Monday, June 18, 2007

Mike and Bill And Denis and Mike

#256 Mike and Bill and Denis and Mike

So, poor old Mike Nifong, former district attorney in North Carolina, resigns himself from the job while on the stand in a trial where they are proving he never should have had the job in the first place. And then he gets disbarred.

Mike’s taking the fall for his whole profession. Not justice. A scapegoat.

What he did was pretty simple: he assumed that a bunch of white northern boys would be the liars instead of the black stripper woman who danced at their party. And because they were Lacrosse players, and at a pretty big university, Duke, he figured he could make his prosecutorial and racial and political bones and get out of the small time, college town job he had and on to big stuff.

It’s pretty fashionable for a white southern guy to side black in a black-white case, these days. It’s a great political ploy. But he was out foxed. By truth. And by stupidity.

He never interviewed the “victim.” He never gave exonerating DNA evidence to the defense.

Mike’s a lousy lawyer. And he’s a lousy politician. So, if he’s a truly-loyal Good Old Boy, the machine, whichever machine put him into office, will find a little something for him to do until the air clears.

But he’s not alone.

Sensation seeking prosecutors (to borrow part of a phrase from David Brinkley,) abound. Always have. And they are dangerous.

William Cahn, once the towering DA in Nassau County, Long Island, New York got himself into a big mess over some missing money. He’d been on a roll. Dopers, gamblers, hookers, all fell before his prosecutorial prowess. Then he lost his license and his job. Shocking!

Another guy in the same job, Denis Dillon, Democrat turned Republican spent more time grandstanding at anti abortion rallies than he did in his office. And when he tried for an umpteenth term, the voters turned him out.

His successor, Kathleen Rice, Democrat, showed every sign of taking the Nifong Service Road, if not the Nifong Highway, by appointing a person to whom she’s close to what amounts to an almost- no show job at an inflated salary.

So where is the line between enthusiasm and zeal? There appears to be none.

But there is yet another side to this.

Here in Stonewall County we have our own little DA guy, Mike Merlot. He’s up there in court one day and he’s prosecuting this mostly-blind guy who doesn’t let that little thing get in the way of his driving a car, and who hit and killed another guy on a bicycle.

But Merlot is friends with a friend of the defendant. So, he prosecutes on one foot and the guy, instead of going to jail, goes to home incarceration. And not for long.

Abuse of power comes in several forms. It’s not only doing what you can do. It’s sometimes not doing what you can.

I'm Wes Richards, my opinions are my own, but you're welcome to them.

(c) 2007 WJR

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