There is a pretty fascinating series on Sundance called “The Staircase”. It’s essentially a documentary miniseries about a possible murder case from a few years ago. I’m a sucker for true crime stuff so this is right up my alley. Having already made the mental leap from guilty to innocent several times I look forward to watching this play out.
One thing struck me right away, however, and that is an intense dislike for the ADA in the case. He’s one of those guys who keeps trying to be funny and garner attention to him no mater how wildly inappropriate the circumstances. You see this altogether too often in the justice system, particularly amongst judges, but also with some attorneys. I even had serious words with one judge who was wisecracking a little too much at a manslaughter trial I was involved with. It’s simply inappropriate behavior.
The ADA in question has made several wisecracks, the most egregious being the suggestion that the only way wounds could have been inflicted accidentally was if the victim bounced up and down the staircase on her head like it was a pogo stick. He made the statement while holding up a glossy picture of the victim’s head. This was someone’s wife and mother. Clearly the people involved in criminal justice get jaded but this crossed the line into pure showboaty assholism.
His name looked familiar, so I threw him a quick Google. The results came up:
Michael Byron “Mike” Nifong is a former North Carolina attorney. He was the district attorney for Durham County, North Carolina but was removed and disbarred due to court findings concerning his conduct in the 2006 Duke University lacrosse case.
and I thought, yeah, that’s about right.