I owe a debt of gratitude to blog commenters “kenhyderal” and “Whatchoo talkin’ ‘bout, Sidney?” for their very interesting and informative exchange in the comment section of my previously posted blog. The exchange, edited for spelling and grammar, is presented below in its entirety, and deserves a serious look.
When will Crystal's charges be disposed of? Is there no time limit as to when this comes to court? Will she, possibly, have any recourse against these extreme over-charges, if they do eventually get thrown out? I'm thinking in terms of, loss of employment, interruption of her education, separation from her children etc.
May 10, 2010 3:12 PM
Whatchoo talkin' 'bout, Sidney? said...
kenhyderal said -When will Crystal's charges be disposed of?
Probably sometime this summer, kenhyderal. It looks like her attorney is hoping to get her 6 months, with time served. If she gets more, she may be moved to state jail.
Is there no time limit as to when this comes to court?
Welcome to North Carolina, ken, the state which has no speedy trial law. The DA also controls the docket, unlike any other state I have ever seen.
Reforming those two issues alone would help so many people of color and of limited means, yet folks like Sidney and the NC NAACP prefer to ignore those and make headlines when they get one person freed. Rev Barber does that because that's how he makes his money. Sidney does it because he doesn't know better.
I'm thinking in terms of, loss of employment, interruption of her education, separation from her children etc.
Employment - what job?
Education - NCCU will give her another sheepskin like they did her BA.
Children - her kids are safer now.
May 10, 2010 8:43 PM
Six months!! I guarantee this incident would have resulted in less than one day in gaol in Canada. It would have been dealt with in Family Court or in a Magistrate's Court the following morning resulting in a fine most likely with time to pay and if requested by the victim a no-contact order. The rate of spousal abuse is lower in Canada. 2006 statistics from the USA show 124/1000 couples/year for males, assaulted and 122/1000 couples for females assaulted. In Canada in that year 113/1000 not differentiated by sex
May 10, 2010 9:56 PM
Both commenters make great points. I agree wholeheartedly with kenhyderal’s concerns about how the unjust incarceration of Crystal Mangum is impacting her life. Her incarceration is nothing more than vendetta justice maliciously designed to disrupt and upend her life. As was pointed out by Whatchoo, the lack of a speedy trial law coupled with the District Attorney controlling the docket enables prosecutors to make suspects serve time behind bars without them being convicted of a crime. This especially works well in cases where the prosecutor’s case is weak… the James Arthur Johnson case immediately comes to mind (held 39 months without a trial) and the Floyd Brown case (held 14 years without a trial), as well as the current fiasco involving Crystal Mangum.
Now, I am taking a giant leap of faith in believing Whatchoo without first confirming what he states, but it sounds like it is on the money. If his statements about those two issues are true, then he is absolutely correct when he stated that I was ignorant about it. I appreciate his bringing the issue to my attention, and I will work to see what I can to encourage the General Assembly to work to rectify this injustice. As regarding Reverend Barber’s motive, I am equally ignorant about that too.
Assistant District Attorney Angela Garcia-Lamarca is dragging out the prosecution of Crystal Mangum because she has no legitimate case. Consider the following: (1) the charge of felony attempted first degree murder on her arrest was not included in the grand jury indictment; (2) the misdemeanor simple assault and battery charge on arrest was not included in the grand jury indictment; (3) the misdemeanor communicating threats charge on arrest was not included in the grand jury indictment; and (4) the felony identity theft charge on arrest was not included in the grand jury indictment. These four serious charges, made at the time of arrest with the four additional charges on arrest and brought forth in the grand jury indictment, were responsible for laying groundwork for the million dollar bail.
Of the remaining four charges at arrest and entered in the grand jury indictment, take consideration of the following: (1) Felony first degree arson by definition requires that an occupied structure or building be set afire. There is no doubt that Ms. Mangum executed a controlled burn when she set fire to a few of her ex-boyfriend’s clothes in the bathtub where water from faucets and shower heads is readily available (though the Durham police failed to consider using it to extinguish the fire). This charge is totally bogus, as there is no mention in the police or fire records of any fire damage to the building… there is fire damage to clothing, however, and smoke damage to the building (which was the proximate result of the police electing to wait 23 minutes for the fire department to come and put out the fire).
(2) Misdemeanor child abuse – three counts – is dependent upon Crystal Mangum setting fire to the building or committing first degree arson. She did not do that, therefore this charge is as bogus as the first degree arson charge.
(3) Misdemeanor injury to personal property charge, I believe, is inflated on a grand scale. I am sure that the burned clothes of the ex-boyfriend, counting depreciation, were not worth more than $200. To increase the amount of property damaged, the police record attributed to Crystal damage to the ex-boyfriend’s car’s windshield and tires. The police record and police incident report do not specify what damage was done, whether or not instruments were used to inflict damage, or when the vandalism took place. I doubt that vandalism was done to the car by Ms. Mangum because the biased media did not mention it… and believe me they would’ve reported as much damage as possible to make Ms. Mangum’s actions look bad.
(4) Misdemeanor resist, delay, obstruct public officer charge was made because Crystal Mangum allegedly gave a false a false name which, by their reasoning, interfered with the police investigation. I submit that the Durham police knew her identity before they asked her what her name was. That is why they were quick to arrest her. If police at the site had not known her true identity, then the ex-boyfriend would probably have been the one arrested, the police would have turned on the water in the bathtub and extinguished the fire, and the Durham Fire department, with its multiple units, would not have been beckoned out in the middle of the night to extinguish a few clothes burning in a tub.
None of the charges against Ms. Mangum in the grand jury amount to a hill of beans, yet she is under a $100,000 bail (down from the initial $1 million bail). As of May 12, 2010, she remains in jail (although some in the media which were too embarrassed to admit that she was still in jail, such as Newsweek magazine, stated that she was under house arrest). The fact is, however, that even if Ms. Mangum were to make the bail, she would be released on the condition that she is confined to house arrest!
How about a few comparisons with Ms. Mangum’s $1 million bail and aforementioned charges versus charges and bail set for other North Carolina defendants:
Christopher Ray McBride Bail initially: $125,000. Criminal act: physical child abuse beating his 1 year-old daughter so severely that she was left permanently blind.
Labrian A. Lynch Bail: $60,000. Criminal act: assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury. He stabbed his girlfriend, who attempted to escape by running into the street where she was struck by a car. Mr. Lynch also has priors including attempted robbery with a dangerous weapon in 1997.
Bryant Harrison Dennis Bail $10,000. Criminal acts: Statutory sex offenses, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia.
Michele Stein Bail: $200,000. Criminal acts: felony child abuse, severe bodily injury. The three year old victim sustained a skull fracture and bruises to the frontal part of the brain. The boy has been comatose ever since the trauma, more than three weeks ago.
To recap, the scam run by the prosecutors goes like this when a person who they have targeted commits a minor offense:
(1) Overcharge defendant with serious charges and excessive charges upon arrest;
(2) the more severe and numerous the charges, the higher the bail will be set;
(3) with an excessively high bail, the defendant will be unable to make bond and be forced to remain in jail (the beginning of his/her jail sentence);
(4) prosecutors drag out the process, insuring that the defendant will have a longer stay in jail (since the district attorney sets the docket, this can be easily achieved);
(5) get a grand jury indictment, which is private, instead of having a public hearing in court (this prevents the media from realizing that the prosecutor has no case worth merit);
(6) omit the most extreme and outrageous charges when obtaining indictments from the grand jury;
(7) continue to stall and avoid bringing the case to trial by moving the case along at a snail’s pace which will help make the jail sentence last longer;
(8) when satisfied that enough time has been served by the defendant, offer the defendant’s attorney a plea deal for his client, wherein he/she pleads guilty to a lesser offense and is sentenced to time served. More likely than not, the demoralized defendant will accept the plea deal just in order to taste freedom once again and get out of jail.
This is the exact cart-before-the-horse strategy that the prosecution under Assistant D.A. Garcia-Lamarca is following in the Crystal Mangum case. The case is a travesty of justice, using Carpetbagger inspired vendetta justice which has kept Ms. Mangum in jail since February 18, 2010 (nearing the three month mark and counting). And make no doubt about it, Ms. Mangum’s incarceration has nothing to do with justice or the incidents that occurred the night of February 17, 2010… it is purely payback for accusations she made in the Duke Lacrosse case. To repeat, right now she is serving a sentence, not for any of the cockamamie trifle listed in the grand jury indictment in reference to the night of February 17th. She is currently serving an indeterminate sentence for having the gall to accuse Duke lacrosse players from families of wealth, power, and privilege of a sexual assault. And that sentence could last a long time because leaders of the black community remain silent as dormice while the media columnists, op/ed writers, and newspaper editors look the other way.
Keep in mind, that the prosecutorial scam of having a defendant serve a sentence prior to trial was brought to my attention by a blog commenter who is an ardent critic of mine and a person who is very critical of the cause for which I advocate, which is justice for Mike Nifong. Again, Whatchoo, thank you for your contribution… and I would like to thank kenhyderal for your insightful and compassionate statements.