Monday, January 15, 2007

Thompson Comments on Bad Duke Lacrosse Prosecution

Former prosecutor and U.S. Senator from Tennessee Fred Thompson on the prosecutor in the Duke non-rape case:

Now Nifong’s case is crumbling and the North Carolina Bar Association, as well as the North Carolina DA’s Association, is on his case. He’s facing much-deserved calls for his resignation. Maybe this will remind us just how important and powerful these prosecutor’s jobs are. People’s freedom, reputations, and very lives are in their hands. And, as one wag so aptly put it: A prosecutor could, indeed, get a ham sandwich indicted if he wanted to. My experience is that the large majority of them are dedicated public servants But when one of them gives in to self interest and public pressure no greater injustice can be imagined.

In the North Carolina case, 88 Duke professors (civil libertarians, I’m sure), praised the DA and many in the black community pressured him as he rushed to judgment against these accused students in the midst of his reelection campaign. And for the media the story had everything — sex, rich vs. poor, the racial element — everything but proof of guilt. These accused young men are forever tarnished, but at least they can afford to defend themselves. What about the less fortunate who cannot? There is a lot at stake when we go to the polls to vote for a local prosecutor. We should never forget that. They, like judges they sometime have to stand against the howling mob, not become a part of it.

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