Mike Nifong, the disbarred prosecutor in the Duke rape case, reported to jail this morning to serve a 24-hour sentence for lying in court. The three lacrosse players falsely accused last year are demanding $30 million and legal reforms. If they can’t reach a settlement with the city of Durham, N.C., the men—David Evans, Collin Finnerty, and Reade Seligman—plan to file a civil rights lawsuit, a person close to the case said.
Nifong’s sentence wasn’t about the merits of the rape case, said the Raleigh News and Observer in an editorial. A judge last week slammed him for lying in court by saying he had no DNA evidence that could have helped the defense. Nifong forgot a simple rule: Lawyers shouldn’t lie in court. “District attorneys, of all people, need to keep in mind that their first duty is as officers of the court, not advocates for convictions.”
Nifong wasn’t the only one responsible for this travesty, said Stuart Taylor Jr. and KC Johnson in The Washington Post (free registration required). “Media sensationalism” and “extremist professors” conspired with “criminal prosecutors” to convict the lacrosse players without a trial, despite an “ever-changing account” of the evening by the “emotionally disturbed” black stripper who said the men raped her at a team party. The crude stereotyping of privileged white men as animals was “old-fashioned racism and sexism,” refashioned by so-called progressive thinkers.
The “Duke ‘rape’ case” showed that “attitudes about race have hardened into dogma among elites,” said Myron Magnet in City Journal. “Otherwise, who would believe for long the fishy charges of accuser Crystal Mangum, then 27, who kept changing her story about how many Duke students had assaulted her, what they looked like, and what they had done?” This was one more example of “academe’s well-known mania for unmasking Western civilization (including its literature and art) as a machine for oppressing the non-white, non-rich, and non-male.”