In an editorial by the News & Observer staff in the March 3, 2010 editorial page titled, “Testing the crime lab,” the newspaper and the Attorney General’s Office waltz around the issues of injustice for appearances sake. Not long ago the newspaper’s editorial chastised a state prosecutor for holding a man, Floyd Brown, for fourteen years without a trial. A judge later dismissed murder charges in this case in which a confession was cooked up by the prosecution. Problem is that the severely retarded defendant could not have possibly made the confession attributed to him. There was no physical evidence linking Mr. Brown to the crime, but he was poor, disenfranchised, and an African American. Nobody cared. However, the newspaper’s editorial pretended to be concerned by challenging the Attorney General’s Office to look into how the man could be held for 14 years without being taken to trial. Over the years, the Attorney General’s Office has not looked into the matter. The News & Observer has not pressed for a response.
With the exposure of the biased State forensic lab testing procedures which helped convict Gregory Taylor of a crime which he did not commit, the News & Observer is now calling for the Attorney General’s Office to investigate other cases in which convictions might have been won through faulty state lab procedures. Pitifully, the News & Observer is trying to reassure its readers that Attorney General Roy Cooper is conscientiously leading the charge in trying to uncover tainted convictions. As the paper puts it, “Fortunately, Attorney General Roy Cooper is facing up to the problem.” As in the Floyd Brown case, the newspaper pretends to be concerned about injustice created by the State’s lab procedures, and the A.G. is pretending to objectively review cases in search of convictions attained with faulty lab results.
The truth of the matter is that the prosecutors knew that the State’s lab was biased against the defendants long ago. Prosecutor Tom Ford and Wake District Attorney Colon Willoughby were aware that the lab results used to help convict Gregory Taylor were flawed when they recently fought to keep him incarcerated for the rest of his life, despite a case that hinged completely on the testimony of a jailhouse snitch and prostitute who received promises of reduced sentences in exchange for their testimony. The backroom deals that Tom Ford hatched with the “witnesses” were withheld from Taylor’s original incompetent attorneys.
Look at the facts in the Gregory Taylor case. D.A. Willoughby and Prosecutor Ford have knowledge that the blood evidence used to convict Taylor was not reliable, yet they fought against justice for Mr. Taylor. Willoughby, because he knew that he had no case, initially tried to indefinitely delay the hearing before the three judge panel which resulted from the Innocence Inquiry Commission. Is this the action of a true minister of justice? The Attorney General’s Office, in the meantime, was silent. However that is not surprising when one reflects on the Alan Gell case in which Prosecutor David Hoke withheld crucial exculpatory evidence from the defense in winning a capital murder conviction. When a new trial was ordered by a judge, the Attorney General’s Office chose to fight to keep Gell incarcerated. The jury, when armed with knowledge of the exculpatory evidence that proved that Gell could not have committed the murder, immediately found him not guilty.
The difference between Hoke, Ford and former Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong is that when new evidence or testimony was presented to Mr. Nifong, he was a true minister of justice and acted accordingly. For example, when he heard that the accuser in the Duke Lacrosse case could not say with absolute certainty that she had been raped, he immediately dismissed those charges. Tom Ford and David Hoke were unyielding in their positions despite the overwhelming logic against them. And whereas the media, in accordance with the carpetbagger jihad against Mike Nifong, has unfairly and wrongfully defined Mr. Nifong, it has gone out of its way to adhere to the PAPEN (Protect All Prosecutors Except Nifong) Policy. Tom Ford’s name wasn’t even mentioned in the March 3, 2010 editorial.
What is most telling is what the editorial attributes Attorney General Roy Cooper as saying… which is that “the review (of the cases for flawed State lab reports resulting in convictions) will be conducted internally at the outset, but that an independent look might be warranted.” What is that supposed to mean? Basically, it means that the process will not have transparency and that the so-called review is undertaken for nothing more the sake of appearances. Everyone’s pretending, including the media.