One Off Offing: Why you won't see a disbarment like Mike Nifong's again.
Call me cynical and pessimistic, but I think this editorial is right on the money. Mike Nifong went down in flames as he should have! He should be cained for ruining those guys. They plan on suing him, but lets face it: DAs and prosecutors get fabulous immunity from lawsuits (for obvious reasons). Even the best lawyers will probably have an ordeal getting any kind of settlement out of that jerk.
Seriously, let's all admit it. The only reasons these guys aren't in prison right now is because:
- Their folks were filthy rich and hired the best legal guns and PR talent that only old moneyed people at a place like Duke could possibly afford.
- They were demonstrably innocent to a degree most defendents never are.
- They're white. Come on folks, would the media really care so much had they been black guys on Duke's basketball team? Que our last point...
- The entire nation was watching everything on TV.
While I consider myself relatively privileged by American standards, I certainly wasn't in the same league with these lacrosse players. I'm convinced my parents love me. Had something like this happened when I was at NAU, they would probably have taken out a second mortgage and maxed out the credit cards to make bail and help out. But my folks don't have hundreds of thousands of dollars lying around to keep me out of the slammer! Eventually, I'd get stuck with some lazy, two bit, court appointed, law-school grad rookie begrudgingly doing Pro bono work!*
Even if I got off like the lucky boys at Duke, my folks certainly wouldn't have had the millions in legal fees to extract a modicum of justice in a lawsuit (probably a crapshoot anyways). I shudder to think what would have happened to me or my friends in similar circumstances. A shortened prison term in exchange for a plea agreement? Shorter if I ratted out friends? Parole after a few years? Calling all legal experts to speculate on what my fate would have been!
*Disclaimer: I'm just being sarcastic and cynical here. I don't really mean to demean all court appointed criminal defense lawyers! I'm sure many of you are the dedicated, hard working public servants that everyone deserves (including folks at Guantanamo)! If nothing else, this case certainly highlights the desperate necessity for good criminal defense attorneys!