Mike Nifong Has Been Disbarred

Mike Nifong, the former (?) DA of Durham, North Carolina and the lead prosecutor for the Duke Rape Case fiasco has been disbarred and accepted disbarment according to K.C. Johnson. I have to say, that at the very least, this was the only outcome that could have gone anyway towards restoring faith in the system of justice not only in Durham, but also in North Carolina.

K.C. Johnson has been live blogging the case, but since I’ve been rather busy the last couple of days, I haven’t been following it. So expect this post to be updated over the next couple of hours.

Update: From K.C. Johnson’s blog,

3.) Marsha Goodenow was a devastating witness.

Charlotte ADA Marsha Goodenow pulverized Nifong with her testimony.

It was “highly unlikely,” she noted, for North Carolina prosecutors to file rape charges in cases where the only evidence was the contradictory stories of an accuser.

Marsha Goodenow is an ADA for another jurisdiction in North Carolina and she provided some nice testimoney on how Defendant Nifong violated ethical standards as a prosecutor. It covered the line up, the DNA evidence, refusing the meet with the defense attorneys and so on. It showed that pretty much right from the start Nifong was not pursuing justice but another agenda entirely (his re-election, IMO).

K.C. Johnson also had this in brackets about Reade Seligmann’s testimony,

[People in the courtroom are audibly crying as they are listening to this testimony.]

[This is extremely powerful testimony; the three panelists are watching intently.]

And then there was this,

Nifong to Cooney: “Boy, I bet you wish your client hadn’t shown his alibi story, because there’s no such thing as an airtight alibi. Sure enough,” the story was changed–tried to show how DNA and alibi wouldn’t be relevant. “Almost predictable.”

Rather despicable, IMO.

Update II: One of the things about the case that always fascinated me was the role of Tara Levicy, the SANE (Sexaul Assault Nurse Examiner) trainee who did the rape kit on Crystal Mangum. The reason why I find Levicy interesting is that Levicy was a trainee at the time and she provided, what appears to be, some of the early “hard” medical evidence in the case. Later it turned out that this hard evidence really was nothing other than Levicy’s personal belief that Mangum had been raped. Unfortunately Levicy was not called by Nifong’s attorney as a defense witness. But there was this testimony by Nifong,

Nifong: Both Himan and Gottlieb considered Mangum very believable to them. Tara Levicy indicated the same thing to him.

Aside from the fact that Himan has testified pretty much to the contrary, it is interesting that Nifong is claiming that Levicy found Mangum believable. From what I’ve read Mangum’s behavior was at odds with how the typical rape victim behaves, the physical evidence was paltry, and all Levicy went by was Mangum’s hysterical behavior.

Update III: With regards to the last update, keep in mind that Nifong very much appears to be a serial liar.

Update: IV Yes, it is offical, apparently Nifong resigned while on the wittness stand. K.C. Johnson calls this a cynical ploy for sympathy during Nifong’s trial, and I have to agree.

Update V: This is truly sad and I hope it haunts Mike Nifong till the day he dies,

Dave’s [Dave Evan’s] grandfather (89 years old) went regularly to Duke lacrosse games. “Took it very very hard . . . He was consumed with the case. Would say, ‘Why is this DA going forward? Look at all the evidence.'”

Had sudden heart attack Aug. 20. “Great regret” that he died before he heard that the system worked and Dave was declared innocent.

FILED UNDER: Blogosphere, Law and the Courts, , , ,
Steve Verdon
About Steve Verdon
Steve has a B.A. in Economics from the University of California, Los Angeles and attended graduate school at The George Washington University, leaving school shortly before staring work on his dissertation when his first child was born. He works in the energy industry and prior to that worked at the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the Division of Price Index and Number Research. He joined the staff at OTB in November 2004.


  1. MarkT says:

    I don’t understand the fascination with this case. Why are people so fascinated by it?

  2. G.A. Phillips says:

    Because a scumbag power hungry liberal finely got what was coming to him, that’s why I was so intently watching anyhow.

  3. So will Nancy Grace apologize NOW?

  4. just me says:

    It is interesting for one reason-I think without the media exposure, and ability of Nifong’s victims to hire private attornies that went to the media, Nifong may have gotten away with it.

    As much as many of us don’t want to think about it, I think a lot of DA’s get buy with pushing forward cases that probably shouldn’t go to trial for political or even personal purposes. I would still take our justice system over others-especially if I was innocent, but there is a lot of power in a DA’s hands, and if he/she is even a tad unethical, they can really weight the scales of justice.

  5. davod says:

    There was a commentator on Fox saying that this was a sad day because DAs would now think twice about filing charges because they would be worried about being disbarred.

  6. davod says:

    Just me:

    We must not forget that one of the lawyers taught himself about DNA so he could read through the massive report from the DNA lab. Only then did he find the DNA of the non defendents.

  7. Steve Verdon says:


    Just me’s explanation is precisely the reason why it is fascinating to me. In fact, I’ll go even further, this kind of thing has happned quite a bit in the past. There was a story in the L.A. Times not too long ago about a black man who went through pretty much the same thing. Problem is that he wasn’t rich, did have a criminal background, and he was black and the DA white. He spent something like a decade in prison until DNA testing exonerated him.

    People will sometimes say our legal system isn’t perfect, but it is the best we have, or pretty damned good, etc. Bullshit. At times our legal system is petty, vindictive, and horrible. Bringing such things to light is good.

    There was a commentator on Fox saying that this was a sad day because DAs would now think twice about filing charges because they would be worried about being disbarred.

    Sounds good to me. That is precisely what we want, DAs to actually think prior to filing charges, that there be a downside to DA’s engaging in unethical/illegal behavior.

  8. Kent says:

    This is a perfect illustration of what Thomas Sowell has been saying for years: There are no solutions, only tradeoffs.

    We can devise a legal system that is all but guaranteed not to convict an innocent man. Problem is, it will convict darn few guilty men, either. Then we all suffer at the hands of criminals.

    We can devise a legal system that is all but guaranteed to put guilty men away for a long time. Problem is, it will also put away lots of innocent men, many for a long time.

    Regrettably, the optimum is a system that often lets guilty men go and sometimes locks away innocent men. It’s terrible, but it’s the best we can do. It’s the human condition.

    Am I apologizing for Nifong? Hardly. You improve the optimum by making examples of the people who are caught red-handed making the system worse.

    The pendulum will oscillate around the optimum. When I was young, criminals were being released on the flimsiest of technicalities, not because anyone really believed there was reasonable doubt about their guilt, but because there was a strong sentiment in certain circles that criminals are just like us, only weaker. A lot of sociological research has shown otherwise, and the backlash against the high crime rates of my childhood has led to stricter enforcement. So the pendulum swung back.

    My take on where we now are is this: There are too many questionable convictions, yet too light of sentences for many who are justly convicted. I wonder if the two go together?