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Posting of this blink marks the 594th day of Crystal Mangum’s wrongful incarceration on bogus and trumped up charges of first degree murder and “Larceny of chose in action.” Throughout her lengthy incarceration, neither of the two attorneys representing her even made the simplest of efforts to dismiss the larceny charge. Had I been representing Mangum in this criminal case arising from the self-defense stabbing incident in the wee hours of Sunday, April 3, 2011, I would have filed a motion to dismiss the “Larceny of chose in action” charge on day one.
First, it is obvious that not only is the charge not supported, but that it was diabolically used in conjunction with the “felony-murder rule” solely for the purpose of validating the murder charge status to first degree. It was the intent of the malicious prosecutors to carry out this vendetta prosecution against Mangum as payback for her role in the Duke Lacrosse case… this is clear and without doubt.
Problems with the “Larceny of chose in action” charge against Mangum can be categorized as follows:
(1) elements of the charge were not met by Mangum’s actions;
(2) timeline of the charge related to the incident suggests that it was not made in good faith;
(3) indictment of the charge in conjunction with the murder charge two weeks following the incident strongly supports that it was made to bolster the first degree status of the murder charge;
(4) nothing in the prosecution discovery even states that Mangum stole cashier’s checks; and
(5) it is illogical for the charge to apply to cashier’s checks in which the payee and remitter” are registered.
Beginning with the “Larceny of chose in action” charge, two elements must be met. First, in this case, the cashier’s checks must be stolen, taken and carried away, or taken by robbery. This did not occur, as Reginald Daye in an interview with Sgt. Marianne Bond on the first postoperative day said that “he gave her the checks to hold on to.” In fact, his intention was for her not only to hold onto them, but to turn them over to the apartment manager on Monday, April 4, 2011, during office hours… a time during which he would be at work as a house painter. Daye correctly knew that she even had deposited them in her purse for safekeeping… as was recorded by Sgt. Bond in this same police report.
The second element of this little known/rarely used law is that it is not merely enough to be in unlawful possession of the cashier’s checks, but that she be required to use them to for the payment of money or the delivery of specific articles that are the property of another person or corporation. This never occurred… this was never attempted… and the prosecution knows this to be a fact. In fact, Mangum never forged, altered, or manipulated the cashier’s checks that were in her possession for days.
If Durham prosecutors made the “Larceny of chose in action” charge in good faith, it would have been brought sometime within the proximity of the incident. Prosecution maintains Mangum took or stole the cashier’s checks on April 3, 2011, but made no such larceny charge until more than two weeks later, concomitantly with the murder charge. The timeline of the simultaneous indictment of the “Larceny of chose in action” charge along with the murder charge furthermore bolsters the premise that its sole purpose was to use it to justify elevating the murder to first degree.
In the November 16, 2012 issue of The Herald-Sun, in an article titled, “Confusion reigns at Mangum court appearance,” for the first time in recorded history, it states in writing that Mangum was charged with “.. stealing two checks from him (Daye).” However, no where in the prosecution discovery in any of the police reports and interviews does it state that Mangum specifically stole “checks,” “cashier’s checks,” or “money orders.” The only references to theft in the prosecution discovery have to do with the theft or unlawful taking of “money” or “rent money.” And, the taking of money or cash is a disqualifier when it comes to the “Larceny of chose in action” charge.
Finally, the “Larceny of chose in action” charge can be assumed by a reasonable person to apply to a blank check or blank cashier’s check, and not one wherein the payee and remitter are denoted… as in the case against Mangum with the apartment listed as payee and Daye as remitter. If unlawfully taken or stolen, a blank check has the potential of being easily and illegally converted to cash for the criminal benefit of the holder who unlawfully obtained it. It is this situation in which the “Larceny of chose in action” Class H felony is applicable. However, if a cashier’s check is filled out with payee and remitter named, its theft or physical loss is of no consequence as the remitter still retains the ability to redeem its value even without the check in his possession. Likewise, it is unreasonable for anyone to steal a check that has been filled out as to payee and remitter since that check’s value can only be converted by the payee or remitter, and not by the thief.
The only reason that Prosecutors had the nerve to bring this ridiculous charge against Mangum to satisfy the murder charge’s first degree standing, was because they were well aware that it would not be challenged by Mangum’s defense attorneys. And it wasn’t. Over more than a year and a half, neither of Mangum’s defense lawyers bothered to file a motion to dismiss this merit-less charge… and that is ineffective legal representation at its best.
In the criminal case against Crystal Mangum, which is nothing more than a house of cards built on a foundation of quicksand, the “Larceny of chose in action” charge will undoubtedly be the first underpinning of this criminal travesty to go.