KC Johnson is a college professor and indefatigable critic of prosecutorial misconduct in the Duke LaCrosse case. In his most-recent post, he examines startling cases of severe and unpunished prosecutorial misconduct in North Carolina. Like most people who work in the criminal system, Professor Johnson learned that prosecutors are rarely, if ever, punished for even blatant misconduct.
I'm a law student and I had Professional Responsibility last semester. It's a required class and you have to take and pass a separte exam - the MPRE (Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam) along with the Bar exam to be admitted to the bar.
In school, they make a big deal out of the ethical canons that lawyers have to adhere to. I'm beginning to think the whole thing is a bunch of crap though. A slap on the wrist for railroading someone onto death row? Please.
Frankly, this case and Nifong's actions are eroding my confidence in the legal system and are making me seriously question things. What is the point of having all these ethical canons and legal procedures? It seems like you don't have to follow them if you don't want to. Prosecutors are free to pull any stunt they want - even to the point of committing felonies and no one does anything about it.
It seems like the law they teach you in law school is just a bunch of theory. The law in practice is something else all together and it's not very pretty. It seems to amount to nothing more than politics. I have to wonder how many innocent people are in jail and on death row in North Carolina because the state bar refuses to do anything about misconduct.
Is this the message the State Bar of North Carolina wants to send to future lawyers?