Friday, February 27, 2009

In response to recent comments

I would like to thank those individuals who have taken the time to make comments on this blog. Unfortunately, I have been working extremely hard with our staff on the web site, www.justice4nifong.com. There is so much information to post on it that I have only scratched the surface. The site is going to be more interactive in the future, and interesting. Be sure and check the web site this coming Sunday evening, March 1, 2009, for the latest news on the home page, and for Part 3 of Episode II of "The MisAdventures of Super-Duper Cooper."

As far as Durham-In-Wonderland, and Liestoppers go, I am flattered that they would write about our web site and blog. I do visit those sites frequently, and am even planning on providing a direct link to them from one of our web pages. I will look up any recent articles by those blogs and follow with a comment about them later.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

McFadyen betrays the trust of the people in his role as special prosecutor in Johnson case

Private sector prosecutor W. David McFadyen betrayed the people’s trust as special prosecutor in the James Johnson “accessory after the fact” case. By his own admission, he revealed to media types that one of his primary goals as prosecutor in this controversial case was to work on behalf of parents and family of the Wilson teen murder victim Brittany Willis. Unfortunately, that is not Mr. McFadyen’s role. As a prosecutor, even if he comes from the private sector, he should represent all the people of North Carolina, and not just the victim’s family.

Wilson Times writer Gina Childress captured the following admission from McFadyen:
"My principle goal in this case was to do what I could within the bounds of the law to bring some satisfaction and closure to the Willis family, and I believe we have achieved that," McFadyen said. "And in my opinion, I believe we have achieved our most important purpose by ending this part of the nightmare -- emphasizing this part of the nightmare-- because certainly the nightmare of the death of their daughter will stay with them.”

So it is obvious that Special Prosecutor McFadyen had an agenda to do what he could against James Johnson from the very start, and it is very clear from the aforementioned statement that his earlier stated lofty goals to be fair and impartial and follow the evidence in this case, was nothing but a fa├žade. McFadyen’s other motivation in wasting taxpayer money in pursuing this case was, of course, to protect Wilson Prosecutor Bill Wolfe from a complaint lodged with the North Carolina State Bar against Wolfe. From day one, McFadyen had planned to impose the harshest penalty he could against Johnson. It was never his intention to evaluate the “accessory” case on its merits and determine whether or not the case should move forward to trial. McFadyen only went through the thinly veiled motions of trying to appear unbiased and fair.

What is truly ironic and nonsensical are the attitude and hostility the Willis family has towards James Johnson. I believe that, by now, most people, even those in Wilson, have reached the conclusion that James Johnson had nothing to do with the crimes against Brittany Willis; that they were committed by Kenneth Meeks, alone. The parents of Brittany Willis should be grateful to James Johnson for coming forward to the police and solving the case against their daughter. Had he not come forth, the Willis murder case would most likely still not be solved. The reason for their animus towards Mr. Johnson is due to the actions and statements made by the prosecutors and police of Wilson, and to the way the media types presented the case to the public (not unlike the way the media selectively and unfairly targeted, vilified and pummeled former Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong). I hold the media responsible for sowing the negative attitudes against Johnson that are held by most people in Wilson. James Johnson is a hero, and solved one of Wilson’s most heinous crimes. The Willis family should embrace this young man who went against the “no-snitch” law of the streets in order to bring the guilty party to justice.

Closure for the Willis family should have come years earlier, with the admission by Kenneth Meeks of being the sole perpetrator of the crime and his statements clearing Johnson of any participation or involvement. The media, McFadyen, prosecutors, and police are responsible for prolonging the pain and suffering of the Willises and the Wilson community.

With the unjust outcome in this case that culminated with an Alford plea by Johnson, the media has made the determination that the entire case, for all intents and purposes, is over and that healing can now begin. This, despite the fact that one other person has been charged in this crime, Julian Tyson Deans, and no action has been taken against him. Will the state go after Mr. Deans with the same vigor as it did against Mr. Johnson? Considering North Carolina’s criminal justice tenet of “selective justice based on Class and Color,” that is very unlikely.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Regarding Mr. Elmostafa, taxi cab driver

Some responders to this blog have brought up the taxi cab driver Mr. Elmostafa as being intimidated by the Duke Lacrosse prosecution. Well, I did a little research into this, and what I learned is that Mr. Elmostafa was paid a visit by Reade Seligmann and his father, Mr. Seligmann. From what I gather, the purpose of the visit was to help Mr. Elmostafa "remember" his earlier cab client, and to get additional assurances that their stories would be compatible. Now I was not at that meeting, so I do not know what monies were exchanged or what promises of payment or favors were made by the wealthy Mr. Seligmann to the poor cab driver from Sudan who was applying for citizenship in America. This meeting, which was not publicized in the media, could have far reaching implications into what statements he made later to the police and the media.

As far as Mr. Elmostafa being arrested on an outstanding warrant, it is pretty much standard practice for law enforcement officials to run a police background check on anyone they come in contact with in the course of an investigation. To attribute his arrest to District Attorney Mike Nifong and accuse him of trying to force him to make false statements is unfounded and without basis. That may be his opinion, or the opinion of Mr. Seligmann. I don't know.

I have yet to hear how the information that multiple unidentified DNA was recovered from the rape kit has any bearing on the guilt or innocence of the Duke LAXers. Furthermore, I have difficulty in believing in the objectivity in media types who refer to the extraneous and irrelevant DNA information that Mr. Nifong allegedly withheld as "key DNA evidence."

The bottom line is that Mr. Nifong is the only prosecutor to be disbarred by the NC State Bar since its inception. Other prosecutors, including Bill Wolfe (who was responsible for the 39 month incarceration of James Johnson on charges of murder, rape, kidnapping, and armed robbery... charges which were later dropped), are being shielded by the State Bar and NC Attorney General Roy Cooper. The only reason for the "accessory after the fact" trial against James Johnson is to protect prosecutor Wolfe from the complaint of prosecutorial misconduct that was filed with the State Bar by the NAACP.

Although James Johnson was innocent of the charges for which he was held without a trial, the guilt or innocence of the Duke Lacrosse defendants will most likely never be known because the Attorney General quashed the ongoing investigation into the crimes that were committed at the Duke Lacrosse party.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Responses to blog responders

We would like to thank those individuals who took the time and made the effort to comment on our blogs. Regarding comments made by "tenvax", you have amplified and augmented alleged charges against Mr. Nifong. Assertions that he manufactured evidence and intimidated witnesses is totally unfounded. Furthermore, the withholding of DNA information was irrelevant, insignificant, and of no use to the defense attorneys of the Duke Lacrosse players.

We certainly appreciate the comments of JSwift, and his suggestion that Mr. Nifong pursue a civil suit to address damages he has suffered. Of course we do not speak on his behalf but we will see that your suggestion is presented to him. Personally, I do not feel that he would want to even see the inside of a court room because of the brutal and unfair treatment he received from the media and the courts. Thank you again, for your support. Please visit our web site: http://www.justice4nifong.com/ to keep abreast of our effort to persuade the State Bar to reinstate Mr. Nifong's license.

Finally, unbekannte, I appreciate your input regarding remarks made by Mr. Scott Huminski. When it comes to prosecutorial misconduct, he is on the far extreme. I respect his views, but totally disagree with them when it comes to Mr. Nifong. If North Carolina prosecutors were held to the same standards used to disbar Mr. Nifong, then upwards of 95% of the state prosecutors would be disbarred and more than 95% would be criminally prosecuted. That would include prosecutors such as David Hoke, Ken Honeycutt, Scott Brewer, Debra Graves, Freda Black, Tom Keith, Michael D. Parker, Jim Hardin, Bill Wolfe, and others. For Mr. Nifong to be the only prosecutor to be disbarred by the State Bar since its inception when the other aforementioned prosecutors have acted far more egregiously, is an outrage. I don't hear others, including Mr. Huminski, calling for criminal charges being brought against them. The targeting of Mr. Nifong is driven by the media working in conjunction with the Attorney General's Office. We believe in judging actions based on their merits and context... not in absolutes.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

www.justice4nifong.com is now online

Although it took a month longer than initially planned, the highly anticipated and newly revised web site is now up and running. Better late than never. The new site, www.justice4nifong.com is a great improvement over the previous site on geocities.com. Users will find the new site far easier to navigate and notice that it includes additional features. "Issues and Individuals" is a section that will use multimedia to profile Mr. Nifong, members of the Committee on Justice for Mike Nifong, Duke Lacrosse defendants, NC Attorney General Roy Cooper, as well as defendants and prosecutors associated with other important criminal cases. Issues presented in the section will include the Duke Lacrosse case, the James Arthur Johnson case, the Floyd Brown case, and other cases impacting the criminal justice system. Populating this site will take some time, and the multimedia presentations are not quite yet ready for posting.

The Documents section is comprised of investigative papers, research, articles, legal documents, important correspondence, and a sundry of other types of documents. Because of the large number of documents at hand, the process of cateloguing them and posting them will be both intensive and time-consuming, but our staff will work to get them uploaded as expeditiously as possible.

Episode II of "The MIsAdventures of Super-Duper Cooper" is titled "To Hell and Back: the Travails of the Un-indicted Duke LAXers" is comprised of four parts, the first of which will appear Sunday, February 15th. The remaining three episodes will follow at weekly intervals.

Blogs will be available for access from the "Blogs" section, which will also include a link to the blog site containing the most recently published posts.

The Break Even Marketplace, though not presently active, will carry items that are supportive of Mike Nifong. They will be sold at cost and at no profit to the Committee on Justice for Mike Nifong. That is because profit is not our goal... distribution of supportive Mike Nifong merchandise is.

Finally, the Home page will contain news items and scheduled events of interest to our target audience, individuals interested in "equal justice for all."

The entire site is ever-changing and in constant flux, and with time, it will grow and develop. We are sure that you will find it enlightening and entertaining, and we encourage feedback and comments from the web site users.

Monday, February 2, 2009

The media needs to take a positive and proactive role in the James Arthur Johnson case

The front page headline story of the February 1, 2009 Sunday, News & Observer is titled “After injustice, Durham man’s eyes are on the future,” and recounts what is, unfortunately, not an uncommon example of justice experienced by the poor, people of color, and disenfranchised in North Carolina. The article is about Erick Daniels, a 15 year old African American boy who was accused of armed robbery, tried as an adult, identified by the victim from a school yearbook based on the shape of his eyebrows, charged without probable cause and without any evidence linking him to the crime, prosecuted by an overly zealous prosecutor who took advantage of glaring missteps by the boy’s defense attorney, and convicted and sentenced to ten to fourteen years. He ended up serving seven of those years before recently being released by a judge when his case was brought up on appeal by a defense attorney seeking a new trial (another incarcerated criminal with a lengthy record of armed robberies and who fit the initial description of the perpetrator had confessed to the crime -- and the prosecutor had failed to interview him).

I found staff writer Anne Blythe’s opening two paragraphs to be so insightful and paradoxical that they merit repeating, and are presented hereafter:

“Their names became a three-count indictment of the incompetence and injustices of the Durham court system: Dave Evans, Collin Finnerty, and Reade Seligmann, the Duke lacrosse players wrongly accused of gang-raping an escort service dancer.

"As the nation followed the legal travails of the players, there was another young man who shared many of their circumstances but lacked their advantages in resisting a wrongful charge.”

To me, mentioning the Duke lacrosse players’ names in the same breath as Erick Daniels, and insinuating that they all kindred brothers who shared the same misfortune at the hands of Carolina justice, is sacrilegious. (However, I applaud Ms. Blythe's attempt to show the disparity of treatment faced by the different parties.) On the night of the armed robbery, Daniels was attending a basketball game at the Durham YMCA, whereas on the night when the alleged gang-rape took place, the three Durham lacrosse defendants attended a party (where the alleged crime took place) which included under-aged drinking and entertainment by two strippers. The Duke lacrosse team, which was notorious for its raucous parties, had been previously warned by the university’s administration to behave with more restraint and act more responsible. Whereas Daniels served seven years behind bars, the three lacrosse players spent not a single day in jail. The prosecutor in the Duke lacrosse case, Mike Nifong, was persecuted, prosecuted and disbarred by the North Carolina State Bar (the only prosecutor to be disbarred since its inception), in his investigation into a series of crimes that took place during the party was quashed by North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper. He also took the extraordinary step of proclaiming that the three Duke defendants were innocent. While Erick Daniels has not received a pardon or a penny in compensation for his wrongful seven year incarceration, the Duke defendants received seven million dollars each from Duke University, and are currently in the courts seeking ten million dollars each from the cash-strapped city of Durham.

Those innocent individuals who were wrongly convicted by North Carolina’s selective justice system based on Class and Color and who shared a magnitude of unjust suffering on par with Daniels, were never mentioned in the article. They include:
1. Theodore Jerry Williams - who filed a law suit against authorities and, in retaliation, was beaten up and falsely charged with assaulting a prison guard. Facing 15 years on the trumped up charge, crucial exculpatory evidence which he requested for his defense was destroyed by the prosecutor. When the court dropped charges against Williams due to the destruction of the evidence, the Attorney General’s Office vigorously appealed.

2. Floyd Brown – a severely retarded man who was held fourteen (14) years without a trial, based on a prosecutorial-manufactured confession which mental health experts stated that he could not possibly have authored.

3. Alan Gell – a man who served nearly a decade in prison, fifty percent on death row, after being convicted when the prosecutors withheld, from the defense, exculpatory evidence which definitely excluded him from being a possible murder suspect in the crime for which he served time.

4. James Arthur Johnson – a young African American man who served 39 months in jail after presenting Wilson police officers with information which solved a heinous murder of a Wilson teen. Without evidence tying him to the crime, the prosecutor based their case on statements made by the killer who implicated Johnson only after he was told by investigators that Johnson had “snitched” on him.

Darryl Hunt, Jonathan Gregory Hoffman, Charles Wayne Munsey, and the list goes on of individuals unjustly convicted and deprived of their freedom, charged without probable cause, and with egregious misconduct by their prosecutors.

Like Ms. Blythe accurately mentions in her article, “Erick Daniels is not a household name.” But neither are the names of Theodore Jerry Williams, Floyd Brown, Alan Gell, James Arthur Johnson, Darryl Hunt, Jonathan Gregory Hoffman, Charles Wayne Munsey, and others who have been falsely convicted by the state’s selective justice system. The media, including the News & Observer, is directly responsible for the plight of these men being minimized. Nationally and locally, the media selectively focuses its spotlight on individuals of power and privilege when it comes to possibly being victimized by the justice system. Ms. Blythe’s February 1, 2009 article reinforces once again the false notion and prevailing misconception among the public that Evans, Finnerty, and Seligmann are the poster children for those who have been maltreated by the justice system.

It is the media, which continues to heap accolades and adoration upon the Duke Lacrosse defendants while it (the media) simultaneously carries out a brutal, unjust and biased attack against their prosecutor (Mike Nifong), that set the stage for the subsequent law suits against the city of Durham (which has already cost upwards of one million taxpayer dollars in legal expenses), Duke University, and other Durham residents and employees by the three defendants, their out-of-state families, and 41 un-indicted Duke lacrosse players.

It is the media that has also elected to remain silent when it comes to questionable activities in controversial criminal cases. The News & Observer, for example, refused to write one word about the curious activities taking place in the James Arthur Johnson case. The trial judge refused the defense motion for a change of venue from the city of Wilson (which had been racially divided due to actions and statements by the prosecutors and police), and instead insisted on a jury being selected from neighboring Edgecombe county and bussed in for the trial. This flurry of activity which took place in November 2008, was never covered by Ms. Blythe, or anyone else from that newspaper.

What I find most troubling about the News & Observer is its editorial silence. During the seven years Erick Daniels was incarcerated, there was not one column devoted to the unjust plight of this young man. Even after a May 2007 article in the Independent Weekly brought the Daniels’ injustice to light for most of the Triangle area public, the News & Observer editorial staff remained mum on the subject.

What I would challenge the News & Observer to do is to make itself relevant by taking a proactive position on the James Arthur Johnson “accessory after the fact” trial that is scheduled to begin later this month. The editorial staff, among other things, should broach the question of why the $20,000 reward (which Johnson earned) has not been given to him, and why the State is wasting taxpayer money on a bogus case against Johnson which is propped up only to afford protection for Wilson prosecutor Bill Wolfe from a complaint of prosecutorial misconduct lodged with the State Bar.

The media holds great public influence and, therefore, has a great responsibility to the public it serves. With regards to the state’s criminal justice system, the media has welded that power irresponsibly and to the detriment of falsely convicted citizens who are poor, of color, and are disenfranchised. When the media suggests that the Duke Lacrosse defendants are poster children of the failures of the Tar Heel state’s criminal justice system, and intimates that former Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong represents the worst wayward and malevolent state prosecutor, it is perpetrating a big hoax on its readers, viewers, and subscribers.

Once more, I challenge the editorial staff of the News & Observer to become relevant in the important social issues, and at the same time, do the right thing. The newspaper needs to publish its position on issues related to the James Johnson case before it comes to trial, instead of doing like it did in the Erick Daniels case and speaking up “after the fact.” (The News & Observer published its first editorial about Erick Daniels after the judge hearing the appeal motion, dropped the charges against him.)

One last thing: if the News & Observer is truly concerned about the plight of young Erick Daniels, the least it could do is write an editorial demanding that the newly elected governor give him a pardon, and that the state immediately commence the paltry payments for his wrongful incarceration.. which amounts to less than $1,700.00 a month.