On Tuesday, August 7, 2012, H. Wood Vann, Crystal Mangum’s current attorney, arrived in court long after Mangum’s status was to be heard and asked for a continuance… which was set for around September 27, 2012. Evidently it will take him that long to review what little new evidence and discovery he may have received.
The defendant, Crystal Mangum, was not present for her hearing, which lasted (I have been told) about three minutes, at most. To date, Mr. Vann has been twiddling his thumbs, without any sign of urgency, while his client continues to languish in jail… this posting date being day 494 of her unjust incarceration.
Since the March 2012 hearing before Duke Lacrosse Judge Osmond Smith III, in which he quickly denied Chris Shella’s request for Mangum’s bond to be lowered from a ridiculously high $200,000.00, there has been no further motion for bail reduction. This is problematic in light of the fact that Judge Osmond Smith, who a reasonable person with full knowledge of the facts, would not consider him capable of being impartial when it comes to Crystal Mangum. Since Mr. Vann has taken over Mangum’s case, he has done essentially nothing for his client. His inaction is making his predecessor Shella look like Perry Mason in comparison.
Also, on Tuesday, August 7th, I filed two petitions with the court in Mangum’s case, but as a Pro Se petitioner… therefore, not lawyering. One was a Petition for Writ of Mandamus for petitioners Durham District Attorney Leon Stanback and Durham prosecutor Charlene Coggins-Franks, requesting that the Courts issue a writ of mandamus instructing the respondents to dismiss the Larceny of Chose in Action charge against Crystal Mangum due to lack of credible evidence and lack of probable cause. To begin with the two cashier’s checks at the heart of the issue were given to Mangum, having been filled out by Reginald Daye, and she was listed as neither the payee nor remitter. Secondly, she made no attempt or showed any intent to illegally convert them for her benefit. Thirdly, no where in the police reports that I had access to did Reginald Daye or his nephew Carlos Wilson claim that Mangum took cashier’s checks… they only referred to money, or rent money. For example, Wilson did not say to officers that he heard Daye shout, “Give me back my cashier’s checks” or “Give me back my money orders.” The Larceny of Chose in Action requires that cashier’s checks, money orders, bank notes and other certificates other than money or currency be stolen… and this did not happen.
Finally, a look at the timeline will confirm that had the larceny charge been serious, Mangum would have been indicted for it a day or two following the self-defense stabbing incident… it would not have taken prosecutors a couple of weeks later before making the charge against her. The fact that the larceny of chose in action charge was attained by a grand jury at the same time as the first degree murder charge makes it plain that the charge was trumped up in order to kick in the “felony-murder rule” to upgrade the murder charge to first degree. (Note: this is the same tactic that Andrew Curliss of The News & Observer criticized former Durham D.A. Tracey Cline of employing in his biased and scathing series about her just months ago… yet when it comes to Prosecutor Coggins-Franks using them on Mangum, the newspaper is conveniently muzzled… no complaints… no outrage.)
I believe that prosecutors initially planned to use the first degree murder charge to railroad through a life sentence for Mangum. However, due to the backlash of Mangum supporters, including members of the Committee on Justice for Mike Nifong, the prosecution is now going to try and use it to eventually wring out a plea deal for “time served in order to let the prosecutors and the city of Durham off the liability hook for malicious prosecution and unjust incarceration.” (Similar to what happened in the James Arthur Johnson case.)
In order for the prosecutors to force a plea deal from Mangum, it will be necessary for them to have the cooperation of her defense attorney, and they are counting on Mr. Vann to come through for them, in my opinion. There is no doubt in my mind that Mr. Vann’s priorities are in the following order: (1) Protect the reputation of Duke University Hospital, which was responsible for Daye’s death – not Mangum; (2) Protect the city of Durham from any civil liability for its malicious prosecution of Mangum; and lagging a distance behind (3) Possibly trying to see that Mangum doesn’t spend too long in jail.
The second petition filed on Tuesday was against respondent H. Wood Vann, requesting the Court to issue a writ of mandamus for him to turn over the entire prosecution discovery and all evidence to his client Mangum. Since her incarceration on April 3, 2011, she has never seen photographs from prosecution discovery, despite repeatedly asking her attorneys for them. Ms. Mangum has also not seen the report from Dr. Christena L. Roberts who reviewed the autopsy report of Reginald Daye that was submitted by Orange County Medical Examiner. By depriving Ms. Mangum of access to discovery and evidence, she is being denied the ability to best help in her own defense. It is bad enough when prosecutors withhold evidence from the defense, but when the defense attorney withholds it from his client, that is the height of professional misconduct.
Because of the aforementioned acts of withholding evidence from Ms. Mangum and his propensity to ignore Mangum’s request to see him, I filed a complaint with the North Carolina State Bar against Mr. Vann on Wednesday, August 8, 2012. Needless to say, I do not expect it to take any action.
I can understand why politicians, such as Congressman David Price, State Senator Floyd McKissick, Jr., and State Representatives Mickey Michaux and Larry Hall are mum on this great injustice… it is because they learned from the example that was made of Mike Nifong by the state and the media. They saw what happened when a man of integrity took a stand on principles and acted independently on moral conscientiousness regarding a justice issue that was contrary to the position held by the Powers-That-Be… Mr. Nifong was horrendously persecuted by the state and crucified in the media. For the same reason, civil rights organizations such as the NAACP and the ACLU have shied away from the injustice towards Ms. Mangum… it’s certainly not due to ignorance of what has been sadly transpiring.
It takes courage to take a stand against an unpopular position, and even though the cause in support of Mangum is one of justice and is sound morally, community leaders, members of the North Carolina General Assembly, and clergy, are afraid to take a stand. It is a rare courage that only Mangum and Nifong supporters are bringing against a justice system that is selectively and overtly bias, racist, cruel, and inhumane in its treatment of Ms. Mangum… Joan of Arc received better treatment by the British courts.
What I find most disheartening about all of this injustice towards Crystal Mangum is the fact that the mainstream media is actively involved in the corruption and conspiracy swirling around this case. The media’s priorities are not unlike Vann’s… to first protect Duke University (which heavily advertises, especially on WRAL and The News & Observer), secondly to protect the city of Durham from civil liability due to its misdeeds and malfeasance, and finally, to carry out the Carpetbagger Jihad agenda to destroy everyone considered by the Powers-That-Be to be on the wrong end of the Duke Lacrosse case (that includes Mangum, Nifong, and their supporters… and yours truly).
Despite the best efforts of the media (using its selective, skewed and one sided reporting) to keep the gross wrongdoings against Mangum hidden from the public, the stench is starting to leak out… and the cover-up in this case can not go on in perpetuity. It’s time for the media to start questioning and investigating the following:
(1) the problems with the autopsy report by Dr. Clay Nichols;
(2) what grounds does Durham prosecutors have for their larceny charge against Mangum;
(3) why is Mr. Vann keeping discovery and evidence from his client Mangum;
(4) why has a judge not been assigned to Mangum’s case;
(5) what role did Duke University have in Reginald Daye’s death; and
(6) why is Governor Bev Perdue and Attorney General Roy Cooper standing on the sidelines.
I believe that if Durhamians and Tar Heelians knew the truth about the injustices against Crystal Mangum, they would not allow it to continue… the truth will set Crystal Mangum free. The question I have is how long will the mainstream media attempt to keep it hidden from the people.