(Note: UPDATE ON POSTING OF THE SUPER-FLOG)
Work on the Super-Flog is moving along nicely, but because it is such a huge project, its completion is taking longer than anticipated. The latest ETP [Estimated Time of Posting] is Saturday, January 5, 2013. It will contain information about the State Bar's action against me, as well as important never-before-seen prosecution discovery that will blow your socks off.
Please be patient as the Super-Flog will be well worth the wait.
The trial and subsequent convictions of the nine African American men and Caucasian woman stemmed from civil unrest in Wilmington in the early 1970’s over school integration. The ten were charged and convicted of firebombing a white owned grocery store in a black neighborhood and then firing weapons at emergency responders. Amnesty International and journalists questioned their arrest and the fairness of their trials, and in 1978 Governor Jim Hunt commuted their sentences… but he withheld a pardon pending an appeal by prosecutors. Two years later, in 1980, the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the convictions citing prosecutorial misconduct.
The Wilmington Ten injustice is one that should not have taken forty years to rectify… during which time four of the ten have died, and all have had trouble recovering from the injustice and stigma of being a convicted felon.
I applaud Governor Perdue for pardoning the Wilmington Ten, however, unlike others I do not feel her actions were courageous or heroic. With the mounting evidence turned up by author Tim Tyson which highlighted the many misdeeds and malfeasances of the prosecutor Jay Stroud during the trial, she really had no alternative but to grant a pardon of innocence. Instead of waiting seven months after the petition for clemency was filed before making a decision, Governor Perdue should have acted immediately in granting the full pardon.
The governor was slow to issue a pardon of innocence in the Gregory F. Taylor case too… the only other instance where she granted a pardon during her four year tenure as the state’s chief executive. I wrote her three letters during the months following Taylor’s exoneration by the three judge innocence panel pleading for her to grant a pardon of innocence so that he could pursue compensation for his seven years of wrongful incarceration.
I am in disagreement with all the plaudits heaped upon her by Benjamin Chavis (one of the Wilmington Ten), U.S. Representative David Price, and NAACP State president Dr. Rev. William Barber, II, the editorial board of The News & Observer, and others because Governor Perdue fell woefully short by failing to issue pardons of innocence to Erick Daniels, Shawn Massey, and Glen Chapman… three exonerated black defendants, the first two being denied pardons by the Governor’s Clemency Board, and the latter who was wrongly convicted and put on death row. The innocence of these three men is undeniable, with no forensic evidence connecting them to the crimes for which they were charged, and witness descriptions in the first two incidents being at odds with the defendants. Erick Daniels was fourteen at the time of his arrest on an armed robbery charge in which he was identified by the shape of his eyebrows in a middle school yearbook. He served seven years of a ten to fourteen year sentence before his conviction was tossed during a hearing for a new trial. Shawn Massey, like Daniels, differed dramatically in hair style described by witness to the robbery for which he was convicted. He served twelve years behind bars before an innocence project at Duke University Law School took up his case and successfully affected his exoneration.
Glen Chapman, who has had his petition for a pardon of innocence filed with the Governor’s Clemency Panel for more than a year, has not been issued a ruling.
These three men have had the best years of their lives wrongfully taken from them by a selective justice system that is based on Class and Color. Freedom, is without doubt the most valuable possession a man or woman can possess, and to have it wrenched away without probable cause or credible evidence is devastating. In addition, the wrongful conviction for a felony results in a stigma which has an adverse bearing on the innocent defendant’s life forever.
Erick Daniels, Shawn Massey, and Glen Chapman are all deserving of a pardon of innocence so that they can pursue compensation to which they are entitled by laws enacted by the North Carolina General Assembly. They deserve to be pardoned now… not in another forty years or so. Governor Perdue has had the opportunity to clean up the criminal injustice slate involving the three, but it looks as though she will let it pass. I am not surprised as she as proven to me that she lacks the Nifongian courage to do the right thing. The governor can make all the flowery and political correct speeches she wants to about past and present racial injustices, however, when it comes down to it, it’s nothing more than meaningless talk… as racial injustice continues to run rampant and she, with the opportunity to do something about it, has taken no action. The least she could have done is deliver pardons of innocence for Daniels, Massey, and Chapman.
As far as I am concerned, the governor’s failure to grant pardons of innocence to all thirteen mentioned above represents a disappointing end to a disappointing four year gubernatorial tenure… and leaves her with a disappointing legacy.