Duke rape case shows need for more protection of wrongfully accused

Bruce A. Gorcyca

Dear Editor,

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 world.

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 exoneration.

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