Mike Nifong Decides To Continue With The Duke Rape Case


            Many people argue that the Duke rape case has unraveled due to the decision of the District Attorney to drop the rape charge and because Mike Nifong has failed to turn over evidence to the defense. Although these recent events show that the case is a tough one for the state, the case is far from being over.

            No Prejudice to the Defense

The defense attorneys are attempting to try this case outside of the courtroom. Nothing new came out of Brian Meehan's report. It was already clear from the state laboratory report in April that none of the player's semen, saliva or blood was found on or in the victim or on her clothes. Brian Meehan's firm, DNA Security, was merely hired to conduct more sophisticated testing to double check the state laboratory's findings.

The fact that DNA Security's report omitted some facts is not surprising or necessarily proof that there was a deliberate attempt to hide evidence from the defense. Mike Nifong and Brian Meehan probably have an honest belief that the facts omitted were not exculpatory in nature. In their minds there was nothing new to report.

The delay in turning over evidence to the defense has not been prejudicial to the defense's case. If the defense felt that the delay in letting them know about the second round of DNA test results prejudiced them, they could always get a continuance of the trial.

            Vilification of the Prosecutor

The defense is attempting to vilify the prosecution with the hope that their personal attacks against Mike Nifong will cause him to cave in and dismiss the entire case. Fortunately, Mike Nifong is exercising his own judgment based on his honest assessment of the evidence.

Rather than being vilified by the press, Mike Nifong should be given credit for taking on a difficult case. This is a case where the DA is taking sides with a poor black woman in the south, who claims to be raped by a bunch of privileged white men. This is the type of case where a politically motivated man would run away from.

As to his decision to drop the rape charge, the DA maybe bringing the charges where he believes he can meet his burden. It does not mean that he does not believe rape may have occurred.

            Victim's Credibility

There is physical forensic evidence that corroborate her version of the event. There is DNA evidence linking two of the players to the victim. DNA extracted from false fingernails recovered from a trash bin was consistent with DNA of David Evans, a co-captain of the team and one of the defendants. After all, how does she wind up with their DNA underneath her fingernails unless there was a struggle?

The police had the opportunity to interview the victim at length, and must be convinced she is telling the truth. Otherwise, why would they be taking such a politically damaging case to trial?

The victim's credibility is an issue for the jury to determine. We still do not know enough about the case to really call into question the victim's credibility. Apparently, this incident involved alcohol and the events may have been so traumatizing for the victim that she is not clear as to all the details.


Nevertheless, there are facts about this case that justify Mike Nifong's decision to press forward, such as the fact that the police examination of the victim revealed that she had been sexually assaulted and the fact that the victim appears to have fled the house, leaving her cash, fingernails, make-up bag, and identification behind. Based on these facts, we know she was violated. Consequently, Mike Nifong's decision to continue with this case seems entirely justified.

Written by Donald P. Schweitzer