Soon after prosecutor Michael Nifong was disbarred by the North Carolina Bar Association, the National District Attorneys Association issued its take on the case. â€œNifongâ€™s case is rarer than human rabies,â€ claimed Joshua Marquis, vice president of the group. â€œThe defense bar is piling on and trying to claim this is typical behavior,â€ he bitterly complained.
So was Michael Nifong merely a â€œrogueâ€ prosecutor, a feckless bad-apple amidst a scented orchard of ethical and civic-minded district attorneys?
Letâ€™s take rape, for example. Experience reveals that rape is a red-meat accusation that triggers an aggressive prosecution.
You may remember the 1989 rape of the Central Park jogger and the accusation that five â€œwildingâ€ teenagers had perpetrated the attack. But when the DNA test results did not match, the prosecutor had to claim the semen came from a sixth â€œmysteryâ€ member of the gang. Despite that dubious explanation, the five were convicted.