IS THERE AN HONORABLE DISTRICT ATTORNEY IN AMERICA?
By Jim R. Schwiesow
The recent North Carolina fiasco in which three members of the Duke University Lacrosse team were charged with a number of crimes, including the rape of a prostitute who was moonlighting as an exotic dancer has again captured the rapt attention of the media. The prosecutor, or in this case persecutor, District Attorney Mike Nifong has abruptly, and with little in the way of explanation other than a terse statement saying that the alleged victim has suddenly developed amnesia in regard to her recollection as to whether or not these three young men had actually assaulted her, dismissed his rape charges and refused to elaborate further. Instead, Mr. Nifong hides behind a closed door, which displays a sign reading, “No Media”. Odd given the fact that the district attorney craved media coverage like a dog craves a bone in the initial stages of this pathetic drama. It seems that anonymity, after the sorry true facts of the case have been revealed, helps to hide the shame.
The story here is not about a lying prostitute, and it is not about the fact that a number of young college men were a part of a bibulous party where drunken prostitutes masquerading as dancers entertained the attendees. This type of behavior seems to be a part of our new national image. We will admit that these patterns of behavior are inimical to society, but what the heck we have been glorifying such nefarious conduct for many years now. Movies have been made, which extol thuggery, piggishness, profaneness, and lascivious conduct, which our young people, of thin parental upbringing, have gobbled up with serious intensity. No, the real story here is, once again, the lying venality and moral turpitude of an elected official, an official who by his oath of office is obligated to administer the law with righteous impartiality and strict decorum. When one imposes an image of Mike Nifong alongside these words, it either causes a stunning moment of disbelief or a snort of fury at the divergence between the integrity implied by the words and the moral unsoundness of Mr. Nifong.
Mike Nifong personifies all that is rotten and perverse about too many of our, and I use this term in the loosest possible way, public servants. First of all he is a liar. There is no sense beating around the bush with nonsensical euphemisms such as little white lies or stretching the truth or fudging the truth, when the fact is that he is simply a perverse liar. There are no degrees of lying, a lie is a lie, and there is nothing cute or funny about lies of whatever kind. Lies always have devastating consequences.
Secondly, the district attorney is a prehensile reprobate. A man who would use the tactics to which he has resorted, and which must be an integral part of his persona, to maintain his power and continuance in office is totally devoid of moral absolutes. His absolute need is for power and glory, and the good life as a high official, and the lust for the same overrides any desire to uphold justice.
OK, I have made some fairly serious charges here in regard to Mr. Nifong’s character; lets see if his actions justify those charges. Following is my bill of particulars:
First of all he lied when he filed his information alleging that these young men had committed the crime of rape. In that “true bill” he recorded as statements of fact that which he knew to be unsubstantiated and false. He used conjecture and innuendo, and then hoped, with fingers crossed, that a subsequent investigation would enable him to sustain the lies that he had presented until he could, hopefully, convert them into truth. By his lies he turned a fishing expedition into a fait accompli. In other words he put the cart ahead of the horse and stood probable cause on its head.
Secondly, Mr. District Attorney Nifong hedged his bets. Like a cheating poker player he needed an edge to pull off an unrighteous prosecution, which had no legitimate legs to stand upon. He was betting that the three, whom he had charged, would turn out to have been, at the very least, parties to consensual sex with this pristine maiden of history’s oldest profession. He felt that he would surely be able to identify the presence of their DNA, which would for him cinch a conviction on his fanciful charges. That the boys were telling the truth about not having sex with this lady of the night never entered his mind, after all since he was a liar that meant, in his mind, that everybody else must likewise be liars. Next he further leveraged his bet by rigging a photo line-up so that there was no possibility that the accused three men could be excluded from identification as guilty culprits. Finally he went to the media with a number of carefully contrived statements meant to establish the guilt of the accused in the minds of the community. He was knowingly and deliberately poisoning the jury pool. Ah yes, how he must have savored his momentary place in the spotlight of the nation, just a humble servant of the law standing against the forces of evil.
Now that the delusive building blocks of the persecution, excuse me, prosecution had been laid it was necessary that Mr. Nifong’s devious strategy be allowed to play out. So he now made a mockery of due process. He stalled and delayed the proceedings hoping against hope that some fluke would come along to solidify what he knew to be a trumped up case. Playing the media like a fiddle he was able for a long while to encourage the thought that the presence of incriminating evidence was a fact. The talking heads opined for hours on his brilliance and the culpability of the accused. Political correctness demanded that three white boys of considerable means be convicted of raping a poor black prostitute with no other honorable recourse in life, but to sell her body as a sexual tool. My how that tune has changed.
And now we come to some real villainous acts, but unfortunately for Mr. Nifong these were of his making. He consciously and deliberately withheld exculpatory evidence from the attorneys for the accused. This evidence included the fact that the body of his alleged victim contained the seed of half an army of men, but not the seed of the three whom he was trying to railroad. And while he despicably manipulated the evidence, which pointed away from the accused as being perpetrators of a crime, he continually encouraged the lies of the accuser. Even when he was forced to drop his rape charge he had not the good grace to dismiss all of the trumped up charges against three innocent men so that they could get on with their lives. One wonders how many innocent people have been wrongly incarcerated by the Mike Nifongs of our judicial system. As I write these words I am reminded that I loathe and despise everything that this man stands for. Everything that is now known about his prosecutorial abuse warrants his immediate removal from office. This is supposed to be an office of trust, and by his corruptness he has demonstrated that he has violated that trust and by doing so he has defamed the office.
You may be asking yourself, why? What did he stand to gain from all of his duplicity? Why would he deliberately lay upon these three young men a lifetime of shame and distrust? I believe that the answer to these questions lies in the greed and lust for power that dwells in too many of our holders of public office. Mr. Nifong’s quest was for more time in office. He was in a tight political race, and his lust for power and control dictated that he must create a racial issue with which to sustain his hold on that office. Pretty heady stuff this possession of power. That his strategy was successful was evidenced by the fact that he handily swept away his opposition and was re-elected. Who says that lies and deceit cannot pave the way for political opportunists?
Whether the goal is for power, glory, or a pocketful of money makes little difference. It had been proven time and time again that the ignorance of the public in regard to a tolerance for lies and deceit often paves the way for the election of moral degenerates. Either we are a gullible lot, or we are cut from the same cloth as some of those whom we elect. Heaven forbid!
© 2006 - Jim R. Schwiesow - All Rights Reserved
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Jim Schwiesow is a retired sheriff with 46 years of law enforcement service. He served with the Unites States Army with the occupation forces in post war Berlin, Germany, and has a total of nine years of military service, which includes six years in the U.S. Army Reserve.
His law enforcement service includes: three years in the military police, fifteen years as an Iowa municipal police officer, and twenty-eight years as the duly elected sheriff of Sioux County, Iowa.
Jim has written a number of articles, which have been published in various professional law enforcement journals.
It had been proven time and time again that the ignorance of the public in regard to a tolerance for lies and deceit often paves the way for the election of moral degenerates. Either we are a gullible lot, or we are cut from the same cloth as some of those whom we elect.