News Release ~ 12/29/2006

NACDL President Martin S. Pinales Blasts Durham District Attorney Michael Nifong

Chicago, IL (December 29, 2006) -- Martin S. (Marty) Pinales blasted the prosecutor in the “Duke lacrosse ''rape'' case” for abusing the criminal justice system for political purposes, at great expense to the reputations of the players, the university, the witnesses and the city and people of Durham, N.C. Mr. Pinales is President of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the nation’s largest criminal defense bar association, with over 12,000 members in the United States, U.S. territories and 27 foreign countries.

Mr. Pinales’ statement:

“A prosecutor has a duty to represent the public in an honorable and fair fashion. Michael Nifong’s inflammatory statements to the media prior to the May elections, for the sole benefit of Mr. Nifong, turned the complaint of a confused young woman into a vicious political game which has brought the office of the district attorney into disrepute. He has ruined lives and reputations for a paycheck and personal political gain.

“This so-called investigation has been a reprehensible sham from the very beginning. The grand jury has a right to facts rather than lies and innuendo, and the public has a right to a fair indictment. Further, Nifong concealed the actual DNA test results from the defense and failed to investigate the complaint and failed to interview the complainant until last week, when he dropped the rape charges. But the damage was done long ago – this scandal will always be known as the ‘Duke lacrosse rape case.’

“As the Supreme Court said over 70 years ago, the prosecutor does not represent an ordinary party, he represents the people, and his job isn’t to win convictions, but to see justice is done. It is as much his duty to refrain from antics calculated to produce a wrongful conviction as it is to use every legitimate means to bring about a just one. Shame on Mr. Nifong.”

The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers is the preeminent organization advancing the mission of the criminal defense bar to ensure justice and due process for persons accused of crime or wrongdoing. A professional bar association founded in 1958, NACDL's approximately 9,000 direct members in 28 countries – and 90 state, provincial and local affiliate organizations totaling up to 40,000 attorneys – include private criminal defense lawyers, public defenders, military defense counsel, law professors and judges committed to preserving fairness and promoting a rational and humane criminal justice system.

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