was Durham that, in violation of the law and Nifong's past practice, conspired with an expert witness to hide evidence that would have weakened the already flimsy case against the players.
"Apparently it is Durham that, according to the State Bar, committed ethical violations and Durham that, according to Nifong's fellow district attorneys, should let someone else handle the lacrosse case.
"I' don't feel that I'm part of the problem,' Nifong said. 'Durham has some healing to do. And I need to be part of that healing process, and I need to have something to do with how we move forward.'"
The cancerous tumor needs to be removed before healing can begin.
Michael J. Gaynor has been practicing law in New York since 1973. A former partner at Fulton, Duncombe & Rowe and Gaynor & Bass, he is a solo practitioner admitted to practice in New York state and federal courts and an Association of the Bar of the City of New York member.
Gaynor graduated magna cum laude, with Honors in Social Science, from Hofstra University's New College, and received his J.D. degree from St. John's Law School, where he won the American Jurisprudence Award in Evidence and served as an editor of the Law Review and the St. Thomas More Institute for Legal Research. He wrote on the Pentagon Papers case for the Review and obscenity law for The Catholic Lawyer and edited the Law Review's commentary on significant developments in New York law.
The day after graduating, Gaynor joined the Fulton firm, where he focused on litigation and corporate law. In 1997 Gaynor and Emily Bass formed Gaynor & Bass and then conducted a general legal practice, emphasizing litigation, and represented corporations, individuals and a New York City labor union. Notably, Gaynor & Bass prevailed in the Second Circuit in a seminal copyright infringement case, Tasini v. New York Times, against newspaper and magazine publishers and Lexis-Nexis. The U.S. Supreme Court affirmed, 7 to 2, holding that the copyrights of freelance writers had been infringed when their work was put online without permission or compensation.
Gaynor currently contributes regularly to www.MichNews.com, www.RenewAmerica.com, www.WebCommentary.com, www.PostChronicle.com and www.therealitycheck.org and has contributed to many other websites. He has written extensively on political and religious issues, notably the Terry Schiavo case, the Duke "no rape" case, ACORN and canon law, and appeared as a guest on television and radio. He was acknowledged in Until Proven Innocent, by Stuart Taylor and KC Johnson, and Culture of Corruption, by Michelle Malkin. He appeared on "Your World With Cavuto" to promote an eBay boycott that he initiated and "The World Over With Raymond Arroyo" (EWTN) to discuss the legal implications of the Schiavo case. On October 22, 2008, Gaynor was the first to report that The New York Times had killed an Obama/ACORN expose on which a Times reporter had been working with ACORN whistleblower Anita MonCrief.