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Duke Lacrosse District Attorney Mike Nifong’s 24 Hours in Jail

After being convicted of criminal contempt of the court for his actions during the Duke lacrosse case, Mike Nifong spent some time in jail last weekend.

While Nifong wreaked havoc in the lives of the three Duke players that he had indicted for allegedly raping a black stripper and sparked racial debates throughout the city of Durham for more than a year, the former prosecutor only spent 24 hours in a North Carolina jail.

If you’re not familiar with the Duke lacrosse case, here’s a brief synopsis.

As Durham District Attorney, Nifong had former Blue Devils’ lacrosse players Collin Finnerty, Reade Seligmann and Dave Evans indicted last year after a stripper claimed that she was raped by the players at a strip party hosted by members of the team.

North Carolina state prosecutors later dropped the charges against the Duke players and found that Nifong had tragically “rushed to accuse” and held back evidence helpful to the players’ criminal defense attorneys. Found to be in violation of more than two dozen violations of the state’s rules for professional conduct, Nifong lost his job as Durham D.A. and was also disbarred.

As he arrived at a Raleigh jail early on Friday, September 8th, Nifong was accompanied by a few supporters. However, he did not get in easily as some hecklers awaited outside the jail and shouted at him. For safety reasons, Nifong had his own jail cell. He was released last Saturday morning.

While Nifong spent the night in jail for his actions, Durham city officials began to sit down and talk about how they’re going to deal with a proposed $30 million personal injury settlement that the three ex-Duke lacrosse players desire.

Specifically, attorneys for the players are seeking $30 million from the city in addition to reforms to the Durham legal system. Durham currently has a $5 million liability insurance policy with a $500,000 deductible. If the city does not agree to the desired settlement, the lawyers for the players, Brendan Sullivan and Barry Scheck, said that they will file a civil rights lawsuit in early October.

These lawyers are also asking for the creation of an ombudsman who can investigate claims of misconduct by North Carolina district attorneys and for Durham city officials to lead the calls to the state’s General Assembly for changes to the legal system.

Back in August, the city had a special committee investigating the handling of the Duke lacrosse case stop working after the city’s liability provider warned that findings in the probe could lead to civil lawsuits.


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