Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Governor Easley and the state are backed by the press and the media

In the December 30, 2008 News & Observer article titled, “Governor rakes the press: Easley accuses N&O of ‘hatchet job,’” Governor Easley bemoans what he feels is unfair treatment towards him by the press. In the large scheme of things, the media (including the press) is very favorable towards North Carolina state agencies and works with them, especially when it comes to the criminal justice system.

The media has reined in any positive news stories that might put former Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong in a positive light. For example it refuses to inform the public that Mr. Nifong is the only prosecutor ever to be disbarred by the North Carolina State Bar since its inception. It also refuses in large measure to acknowledge that a committee member of a group which supports Mr. Nifong filed a complaint with the State Bar against prosecutors James “Jim” E. Hardin and Freda Black for withholding exculpatory evidence (possibly a murder weapon) from the defense attorneys whose client was subsequently convicted and sentenced to life. The newpapers (News & Observer and Herald Sun) also refuse to run the comic strip “The MisAdventures of Super-Duper Cooper,” which would afford its readers another point of view and insight into the disbarment of Mr. Nifong and other injustices and disparities within the state’s criminal justice system.

The media is working closely with the state to see that Wilson prosecutor Bill Wolfe is protected from the complaint of prosecutorial misconduct due to the 39 month incarceration of James Arthur Johnson without probable cause. Furthermore, it is keeping the public ignorant about major events that are taking place in the “accessory after the fact” charge against Mr. Johnson. The News & Observer refused to even acknowledge that in November 2008, private sector special prosecutor (paid at extra expense by North Carolina taxpayers because no salaried state prosecutor was willing to prosecute such a frivolous case) W. David McFadyen decided to bring the case to court (again, wasting taxpayer money). McFadyen’s not prosecuting this case because Johnson (who solved the Brittany Willis murder) wiped his fingerprints off the victim’s car. He is vilifying Johnson and prosecuting him in order to protect prosecutor Bill Wolfe.

Additionally, the media is in cahoots with the Wilson prosecutors (the Attorney General’s Office, and the state) to prevent Johnson from having the appearance of being an actor who did the community service (and receive a reward) by having the friends and family of Brittany Willis renege on the $20,000.00 reward which Johnson clearly earned. The state, with the help of the media, has gone out of its way to destroy the reputation and life of this young African American boy (who had no prior criminal record, was a popular student, and, like Brittany Willis, loved soccer), in order to protect a prosecutor who had no ethical compass. The Wilson prosecutor had no physical evidence linking Johnson to the crime, and when their only witness (the vengeful confessed killer Kenneth Meeks) stated that he implicated Johnson only because Johnson had snitched on him. Lacking their star (albeit murderous) witness, Prosecutor Wolfe then arranged for two eyewitnesses (both with connections to the Wilson Police Department) to make his case. However, when Rev. Dr. William Barber, II, from the NAACP brought media attention to the case, the prosecutors thought better of using their phony witnesses, knowing they could not stand up under scrutiny outside of the Wilson city limits.

The Wilson prosecutors, with their ineptitude and malice, divided the city of Wilson largely along racial lines, and now the judge hearing the Johnson case, denied a change of venue motion from the defense last month. Instead, Judge Milton Fitch, Jr., to give the appearance of presiding over a fair trial, proposed busing in jurors from a neighboring county. All of these shenanigans are taking place and the News & Observer and other media are doing their part for the state by keeping quiet and keeping the public ignorant.

There is no doubt that the justice system is headed toward convicting a young man who helped authorities solve a heinous crime, in the interests of protecting a prosecutor who follows the tenet of "selective justice based on Class and Color," and at the wasteful expense of the Tar Heel taxpayers. The media will allow this travesty to take place. A travesty in magnitude that is second only to the prosecution, persecution and disbarment of Mr. Mike Nifong, an incorruptible prosecutor who gave 27 years of exemplary service to the state of North Carolina, a Christian, and a decent, honorable family man.

Governor Easley should put things in perspective. When it comes to the press and the media, he really has no grounds for complaining.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

2009 Wish List for the Committee on Justice for Mike Nifong

With each new year comes new promise, and I am hopeful that the Committee on Justice for Mike Nifong's dreams for significant and positive changes come true during 2009. Our 2009 wish list for the North Carolina criminal justice system would include the following:
· The state comes to its senses and, without condition, re-instates the law license, without restrictions, of Mike Nifong. This is the only fair and just option when one considers that: (1) Mr. Nifong is the only prosecutor to be disbarred by the State Bar since its inception, (2)that his hearing before the bar was marred by conflict of interest and pre-hearing statements, and (3) that the charges for which he was disbarred (withholding non-exculpatory, extraneous, irrelevant DNA evidence from the defense team) was far less egregious than actions committed by other prosecutors (including withholding exculpatory evidence, fabricating crucial evidence, and destroying material evidence).
· Fair and just resolution of the state’s fiasco of a case against James Arthur Johnson, the hero in solving the murder of Wilson teen Brittany Willis. Such a resolution would include: (1) the immediate dismissal of the bogus “accessory after the fact” charge, (2) payment of the $20,000.00 reward which he earned for solving the crime, (3) a proclamation of “innocent” by the governor, and (4) the payment of the measly compensation of $20,000.00/year of wrongful incarceration.
· The proclamation of “innocent” and the compensatory payment for the wrongful incarceration of Erick Daniels, who, as a middle school student was unjustly convicted of armed robbery based solely on the shape of his eyebrows by the victim/witness.
· The release from jail of Alan Gell, who was incarcerated by a vindictive justice system on a cockamamie and convoluted charge (cooked up by a district attorney) that defies all logic.
· That novelist Michael Peterson be given a new trial (or that murder charges against him be dropped), based on the recent revelation that exculpatory evidence (the existence and test results of a possible murder weapon) was withheld by state prosecutors from Mr. Peterson’s defense team.
· That state-wide media frees itself from the tethers of the NC Attorney General’s Office and all state prosecutors, and begins to report fairly and without bias. Giving coverage to criminal justice stories that merit the attention of the public would be a refreshing and welcomed change, indeed.

There are many other justice issues we would like to see become a reality in North Carolina, but the six referenced above are those to which we give the highest priority.

We, the Committee on Justice for Mike Nifong, are not going to just wish for the aforementioned changes, but we are going to work for them throughout 2009, and beyond.

Here’s wishing all readers of this blog the very best in 2009. May it be one of good health and happiness for you and your family.

- Committee on Justice for Mike Nifong

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The “Committee on Justice for Mike Nifong”’s official domain web site,, is now activated. It basically consists of one introductory page with a link to the geocities web site, As has been mentioned earlier, the new web site is undergoing a change in format and structure which, I believe, will present our case for equal justice in a more cohesive, organized, and interesting presentation. Our goal is to have the new web site up and running by mid January 2009 (until then, please continue to visit the geocities site).

The new web site will contain the same research and investigative reports (and more), as well as related documents, information about members of the “Committee on Justice for Mike Nifong”, and, of course, the comic strip “The MisAdventures of Super-Duper Cooper.” “Super-Duper”’s Episode II, titled “To Hell and Back: Travails of the Un-Indicted Duke LAXers,” is now complete and will be presented on the new web site in the near future. In addition, multimedia will be an integral part of the new site.

We will continue to utilize the web site to bring attention to North Carolina’s selective injustice to Mike Nifong, and others, such as, James Arthur Johnson, Theodore Williams, and Alan Gell. And, of course we will continue our crusade for “equal justice for all North Carolinians,” which begins with justice for Mr. Nifong. is a web site which will be state of the art, cutting edge, and, in essence, an organic creation… continuing to change, grow, and improve.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Media in cahoots with the State when it comes to Mike Nifong and justice

There is no doubt that the media, both locally and nationwide, is in cahoots with the state of North Carolina, its attorney general, and its State Bar when it comes to former Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong and other issues of justice.

The media, charged with keeping the public informed of newsworthy articles related to, among other things, the justice system, has used its position to keep the people of North Carolina ignorant of important issues that would expose the state justice system to be one following the tenet of selective justice based on Class and Color. The most recent evidence is a story that was buried on the sixth page of the “News & Observer” Triangle & State section of the Sunday, December 14, 2008 issue. The article, titled “Poster was evidence, high court says,” is about Stanly County prosecutors who violated a man’s rights by destroying evidence needed for his defense, according to the NC Supreme Court. Although the defendant is named in the article, the Stanly County prosecutors are not. Another example of the “News & Observer” withholding the names of the prosecutors alleged of wrongdoing comes from an article, again buried on the fourth page of the Triangle & State section of the December 4, 2008 issue titled “Hearing slated in Peterson case.” In this article about a hearing to determine whether a convicted murderer should have a re-trial because the prosecution withheld exculpatory evidence from the defense team, staff writer Anne Blythe fails to mention the names of the prosecutors of the alleged misconduct. The prosecutors were James “Jim” E. Hardin, Jr. (now a Superior Court judge) and Durham prosecutor Freda Black. When I filed a complaint with the State Bar against Hardin and Black, and notified the newspaper, it refused to make note of it and remained silent.

Remaining silent is something the “News & Observer” has been doing recently with the James Arthur Johnson case. There has been much movement in the case during the month of November 2008, but the paper has not mentioned any of the developments, which include the decision by the judge to hold the trial in the racially divided city of Wilson, despite a motion by the defense attorney for a change of venue. The “accessory after the fact” charge, which special prosecutor Belinda Foster of Forsyth County was forced to file by her boss (Forsyth District Attorney Thomas Keith), is without merit and was filed only to protect Wilson prosecutor Bill Wolfe from a complaint filed with the State Bar by the NAACP.

The principle basis for my outrage at the disbarment of Mike Nifong is the fact that he is the only prosecutor to be disbarred by the North Carolina State Bar since its inception. Yet, this is an issue that I have never heard addressed or even mentioned by the media, either locally or nationally. The reason the media remains silent about this fact is that it does not want the public to think for itself. If the people knew that Mr. Nifong is the only NC prosecutor ever to be disbarred, they might come to the conclusion that he was selectively singled out for prosecution by the State Bar and excessively disciplined. Mr. Nifong is alleged to have withheld, from the defense, incidental, non-exculpatory, irrelevant information that was of absolutely no value to the defense, and he is disbarred. Compare that with prosecutors who withhold exculpatory (murder-weapon) evidence from the defense team, and prosecutors who destroy evidence that the defense needs to support its case. Nothing is going to happen to those prosecutors, and a good indication of that is because the media will go out of its way to conceal the name of the prosecutors, or withhold doing a story about it altogether.

Yes, there is no doubt that the media is in cahoots with the state in efforts to uphold its tenet of “selective justice based on Class and Color.” Ted Vaden, Public Editor for the “News & Observer” titled his December 14, 2008 editorial column “The watchdog still barks – and bites.” The truth is that when it comes to the justice system in the state of North Carolina, this newspaper is not a watchdog, but a lap dog… a dog that does the bidding of its masters, the state attorney general, State Bar, and other state officials and agencies.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The N & O news team - Part of the NC Attorney General's Office's team?

In today’s issue (Thursday, December 11, 2008) of the News & Observer, the newspaper had a nice column that featured its news team. Joseph Neff, a veteran investigative reporter was cited for his stories which helped lead to the exoneration of Alan Gell. There, however, was no mention of the fact that the prosecutors in that case, David Hoke (who is currently Assistant Director of the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts) and Debra Graves withheld exculpatory evidence from Gell’s defense team that proved that he could not have possibly committed the crime of murder for which he was charged. The article failed also to mention that Mr. Gell is currently back in jail serving a five year sentence for a case which barely made the limits for a statutory rape charge, after having served nearly ten years wrongly incarcerated for murder (half of it on death row). This sentence against Gell is nothing more than payback because after being exonerated for the murder conviction, he sued (unsuccessfully) the state. It seems that Mr. Neff is perfectly content to allow Mr. Gell to languish in jail because of retribution by the state.

Today’s column also mentioned that Mr. Neff’s five part series about the Duke Lacrosse case and the “prosecutorial misconduct of Mike Nifong” garnered honors by the NC Bar Association and the NC Press Association, and was a finalist for an Investigative Reporters and Editors Award. I do not consider that much of an accomplishment. All that is required is to write or do something negative against Mr. Nifong and that will automatically qualify one for an award. The taxi cab driver who vouched that he had given Reid Seligman a ride home from the lacrosse party received a Heroes award (from the Reader’s Digest, I believe).

The person who deserves an award for being a hero is James Arthur Johnson, the African American young man who risked breaking the “no snitch” rule of the streets in order to turn over a violent criminal to the Wilson police. Instead, due to prosecutorial misconduct of Bill Wolfe, Johnson was incarcerated for 39 months on murder charges for which he was threatened with execution. The prosecution team, which had no case, used plan B to extricate themselves from their predicament. Plan B consisted of having an “independent” special prosecutor come in and drop the charges of murder, kidnapping, rape, and armed robbery, and then lodge a charge of “accessory after the fact” because Johnson had stated that while under duress he had wiped fingerprint off of the victim’s SUV.

The News & Observer has been purposely holding back coverage of what has recently transpired in the case. (Because the Administrative Office of the Courts had been unable to find a state salaried prosecutor willing to prosecute the frivolous “accessory” case against Johnson, Private Sector Special Prosecutor W. David McFadyen was hired at extra taxpayer expense to pursue this case.) The Brittany Willis murder case, which by consensus has been considered to have been terribly mismanaged by the Wilson police and prosecutors has racially divided the city (the confessed killer is an African American, and the teenage female victim is white). In November 2008, Johnson’s defense attorney requested a change of venue from the city of Wilson, and the private sector prosecutor was agreeable to the motion. However, Judge Milton F. Fitch, Jr., without giving any explanation, refused, stating that he wanted to keep the trial in Wilson, and that he also wanted to be the judge for the trial. His so-called remedy to give appearances of an unbiased jury was to bring in jurors selected from outside Wilson’s county. He initially agreed to have a jury selected from Wake County, and then he changed his mind and decided to have the jurors picked from Edgecombe County, a neighboring county. All of these actions are of major significance, are unjust, and do not bode well for the defendant or justice. The News & Observer’s position is to keep its readers ignorant about the state’s justice system malfeasance that is taking place in this case. To date they have refused to write about these recent developments.

Another issue in the Johnson case that warrants attention is the twenty thousand dollar ($20,000.00) reward that was offered by the family and friends of Brittany Willis for information leading to Ms. Willis’s murderer. James Johnson earned that reward because he turned in the murderer who later confessed to the crime. The killer, after learning from police investigators that Johnson had “snitched” on him, then implicated Johnson in the crime out of anger. The Wilson police even used the reward as a motive for Johnson coming forward to the police. The initial Wilson police version is as follows: James Johnson, with a friend, robs, kidnaps, and rapes Brittany Willis. James then kills her. Days later, when the $20,000 reward is offered by family and friends of Brittany Willis, James (who had never been in trouble with the police, had no criminal record, and was considering soccer athletic scholarships to college at the time) decided to accuse his friend of the crime in order to collect the reward. About four and a half years after Johnson gave information to the police that resulted in the arrest and conviction of the confessed perpetrator, Mr. Johnson has not been paid the reward that was offered.

Why? Is it possible that the prosecution team requested that the reward not be paid, for by doing so, it would be favorable to Johnson’s public perception, and make the prosecution against him more difficult? I asked reporters at the Wilson Times to look into the matter, but they refused. The News & Observer likewise refused to investigate or offer and editorial opinion about the matter. One News & Observer editor did tell me, however, that it was not against the law for a private citizen to offer a reward and then renege on it.

The bottom line is that the local media, especially the News & Observer is as selective in the stories that it publishes, as the Attorney General’s Office and state prosecutors are in their application of the law. The application of justice in North Carolina is selective, based on Class and Color, and that is why an attorney, of Mike Nifong’s stature, reputation, and 27 years of exemplary service to the state of North Carolina, has been disbarred (the only prosecutor to be disbarred by the NC State Bar since its inception), prosecuted, persecuted, and sentenced to jail. Selective justice is also why the state is going out of its way, at taxpayer expense, to protect Wilson prosecutor Bill Wolfe while vilifying the hero James Arthur Johnson. Selective justice is also why the North Carolina State Bar will not take any action on a complaint (filed with it on December 9, 2008) of prosecutorial misconduct against former Mike Petereson prosecutor Jame “Jim” E. Hardin, Jr. (currently serving as a Superior Court judge) and Durham prosecutor Freda Black for withholding exculpatory evidence from the defendant’s legal team (the existence of a possible murder weapon and tests its lab ran on it).

The media, by its selective coverage of news events and subjects of editorial it chooses to publish, is complicit in the injustice that continues to be administered in the state of North Carolina.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Judge Milton F. Fitch, Jr.: “What Happens in Wilson, Stays in Wilson.”

The Honorable Judge Milton Fitch, Jr., in following Attorney General Roy Cooper’s playbook to protect prosecutors - such as Wilson Assistant District Attorney Bill Wolfe – who follow the North Carolina state tenet of “selective justice based on Class and Color,” has denied the change of venue motion filed by the attorney of the “accessory after the fact” defendant James Arthur Johnson.

Mr. Johnson was held without trial in the Brittany Willis murder case for 39 months before charges of murder, rape, kidnapping, and armed robbery were dropped by a special prosecutor, Belinda Foster, an assistant district attorney from Forsyth County. Ms. Foster, who was forced by her boss, Forsyth District Attorney Tom Keith, to level the “accessory after the fact” charge against Johnson, did so only on the condition that she not be forced to prosecute the frivolous case. The North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts could not find among its nearly 600 state prosecutors one who was willing to take on this flawed case, finally arranged for private sector prosecutor W. David McFadyen to take the case as a special prosecutor, at extra taxpayer expense.

Although James Johnson was a young man with a promising future, no prior run ins with the law, was fielding offers for a college soccer scholarship (the love of a sport which was shared by him and the unfortunate victim Brittany Willis), and provided Wilson police with name of the perpetrator of the Willis murder despite his personal risk of breaking the “no snitch” rule of the streets, Wilson Prosecutor Bill Wolfe built a case against him based solely on statements made by the confessed killer (after he was told by police that James “snitched” on him). Years later, the killer recanted the statements which implicated James Johnson, stating that they were made because he was angry at the time for Johnson turning him over to the police.

So, although James Johnson had no connection or participation in the crimes against Ms. Willis, he is being savagely pursued by Private Sector Prosecutor McFadyen, at taxpayer
expense, because he wiped fingerprints off the victim’s SUV, even though that forensic evidence had no relevance in the prosecution of the confessed killer.

James Johnson has already languished in jail for 39 months on charges that were eventually dropped, so what does the prosecution hope to accomplish by continuing on with this nonsense? Have the young man without a criminal record, who (though not obligated by law) turned in the killer to the police, spend more time in jail? That may be part of the reason for taking this case to trial, but the main underlying reason for this waste of court time and taxpayer money is to protect Prosecutor Bill Wolfe from a charge of prosecutorial misconduct filed with the State Bar by the NAACP. Vilifying James Johnson by proceeding with the case is part of the plan of attack to try and justify the many months Johnson was incarcerated due to Wolfe’s misconduct. Another facet is to deprive Johnson of the reward money offered by the family and friends of Brittany Willis ($20,000.00) which he earned. For him to receive a reward would insinuate that he performed a positive community service, and fly against the image the prosecutors wanted to paint of him.

The city of Wilson has been torn apart by this case because of the actions and statements of the police and prosecutors. After the killer recanted and the prosecutors were left without a case, Prosecutor Wolfe manufactured two eyewitnesses (both with ties to the Wilson police department – one being a retired Wilson police officer). The case was going to proceed with their testimony when Dr. Rev. William Barber II of the NAACP became involved and brought media attention to the case. It was then and only then that the Wolfe’s prosecutorial team decided the scrutiny would be too much and that their “eyewitnesses” would not hold up. Therefore, they quietly backtracked, and made no further mention of them.

Defense attorney Irving Joyner wanted to seek a change of venue from that divided county, and the private sector prosecutor agreed to the motion, however, Judge Fitch refused. He did not give a reason for his refusal to change venue. Judge Fitch suggested that a jury be selected from outside the county and transported to the Wilson Court. Initially he agreed to having a jury selected from Wake County, but then used the feeble excuse that the courthouse was being renovated and that there wasn’t sufficient space for the selection to take place. Without considering Durham or Orange County, Fitch decides to select a jury from neighboring Edgecombe County.

Then, Fitch told the trial court administrator William Nicholls that he wanted to keep the case. Again, he did not give an explanation why.

All of this does not bode well for defendant James Arthur Johnson. What is obvious is that if Judge Fitch was independent, fair-minded, and concerned about the city of Wilson and the state of North Carolina, he would have immediately dismissed the case presented by McFadyen against Johnson. The state is not holding back any stops to protect its prosecutors of selective justice. It is only the rare prosecutor who works by the principle of “equal justice for all” (Mike Nifong) who the state will abandon, and then set out to make of him/her an example.

If true justice existed in the state of North Carolina:
1. the special prosecutor would not have pursued the “accessory after the fact case;”
2. the judge, upon receiving the “accessory after the fact” case would have dismissed it;
3. the judge, if proceeding with the trial, would agree to a change of venue; and
4. if the judge was going to bus in a jury to Wilson from another county, the jury would come from Wake, Orange, Durham, or another county that is not adjacent to Wilson’s county.

With his “What happens in Wilson, stays in Wilson” mentality, Judge Milton Fitch Jr. has made the case that he should be taken off the James Johnson case, and that it should be assigned to another judge.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Crusade to protect Prosecutor Bill Wolfe takes giant leap forward

I just recently found out from a conversation with a friend that private sector prosecutor W. David McFadyen decided to move forward with the bogus "accessory after the fact" case against James Arthur Johnson in the Brittany Willis murder. This determination by McFadyen occurred two weeks ago, and normally, I would have been on top of the story because I would have read about it in the newspaper. Now, I’ve been a subscriber to the "News & Observer" for more than a year, and I do not recollect such an article appearing in the paper. Surely, it deserves some print, and unless it was buried deep in the paper, I do not believe the newspaper covered the story.

As is obvious, the only reason this case is being brought is to protect Wilson prosecutor Bill Wolfe from a complaint of prosecutorial misconduct (for the 39 month incarceration of James Johnson on charges of murder, rape, kidnapping, and armed robbery despite lack of physical evidence or probable cause). However, W. David McFadyen would like the public to believe that his extensive (more than eight months) investigation gives credibility to his findings for proceeding ahead with the trial against Mr. Johnson. Not only is paying for McFadyen’s services a waste of taxpayer money, but the trial itself will unnecessarily divert taxpayer dollars from providing services and programs to the state’s people and communities during these economically challenging times.

What I find particularly alarming, and a very ominous sign, is the fact that Wilson Superior Court Judge Milton Fitch Jr. refuses to change the venue for the trial. Wilson is a city that has been torn apart because of the actions of its police and prosecutors, especially Bill Wolfe. Judge Fitch said that he wanted to keep the trial in Wilson, but did not give a reason, according to the article posted by WRAL-TV. Instead, he wants a jury picked from Wake County and transferred to Wilson for the trial. Does he really believe that busing in a jury from Wake County will lend itself to a fairer proceeding? It is a cockamamie idea, which no unbiased arbiter would even suggest. What is obvious though is that Judge Fitch should not be the one presiding over this trial.

Whatever the outcome of the trial, private sector prosecutor W. David McFayden, like Special Prosecutor Belinda Foster before him, has done his job by deciding to take the flimsy case to trial. It bolsters Wolfe’s actions in holding James Johnson in jail for 39 months without a trial. And although the North Carolina State Bar had no intention of taking any action against Wolfe to begin with, it can now point to McFadyen’s actions and claim that Wolfe was indeed acting as a minister of justice when he incarcerated James Johnson and threatened him with a capital murder charge despite the lack of forensic evidence or probable cause.

This sordid exercise only reinforces the fact that prosecutors who abide by the state’s tenet of "selective justice based on Class and Color" will be protected to the fullest measure (even if it requires the use of taxpayer money) by the state’s Attorney General’s Office and the NC State Bar. Former Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong, a proponent and practitioner of the principle of "equal justice for all," therefore will remain the only prosecutor to be disbarred or severely disciplined by the State Bar since its inception.