Monday, October 20, 2008

The N & O’s proactive stand on the presidential election.. but what about other issues?

On the Sunday, October 19, 2008, editorial page of the News & Observer, was the following article: "Our Endorsement: U.S. President – It’s Obama." Now, I applaud the newspaper not because it selected Obama (which reinforces my belief that the staff at the newspaper is very intelligent), but because it made its endorsement known before the November 4th election. In other words, it acted editorially proactively.

All too often, the News & Observer editorial staff waits until after the resolution of a crisis before making its position known. This is especially evident in criminal justice cases where innocent, poor, people of color (usually) have languished in jail, convicted by the flawed and prejudicial actions of the prosecutors. Recent cases include those of Erick Daniels who was in jail for seven years (from the age of 15 to 22), or James Arthur Johnson who was incarcerated for 39 months without a trial.

Erick Daniels’s release came about only after the Independent Weekly did an in-depth cover story about the case in May 2007. And James Johnson’s release was prompted by the actions of the NAACP under Rev. Dr. William Barber. They brought the media spotlight on the case which forced the Wilson prosecutors to back-peddle. The News & Observer’s editorial staff was quick to write semi-scathing opinions after the young men were released, but it remained silent while the boys languished in jail. Had the newspaper taken a proactive stance and wrote about the injustice in these cases before the two were released, the wheels of justice might have turned sooner in their cases.

For some time now I have implored the editorial staff of the News & Observer to write about the injustice of the disbarment of former Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong. For Mr. Nifong to be the only prosecutor to be disbarred by the North Carolina State Bar since its inception is totally preposterous. Especially when you take into consideration other acts of prosecutorial misconduct that are far more egregious than anything that Mr. Nifong is accused of doing. Those prosecutors, Anson District Attorney Michael Parker, Prosecutors David Hoke and Debra Graves, Prosecutors Ken Honeycutt and Scott Brewer, Durham Prosecutor Freda Black, and other North Carolina prosecutors, are responsible for many innocent people spending many years wrongfully incarcerated, and yet they are not even disciplined. The Committee on Justice for Mike Nifong would, again, request that the editorial staff of the News & Observer let its position be known as to where it stands regarding the fairness of the disbarment of Mr. Nifong.

Pressing issues that the newspaper’s editorial staff should proactively make declarations about include the following:
1) The aforementioned unjust disbarment of Mike Nifong;
2) The state’s wasteful spending of money to W. David McFadyen (a prosecutor from the private sector) to conduct an investigation into the "accessory after the fact" charge against James Johnson (which is being conducted for the sole purpose of vilifying Johnson in order to help defend Prosecutor Bill Wolfe from a complaint lodged with the Bar against him by the NAACP); and
3) The failure of the family and friends to pay James Johnson the $20,000.00 reward which he earned for solving the murder, rape, and kidnapping of Brittany Willis. Because they reneged on their reward offer (in large measure, I believe, because of the actions of Wilson police and prosecutors), the use of reward money as an incentive for the public to get involved and help solve crimes is greatly diminished, in addition to being unfair to James Johnson.

To be critical of the state’s justice system is not an easy undertaking, as one risks subjecting himself/herself to retaliation from the Attorney General’s Office and other administration officials and agencies. However, I believe that the newspaper owes it to the public to protect the public by voicing its well-respected opinions on vital issues that affect the lives of all North Carolinians.


unbekannte said...

Perhaps the N&O has not printed anything about the "injustice" of "decent(?)", "honorable(??)" "minister of justice(???)" Nifong's disbarment because there was no injustice. I say again, in an open court procedure, the State Bar found Nifong guilty of multiple ethics violations. Considering Nifong may have been the only prosecutor disbarred for misconduct indicates his violations were grosser and more blatant than the actions of other prosecutors. That the Justice4Nifong gang calls Nifong's violations less egregious indicates nothing except that the Justice4Nifong gang does not know what prosecutorial misconduct is.

In all their rantings about prosecutorial misconduct, the justice4Nifong gang never mentions African American DA Tracy Cline, who was involved in the prosecution of three innocent men for a crime that never happened. Tracy Cline prosecuted two innocent African Americans for crimes they did not commit. Frankie Delano Washington was held for 5 years without trial. Leon Brown was found not guilty after Tracy Cline guaranteed she would produce evidence of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The DNA recovered in the Leon Brown prosecution did not match Leon Brown but did indicate a caucasian male was the source. The jury in the Leon Brown case rebuked Tracy Cline when they rendered their verdict. Come on, Justice4Nifong. What is your take on Tracy Cline and these two cases of what looks like wrongful prosecution?

Why don't you just admit your real gripe. The three innocent Duke Defendants were innocent. But, like Nifong, you wanted them imprisoned simply because they were caucasian and perceived as privileged.

unbekannte said...

An example of how prejudiced the Justice4Nifong gang is, how selective it is in defining prosecutorial misconduct.

One thread runs through the gang's posts about prosecutorial misconduct. Prosecutors withhold evidence which would exonerate the defendant.

Again, the DNA testing ordered by "decent(?)", "honorable(??)" "minister of justice(???)" Nifong showed no match with any Duke Lacrosse player. It did show matches with multiple other unidentified males.

The Justice4nifong gang has said the DNA evidence in the case, specifically the finding of DNA from mutiple other males, had no exculpatory value to the defendants' case, was of minor significance. Therefore, when Nifong deliberately concealed the evidence and lied to the court about the evidence, it was no big offense.

I again ask the Justice4nifong gang about the case of Darryl Hunt. This African American man was falsely accused of rape, convicted, and imprisoned for nearly 18 years. What exonerated Mr. Hunt was that testing of DNA from the victim showed it was not Mr. Hunt's DNA, and that the DNA belonged to another man who ultimately confessed to the crime. Does the Justice4nifong gang believe, the presence of another man's DNA on the victim was not significant to Darryl Hunt.

Why has the justice4nifong gang not listed Mr. Hunt as an innocent man convicted of a crime? Is it because DNA testing in that case was probative to and had exculpatory significance for Darryl Hunt? I suspect the justice4nifong gang will not comment because they can not explain how that pattern of DNA evidence was significant in one case and not the other.

I repeat, the justice4nifong gang has no real comprehension of what prosecutorial misconduct really is.

unbekannte said...

Have you no comment about the CGM interview or the upcoming book?

CGM has refused to talk about the case. Is that because she does not want to deal with the evidence that no Duke Lacrosse Player ever touched her?

I mean the results of DNA testing. Extremely sensitive reliable testing found no evidnce of sexual contact between CGM and any Duke Lacrosse Player. Rather, it found evidence of sexual contact between CGM and multiple other males. That evidence says, if there was a rape, it did not happen at 610 Buchanan avenue, and it was perpetrated by someone other tan a Duke Lacrosse Player.

You tacitly admit the truth of the DNA findings. I say you have also indicated the DNA findings in this case should have been ignored. You have stated on your blog you believe the DNA findings were not exculpatory and of no probative value to the defense. De facto, you approve of "decent(?)", "honorable(??)" "minister of justice(???)" Nifong's actions in concealing the evidence and lying to the court about it.

Concealing exculpatory information from the defense violates an accused's right to due process - review the Brady vs, Maryland decision, if you dare. It is prosecutorial misconduct. How can you say you oppose prosecutorial misconduct after trying to justify such gross, egregious, blatant misconduct on the part of Nifong.