Sins that cry out to heaven for justice

Instapundit on the Duke Lacross rape case:

SAW AN EXCELLENT PANEL THIS EVENING ON THE DUKE LACROSSE RAPE HOAX, featuring K.C. Johnson (author of Until Proven Innocent, with Stuart Taylor), James Coleman, Mike Gerhardt, Lyrissa Lidsky, and Angela Davis (no, not that Angela Davis), author of Arbitrary Justice: The Power of the American Prosecutor, which I bought on Kenneth Anderson's recommendation and which is excellent, especially as a companion to K.C.'s book. The discussion was excellent and very fair. Lots of talk about what Nifong got wrong, plus the important point that the kind of misconduct for which Nifong was disbarred and punished is committed regularly by prosecutors who almost always get off scot-free even when it's exposed. We really need a better mechanism for policing prosecutorial misconduct, and it's not clear what that should be -- independent audits of cases by a sort of inspector general? I'm not sure.

For a lot of conservatives, this case was about political correctness.  The horrifying thing is that the lacross players didn't get treated specially because they were white; it's only that because they're white and rich, we noticed.  When a poor black kid gets railroaded on a shaky eyewitness identification, who writes that story?  Without a good lawyer to defend them, how do they even find out how shaky the prosecution case is?  Prosecutors abuse their discretion every day, and we look the other way because most middle class people don't expect to end up in the justice system, so we write off the prosecutor's nearly god-like powers as the price of fighting crime. 

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Megan McArdle is a columnist at Bloomberg View and a former senior editor at The Atlantic. Her new book is The Up Side of Down.

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