Gravel-voiced legal commentator and former Mike Dukakis campaign manager and Clinton defender Susan Estrich usually rubs me the wrong way. But on the matter of the Duke lacrosse rape charges and Mike Nifong’s handling of the case, she has been right on. In a column yesterday she again pulls no punches:

What is going on in the prosecutors’ office in Durham North Carolina is disturbing in ways that go beyond the ugly allegations that started this case.

The District Attorney has clearly lost sight of his mission, and with it the last remnants of any ethical compass. The case has been characterized, since the outset, by a clear failure to follow the office’s own procedures and practices.

And this:

Enough is enough.

What will it take for Mike Nifong to be replaced on this case?

If ever a prosecutor had shown himself to be no longer capable of exercising the sort of judgment required of him to be fair, it would be this prosecutor in this case.

Whatever the outcome, it will not be accepted if this man continues to be the one pursuing it. If there is any chance of guilt, much less of innocence, it must be on someone else’s shoulders.

It is an extreme measure for a court to replace a prosecutor on a case. But this appears, increasingly, to be an extreme case of lawlessness by the prosecutors if not the defendants.

(Link via Durham in Wonderland)