Fundamentals of Business Law
The legal decision being discussed in this paper is Evans v. City of Durham, where Duke University lacrosse players Reade Seligmann, David Evans, and Colin Finnerty were wrongfully charged with rapping a striper during a team party. The case, however, collapsed after Durham, N.C., District Attorney Michael D. Nifong deliberately withheld evidence that law and ethical rules require to be turned over to defense lawyers. The Bar panel disbarred Nifong after finding him guilty on seven counts of prejudicial pretrial statements, failure to provide evidence to defense and false statements to the court and to the bar disciplinary body. Evans, Finnerty, and Seligmann filed a civil rights suit in federal court seeking damages from Nifong.
The three lacrosse players filed a lawsuit with the federal district court in Greensboro. The suit includes a recitation of the course of the investigation, Nifong’s decision to personally direct the investigation, and his role in concealing DNA test results that ultimately played a critical part in clearing the three athletes of all charges. Nifong was charged with 12 of the 22 counts in the complaint. The most significant charges were violating three lacrosse players’ civil rights by concealing evidence, falsifying evidence, obstructing justice, tampering with witnesses and making false public statements. The suit asks for compensatory and punitive damages, as well as attorneys’ fees and court costs.
The decision to dismiss the case due to the exclusion of evidence and prosecutorial misconduct was the correct decision. Prosecutors in the United States are the only lawyers who don’t work for a client, but rather work towards finding truth and justice. Nifong had a duty to perform his acts free of prejudice or personal ambitions. Here, the prosecutor intentionally withheld evidence, used false testimony and fabricated evidence. However, even though the...