Sunday, October 12, 2008

ABC TV-11 News Acts Proactively and Saves NC Taxpayers Millions

At the bottom of the front page of the October 9, 2008 News & Observer, is an article by staff writer Mark Johnson titled “State’s jet purchase is off, but can we get back the deposit?” First of all, the deposit was earnest money, and since the state reneged on its intention of purchasing the jet, it is not entitled to receive that money back. It should not even attempt to get it back. Sure, it’s a quarter of a million taxpayer dollars down the drain, but its better than wasting an additional nine million to purchase a luxury private jet that the state does not need.

According to the second paragraph of the article, Governor Mike Easley scrubbed the deal after “reporters asked questions about the Cessna citation jet..” What the paper fails to mention is that the reporters were not from the N & O (as one would assume), but from ABC TV-11 News. By proactively investigating the jet purchase and bringing it before the governor after he demanded financial sacrifices from others, it forced the governor to make the wise and prudent choice and cancel the purchase. (At least in the article about Erick Daniels being released from prison after seven years of false imprisonment, the News & Observer gave credit to the Independent Weekly for its proactive involvement in helping to bring about his release.)

The News & Observer is a well read and respected newspaper, and it has the potential to do a lot of good for the lives of North Carolinians, whether in saving taxpayer dollars or acting as an advocate for justice when the system does not work. Had the editorial staff, under Editorial Page Editor Steven Ford, written an article about the jet purchase and opined about the appropriateness of its purchase, then I am sure that Governor Easley would have responded similar to the way he responded when questioned by the ABC reporters.

But, it seems as though the News & Observer’s editorial staff has chosen to sit on the sidelines when it comes to taking a proactive role in effecting the outcome of important issues that affect North Carolinians. It elects to write editorials about issues only after a resolution has been reached; an approach with is safe and lacks courage, but is also of no value to the people. The editorial in the News & Observer Our Views entitled “Free to go: Wrongful convictions are a blight on North Carolina’s courts, even if there’s rejoicing when an innocent man is freed,” was written about Erick Daniels after he was released from prison having been wrongfully incarcerated for seven years. The armed robbery conviction, which was won against the fifteen year old (who was tried as an adult) by Durham Prosecutor Freda Black, was considered to be such a weak case that the Judge refused to allow the case to be re-tried. Had the News & Observer cared enough about Erick Daniels, or about justice for the poor, disenfranchised, and people of color, and taken the effort to express their views on the case, Erick Daniels might have been released much sooner. Even after the May 2007 cover story in the Independent Weekly, the N & O’s editorial staff remained mum.

There remain issues that affect taxpayers’ wallets and have a bearing on the justice they receive, and the News & Observer should get in the game, instead of playing Tuesday morning quarterback. Specifically, the class C felony “accessory after the fact” charge against James Arthur Johnson (who wrongfully spent 39 months in jail before his release without going to trial) involves an excessive waste of taxpayer dollars, and is being undertaken to protect a Wilson prosecutor from a charge of prosecutorial misconduct which was filed with the North Carolina State Bar, in September 2007 by the NAACP.

Since March 2008, W. David McFadyen, a former prosecutor who is now an attorney in the private sector, has been “investigating” whether to further waste taxpayer money by prosecuting James Arthur Johnson for wiping fingerprints off a car (under a charge of “accessory after the fact”). Forsyth County Assistant District Attorney Belinda Foster was forced (by her boss, Forsyth County District Attorney Thomas J. Keith) to enter that charge after a “two month” investigation which concluded that charges of capital murder, kidnapping, rape, and armed robbery should be dropped. She did so only under the condition that she not be forced to prosecute the case, so Mr. Keith stated that her workload was so full that she could not be spared to follow the charge to its conclusion. The North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts was unable to find a prosecutor among its 600 salaried state prosecutors who was willing to take part of the flawed case, so, that task was taken up by an attorney in the private sector. I tried to find out what we taxpayers are wasting on this so-called investigation, and I was told that there was no written contract!

What is further unbelievable is the fact that it took Attorney Foster two months of investigation, while maintaining a full workload in Winston-Salem, to determine that four felony charges of capital murder, kidnapping, rape, and armed robbery should be dropped. Meanwhile, Special Prosecutor McFadyen has spent seven months working on the “accessory after the fact” charge alone. It is not only evident to the objective observer why Belinda Foster filed the “accessory” charge, but why David McFadyen is pursuing it. The state will go to excessive measures and waste taxpayer money to protect its prosecutors who go after the poor, disenfranchised and people of color.

Many months ago, I asked the editorial staff of the News & Observer to investigate the contract with Mr. McFadyen, and give their views on what is both a waste of taxpayer money and a blatant attempt by the State to smear James Johnson’s reputation in order to protect Wilson Prosecutor Bill Wolfe. Furthermore, I asked the paper to respond about the fact that the family and friends of Brittany Willis (the victim for whom Johnson was wrongfully charged) reneged on the twenty thousand dollar ($20,000.00) reward offer which James Johnson rightfully earned. He should have received it long ago, and withholding its payment, does not bode favorable towards the overall impression of his innocence. Furthermore, withholding payment of a reward which is earned for solving a crime is a deterrent for other citizens who might be willing to take a risk and come forward to solve a crime.

The News & Observer needs to come forward on its editorial page and take a proactive stand on positions of justice and financial waste, such as the aforementioned. Also, it should make it clear where it stands with regards to the fairness of the disbarment of former Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong. Mr. Nifong has the dubious distinction of being the only prosecutor to be disbarred by the North Carolina State Bar since its inception.. this despite 27 years of distinguished service to the state as a prosecutor. That statistic, on its face, is an absurdity, especially in light of the recent release of North Carolina death row inmates who were falsely convicted by the prosecutorial misconduct of prosecutors following the tenet of “selective justice based on Class and Color.”

To the editorial staff of the News & Observer, I think the time is past overdue for you to leave your comfort zone, get in the game, and make a positive difference for the people your publication serves.


Justice4Jack said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Justice4Jack said...

The fact that anybody would protect Nifong simply boggles my mind, and yes, it angers me that you have used my brother's name, and churned it into the same man who upheld the lies to conceal his MURDER! So, it is Justice4Jack, NOT Nifong, and this is a point of many I want to make loud and clear!

To babble on about money of taxpayers, and race injustice is just more fodder in the mix. It doesn't! The STATE of NC is guilty in multiple areas of such abject corruption where almost EVERY individual in position of rank and authority in various offices have not just abused their rights, but have personal knowledge of the guilt and innocence of CITIZENS, and used them for their own AGENDAS?!

It is repulsive to compare the very lives of people, to a spit in our face "one day sentence?!" The man turned in his license chewed by his dog as if to make some sort of statement about how he valued his "profession." I found it quite fitting, and cries about his stupid guitars while we cry for the LIVES lost that will NEVER be regained, and to place a price of what our government SHOULD be doing, and are FAILING to do in the same category makes me want to vomit!

Educate yourself Ms Peterson, and the rest of you who read this to the FACT that Nifong was NOT the only "rogue" villain to this charade, the fact is there should have been numerous people prosecuted for serious crimes in office, and Nifong was served as a scapegoat for the coven!

Look into the corruption at every level, it is FAR more nefarious than what has been told, and all of the media have swept worse crimes under the rug, and are only cronies of the "system." IMO, the only TRUE journalism to exist these days is through the Internet, so that people like me can have the freedom of speech to voice our concerns and issues, and not paint a picture!

I AM going to the media here in Cleveland in the next week with the EVIDENCE that has taken me 4 hellish years to accumulate, to expose the entire State of NC with failure to adhere to any protocol, and to conspire to hide a murder, that was staged to look like a suicide of my dearest, beloved brother!

I have not only crime scene photos and video, I have reports from the sheriff, police, medical examiner, all of them full of misconduct, and 4 years and 4 DA's later, FINALLY have enough documentation to insure THIS time, many officials will be held accountable, and look forward to facing each and every one of them in the eye and pray the jury holds them to the highest penalty of law that they took oaths to protect, and not just abused, but used at the cost of LIVES of which no amount of money can replace!

JUSTICE?! I suggest you look at this link ( learn the meaning before you attach it to the likes of a wasted being such as Nifong! You are taking a stand for a man who used your race and people much like the slave owners of not too long ago did, and still do! Even you yourself cannot deny the facts you yourself have stated, yet you brush over each name caring more about the people behind their demise?! You have allowed yourself to be conned as a "sheeple" and Nifong is laughing to his colleagues and self, while comparing himself to be like Martin Luther King?!

To me, he is more like the Pied Piper Of Hamlin, only in this story the rats haven't gone anywhere, and instead rule the city! So, let me say that my next statements will be to the "mass" media, and cannot find proper words to express just how deep the corruption flows, it is a political quicksand of evils that have been avoided far too long!

There have been people who have followed me in my quest heckling my efforts to obtain "JUSTICE" every step of the way, and to you I say be prepared for a very gruesome awakening! My goal is to have laws changed, and lives saved, and you should be ashamed for turning against an innocent victim that truly cares for more than just her family, but for all of us who have not had the money to "buy" our "JUSTICE" for our loved ones?!

If you want to make a stand for somebody Ms Peterson, may I suggest you could better spend your time at PMRC, or MADD, than to join hands with the devil! Not that Nifong is anywhere near as brilliant at hiding his evil as Satan, more like a far lesser demon, with un-natural affiliation with "guitars!" HA!

Rhonda Fleming
Cleveland, Ohio
Sister Of Allen Jackson Croft Jr,
Murdered May 11, 2005 In Durham NC

scott huminski said...

The alleged conduct of Mike Nifong is minor compared to the conduct prosecutors engage in everyday.

How about a prosecutor engaging in extortion, obstruction of justice and acceptance of a bribe all with the blessings of the courts.


Mike Nifong's action were trivial in comparison to the conduct of others.

-- scott huminski
Cary, NC
(202) 239-1252