The Durham Herald Sun is reporting tonight:
Durham County Interim District Attorney Jim Hardin has asked state officials to determine whether current or former government officials should face criminal prosecution over their handling of the Duke lacrosse case.Folks, you know this story is huge. I’ll comment later tonight and again tomorrow.
The request was confirmed Wednesday by Noelle Talley, spokeswoman for state Attorney General Roy Cooper.
Potential targets include anyone who acted "under the color of law enforcement," meaning former District Attorney Mike Nifong and an array of people in the Durham Police Department.
Hardin's request surfaced Wednesday, as attorneys for exonerated lacrosse players David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann were meeting with Durham officials to discuss a potential federal civil rights lawsuit against the city.
The three players were indicted last year on what Cooper eventually ruled were false charges of rape, sexual assault and kidnapping.
The subsequent fallout has included Nifong's disbarment, resignation and last week conviction on a charge of criminal contempt, all stemming from his attempts to hide exculpatory evidence from the players' defense team.
North Carolina law authorizes only a sitting DA, a sheriff, police officers or judges to request an investigation by State Bureau of Investigation.
Cooper's office is reviewing Hardin's request, said Talley.
Talley couldn't say who was reviewing the request or when the review might be completed.
Hardin said it would be inappropriate for him to comment.
For now a little info about “color of law” ---
From Law.Com dictionary:
color of lawAnd this from the FBI’s Miami-based Civil Rights Program website [excerpt]
n. the appearance of an act being performed based upon legal right or enforcement of statute, when in reality no such right exists.
An outstanding example is found in the civil rights acts which penalize law enforcement officers for violating civil rights by making arrests "under color of law" of peaceful protesters or to disrupt voter registration.
It could apply to phony traffic arrests in order to raise revenue from fines or extort payoffs to forget the ticket.
An official would violate the color of law statute by fabricating evidence against or conducting a false arrest of an individual. That person's rights of due process and unreasonable seizure have been violated.At the Miami FBI site we also find this:
In the case of deprivation of property, the official would violate the color of saw statute by unlawfully obtaining or maintaining the property of another.
In that case, the official has overstepped or misapplied his authority. […]
The public entrusts its law enforcement officials with protecting the community. If it is shown that an official willfully failed to keep an individual from harm that official could be in violation of the color of law statute.As the public considers what might happen as a result of interim DA Hardin’s request, we here in Durham can recall that our City Manager, Patrick Baker, has always praised our police force for its handling of the Duke lacrosse case.
Baker is an attorney.
The entire H-S story is here.