Monday, June 25, 2007

INNOCENT: Remove Nifong Now

"... these three individuals [David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann,] are innocent of these charges."

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper, Apr. 11, 2007
______________________________________________ has just reported:

A Durham judge has set a hearing for Thursday on the possible removal of Mike Nifong as Durham district attorney.
Nifong already has been suspended with pay, and he has said he will resign effective July 13.

But Orlando Hudson, Durham's senior resident Superior Court judge, has the power to remove Nifong from office sooner than that.

On Thursday, Hudson will consider a petition filed by Durham resident Beth Brewer asking for Nifong's removal. Hudson has appointed Raleigh lawyer Robert Zaytoun to prosecute the case against Nifong. The hearing is set for 9:30 a.m. […]
I hope Judge Hudson will order Nifong’s immediate removal from office.

In a Durham Herald Sun op-ed last week, Durham City Councilman Eugene Brown laid out some of the reasons we should all want Nifong’s immediate removal as DA. While Brown was writing in support of Hudson’s order to suspend Nifong pending the removal hearing, his words apply equally well to Nifong’s removal as DA [excerpts]:
The harsh reality is that our former district attorney has disgraced himself and his office. He has disgraced our community, and he has disgraced his profession.

For him to have [hang] around the courthouse for another month would have been like rubbing salt into a 15-month open, community wound. Such a wound can only be healed with his departure. . . .

Our former district attorney is facing additional civil and perhaps criminal charges. Indeed, [it’s been] announced that the three lacrosse players and their families [will] file a suit against him.

In addition, Superior Court Judge Osmond Smith has stated that he is not through with Nifong yet.

But in spite of the possibility of pending [actions] against him, [Nifong in office might still have] access to all the files on this case.

I can't say for sure that [presents] a problem. But after watching the [State Bar] hearings . . . and seeing Mike Nifong trying to defend the indefensible, I didn't feel comfortable with this situation. Files can be erased, information can be altered, papers can be shredded.

Regardless, our former district attorney needs to go quickly and quietly into the night.