Monday, December 1, 2008

Crusade to protect Prosecutor Bill Wolfe takes giant leap forward

I just recently found out from a conversation with a friend that private sector prosecutor W. David McFadyen decided to move forward with the bogus "accessory after the fact" case against James Arthur Johnson in the Brittany Willis murder. This determination by McFadyen occurred two weeks ago, and normally, I would have been on top of the story because I would have read about it in the newspaper. Now, I’ve been a subscriber to the "News & Observer" for more than a year, and I do not recollect such an article appearing in the paper. Surely, it deserves some print, and unless it was buried deep in the paper, I do not believe the newspaper covered the story.

As is obvious, the only reason this case is being brought is to protect Wilson prosecutor Bill Wolfe from a complaint of prosecutorial misconduct (for the 39 month incarceration of James Johnson on charges of murder, rape, kidnapping, and armed robbery despite lack of physical evidence or probable cause). However, W. David McFadyen would like the public to believe that his extensive (more than eight months) investigation gives credibility to his findings for proceeding ahead with the trial against Mr. Johnson. Not only is paying for McFadyen’s services a waste of taxpayer money, but the trial itself will unnecessarily divert taxpayer dollars from providing services and programs to the state’s people and communities during these economically challenging times.

What I find particularly alarming, and a very ominous sign, is the fact that Wilson Superior Court Judge Milton Fitch Jr. refuses to change the venue for the trial. Wilson is a city that has been torn apart because of the actions of its police and prosecutors, especially Bill Wolfe. Judge Fitch said that he wanted to keep the trial in Wilson, but did not give a reason, according to the article posted by WRAL-TV. Instead, he wants a jury picked from Wake County and transferred to Wilson for the trial. Does he really believe that busing in a jury from Wake County will lend itself to a fairer proceeding? It is a cockamamie idea, which no unbiased arbiter would even suggest. What is obvious though is that Judge Fitch should not be the one presiding over this trial.

Whatever the outcome of the trial, private sector prosecutor W. David McFayden, like Special Prosecutor Belinda Foster before him, has done his job by deciding to take the flimsy case to trial. It bolsters Wolfe’s actions in holding James Johnson in jail for 39 months without a trial. And although the North Carolina State Bar had no intention of taking any action against Wolfe to begin with, it can now point to McFadyen’s actions and claim that Wolfe was indeed acting as a minister of justice when he incarcerated James Johnson and threatened him with a capital murder charge despite the lack of forensic evidence or probable cause.

This sordid exercise only reinforces the fact that prosecutors who abide by the state’s tenet of "selective justice based on Class and Color" will be protected to the fullest measure (even if it requires the use of taxpayer money) by the state’s Attorney General’s Office and the NC State Bar. Former Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong, a proponent and practitioner of the principle of "equal justice for all," therefore will remain the only prosecutor to be disbarred or severely disciplined by the State Bar since its inception.

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