Sunday, January 30, 2011

Durham County Sheriff’s Office uses Mangum trial as pretense to investigate

Although The News & Observer printed newspaper never bothered to write an article about the Durham district attorney deciding not to retry Crystal Mangum on the trumped up arson charge, it did write one about the Durham County Sheriff’s Office conducting an investigation on Crystal Mangum supporters. The article, by staff writer Jesse James DeConto appeared in the January 26, 2011 edition of the paper and was titled “Crystal Mangum supporters investigated.” According to the article Major Paul Martin of the Sheriff’s Department is investigating Mangum supporters for alleged witness intimidation, and he stated that he would decide whether to bring charges against anyone next month.

What is particularly troublesome is that Maj. Martin would not tell the reporter what sort of intimidation may have occurred. If this were a legitimate cause of action, the specifics of the witness intimidation would not be under wraps. For example, what action does he feel warranted the charge? How many “Mangum supporters” are being investigated? How in depth does he plan carry out the so-called investigation? There is no doubt in my mind that these questions are not being answered by the major because he is using it as a pretense to conduct an investigation into everyone who has shown support for Crystal Mangum and/or Mike Nifong. It is a fishing expedition in which he hopes to be able to reel in peaceful law-abiding activists who seek justice for Mike Nifong and Crystal Mangum. And it is apparent that he wants to give himself at least a month’s worth of time to cast his wide net and see what he’s able to dredge up against the civic minded citizens.

This action by the Sheriff’s Office of Durham once again exemplifies how the law enforcement agencies and courts of the cash-strapped city will go to extreme lengths to appease the Carpetbagger families of the Duke Lacrosse defendants and their attorneys. When it comes to the Duke Lacrosse case, Mike Nifong, Crystal Mangum, or anyone considered by the Powers-That-Be to be on the wrong end of the Duke Lacrosse case, no pretext is considered too mundane or trivial to capture the full attention of the law enforcers. They are following the Carpetbagger Jihad Agenda handbook to the letter.

The city of Durham should be pleased to win a conviction on the misdemeanor charges and walk away without any collateral damage to its police and fire departments… something that Wake County District Attorney Colon Willoughby and Prosecutor Tom Ford failed to do in the Gregory Taylor case when they unintentionally exposed long standing unethical practices by the SBI lab. The Sheriff’s Office should let this travesty of Durham justice regarding Mangum slink away, and not continue to beat the dead horse.

Now if this was a homicide case, in which a witness or witnesses was threatened, then I could understand conducting such an investigation. However the charges against Ms. Mangum which stemmed from the February 2010 incident were trumped up by Durham’s finest. The only crime committed that night (Ms. Mangum being assaulted by her ex-boyfriend) was totally ignored by police, the courts, and the media.

According to Major Martin during a television news interview, a serious drug war is about to break out in the city. There are plenty of homicides already on the Durham ledgers, as well as rapes, robberies, and other violent and cold case crimes that have yet to be solved. To me it does not seem that the Sheriff Department has the time or luxury to investigate a group of non-violent supporters in an attempt to bring up more bogus charges. What is the Sheriff’s Office’s end game... to take a couple of Nifong and Mangum supporters off the streets and house them behind bars at taxpayer expense? Not only that, but an investigation into Mangum and Nifong supporters eats up taxpayer dollars and distracts law enforcement resources and manpower from the important issues of protecting the citizens and property of Durham.

Let there be no doubt that the investigation into Mangum supporters is nothing more than a fishing trip, because otherwise Maj. Martin would have given specifics to The News & Observer writer Jesse DeConto. Unfortunately, with the media’s help, the public has swallowed Maj. Martin’s investigation into members of Mangum supporters hook, line, and sinker. 


Notice: A link will follow to Part 5 of Episode V of “The MisAdventures of Super-Duper Cooper.” Be sure to look at the commentary, insight, and analysis that follow the comic strip to get the most out of this feature.

LINK: http://justice4nifong.com/direc/sdcDirec/sdcEpv/sdc121.htm

17 comments:

Walt said...

I was in and out of the trial. To be honest, Jackie's conduct was, vintage Jackie. She behaved poorly and deserved to spend a few nights in jail.

Walt-in-Durham

Nifong Supporter said...


Walt said...
"I was in and out of the trial. To be honest, Jackie's conduct was, vintage Jackie. She behaved poorly and deserved to spend a few nights in jail.

Walt-in-Durham"


C'mon, Walt. If Jackie's behavior in the courtroom was inappropriate or a distraction, the judge should have ordered her out of the court. I don't know if the bailiff has the authority to do so.

Jail should be reserved for criminals who represent a threat to society, not people who violate courtroom etiquette by speaking aloud. Surely you would not want everyone who is disruptive in a courtroom to be given a jail sentence. If you feel that way, then I would suggest you talk to your congressperson or representative and asking them to introduce a bill in the General Assembly that would make it a crime to talk aloud during court proceedings.

Keep in mind that taxpayers pay to house people in jail.

Now, how about the burning question. Why do you think Sheriff's Office Major Martin launched an investigation into Mangum supporters? In light of Durham's drug problems, homicides, and other violent crimes, do you think this investigation is a wise undertaking?

Anonymous said...

That is the problem with children(Jackie Wagstaff and the rest), just removing them from the court room would have not changed their behavior. They like to behave poorly so they get their names in the news, just like children like to make a scene to get attention. Their disruption of the court room served no purpose other than trying to get their names in the news or making them feel good. Just ask any bully why he/she does it.

The judge felt it was time for a little more punishment. Time out did not work. I applaud him for this and have no trouble that my taxes went to house this woman in jail for a few days.

Now to your question on why the sheriff is investigating, who knows. Maybe the children tried to contact a juror or witness during the trial. I think the newspaper said witness tampering. Rules in society have to be followed. I guess if I litter, I should not be charged because of "Durham's drug problems, homicides, and other violent crimes".

Nifong Supporter said...


Anonymous said...
"That is the problem with children(Jackie Wagstaff and the rest), just removing them from the court room would have not changed their behavior. They like to behave poorly so they get their names in the news, just like children like to make a scene to get attention. Their disruption of the court room served no purpose other than trying to get their names in the news or making them feel good. Just ask any bully why he/she does it.

The judge felt it was time for a little more punishment. Time out did not work. I applaud him for this and have no trouble that my taxes went to house this woman in jail for a few days.

Now to your question on why the sheriff is investigating, who knows. Maybe the children tried to contact a juror or witness during the trial. I think the newspaper said witness tampering. Rules in society have to be followed. I guess if I litter, I should not be charged because of 'Durham's drug problems, homicides, and other violent crimes'."


I do not quite follow your premise. You seem to suggest that Jackie Wagstaff's actions in the courtroom were intended to get the media spotlight. Had the judge merely had her removed from the courtroom, I am sure that she would not have received the media attention which you claim she covetted. I doubt that anyone in their right mind (and she is in her right mind) would seek incarceration in order to be on the 6 o'clock news or in the newspaper.

With regards to your other statement, if you litter, you should be charged with littering. The problem is that the Sheriff's Office is conducting an investigation on an unspecified number of unnamed individuals who might be sympathizers of Crystal Mangum. The basis for the investigation is ambiguous at best, as the Sheriff's Office has not even established that a crime has been committed. Durham has many criminal problems to deal with, so why waste taxpayer money, and County resources and manpower trying to make life miserable for supporters of Mangum or Nifong just in order to appease the Carpetbagger families of the Duke Lacrosse players and their attorneys. It doesn't make sense.

Anonymous said...

Here is my premise:

Why would a group of people whom support Crystal Mangum go to court and be disruptive at her trial?

I see no way it can help her cause in the court room in any way. She had a good lawyer that seemed capable and very supportive.

So, since you all are not helping her in any why I can see, you are either doing this for attention or self satisfaction. The attention would be that this would be reported in the news. The self satisfaction being that you all will show the court a thing or two for trying to convict her of a crime.

The problem with this is that there is a set of rules that you must follow in a court of law. If you do not, the judge has the power to ask you to leave, site you for contempt or put you in jail. For some reason, which maybe you can explain, the group felt they did not have to abide by these rules.

So, the group keeps pushing the envelope of decency in the court room until the judge has had enough. I am sure they were shocked to believe they were wrong at this point and that a judge could think of putting one of them in jail.

And finally, this group still probably feels they were wronged. This blog post is proof. Sure Ms. Wagstaff wrote a letter to the judge saying she was sorry and got out of jail for Christmas, but they would do it all again in a heart beat.

Kilgo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nifong Supporter said...


Anonymous said...
"Here is my premise:

Why would a group of people whom support Crystal Mangum go to court and be disruptive at her trial?

I see no way it can help her cause in the court room in any way. She had a good lawyer that seemed capable and very supportive.

So, since you all are not helping her in any why I can see, you are either doing this for attention or self satisfaction. The attention would be that this would be reported in the news. The self satisfaction being that you all will show the court a thing or two for trying to convict her of a crime.

The problem with this is that there is a set of rules that you must follow in a court of law. If you do not, the judge has the power to ask you to leave, site you for contempt or put you in jail. For some reason, which maybe you can explain, the group felt they did not have to abide by these rules.

So, the group keeps pushing the envelope of decency in the court room until the judge has had enough. I am sure they were shocked to believe they were wrong at this point and that a judge could think of putting one of them in jail.

And finally, this group still probably feels they were wronged. This blog post is proof. Sure Ms. Wagstaff wrote a letter to the judge saying she was sorry and got out of jail for Christmas, but they would do it all again in a heart beat."


First of all, since I did not attend court during any of the sessions, I am only aware of the one statement made by Ms. Wagstaff which caught the attention of the judge. I am unaware of any other instances of disruption, as I am sure that you are not either.

Secondly, I wholeheartedly disagree with your statement that Ms. Mangum had good legal representation at her trial. Defense Attorney Mani Dexter put on a feather-weight defense against a prosecution case that had the weight of straw. She did not attack the state's case and force them to provide a cogent and coherent sequence of events, she did not question why no charges were brought against Crystal's ex-boyfriend for punching her in the face, she did not ask why police did not turn on water in the bathtub to extinguish the fire, she did not obtain a list of clothes allegedly in the bathtub and their burnt status, and she did not ask for a change of venue. Her representation was shoddy and inadequate... and the public defender would probably done no better.

I don't know whether the Friends of Crystal Mangum members feel wronged or not. Ms. Mangum, however, clearly did not get justice.

Walt said...

Jackie's problem has long been that she does not respect the line between the public's right to see and hear government at work and disrupting its work. She crossed the line. Abe warned her and warned. More importantly, the bailiffs warned her and warned her.

Walt-in-Durham

Anonymous said...

"I am unaware of any other instances of disruption, as I am sure that you are not either."

From the Herald Sun:

"Bailiff Scotty Hodges testified that he had admonished Wagstaff, Peterson and other Mangum supporters at least twice daily throughout the trial, which spanned parts of three weeks."

"Jones later praised Hodges and his colleagues for keeping order in the court in a professional manner and for their honesty."

http://www.heraldsun.com/view/full_story/10711720/article-Ex-City-Councilwoman-Wagstaff-jailed?

Again why are they acting like this in a court of law?

Colon Cleansers said...

We know that the Durham County Sheriff’s Office uses Mangum trial as pretense to investigate with different times. And also we know that What is particularly troublesome is that Maj.

Nifong Supporter said...


Anonymous said...
"'I am unaware of any other instances of disruption, as I am sure that you are not either.'

From the Herald Sun:

'Bailiff Scotty Hodges testified that he had admonished Wagstaff, Peterson and other Mangum supporters at least twice daily throughout the trial, which spanned parts of three weeks.'

'Jones later praised Hodges and his colleagues for keeping order in the court in a professional manner and for their honesty.'

http://www.heraldsun.com/view/full_story/10711720/article-Ex-City-Councilwoman-Wagstaff-jailed?

Again why are they acting like this in a court of law?"


Assuming that Bailiff Hodges's testimony was accurate, then an appropriate response would have been to evict those who were disruptive from the courtroom, and ban them from the trial, if necessary. To raise it to the level of a crime by handing out jail time is excessive, inappropriate, and a waste of tax-payer money.

Nifong Supporter said...


Walt said...
"Jackie's problem has long been that she does not respect the line between the public's right to see and hear government at work and disrupting its work. She crossed the line. Abe warned her and warned. More importantly, the bailiffs warned her and warned her.

Walt-in-Durham"



Walt, do you not believe that instead of repeatedly issuing warnings to be quiet or not to be disruptive, that it would have made more sense to remove those alleged offenders from the courtroom, or even ban them for the duration of the trial, rather than wasting manpower, resources, and taxpayer money required to place a person in jail? The response by the judge, I believe was excessive.

Also, I am not sure that Bailiff Hodges was accurate about his statements. Maybe some people he admonished were not members of Mangum's support group... and maybe he was supersensitive when dealing with people in the gallery who he thought were Mangum supporters. This is not all that clear.

Walt said...

"Walt, do you not believe that instead of repeatedly issuing warnings to be quiet or not to be disruptive, that it would have made more sense to remove those alleged offenders from the courtroom, or even ban them for the duration of the trial,"

I think the judge was trying not to let Jackie become an unnecessary distraction. She's an adult, she should have heeded his and the bailiff's warnings. I was there and I witnessed several of the warnings. Once the trial was over and Crystal was convicted, that was the right time to deal with Jackie's unwarranted sideshow.

Walt-in-Durham

Anonymous said...

Ok, all the others who disrupted the court room other than Jackie Wagstaff were not supportive of Crystal Mangum. I can agree to that. So, again I will ask your opinion on why Jackie Wagstaff would disrupted the court room if she supported Crystal Mangum?

If your answer is that you do not know why and cannot speculate, can you contact Jackie Wagstaff or the group of supporters and inquire as to why?

The complaint that jail was excessive I will also agree on, the question is why would a group or one person disrupt the court room who were there to support the defendent?

I am not concerned with the punishment the judge handed down, I want to know why she misbehaved in the first place. It is a simple question that is ask many times to your children as they grow up and get into trouble. And as Bill Cosby says the answer "I don't know" is not the right answer.

Nifong Supporter said...


Anonymous said...
"Ok, all the others who disrupted the court room other than Jackie Wagstaff were not supportive of Crystal Mangum. I can agree to that. So, again I will ask your opinion on why Jackie Wagstaff would disrupted the court room if she supported Crystal Mangum?

If your answer is that you do not know why and cannot speculate, can you contact Jackie Wagstaff or the group of supporters and inquire as to why?

The complaint that jail was excessive I will also agree on, the question is why would a group or one person disrupt the court room who were there to support the defendent?

I am not concerned with the punishment the judge handed down, I want to know why she misbehaved in the first place. It is a simple question that is ask many times to your children as they grow up and get into trouble. And as Bill Cosby says the answer 'I don't know' is not the right answer."


Unlike Walt-in-Durham, I never attended any of the trial. I had been in court with earlier hearings and Ms. Wagstaff's behavior was appropriate. I am aware of media reports that she did acknowledge a member of the jury and the judge spoke to her. I am aware of her utterance that was overheard by Judge Jones that landed her in jail.

In answer to your question, it is my belief that Ms. Wagstaff did not intentionally set out to disrupt the court when she stated, "This is ridiculous." I believe that the statement was meant for the person sitting next to her only, and not for the courtroom. I believe that in her exasperation she inadvertently vocalized at a higher decible level than she intended. So, I do not believe that this alleged disruption was intentional.

Being unaware of other instances that the Bailiff referred to, I am unable to comment.

Anonymous said...

How about commenting on this:

Bailiff Scott Hodges had testified about Wagstaff's ongoing disruptions during the three-week trial. At one point, Hodges confiscated Wagstaff's cell phone and charger from an electrical outlet in the courtroom when it buzzed several times and she failed to silence it.

In her letter, Wagstaff said Hodges had "on occasion" told her and other Mangum supporters to keep their voices down.

"I was never directly instructed by him in the court on a daily basis," she wrote. "That was as a group."

http://www.thedurhamnews.com/2010/12/22/204886/judge-releases-wagstaff-from-jail.html

And this from the N&O

Jones warned Wagstaff at the start of jury selection not to try to influence the jury, after she was seen exchanging greetings with a potential juror.

http://www.newsobserver.com/2010/12/21/873888/wagstaffs-jail-time-cut-short.html#ixzz1D8ONEABs

Whomever this group is did a disservice to Ms. Mangum and for them to say they support her is a lie. They are only interested in satisfing their personal needs without regard for others.

Nifong Supporter said...


Anonymous said...
"How about commenting on this:

Bailiff Scott Hodges had testified about Wagstaff's ongoing disruptions during the three-week trial. At one point, Hodges confiscated Wagstaff's cell phone and charger from an electrical outlet in the courtroom when it buzzed several times and she failed to silence it.

In her letter, Wagstaff said Hodges had 'on occasion' told her and other Mangum supporters to keep their voices down.

'I was never directly instructed by him in the court on a daily basis,' she wrote. 'That was as a group.'

http://www.thedurhamnews.com/2010/12/22/204886/judge-releases-wagstaff-from-jail.html

And this from the N&O

Jones warned Wagstaff at the start of jury selection not to try to influence the jury, after she was seen exchanging greetings with a potential juror.

http://www.newsobserver.com/2010/12/21/873888/wagstaffs-jail-time-cut-short.html#ixzz1D8ONEABs

Whomever this group is did a disservice to Ms. Mangum and for them to say they support her is a lie. They are only interested in satisfing their personal needs without regard for others."


The news reports may be accurate, but surely the alleged offenses of Ms. Wagstaff in the courtroom did not rise to the extent to warrant a jail sentence. The punishment was definitely excessive. There are many privileged and powerful people who commit serious crimes and get rare deals in which they never spend any time in jail... maybe they're made to pay a paltry fine.

My next blog, which I will post in a minute has to do with the Floyd Brown civil case against the SBI being allowed to proceed. It contains a link to the most recent installment of the comic strip, as well.