A Prosecuting attorney, yet. This is headline news, of course.
I make no secret of my disdain for attorneys. Apart from their possible usefulness in going over contracts and arranging legal documents (which can now be done on a do-it-yourself basis with lots of online help), most of my contempt for these miserable creatures is reserved for trial attorneys.
In fact I go so far as to say, (my opinion based on my experience of course), that a lawyer is an officially protected trained professional liar, and anything he or she says may or may not be true, and may or may not be his or her own thoughts, and that as a class they are totally compromised and not real people, thinking they occupy some kind of higher parallel universe.
I do not believe that trial attorneys have any meaningful identity absent a client. I’ve yet to meet a lawyer who will work on or spend time on any social matter for which there is no personal gain of some kind. As such, they should be ignored and avoided by all sensible, wholesome, decent, well-meaning, non-lawyer people, who, some say, are rapidly becoming a minority in the Western world, but are however voters. Wonder if any trial attorneys will be running for U.S. president in ’09? But I digress.
So it was with great pleasure that I read of the current news concerning the 3 boys of Duke University’s lacrosse team and their adventures with a stripper at a party who sued them for rape. They were close to major jail time, with the assistance of the press, and the public prosecutor of Durham County, State of North Carolina; but have now been exonerated, after millions of dollars have been spent in legal fees and costs.
Now a Prosecuting attorney, representing as he does we the people – that’s you and me – has a special duty to tell the truth. They are supposed to seek their victory based on it, or as near as it ever gets, by what are called verifiable facts, not just by canny courtroom gymnastics like a defense attorney where anything goes (although they too are “officers of the court”.) We know what a lie is, but is the tactic of withholding truth also a lie? Of course, because it obscures the truth.
Here we find that D.A. Mike Nifong is accused of withholding DNA evidence that would have served to free the defendants, under indictment for a year. And to make matters worse, he defamed them in his public pronouncements to the press before trial, and of course the media ate it up. Why did he want to do this? It is thought that this was part of his re-election campaign.
The judge stepped in, stopped everything in its tracks, his boss the attorney general dropped the charges, and Nifong apologized.
But a million lawyers’ feathers got ruffled. There will be a trial, this time of the D.A., before the secret court of the ethics committee of his own bar association. Studded with a few Duke U. graduates perhaps. And he may lose his license to practice law.
He will plead neither guilty nor innocent. He will plead immunity.
June 15, 2007
Boy, was I wrong! The hearing was not secret, was televised, and he has owned up and will resign. Shows what law societies will do when there is enough public outcry. In fact, enough to have him disbarred for “deceit”. That’s a laugh. If he was a defense lawyer, he would be deemed to be hugely successful, but too late now to switch sides.
Never mind for him, he can go back to being a “real person”, a rich entrepreneur perhaps.