The North Carolina State Bar can now boast that it disbars prosecutors just like it does criminal defense and civil lawyers. By golly, Mike Nifong is not the only prosecutor to be disbarred by the Bar since its inception in 1933. The albatross around its neck has been lifted with the disbarment of a former district attorney for Person and Caswell counties, Joel Brewer, slated to take effect on February 25, 2011.
It was the fact that Mike Nifong’s disbarment in 2007 represented the only time that a prosecutor had been disbarred, to my knowledge, which spurred my activism and led to the formation of the Committee on Justice for Mike Nifong. I have often made the following argument… that Mike Nifong was the only prosecutor to be disbarred by the NC State Bar. With the recent order of disbarment against Mr. Brewer, I must now modify my statement about Mr. Nifong to read that he is the only prosecutor to be disbarred for prosecutorial misconduct by the North Carolina State Bar since its inception in 1933.
The reason the State Bar jumped on the disbarment option when made aware of unprofessional conduct about Brewer was most likely its desire to shut me up about my claims about Nifong being the only prosecutor disbarred. In their search to find a prosecutor that could be thrown under the bus like a human sacrifice, the Bar latched onto Brewer like a pack of wolves to a slab of bacon. And, what, you may ask, were Brewer’s grievous offenses that cost him his law license? It appears that during June 2008 and September 2009, Brewer conducted himself inappropriately by kissing and fondling women, often after illegally making traffic stops by posing as a police officer. The seven counts of misdemeanor assault which resulted from his unsolicited acts of affection were not the only charges he faced, and to which he pled guilty. According to the ABC-11 online article, Brewer also routinely dismissed random citations, which may account for the one count of “willful failure to discharge his duties.”
Although the charges against Brewer are criminal and serious, they come no where near to approaching the professional misconduct of prosecutors who have schemed and used foul tactics to put innocent people in jail. These prosecutors, such as Tom Ford (Gregory Taylor case), Bill Wolfe (James Arthur Johnson case), Michael D. Parker (Floyd Brown case), and David Hoke (Alan Gell case), and their prosecutorial misconduct have caused their defendants to be wrongfully held, charged, convicted and sentenced… with their actions being willful and malicious. By far, they are more deserving of being disbarred than Joel Brewer.
The practical solution to Mr. Brewer’s obvious problem was counseling, and not disbarment. A temporary suspension of his license while the extent of his problems could be ascertained along with a thorough mental and physical evaluation would have been reasonable steps for the State Bar to take. According to the ABC-11 article, Brewer’s behavioral problems occurred over a fifteen month interval, with the last known offense taking place more than a year ago. There might have been a physical explanation (brain tumor, for example) or emotional problem (family death, etc.) to explain Brewer’s string of irrational behavior. From what I could glean from the online articles, nothing suggested that Brewer’s prosecutorial actions during the period in question resulted in innocent people being convicted and languishing behind bars.
Because Joel Brewer was a prosecutor, you can expect for him to receive the “rare deal”… one that is not available to the disenfranchised, poor, and people of color. After pleading guilty to the nine misdemeanor charges, Brewer was not sentenced to serve jail time, but was placed on supervised probation (the length of which was not mentioned in the article), and fined $50,000.00. Rare deals often include fines that are arbitrary. For example former Governor Mike Easley, when pleading guilty to a felony charge, was fined $1,000.00 while serving no jail time. And the media kept talking about how the State Bar could take Easley’s law license, but don’t count on it. He’s being represented by Joe Cheshire and the State Bar doesn’t want no parts of that.
For a brief comparison, consider the following: Brewer pleads guilty to nine misdemeanor counts and receives no jail time. Easley pleads guilty to one felony charge and receives no jail time. Crystal Mangum gets assaulted by her ex-boyfriend, is charged with a fire started by the Durham police, and serves 88 days in jail (she was extremely lucky that the bail bondsman came through out of nowhere). Mike Nifong does nothing wrong, but is accused by Judge Osmond Smith III (who is evidently a mind-reader just like the Bar’s F. Lane Williamson) of lying to the court and ends up serving 24 hours in jail. And I was nearly arrested on the Duke University campus for being a Nifong supporter, although its spokesperson came up with the cockamamie excuse that I was “soliciting” because I handed out a half dozen business cards to people who I had been talking to, and may have suggested that they visit my website. It all boils down to selective justice based on Class and Color, and it makes North Carolina’s justice system the laughing stock of the nation.
For former D.A. Joel Brewer it was a matter of bad timing. Had his offenses and his grievance before the Bar taken place prior to me raising a stink about Mike Nifong being the only prosecutor to be disbarred by the North Carolina State Bar, then he undoubtedly would’ve been given nothing more than a mild reprimand, and possibly a paltry fine. Prosecutors, however, still need to be wary as the Bar will continue on its troll for disposable prosecutors to relieve of their law license in order to make the number of disbarred prosecutor appear to be realistic, especially when compared with the total number of disbarred professionals.
Note: In keeping with its PAPEN (Protect All Prosecutors Except Nifong) Policy, The News & Observer’s only mention of Brewer’s disbarment was snuck in at the bottom of page 2B in the February 5, 2011 issue of the paper, and which consisted of a four sentence blurb by the Associated Press.
Below is a link to Part 7 of EpisodeV of “The MisAdventures of Super-Duper Cooper. Be sure to take a few minutes to view the commentary, insight, and analysis of Part 7 that follows.
It is very enlightening.