The Duke Rape Case, New DNA Evidence, and How To Handle Out-of-Control Prosecutors

As of this moment, we’re still unsure of all the facts in the Duke lacrosse “rape” case, particularly those of us whose only knowledge of the situation comes from news reports and the blogosphere. However, it is beginning to look like the accused players might be getting railroaded to the point where the prosecutor should provide them with “Union Pacific” t-shirts.

Every time we look at somebody who may be wrongly accused we should shudder and think, “there but for the grace of God,” and investigate fully.

Defense attorneys for the three men from Duke’s lacrosse team charged with raping a stripper at a party have filed a motion with the court, as DNA testing found genetic material in the accuser’s body and underwear, but none of it was from any of the three defendants.

Here’s the story.

This means either the accuser was with other men (willingly or unwillingly we don’t know), or did a feet-first Slip-n-Slide through the mens room at a football stadium. Either way, it’s not looking good for the prosecutor’s case, but he’s showing no signs of letting up. Why?

This case will play itself out, and not being a fly on the wall during any of this I can’t comment on the particulars, but I’d like to focus more on the prosecutorial end of things. It’s becoming increasingly clear that the accused are being used for some purpose other than the pursuit of justice. If it turns out to be the prosecutor who is continuing pursue increasingly discredited allegations, severe action needs to be taken.

District Attorney Mike Nifong has been accused of pursuing the case for political gain in a re-election year, and Republican Rep. Walter Jones wants the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate Nifong’s conduct in the case.

In the meantime, here’s my modest proposal, and this would apply in general for any would-be out-of-control prosecutor: Let it be known going in that should solid evidence be found that a prosecutor pursued a false or grossly misleading case against any citizen, that said prosecutor be subject to the same sentence they sought to impose on the defendant.

Who knows how many people are in jail due to zealous prosecutors and their lofty goals that had little to do with the alleged crimes by the accused. In addition, prosecutors who have to seek re-election is a questionable way to run a system. On one hand, said prosecutor is directly responsible to the citizens who have a hand on the lever of their entire career, but on the other hand, the odds that a prosecutor will play to the prides and prejudices of the makeup of any given community at the expense of justice for the accused go way up. It sounds as if the latter could be what’s happening in the Duke case.

This country has enough trouble putting actual criminals in prison without using so much time and resource to manufacture cases against the people because some prosecutor wants to be re-elected.

There are few more heinous crimes than willingly ruining the life of an innocent person to gain political power, and this should be addressed by sentencing rogue prosecutors (and judges, and politicians, etc.) who are found to have willingly engaged in this act to the same sentences they sought for those they accused.

If this turns out to be the fact of the matter in the Duke case, we can call it “Nifong’s Law.” Having a law named after you is a good way to impress your cellmate while simultaneously helping out any would-be future victims of legal and/or political zealotry.


Addendum: For more on the topic of a skunky justice system, David Usher, in the comments section for this post on MensNewsDaily, points us to a good article he wrote on the subject a while back which points out what can be done about it.


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Author: Doug Powers

Doug Powers is a writer, editor and commentator covering news of the day from a conservative viewpoint with an occasional shot of irreverence and a chaser of snark. Townhall Media writer/editor. alum. Bowling novice. Long-suffering Detroit Lions fan. Contact: