The lunacy of events which mark the travesty of justice against Duke Lacrosse accuser Crystal Mangum is highlighted by the unique tandem bail scenario which engulfs her. Bail is supposed to be a fiduciary means to insure that a suspect attends future court hearings on charges against him/her while being temporarily free pending a final verdict. In Ms. Mangum’s case, Judge Claude Allen ruled, as a condition of being released from the Durham County Detention Center on bond, that Ms. Mangum be placed under house arrest. This is unheard of! In other words, Judge Allen, when he reduced Ms. Mangum’s bail from one million dollars to $250,000, stated that in the event Ms. Mangum was to satisfy the bail, she would be released from jail, but still be placed under house arrest… she would still be in custody. This begs the question, should her attorney seek a bail hearing for her custody under house arrest, or is a second bail automatically denied? These are undoubtedly untested and troubling waters as nothing this ridiculous has ever been tried before. In the attempt to comply with the Carpetbagger Jihad agenda of inflicting as much suffering as possible on Ms. Mangum, Judge Allen stepped beyond the bounds of legality, decency, objectivity, and reason when he made the singular ruling pertaining to Ms. Mangum’s ability to satisfy her initial bail. Subsequent Judge Paul Ridgeway did not deem it necessary to correct this judicial blunder by his colleague, Allen.
The reason Judge Allen imposed the tandem bail condition against Ms. Mangum was to assure that she would remain in custody after the bail was lowered to $250,000. With the prosecutor’s inability to pursue the attempted first degree murder charge and other heaped-on charges against Ms. Mangum with a straight face, the million dollar bail had to be reduced, but the courts kept it high, with the intention that she would be unable to afford bond. Totally unsuspected by the prosecutors and courts was the thought that bail bondsmen would emerge like angels from the heavens and satisfy Ms. Mangum’s $100,000 bail pro bono… but that’s exactly what happened. The benevolent and generous owners of Hammond & Hammond Bailbondsmen, Inc., Mr. and Mrs. Lonnie Hammond made bond for Ms. Mangum, free of charge, after they became aware of Committee on Justice for Mike Nifong member Ed Clark’s attempt to raise funds to pay a bail bondsmen. Thanks to their humanitarian efforts, Crystal Mangum is no longer holed up in the detention center, but she is far from being free… she remains in custody at home under electronic monitoring. One hurdle has been cleared with her release from jail, but another has materialized in the form of house arrest… a second obstacle to her freedom and something which should not exist.
Judge Allen’s imposition of the backup house arrest scheme, gives credence to the premise that Ms. Mangum’s high bail, coupled with the molasses-like movement of the prosecution, is nothing more than a way to skirt the law by forcing Mangum to serve a sentence without being convicted of a crime. And the crime for which she is serving her current sentence has nothing to do with the charges for which she has been arrested… she is serving time for having the gall to accuse three Duke lacrosse boys (from families of wealth, status, and privilege) of sexually assaulting her.
The charges against Ms. Mangum are as flimsy and flaky as those conjured up by the North Carolina State Bar against former Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong in his disbarment hearing. In pursuing these unjustified charges in order to make Ms. Mangum serve an indeterminate sentence without being first convicted of a crime, the state’s police department, fire department, prosecutors and courts make themselves a laughing stock in the following ways: (1) the Durham Police Department for excessively charging and overcharging Ms. Mangum; (2) the Durham Police for allowing the burning clothes in the bathtub to cause smoke damage to the apartment, and calling the fire department instead of just turning on the faucet to put out the fire; (3) the Durham Fire Department for lugging a fire hose to the bathroom to extinguish the fire instead of turning on the faucet; (4) the questionable validity of vandalism charges to an automobile which was used by prosecutors to help secure a grand jury indictment for an injury to personal property charge; (5) the excessive bail set by Magistrate B. Wakil of $1 million; and (6) the attempt to make a case for first degree arson out of carefully executed controlled burn of clothing articles in a bathtub with running water readily available.
The charges currently pending against Mangum are so ridiculous that Prosecutor Angela Garcia-Lamarca has no intention of going to court to prosecute them. Her plan is to work with the public defender representing Ms. Mangum to accept a plea deal to a “lesser charge” in exchange for time served… and it is anybody’s guess how long the amount of time served by Ms. Mangum will be. Since the prosecution controls the docket, it may last for years. That is what happened in the James Arthur Johnson case, where Johnson was held for 39 months without a trial. In that case, prosecutor Bill Wolfe repeatedly and unsuccessfully tried to get Johnson to accept a plea deal, and when it came time for the trial to take place, Wilson District Attorney Howard S. Boney Jr. called for a special prosecutor (using the pretext of wanting Johnson to have a fair trial… the fact being that he had no case against Johnson).
The best course for prosecutors to follow in the fiasco surrounding Ms. Mangum’s arrest is to immediately dismiss all charges against Crystal Mangum, and close the file. Not to do so is a slap in the face of Lady Justice at taxpayer expense. Police, prosecutors and the courts should treat all suspects fairly and equally in order to serve all the people in North Carolina… they should not apply justice disparately to suspects and defendants in order to satisfy the demands of a few well-heeled privileged. To do so these public servants, prosecutors, and judges make a mockery of the state’s system of justice, and make the state’s justice system the laughing stock of the nation.