I have long maintained that the Durham prosecutorial strategy related to Crystal Mangum was one in which Prosecutor Angela Garcia-Lamarca would move the Mangum case along through the courts at glacial speed, to assure that Ms. Mangum would spend a significant time behind bars to satisfy the “unofficial” sentence imposed by the Powers-That-Be for committing the “unofficial” crime of accusing three Duke Lacrosse defendants of sexually assaulting her during their infamous March 2006 Spring Break beer-guzzling stripper party. Additional perks to the lengthy malicious retaliatory sentence would be to saddle Ms. Mangum with a significant criminal record, disrupt her life by interfering with her employment and academic pursuits, and to help see to it that social services have grounds to remove her three children from her custody.
This stratagem of having Ms. Mangum carry out her sentence without being convicted of a crime is obviously apparent due to the excessively high $1 million bail set initially for Ms. Mangum by Magistrate B. Wakil. The excessive bail was made palatable by the Durham Police charging her on arrest with bogus charges such as the following which include: (1) felony attempted first degree murder; (2) assault and battery; (3) felony identity theft; and (4) communicating threats. Prosecutors never had the intention of pursuing these charges as they were used only to attain a high bail – which they successfully accomplished. These charges were never even brought before the grand jury when the indictments related to events of February 17, 2010 were sought six and a half weeks later.
Judge Claude Allen could not justify the million dollar bail imposed by the magistrate (especially after the five counts of felony first degree arson were whittled to one), and he reduced her bail to $250,000… still an extremely high bail under the circumstances, and an amount which he believed would be safely out of reach for Ms. Mangum, her family or her supporters. But to insure that she remained in custody in order to serve her indeterminate “sentence,” the crafty judge made a condition that in the event that she was to make bond, that she would then be placed under house arrest. (In my opinion, this was part of the plan worked out in conjunction with the Carpetbagger Jihad agenda, and Judge Allen was merely playing his role. For example, it is my belief that this condition for bail has never been imposed by Judge Allen in the past… and is so illogical a condition that it has rarely, if ever, been imposed by any North Carolina judge, period.)
Although Judge Paul Ridgeway later reduced the bail to $100,000, he left intact Judge Allen’s condition that if the bond was satisfied, that Mangum would be released from jail to house arrest. It seems that Judge Ridgeway was on board with the ruse to circumvent obtaining a conviction before having Ms. Mangum serve a sentence. In other words, he went along with the “cart before the horse” plan to have Ms. Mangum serve her sentence without being convicted of a crime.
The early indication that the charges against Ms. Mangum were baseless is the fact that Prosecutor Garcia-Lamarca sought to have the charges entered in the secrecy of a grand jury indictment, rather than in open court, as initially scheduled. On Monday, April 5, 2010, when the hearing was to take place in the open Durham courtroom, Prosecutor Garcia-Lamarca feigned illness and did not show up, only later that day to have the charges against Ms. Mangum brought forth in a grand jury indictment behind closed doors. The charges leveled against Ms. Mangum were pitiful, to say the least. Felony first degree arson was based on Ms. Mangum’s actions of burning a few articles of clothing belonging to her ex-boyfriend. By definition, burning clothes, whether in a bathtub, in a fireplace, or in an oven, does not satisfy the definition of “arson” and this charge is undoubtedly baseless. This is the kind of action by prosecutors that makes North Carolina justice a laughing stock of the nation. The three charges of contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile are tortuously linked to the merit-less arson charge and therefore should be summarily discarded, too.
The injury to personal property is particularly troublesome in that the police reports and prosecutor notes used in the grand jury indictment refer to nonspecific vandalism to a car’s windshield and tires. Except for one vague reference in the media, this vandalism that is attributed to Ms. Mangum is never mentioned in the news coverage. Its legitimacy is immediately brought into question, and leads an objective observer to believe that it was added by police to bring the amount of personal property damage to a figure greater than $200. Without doubt, the dollar amount of the burnt clothing in the bathtub amounted to less than $200. Had Ms. Mangum truly been responsible for causing damage to her ex-boyfriend’s car, it is a safe bet that she would have been charged with vandalism, as well.
Finally, the charge of obstructing a public official’s investigation into the domestic dispute by giving a false name is totally ludicrous. The police officers knew her identity before they asked for her identity. Had they been unaware of her true identity, Ms. Mangum would never have been arrested, no charges would have been brought against her, and her ex-boyfriend, if anyone, would have been the one taken into custody.
The above explains in detail why Prosecutor Garcia-Lamarca has no case against Crystal Mangum, and why all charges against her should be immediately dismissed and why Ms. Mangum should be released from custody.
Now some blog commenters have questioned how do I know what the prosecution strategy is and do I have proof to back up my statements about its future plans in this case. I have not had the privilege of sitting in on the prosecutors’ strategy sessions and have no incriminating e-mails or other documents in my possession. What I do have, however, is common sense, and a history of what has taken place in the North Carolina justice system in the past… especially the James Arthur Johnson case. The following are obvious:
(1) the prosecution has no case against Ms. Mangum. In poker it would be the equivalent of the state having a worthless hand and Ms. Mangum holding a full house, or better. The prosecution knows that it cannot win based on the merits of the case, alone;
(2) instead of dismissing the charges and releasing Ms. Mangum from custody, the state bluffs with its losing hand, and continues to prosecute;
(3) the prosecution hopes that the Ms. Mangum, with her full house, will fold by accepting a plea deal… and they are counting on the public defender’s office to help convince Ms. Mangum to accept the deal… a deal in which she will plead guilty to some kind of charge and be sentenced to time served.
This is the way the scenario basically played out in the James Arthur Johnson case, and this is the direction that this case is assuredly taking. It doesn’t take a crystal ball to see with crystal clarity the prosecution’s plans for working the case against Crystal Mangum. It’s no mystery, in fact, it is all very elementary.