In yesterday’s issue of the News & Observer, an article by staff writer Mandy Locke titled “Former Dix inmate sues SBI agents” tries to dredge up sympathy for the Duke Lacrosse defendants by making a comparison with the injustice Floyd Brown sustained. In what is essentially media blasphemy, she stretches to make a connection between the situations faced by Floyd Brown and the three Duke Lacrosse defendants. Floyd Brown is a mentally retarded man who was held for fourteen years without a trial by Anson County District Attorney Michael D. Parker. Per its customary PAPEN Policy (Protect All Prosecutors Except Nifong), the prosecutor’s name is never mentioned in the article. Mr. Brown was finally released from custody when a judge from outside of Anson County ruled that he was being held unlawfully. There was no “credible evidence” or any evidence linking Brown to a murder for which he was charged, but never tried. Brown’s fourteen years of confinement were made harder by Parker’s refusal of the staff’s request to allow Brown to have lunch with family, or a day trip to the fair. And after Brown was released, with arrangements made by state social workers for his placement in an assisted living facility, a vindictive Parker went out of his way to disrupt Brown’s disposition. Further arrangements for housing for Brown were made secretly to prevent the D.A. from continuing to maliciously interfere with housing plans. In addition, the charge against Brown by D.A. Parker was based solely on a written confession attributed to Brown that experts claimed he was too retarded to have made.
Contrast Floyd Brown’s situation with the three Duke Lacrosse defendants who did not spend one day in jail, received $7 million each in an out-of-court settlement with Duke University, enjoyed the benefit of being proclaimed “innocent” by Attorney General Roy Cooper during his April 11, 2007 “Innocent Promulgation,” were coddled by the biased media, and are suing the cash-strapped city of Durham for an additional $10 million each… in the words of their attorney “so nothing like this ever happens to anyone else.” Yet, they are claiming that they were denied due process. How? This claim is obviously a bluff, and the Carpetbagger families of the Duke Lacrosse defendants and their greedy attorneys were expecting the city to roll over just like Duke University. They have no intention of carrying out this lawsuit because they have no case.
The media should be ashamed to even mention the Duke Lacrosse case when it comes to injustice, especially with innocents such as Alan Gell who was falsely convicted of capital murder by Prosecutor David Hoke, and Darryl Hunt in Winston-Salem. These men mentioned in the article, along with others such as Erick Daniels, Gregory Taylor, and James Arthur Johnson are some of the true victims of North Carolina’s justice system, and they have all served excessively long unjust incarceration on convictions made without credible evidence.
One of the most recent victims of injustice is Crystal Mangum, the accuser in the Duke Lacrosse case. Durham Prosecutor Angela Garcia-Lamarca is trying to do her best to get a plea deal with Ms. Mangum, now that she is under electronic house arrest and not in an oppressive jail cell. Initially the prosecutor tried to have Ms. Mangum plead guilty to the arson charge and serve a two year jail sentence… as though that was a really great offer. The problem is that the prosecutors have no case against Ms. Mangum, and they know that they would be thoroughly embarrassed if they took their case to court. No credible evidence… nothing. The Mangum prosecution’s position is similar to that of Prosecutor Bill Wolfe’s in the James Arthur Johnson case, in which, to the relief of the prosecution, Johnson accepted an Alford plea on a flimsy charge to avoid the possibility of being returned to jail. The Mangum prosecution’s retaliatory motivation is similar to that of Alan Gell who currently in prison for charges brought as a vendetta against him after he filed lawsuits and complaints for his earlier false murder conviction. Prosecutor Garcia-Lamarca, Judges Claude Allen and Paul Ridgeway, and the Durham Police and Fire departments, along with the media, are all focused on punishing Crystal Mangum for her role in the Duke Lacrosse case. The charges for which she was arrested on February 17, 2010 were merely a means of imposing an indefinite sentence on Ms. Mangum without her being convicted of a crime.
Some media outlets have attempted to mitigate the suffering of Ms. Mangum by falsely reporting, shortly after her arrest, that she was under house arrest on a $250,000 bail. NBC-17 and Newsweek magazine both made the false claims although Ms. Mangum actually spent approximately 90 days at the Durham Detention Center, and is currently under house arrest after the posting of bond. Almost without exception, however, the media goes out of its way to give the Duke Lacrosse players (who attended the beer-guzzling stripper party with under-aged drinking and racial epithets) a positive and sympathetic look. But there is no way that Duke Lacrosse defendants comes close to enduring the hardship and suffering of Floyd Brown, Alan Gell, Crystal Mangum, and others.
However, what I don’t understand is why Floyd Brown’s attorneys are going after the investigators. Surely the SBI agents and sheriff’s deputies acted no more deliberately and in bad faith than lead prosecutor Michael Parker. It was Prosecutor Parker who was responsible for Floyd Brown being unlawfully held fourteen years, not the investigators. Maybe Brown’s attorneys are extending a professional courtesy to Prosecutor Parker by not filing a law suit against him. But, then, the North Carolina State Bar did not even feel motivated enough by the injustice against Brown to initiate its own complaint against Michael Parker. Whereas in the Duke Lacrosse case, the State Bar was quick to lob an ethics complaint against the Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong in order to force him off the case as the prosecutor.
Bottom line is that Floyd Brown deserves compensation for the atrocious injustices he suffered at the hands of Anson County Prosecutor Michael Parker… the defendants in the Duke Lacrosse case, on the other hand, do not even deserve mention.