Legal Ethics

Judge: Duke Rape DA Must Go Now


After working for almost 30 years in the Durham County, N.C., District Attorney’s office, disbarred DA Mike Nifong thought he could take one more month to wind up his work there. But a local judge disagreed.

Nifong, who was disbarred Saturday due to the way he handled the rape prosecution of three former Duke University lacrosse players since declared to be innocent, must leave his office now, ruled Judge Orlando Hudson, after learning that the prosecutor said in a letter released yesterday he would depart July 13. The judge’s order was served at Nifong’s home this morning, according to AP.

“We took his keys and his badge that gave him access to the building,” says Durham County Sheriff Worth Hill. “We’ll make arrangements to help him get his personal belongings later.”

State lawmakers are expected to vote later in the day on a bill to allow Gov. Mike Easley to fire Nifong, who was swayed by his own political interest and race and class bias in the way he handled the rape case prosecution, according to the ethics panel that disbarred him. “You are given a lot of power and you can destroy a reputation in moments with just a few words,” Easley, a former prosecutor, told AP. “This was much more than a mistake.”

There is no word on who Easley will name to replace Nifong, who worked in the Durham DA’s office since 1978 and became DA in 2005.

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