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Thursday, April 12, 2007

District Attorney in Duke University Lacrosse Rape Case Apologizes

Before continuing with the remaining parts of my blog post series on rape cases in the military, another interesting development has occurred today in the Duke University lacrosse rape case. In a statement that was likely received by the young men falsely accused of rape and kidnapping in the case as “a little too late,” embattled Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong has issued a public apology. The full statement can be accessed at:

Mr. Nifong wrote the following:

“I have every confidence that the decision to dismiss all charges was the correct decision based on that evidence.”

“To the extent that I made judgments that ultimately proved to be incorrect, I apologize to the three students that were wrongly accused.”

“I also understand that whenever someone has been wrongly accused, the harm caused by the accusations might not be immediately undone merely by dismissing them.”

“It is my sincere desire that the actions of Attorney General Cooper will serve to remedy any remaining injury that has resulted from these cases.”

If Mr. Nifong was truly seeking justice in this case, and if his goal was honestly to “see that the guilty are punished and that the innocent are set free” as he states, one wonders why Mr. Nifong made the inflammatory public statements he made, why he had such apparent difficulty in providing proper discovery to the defense, and why he failed to critically analyze the conflicting evidence that formed the basis of the Attorney General’s decision to dismiss the cases – a decision that Mr. Nifong has “every confidence” in. I can’t speak to the sincerity of Mr. Nifong’s statement, I just wish he had put at least as much consideration into his handling of the case as he did to the words contained in his apology.

By: Attorney Richard V. Stevens
Civilian criminal defense lawyer and military defense lawyer
Military Defense Law Offices of Richard V. Stevens, PC

Blog postscript: Attorney Frank Spinner and I (attorney Richard Stevens) are former active duty military lawyers (JAG). Our perspectives and advice, therefore, are based upon our experience as military defense lawyers and as civilian criminal defense lawyers practicing exclusively in the area of military law. This blog addresses issues in military law, military justice, military discipline, military defense, court-martial practice, the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) and other military and/or legal topics. Nothing posted in this blog should be substituted for legal advice in any particular case. If you seek legal advice for a particular case, please contact The Law Offices of Richard V. Stevens & The Law Office of Frank J. Spinner for a free consultation.

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