Sunday, August 16, 2009

Wake Prosecutor Tom Ford – No “Minister of Justice”

“After 16 years in prison, a chance: Panel (Innocence Inquiry) will hear convicted killer” is the News & Observer title of an article in the August 13, 2009 edition. On September 3 and 4, 2009, the eight-person Innocence Inquiry Commission will hold its third hearing since its creation by the state two years ago to investigate claims of innocence by convicts. It will help determine the fate of Gregory Flint Taylor, now 47, who was convicted of a 1991 murder in 1993, and was sentenced to serve life.

The victim of that crime was a prostitute whose body was found near Taylor’s vehicle. Taylor stated that his vehicle got stuck after a night of “four-wheeling” and that he had no contact with the victim.

As far as I can tell from the news article, the prosecution’s case was built on the testimony of a jailhouse snitch and what Wake Prosecutor Tom Ford stated was what appeared to be blood on the bumper of Taylor’s vehicle. Evidently the testimony of the snitch was that Taylor and another man (Johnny Beck), who was later arrested as an accomplice in the crime, had been partying with the victim the night of the crime. The snitch stated to jurors that Taylor told him about the victim’s death. Taylor denied this account, and professed his innocence, claiming that he did not even encounter the victim the day that she died. Although the substance on the Taylor vehicle appeared to be blood, the prosecution did not conduct any forensic testing to confirm it.

Four months after Taylor’s conviction in 1993, murder charges against Beck were dropped by Prosecutor Ford, but not after the prosecutor unsuccessfully attempted to obtain testimony from Taylor implicating Beck in the crime. According to court records and news accounts, Ford offered to reduce Taylor’s sentence in exchange for providing statements supporting Beck’s involvement in the murder.

Wake County prosecutor Tom Ford’s actions in the Gregory Flint Taylor case are below the standards of acceptable prosecutorial conduct in several ways. He failed to see to it that forensic studies were performed on what appeared to be blood on the Taylor vehicle bumper, charged Taylor and Beck without probable cause – relying only on the word of a jailhouse snitch, and he tried to entice statements from Taylor to implicate Beck by offering Taylor a reduced sentence. Of these three malfeasances, the last is the most despicable and goes against his obligation to seek truth as a “minister of justice” before seeking a conviction. Without Taylor’s cooperation on this point, it seems as though Ford was forced to drop the murder charges against Beck.

Although actions by Ford were far more egregious than what former Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong was accused of doing in the Duke Lacrosse case, and the injustice against Beck (and probably Taylor, as well) was far more severe than what the Duke Lacrosse players endured, do not expect an outpouring of rage against Wake Prosecutor Tom Ford by the Attorney General’s Office, the media, or the public. The state of North Carolina has a system of “selective justice based on Class and Color” and unless those tenets are violated (as in the Duke Lacrosse case where Prosecutor Nifong used the principle of “equal justice for all”), there will be no societal ripples of concern, indignation or consternation. Only when the status quo is challenged, as in the Duke Lacrosse case, will the cauldron of passion be stirred. And it will be stirred irrespective of whether or not the cause which incites it is just.


Charles said...

Nifong had several opportunities to drop the false charges against the innocent Duke students. The most prominent of these was when the false accuser recanted her claim of rape.

Why didn't Nifong admit in December 2006, when the rape charges were dropped, that he did not have the evidence to proceed with his attempt to put innocent men in prison. Was it that the still voice in his head continued to tell him to "believe the victim [sic]", even as her story continued to change.

Nifong deserved to be removed from office. He sought to imprison innocent men for personal political gain. The weak attempts of this site to claim that "others have done far worse, but received less harsh treatment" does nothing to justify Nifong's nefarious actions.

If there are other crooked prosecutors in North Carolina, demand their removal. But to seek Nifong's restitution to his previous position of power... is grossly repugnant.

Justice58 said...

The most prominent of these was when the false accuser recanted her claim of rape.

Crystal recanted nothing! Stop lying!

gak said...

I agree with Charles. If other prosecutors are corrupt, work to get them out. Your thesis here is "mine isn't as bad as yours, let him back in". I've watched and read your articles (not the complete website) and your selective use of evidence is sad.


Justice4Jack said...

The actions taken by Ford are just as evil as Nifong! We ALL know how POLITICS are the PRIMARY factor in convictions, these so called "Ministers Of Justice" do NOT intend to have "EQUAL JUSTICE FOR ALL," but instead, pervert the process by PLOTTING the eventual outcome, regardless of "JUSTICE!"

I will say it a million times, and have NOT been rebuked by ANY of the slime who have hidden my brother's MURDER, the TRUTH WILL BE TOLD, AND I AM HERE TO TELL YOU IT EXISTS IN EVERY STATE, but, DURHAM LEADS THE PACK!

I do NOT care who I piss off! If they ARE innocent, let them PROCLAIM it, or SUE ME FOR SLANDER!

I also KNOW I have heads in Washington, and the WORLD turning, as I again have said that even the HAGUE has been following my posts about the HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS that our nation IGNORES!

I am also considering going to the European World Courts Of Human Rights, because MY country is NOT going to do a damned thing until they are FORCED to do so, and ONLY because of the PRESSURE being put upon them, and NOT out of any sense of "DUTY!"

Our media is MORE yellow than any canary, and is as nefarious as ANY other third world nations!

Americans have become sheeple to the slaughter, and as we all see each day, grows more sinister!

WE as a PEOPLE do not UNITE for causes, WHY?! WE do not STAND up for OUR RIGHTS, WHY?! WE look the other way, and live in DENIAL, WHY?!

As long as you chose to be ignorant to the TRUTHS, it will only get MUCH WORSE!

I have lost my trust in this country, I never imagined just how deep the depravity reaches, our only hopes lie in God to EXPOSE, and ENLIGHTEN others to FIGHT for what is RIGHT, and NOT be AFRAID!


I am also NOT excusing my extreme passion to not just solve my own brother's MURDER, but also to FIGHT for TOO many who are dead and have no voice to SCREAM from!


Rhonda Fleming
Cleveland, Ohio
Sister of Allen Jackson Croft Jr.
Murdered May 11, 2005 in Durham

Anonymous said...

To Greg Taylor,
I am so sorry you had 17 yrs of your life taken from you. I hope you are able to begin life where it SHOULD have been 17 yrs ago. Your story made such an impact on me, I just wish for you the best life has to offer.

Lori (all the way in California)