The story of Mike Nifong should be posted in the office of every federal prosecutor in the nation as a stark reminder of the price of putting political ambition over justice:

Jan. 15 (Bloomberg) — Michael Nifong, the ex-North Carolina prosecutor who lost his law license for mishandling rape charges against three Duke University lacrosse players, filed for bankruptcy and listed the students among his major creditors.

Nifong reported debt of $180.3 million and assets of $243,898 in documents filed today in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Durham, North Carolina. He resigned from his post as Durham County District Attorney in July after being accused of withholding evidence in the rape case.

Nifong’s debt-to-asset ratio should make him perfectly qualified to run for Congress and control the budget of the U.S. government.

That said, there still isn’t a “Nifong’s Law,” and there should be. No matter how far in debt he is, he was willing to put innocent people behind bars for a long time to satisfy personal motives, so somehow it seems that telling somebody he has to fork over money he doesn’t have just isn’t payment enough.

There’s no satisfaction in knowing that Nifong’s finished, mainly because there’s no telling how many other Nifongs are out there. How many people who weren’t like the Duke players — people with families who had the means to pursue an abuse of power to its just conclustion — are sitting in jail because a prosecutor thought it would make his re-election easier?


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