D.A. in Hot Water Over Duke Rape Scandal

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The runaway prosecutor in Durham, N.C., has been exposed for his dogged pursuit of the lacrosse players at Duke University. He has made a mess for himself.

The North Carolina Bar Association needs to take a long and careful look at his handling of this nationally covered and unsavory matter.

Are there any African-American leaders willing to speak out about the stripper's faulty story? There is only silence from such luminaries as Jesse Jackson and the Rev. Al Sharpton.

Perhaps whites are fearful of being accused of racism if they venture a harsh opinion. Jackson and Sharpton seem ready to pounce immediately if there is any accusation of racial abuse.

To be sure, there are too many situations in which there is strong evidence of police brutality or abuse. Against black citizens. There is too much of it.

Stephen A. Smith, a sports columnist with the Philadelphia Inquirer, a commentator on ESPN-TV, and an African-American, confronted the issue in a recent column. He questioned the failure of black leaders to speak out on the matter.

Smith was critical of the prosecutor, who withheld exculpatory evidence from defense lawyers on the charge of rape, the most serious allegation against them.

The lacrosse players are not choirboys, and they did not behave properly. Their poor judgment will follow them for a long time, and it should.

But the African-American stripper has changed her story. The prosecutor's case is falling apart.

Unless he has strong evidence to back up the other felony charges, he should dismiss them. Assuming the woman will be the key witness, defense lawyers will have plenty of room to challenge her truthfulness under oath.

Then, the prosecutor must answer fully about how he investigated the case and brought charges.

The lacrosse players, meanwhile, should behave like the adults they are and recognize how their poor judgment led to a prolonged attack by an aggressive district attorney.