Friday, December 29, 2006

Did Lacrosse DA Break Ethics Rules?

After months of investigation, the North Carolina State Bar yesterday brought ethics charges against Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong for his conduct in prosecuting members of the Duke lacrosse team for sexual assault in the case that made national headlines last March. Nifong broke rules, Bar alleges, News & Observer, Dec. 28, 2006. At this point, three men from the team are charged with first-degree kidnapping and first-degree sexual assault; rape charges have been dropped.

If the News & Observer site makes you register (and you don't want to bother), see Charge could kick Duke prosecutor off case, CNN, Dec. 29, 2006.

The Bar's complaint alleges that Nifong knew or should have known that his statements to the media "would have a substantial likelihood of materially prejudicing" a trial of the matter, in violation of Rule 3.6(a); that his statements had "a substantial likelihood of heightening public condemnation of the accused in violation of Rule 3.8(f)"; and that his conduct was "prejudicial to the administration of justice in violation of Rule 8.4(d)." pp. 15-16.

(North Carolina's Revised Rules of Professional Conduct are here and here. Like Washington's Rules of Professional Conduct, they're based on the ABA's Model Rules, so they're very similar.)

Thanks for the lead: Mary Hotchkiss.

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