Duke rape case shows need for more protection of wrongfully accused
Bruce A. Gorcyca
Issue date: 1/30/07
The shameful revelations of the Duke rape case confirms what we collectively
ignored in the Michael Jackson case — high profile cases are extremely
vulnerable to political exploitation by over-zealous prosecutors out to make a
name for themselves by any means necessary.
In both cases the media were played like a violin to maximize the public
profile of the prosecutors, with little, if any, regard for due process of law,
which, believe it or not, is still a constitutional right unless you are
kidnapped and taken to Guantanamo Bay, of course.
Our Congress needs to intercede immediately with new federal legislation that
1) makes it a class A felony crime to withhold exculpatory evidence, punishable
by mandatory 5-year prison term, 2) eliminate the veil of protection from civil
suits and make prosecutors personally liable for false prosecutions and 3) make
all states responsible for reimbursing the legal fees and lost income of citizens
falsely accused and/or acquitted of crimes. People wrongly accused are every
bit as much as a victim as the actual victim of the crime itself and should be
compensated accordingly. A person’s reputation is almost priceless in this
Society needs competent prosecutors to be sure. But this job title carries more
responsibility than any corporate CEO, since not only the victims of crimes and
their families rely on their skills for justice, but those wrongly accused and
their families must rely on their integrity, ethics and sense of honor for
What Mike Nifong perpetrated against these kids and their parents is despicable
and a disgrace to decent prosecutors everywhere. Inserting and exploiting the
inflammatory race card was especially abhorrent. He has ruined careers and
reputations of innocent people. Disbarment is not nearly punishment enough.
He has proven to be morally bankrupt. He violated the public trust and needs to
be prosecuted for his actions, which I believe to be criminal. We the people
should settle for nothing less, or we will be silently condoning orchestrated
prosecutions for ulterior motives.
Bruce A. Gorcyca