Scratch Pad

Friday, January 12, 2007

Avenging Prosecutors: The Duke Rape Case and Charges of Child Molestation Compared

Dorothy Rabinowitz has written a smashing piece comparing the Duke rape case to the now-discredit child molestation cases of the 80's and 90's.
For all the public shock and fury over his behavior, there is little that is new or strange about Mr. Nifong. We have seen the likes of this district attorney, uninterested in proofs of innocence, willing to suppress any he found, many times in the busy army of prosecutors claiming to have found evidence of rampant child abuse in nursery schools and other child-care centers around the country in the 1980s and throughout most of the '90s. They built case after headline-making case charging the mass molestation of small children, and managed to convict scores of innocent Americans on the basis of testimony no rational mind could credit. Law officers who regularly violated requirements of due process in their effort to obtain a conviction, they grasped the special advantage that was theirs: that for a prosecutor dealing with molestation, and wearing the mantle of avenger, there was no such thing as excess, no limits to what could be said of the accused. In court, rules could be bent, any charges presented, and nonexistent medical evidence proclaimed as proof positive of the accusation.

I guess her warning is against turning prosecutors into avengers. It is a point very well taken.


Post a Comment

<< Home