Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Vendetta justice makes a mockery of the NC courts at taxpayer expense

A 59 year old man went into an online chat room and became the acquaintance of a fourteen year old girl. Later, he traveled from Raleigh to Burlington, North Carolina where he met the young teenager in person. An attentive Burlington police officer noted suspicious activity by a car driven by the man (it had no license plate), and upon pulling it over noted that the 59 year old male driver was accompanied by the 14 year old girl as a passenger. Also in the vehicle were drugs and drug paraphernalia. The man, Bryant Harrison Dennis, was arrested and charged with statutory sex offense, indecent liberties, contributing to delinquency of a minor, possession of marijuana, and possession of drug paraphernalia… and his bail was set at $10,000.
During a domestic dispute which her boyfriend described as a “misunderstanding,” Crystal Mangum allegedly scratched her boyfriend, and executed a controlled burn of some of her boyfriend’s clothes. As a result, she was charged with attempted first degree murder, assault and battery, five counts of felony arson, three counts of contributing to the delinquency of juvenile, communicating threats, identity theft, injury to personal property, and resisting arrest… bail for her was set at one million dollars.

The two-case comparative illustrated above represents but a small sampling of disparity in treatment afforded to the majority of criminal suspects versus someone on the wrong end of the Duke Lacrosse case. It is the vastness of the difference in treatment between the two which requires the public to suspend logic and sense of fair play that enables the North Carolina justice system to even dare to implement such draconian and excessive charges and outrageously high bail. Strip away the veneer of anti-Nifong public fervor created by the media, and the charges against Ms. Mangum and the million dollar bail are laughable. It is payback… vendetta justice… courtesy of the Carpetbagger Jihadists. What is really ironic is that the Carpetbagger families of the Duke Lacrosse defendants and their attorneys are able to foment anti-Nifong and anti-accuser sentiment among Durhamians and get unyielding support from them while at the same time costing those same Durhamians millions of tax dollars to defend the city of Durham against the carpetbagger lawsuits. The media has been an effective and willing accomplice of the Jihadists in achieving this outcome which boggles the logical mind.

Probably one of the best known examples of vendetta justice nationally is that which Orenthal James Simpson received in Las Vegas, Nevada, after he succumbed to what I believe to be an elaborately executed sting operation. The judge in that case before handing down an extremely harsh sentence against Simpson, told the courtroom and the media that her ruling was not in the least bit influenced by Simpson’s prior criminal court battle in which he was found not guilty. Although the judge gave those assurances with a straight face, anyone and everyone with any knowledge about the Nicole Brown Simpson/Ron Goldman murders and the subsequent trial of O. J. Simpson, knew otherwise. And the judge knew they knew, but because the public animus and anger towards Simpson, the judge felt comfortable issuing an unprecedented lengthy prison sentence for him… and the judge may have even felt compelled to do so by the people.

There are many instances of vendetta justice in the Tar Heel state, and they include the following cases: Gregory Taylor (charged and convicted by prosecutor Tom Ford because Taylor would not implicate an innocent black man in a murder… after his exoneration by a three judge panel, the state continues its harassment of him, including the withholding of a pardon by the governor); Floyd Brown (a profoundly retarded man who was charged with murder based solely on a confession which experts state he could not have made… held for fourteen years without a trial, and when finally released Prosecutor Michael D. Parker willfully disrupted and interfered with assisted living arrangements that had been set up by his family and state agencies); Theodore Jerry Williams (who complained about the district attorney’s office, and later while in custody, was brutally beaten up – including a broken arm – and then charged with attacking a correctional guard).

One of the most shameful examples of vendetta justice is that of Alan Gell. He was sentenced to death, even though the prosecutors had exculpatory evidence (which they withheld from the defense team) proving that he could not possibly have committed the murder for which he was charged. He served ten years before the evidence came to light and he prevailed at a re-trial. Gell incurred the wrath of the state when he filed civil law suits about his unfair and tragic ordeal (however, unlike Mike Nifong, Prosecutor David Hoke was granted immunity as a state employee). Subsequently, when it came to the attention of the Johnston County prosecutor’s office that Gell impregnated his girlfriend just prior to her being of legal age, he was charged, and given a five year sentence. Under usual circumstances probation would be more likely, but nothing as severe as the sentence he received. This sentence was enforced without consideration given to the fact that Alan Gell had already wrongfully served ten years for a murder he did not commit. The convoluted and tortuous reasoning for the charges against Gell and his sentence defy common sense and mathematics. According to my arithmetic, ten years wrongly served minus five years of a bogus sentence equals freedom with five years credit… and it shouldn’t have taken a Joe Cheshire to get Gell a better deal. Alan Gell remains incarcerated today. He should be immediately released.

Almost everyone associated with the wrong end of the Duke Lacrosse case has been a victim of vendetta justice… no one more so than Mike Nifong. He has been so vilified and demonized by the Carpetbagger Jihadist Machine with its media and public relations connections, that he, his supporters, Crystal Mangum, and others connected with the Duke Lacrosse case are treated by the police, prosecutors, and courts with the same disregard for the rule of law and fair play that O. J. Simpson was subjected to during his Las Vegas interaction with the criminal justice system.

The public turned a blind eye as unprecedented injustice upon unprecedented injustice was heaped upon former Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong… including disbarment, a jail sentence, and a request for the U.S. Department of Justice to proceed with criminal charges against him for depriving the three Duke lacrosse beer-guzzling, stripper partygoers of their civil rights. The public’s blind eye is a powerful enabler that allows those dispensing criminal justice in the state to veer from or even totally disregard the legal statutes in place to assure impartiality and fairness in the system.

Mike Nifong supporters are likewise being targeted with unjust treatment. At a recent event on the campus of Duke University, a known Nifong supporter and member of the Committee on Justice for Mike Nifong who was wearing a Committee tee shirt, was accused of trespassing on Duke’s private property despite the fact that he was on campus at the institution’s public invitation to attend a three-way interview featuring U. S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer. He was not told prior to attending the event that Mike Nifong supporters were not invited, and he was not warned prior to attending that his presence on the campus was not wanted. Instead, upon leaving the event, a security guard honed in him, telling him that he was trespassing. Despite the Nifong supporter’s protestations, the guard escorted him off the property in a manner to ensure the infliction of emotional pain, humiliation, public scorn, and embarrassment… and there was the continuous threat of imminent arrest, as the guard called in backup. It is evident that Duke University has no qualms with suspending civil rights and First Amendment Rights when it comes to Mike Nifong supporters.

But it is the malicious and cruel treatment of Ms. Mangum that truly puts North Carolina to shame when it comes to vendetta justice. The media is responsible for getting the public to forget that Ms. Mangum was the victim at the Duke Lacrosse beer-guzzling stripper party. She was the one who was scheduled by the escort service (under false pretenses by a Duke lacrosse party host) to perform at the bacchanalian festivity. She was the one who was dehumanized and humiliated by the mostly Duke lacrosse team members… one of whom made obscene gestures with a broom. She was the one with whom the partygoers vented anger after she stopped dancing minutes into the performance due to the audience’s lewd and crude behavior. Finally, she was the one upon whom some of the partygoer’s heaped racial epithets, including the n-word. Yet Crystal Mangum is the one who is targeted for vendetta justice by the courts and the state… and the court and justice system, under the Jedi mind-trick spell of the carpetbaggers, are quick to impose it.

The vendetta justice plan for Ms. Mangum is to punish her by keeping her incarcerated for as long a period as possible. So far she has remained imprisoned since February 18, 2010, and even if she was able to post bond, the judge in the case determined that she would be released to house arrest. No such contingency was made for the aforementioned child predator with the $10,000 bail… when he posts bond, he’s free. A mean-spirited and punitive backbone supports the North Carolina justice system, one in which the principles of fairness, compassion, morality, and rehabilitation are defiled.

Finally, vendetta justice comes at a cost to taxpayers in the state. Using the police, prosecutors and courts to exact private party (i.e. Carpetbagger) revenge results in taxpayer dollars going towards unjustified prosecution, diverts police and court resources that could otherwise be focused on legitimate crime, and pays for expenses needed to incarcerate many individuals who are neither a threat to society nor a flight risk. Especially in this period of economic hardship with the state and municipalities scrapping by financially, the concept of vendetta justice should be immediately jettisoned. It is time to, among other things, release those wrongfully incarcerated by vendetta justice (Alan Gell, Crystal Mangum, George Goode, Rayford Burke, etal.). Money used to pay for their incarceration could be much better spent defending the cash-strapped city of Durham from the lawsuits of the avaricious Carpetbaggers and their money-hungry attorneys.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Defense uses Duke LAX analogy to win acquittal

News & Observer staff writer Anne Blythe continues to mislead the public with an article in the April 23, 2010 paper titled “Man acquitted in 2008 killing.” In it she writes, “Roy Cooper, the state attorney general, exonerated the three lacrosse players…” This statement is blatantly false and has no factual or legal weight. The attorney general is not capable of exonerating defendants, period. Only a judge or jury can pronounce a defendant “innocent” or “not guilty.” Such adjudication can not be made by the attorney general, a member of the executive branch of government. For the media to make such statements, compromises the essence of those who are legitimately exonerated, such as Gregory Flint Taylor (a three judge panel recently found Greg Taylor innocent of a 1991 murder). Anthony Baker, a law professor at Campbell University’s Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law, has made this point clear. The role of the attorney general is that of a “trier of facts” and not an adjudicator. To date, I have not heard an attorney or legal scholar say otherwise.

Ms. Blythe went on to say that the state’s investigation found “no evidence that any assault had occurred at a March 2006 spring break lacrosse party.” Well that is hardly surprising, seeing as how the state investigators found no evidence of an assault against inmate Timothy Helms, who while in solitary confinement sustained two skull fractures with resulting brain damage that left him a quadriplegic… in addition to baton-like welts all over his body. The only thing that A.G. Cooper was authorized to say before the media on April 11, 2007 was whether or not the prosecution was going to proceed or whether it was going to dismiss the case. It did the latter.

In perpetually bringing up Roy Cooper’s “Innocence Promulgation” as fact, the media demonstrates its bias (heavily in favor of the Carpetbagger families of the Duke Lacrosse defendants and their attorneys) and grossly misleads the audience it serves. Whenever the opportunity presents… and even when it doesn’t, you can count on The News & Observer and other media outlets to talk about how the three Duke Lacrosse defendants were “exonerated,” “cleared,” or “declared innocent.” Readers should not believe it.

In this particular news article about a man being acquitted of murder, the nexus to the “Innocence Promulgation” and the Duke Lacrosse case originated from the defense attorney Clifton Gray III. According to the newspaper article, Gray likened the case of defendant Khaleel A. Oyeneyin to that “of the Duke lacrosse case in which Crystal Gail Mangum, a stripper, falsely accused three lacrosse team members of a gang-rape.” Now it was important for Ms. Blythe to get Ms. Mangum’s name out in the article in as negative way as possible in order to sustain hostile public opinion against her as she faces flimsy charges in a domestic dispute case in Durham. The fact of the matter is that the Oyeneyin case has very little in common with the Duke Lacrosse case. Oyeneyin was charged with killing his girlfriend, whereas the Duke Lacrosse case was a sexual assault one. That the prosecutors of Oyeneyin relied so much on the testimony of a stripper who said she overheard the defendant admit to the murder, is much closer to the Greg Taylor case in which Prosecutor Tom Ford relied heavily on the testimony of a jail house snitch who stated the defendant made statements that implicated himself.

Because of the intense public animosity generated by the media against Mike Nifong and Crystal Mangum, astute defense attorneys are quick to mention the case in court whenever possible… it’s sure to spur sympathy for the defense lawyer’s client as the public reflects on how those so-called innocent Duke lacrosse boy defendants (who never served one day in jail and walked away from Duke University with a seven million dollar settlement each) were put through so much because of what a dancer said about them at their Spring Break beer-guzzling stripper party. The media, totally in cahoots with Carpetbaggers and on board with their jihadist agenda, takes advantage of any opportunity that presents itself to keep a negative image before the minds of the public. It wants to counter any sympathetic feelings the people may have for a young lady who is being victimized by vendetta justice… payback, plain and simple.

Objective media coverage of Khaleel Oyeneyin’s court case, would not have even mentioned the Duke Lacrosse case, and especially not the name of the accuser Crystal Mangum… but that’s what happens when the media plays favorites. Ultimately, it is up to the media consumer to recognize the prejudicial and flawed statements. Any mention of Cooper’s “Innocent Promulgation” as having legal merit should be a red flag that the media is attempting to play a Jedi mind-trick on you. Don’t let them succeed.

For defense lawyers, invoking the Duke Lacrosse case whenever possible is a clever strategy that will lend itself well to unquestioning jury members (and the public from whom the jury is selected) whose minds have been manipulated to be averse towards Mike Nifong and Crystal Mangum. Gray’s closing statement remarks in reference to the Duke Lacrosse case may have helped win a “not guilty” verdict for his client… it certainly didn’t hurt.

Whereas I do not begrudge the defense for using the lacrosse case to its advantage when possible, I do fault the media for using it in an exploitive manner in order to support the vindictive agenda of the few, well-heeled, privileged, and powerful.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Doing the right thing when a prosecutor errs

Wayne County District Attorney Branny Vickory in his earlier days as a North Carolina prosecutor helped to wrongly convict Dwayne Dail of the 1987 rape of a twelve year old girl. Mr. Dail spent nearly 19 years in prison before DNA evidence performed on a night-gown proved that he could not possibly have been the rapist. The case that Prosecutor Vickory brought against Dail more than two decades ago lacked “credible evidence” (something for which former Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong has been soundly criticized for in his handling of the Duke Lacrosse case). Despite Dail’s steadfast insistence of his innocence, he was convicted largely on the testimony of the twelve year old victim. The full extent of the evidence in the Duke Lacrosse case will never be known because it was dismissed by Attorney General Roy Cooper on April 11, 2007… however, like the rape case in 1989, it included testimony by the sexual assault victim. Prosecutor Branny Vickory, though green as an attorney back then, seems to have prosecuted the case in good faith and within the standards accepted by which prosecutors are held.

Mr. Vickory prosecuted the wrong person for the 1987 rape. Did he make some mistakes? I am sure that he would be the first to admit to it, just like Mr. Nifong admitted to making mistakes during the prosecution of the Duke Lacrosse case (although the jury will be out permanently regarding innocence or guilt of the three indicted by the grand jury). Although the injustice of an innocent man (Dail) spending nearly two decades of his young productive life unjustly confined is unfathomable, the prosecutor, Vickory, should not be pilloried. Mike Nifong,who prosecuted the Duke Lacrosse case in good faith and within acceptable standards, likewise should not be held to public scorn just because he prosecuted defendants from families of wealth, power, and privilege. Unfortunately, the gauntlet was thrown down and the Carpetbagger Jihad initiated when the mother of Duke Lacrosse defendant Dave Evans, Rae Evans gave her interview on “60 Minutes.” She stated that Mr. Nifong would “pay every day for the rest of his life,” because, as she so insightfully put it, he “picked on the wrong families to indict.” It is important to also keep in mind that the Duke Lacrosse defendants, as opposed to Mr. Dail, never spent one day in jail, that they received seven million dollars each from Duke University, and that they are currently suing the city of Durham seeking an additional ten mil each.

Although I am not well versed about the Dwayne Dail case and the prosecution’s actions, I am inclined to give the prosecutor the benefit of the doubt, if, as was reported in The News & Observer, Vickory rushed to free Dail once the 2007 DNA tests excluded him as the assailant of the 12 year old victim. No one person, or no one prosecutor is perfect… everyone makes mistakes. To his credit, Branny Vickory admitted his mistake and made an effort to correct it. This is what a good prosecutor does. And as simple as the principle of correcting a mistake seems, it is one that is not undertaken as often as one would think among state prosecutors. In the Alan Gell case (prosecuted by David Hoke), for example, as soon as definitive exculpatory evidence became available proving that Gell could not have committed the murder for which he received the death sentence, the Attorney General’s Office proceeded to re-try Gell, nonetheless.

More recently, another situation where prosecutorial mistakes led to a wrongful 17 year imprisonment of an innocent man is illustrated by the Greg Taylor case. When the Innocence Inquiry Commission unanimously referred Greg Taylor’s murder conviction to a three judge panel for review, the initial 1991 prosecutor Tom Ford, with assistance from Wake County District Attorney Colon Willoughby, fought tooth and nail to have the innocent man, Greg Taylor, remain incarcerated for the rest of his life. The judicial review of the case brought to light the fact that the State lab withheld information favorable to the defendant, and that Prosecutor Ford misrepresented the lab results in order to win a conviction against the innocent man. Like prosecutors Vickory and Hoke, Ford had no credible evidence to charge or prosecute Greg Taylor in 1993.

Prosecutors, once they realize that they have made a mistake, should admit it and move to correct it… like Vickory and Mike Nifong. When the Duke Lacrosse accuser could not identify to Prosecutor Nifong’s satisfaction that she had been rape, Mr. Nifong immediately moved to drop the rape charges. However, when exculpatory evidence was uncovered pointing to Gell’s innocence, the Attorney General’s Office chose to fight to try and convince the public that it had not made a mistake by convicting an innocent man to death… but the jury, when presented with the exculpatory evidence and given the opportunity to deliberate, quickly reached the obvious verdict, that Gell was innocent. Prosecutor Tom Ford, likewise tried to convince the world that Greg Taylor was guilty before a panel 17 years after the initial trial. Ford was more interested in trying to prove that he had not made a mistake in convicting the wrong man, rather than any consideration that he might be keeping an innocent man behind bars for the rest of his life… he didn’t care.

All prosecutors, at some time or another in their careers, make mistakes… but it is the relatively few good ones, like Branny Vickory and Mike Nifong, who admit to them and then set about to correct them.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Golfer Brian Davis and Greg Taylor: men of conscience and integrity

Last Sunday I watched the final round sudden death playoff at the Verizon Heritage golf tournament between veteran Jim Furyk and Brian Davis. Furyk who has more than a dozen PGA career wins under his belt, was tied after regulation play with Brian Davis, who has never won a PGA golf event. The difference in earnings of the winner and runner-up was $400,000, with more than a million dollars being awarded to the winner.

On the first playoff hole, Brian Davis playing in the rough, barely touched a reed with his backstroke, and then swung and hit the ball onto the green. It is an infraction if a loose object is touched by the club before it hits the ball. I was watching the swing on television, and did not notice any movement on the backstroke, and apparently neither did anyone else, with the exception of Davis himself. He immediately informed the judge of what he believed to be illegal contact with his club, which instant video replay confirmed. Davis was assessed a two-stroke penalty, which essentially assured that he would not take home the championship trophy.

Had Davis not been penalized, he would have been in contention to win the event, and had he not drawn attention to it, no one would have been the wiser… but he would have known. It would have been tempting for most golfers to have kept quiet about the stroke, considering its importance and the violation was nothing more than a trivial technicality that really did not place his opponent at an unfair disadvantage. Yes, it would be easy to rationalize away the violation, and it would have been easy for him to say that he did not notice the loose twig shimmy a bit when he brought his club back to begin his swing.

Yes, I have a new hero on the pro links circuit… and from now on, I will be pulling for a golfer named Brian Davis. I’ll be rooting for him not because of his athletic skills, but because of his personal qualities of honesty and integrity.

Another man for whom I have a tremendous amount of admiration and respect is Gregory Flint Taylor, a man of exceptional integrity. Although Davis’s honesty cost him a prestigious title and hundreds of thousands of dollars in prize money, Greg Taylor’s honesty cost him a life sentence behind bars. Just as I believe that many golfers would not have made the fiduciary sacrifice Davis did with his honesty, many innocent people facing a life sentence would not pass up the opportunity for freedom in exchange for falsely implicating another person at the prosecutor’s request. Greg Taylor, however, refused to submit to Prosecutor Tom Ford’s repeated demands that he implicate a man Taylor knew to be innocent of the charge of murder. Had it not been for the Innocence Inquiry Commission project that was championed by former NC Supreme Court Justice I. Beverly Lake and Christine Mumma (director of the NC Center on Actual Innocence), Greg Taylor would still be languishing in jail… where he had been since 1993, and where he was sentenced to spend the remainder of his days.

When Jacquetta Thomas, a black prostitute, was murdered in 1991, Wake Prosecutor Tom Ford was more interested in closing the case than solving the crime because he didn’t care about the victim. So instead of using gumshoe detective work (as was done in the investigation into the murder of School Board member Kathy Taft), Tom Ford tried to build a case based on perjured testimony. Because Greg Taylor and his friend Johnny Beck, an African American, had been in the vicinity of the desolate area where Thomas’s body was found, Ford’s strategy was to first accuse Taylor of the crime and thereby pressure him to turn on Beck, the black man. Even without forensic evidence tying Beck to the crime, Ford believed that Taylor’s testimony – though perjured – would be enough to win a conviction against Beck. However, there is one thing that Tom Ford did not count on, and that was that Greg Taylor would possess integrity… in fact, much more than Ford himself. Ford made it plain to Taylor that he would be spending the rest of his life in jail unless he cooperated with the prosecution and lied to the court to implicate Johnny Beck in a murder he did not commit. Taylor was steadfast and never wavered in his refusal to falsely implicate Beck, so Ford set out to make Taylor pay by getting a jailhouse snitch and prostitute to provide false testimony implicating Taylor. Ford even withheld from Taylor’s defense team the fact that the prosecutors had struck a backroom deal with the snitch and prostitute with a promise for a reduced sentence in exchange for their perjured statements that implicated Taylor. So Ford, with perjured testimony and the withholding of important SBI lab notes, won a conviction against Greg Taylor in 1993.

Just as the jailhouse snitch and prostitute provided the necessary perjured testimony needed to convict Taylor, Prosecutor Ford assumed that Taylor would readily provide the false testimony necessary for him to gain his freedom. But Taylor refused to lie on an innocent man… an African American man… and a man who he knew almost solely as companion with whom he occasionally purchased or shared drugs. Gregory Taylor was prepared to spend the rest of his life behind bars rather than falsely implicate another innocent person. But fortunately, Taylor’s loss only equated to seventeen of his most productive years, which is itself truly a shame.

Yes, I am now a proud follower and fan of golf pro Brian Davis, whose integrity cost him a shot at his first PGA tour championship and hundreds of thousands of dollars in prize money. Davis put honesty before financial and championship considerations. Likewise, Gregory Taylor displayed an inordinate amount of integrity with his commitment to remain in jail (likely for the remainder of his life) rather than obtaining freedom by working in cahoots with the Wake County prosecutor in his unseemly efforts to falsely convict Johnny Beck.

When it comes to a role model of honesty and integrity, it is hard to beat the wrongly convicted and exonerated Gregory F. Taylor, although Brian Davis came in close with his actions at the Heritage’s first playoff hole. I am sure that ol’ Honest Abe, himself, like I, would hold both Taylor and Davis in high esteem.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Legal basis behind attack on Cooper April 11, 2007 “Innocent Promulgation”

When Attorney General Roy Cooper dismissed all the charges against the three Duke Lacrosse defendants on April 11, 2007, he did something outside his scope of legal authority… in an unprecedented move, he pronounced the three Duke Lacrosse defendants “innocent.” The biased mainstream media was quick to jump and embrace this proclamation by the A.G. as being legally binding and valid. The defendants were often referred to in the media as “innocent,” or “exonerated,” or “cleared of the charges.” However, as I have been complaining for some time, the statement of “innocent” made by Attorney General Cooper has no legal weight, and the statements by the media using “innocent” etc, are totally incorrect and misleadingly false.

On February 22, 2010, I sent an e-mail to Professor Anthony Baker of Campbell University School of law, in which I made the following three observations and asked for him to comment on them:

(1) The North Carolina Attorney General does not have the legal authority to determine, declare, or make a pronouncement as to whether or not a criminal defendant is “innocent,” “not guilty,” and/or “guilty.”
(2) The North Carolina Attorney General’s Office, when taking over criminal prosecution in a role as special prosecutor, is charged with either proceeding with the prosecution or dismissing the charges. Conferring “guilt,” “non-guilt,” or “innocence” is not his mandate and is not within his province.
(3) The media is legally and technically incorrect whenever it makes references to the guilt, non-guilt, or innocence of a defendant based upon a determination, statement, or position of an attorney general in the state of North Carolina.

In an e-mail reply to me dated that same day, Professor Baker made the following statement, “As for your three statements, as worded I agree with them all. The A.G. presents a case but does not sit as ‘trier of fact’ -- or ultimate adjudicator -- of it. That is the sole province of the jury, or a judge sitting in lieu of a jury.”

I am sorry for the delay in responding, but I have been recently attending events (John Hope Franklin Conference “From Slavery to Freedom to the White House” held at Duke Law School on April 8th through 10th, and the interview at Duke Law School open to the public featuring U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer on April 14th). And after the latter event which had me being expelled from the Duke University campus and nearly arrested, I have been busy dealing with that situation, as well. Plus, I am trying to complete Episode V of the comic strip, which is slowly but surely progressing.

Anyway, those in opposition to my position (which I have backed up with the aforementioned contents of the e-mail from a law school professor and scholar Anthony Baker) have yet to offer a statement from a person with a credible legal background to argue to the contrary. Coffin v. United States, 156 U.S. 432 (1895) says nothing about a state’s attorney general being given the legal authority to pronounce a defendant “innocent,” “not guilty,” or “guilty,” and is therefore without relevance.

Good luck in trying to find someone to make such a statement and allow you to quote him/her, because for someone to do so would definitely expose them as being the ones who truly do not understand the law.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

What I learned at Duke University School of Law

On Wednesday, April 14, 2010, I attended an event at Duke University School of Law, on the Duke University campus in Durham. The event featured U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer in a sit-down interview with David Levi, Dean of the law school, and Walter H. Dellinger, an attorney with vast Supreme Court experience. Open to the public on a first come first served basis, the interview was a very informative, in that it provided the audience with insight as to how the Supreme Court works and how the justices interact. Observations of Justice Breyer gave glimpses into the man who presented a relaxed manner, approachable demeanor, thoughtful speech, and effusive sense of humor. Fifty minutes later, at the conclusion of the three person public conversation, I began my exit from the large classroom, which was populated mostly with law students. My plan was to catch a bus to downtown Durham, then transfer to a bus that would take me to my residence in Raleigh.

Little did I know, as I made my egress from the room, that my real education would come after Justice Breyer had spoken. Upon leaving, a uniformed security guard honed in on me and asked me what I was doing there. To me, that seemed like a rather dumb question, but I answered anyway, telling him that I had come to see and hear Justice Breyer. I offered to give him one of my Committee on Justice for Mike Nifong business cards that had my contact information, but he refused, pointing to his pants pocket and saying, “I already have one.” He then informed me that I was trespassing on private property and that he was there to see that I left the grounds. I asked him why I was being forced off the property, and he told me that he did not know why… that he was just following orders. When I requested the name of the person who wanted me off Duke property, he told me “the building manager”… and he may have given me the last name of an individual. However, that was as far as I got, as he refused my request to speak with the person responsible for my ouster… repeatedly saying that Duke University is private property, that it has the right to have me removed no questions asked, and that he was merely doing his job.

As former Duke Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. would readily understand, I was incensed by the security guard telling me to leave the grounds for no reason and then trailing me like a shadow when I complied, as though I were a common criminal. Not unlike Professor Gates, I, too, had a few choice words to say to the guard, to express my displeasure at the unforeseen (at least to me) turn of events. Now, evidently some of my colorful words, though neither profane nor wisely chosen, seemed to cause the guard some displeasure as he responded by calling in backup with his walkie-talkie. A Duke security patrol car materialized in seconds, with an officer exiting it who looked ten times more menacing than the first security guard. So as I walked toward the bus stop, now with two guards in tow, I overheard one of them mention something to the other about getting my identification. Again, my indignation blinded my better judgment and I scowled, “…and don’t even think about asking to see my identification!” I was then corrected by one of them who said that they would see it if they wanted to see it. Shortly thereafter, the city bus came lumbering up the street, and the guard flagged it down for me. I don’t recall whether or not I thanked him for hailing the bus, but I do remember him telling me as I boarded that since our initial encounter approximately fifteen minutes ago I was on the verge of being arrested three times.

In reflecting back on the day’s adventure, I tried to figure out when I had come close to the brink of arrest. One time that stands out is when the guard gently tugged on my sleeve in the direction of the door exiting the building and I vigorously withdrew my arm and said in an elevated tone, “Don’t touch me!” Another time might have been when I was asked about where my car was parked, and I flashed my all-day transit bus pass in his face… close enough so that he could read the fine print. I’m not sure about a possible third time, although early on he did remark to me that I was encroaching on his personal space. Anyway, fortunately for me, my encounter with the enforcement agents ended differently than Professor Gates, and I spent the night in my own bed and without bail.

Now I do not think the discriminatory treatment I received at Duke University was racially motivated, as I was the only African American targeted. Neither do I believe that I was discriminated against for being an arrogant African American man (politically correct phrase for “uppity Negro”) because I was not exhibiting such behavior prior to meeting the security guard. The reason I believe that I was being discriminated against was because I am a Mike Nifong supporter. This was most likely apparent because of the official Committee on Justice for Mike Nifong tee shirt that I was wearing… which had the logo, the web address, and the words “Committee on Justice for Mike Nifong” on it.

I guess the reason I was surprised by the trespassing charge being lodged is because I was invited to the event on the Duke campus, which was advertised as being open to the public. Also, I had worn the very same tee shirt on the Duke campus and in its law school building many times in the past without any problem, at least of which I was aware. My behavior was unremarkable, as I spoke briefly with fewer than a dozen people while awaiting the start of the event and did nothing to provoke anyone.

I came away from Duke University that day with life lessons that are invaluable, and worth sharing as following:
1) It is incredibly easy for a black man to get arrested. Even though I was abiding by the laws of the land, not in the active commission of a crime, behaving myself, and minding my own business, I was subjected to discrimination based on my being a Nifong supporter that could have easily resulted in me being jailed. Even though my presence on the campus in the first place was due to a poster which invited the public to the on-campus event, one of the charges against me would undoubtedly have been trespassing on private property. And you can rest assured that "resisting arrest" would be tagged on to the trespassing charge automatically.
2) It is not wise to sass a security guard or police officer. As Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and I can now attest, vigorous verbal expression to authority about unjust discriminatory treatment usually results in no positive outcome, and in the case of a black male protester, the likely call for additional backup by said authority... which does not bode well.
3) The campus of Duke University is a First Amendment Free environment. In other words check your First Amendment Rights of free speech and expression at the property line. Any expression of support of former Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong, such as wearing a tee shirt in his honor, is likely to result in expulsion from the grounds as it did in my case.
4) Openly showing support for Mike Nifong on the Duke University campus may be hazardous to one’s health. In general, Duke University staff and personnel seem to have a deep seeded antipathy towards Mike Nifong, most likely engendered by the prejudicial statements made against him by the biased mainstream media. An aversion to Mr. Nifong might also spring from a wariness of the university or individual being sued by the litigation-happy attorneys of the carpetbagger families of the Duke Lacrosse defendants.

An observation that strikes me most is that Duke University School of Law is a large, powerful institution with a prestigious reputation. My visits to the campus have been extremely rare and almost always of short duration. I find it astounding that a member of its staff or faculty would feel so threatened by a tee shirt that expresses an opinion that might not be in sync with the overall position of the university, that he/she would evict that individual solely on that basis. Since the days of Aristotle, scholars and students would come together in institutes of higher learning to engage in civil debate over differences of opinion and controversial issues. From my presence on the Duke campus, it is also an observation that Duke Law School faculty and staff are not willing or ready to discuss the history of the Duke Lacrosse case and the selective and unjust disbarment of Mike Nifong. The reason for this is obvious, especially among the law school professors and staff… that reason being that they know that the North Carolina State Bar’s treatment of Mike Nifong was selective and unjust, as was the excessive and draconian persecution of him by the North Carolina Attorney General’s Office, other state agencies, and the courts. It may take a generation or so before the faculty and staff will feel free to discuss the disgraceful treatment of Mr. Nifong and the Duke Lacrosse case. Presently, as my eviction from the Duke University campus yesterday emphatically proves, that day of open and free expression and debate at that institution, about the Duke Lacrosse case and Mike Nifong’s selective and unjust disbarment, is a long ways off.

No glutton for punishment and not wishing to be jailed on unprovoked trumped up trifle, I do not foresee a return visit in the near future to these particular environs that are hostile and prejudicial to Nifong supporters. And that’s what I learned at Duke University School of Law yesterday.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Million dollar bail… a case comparison - Part 4

According to the News & Observer of April 10, 2010, a three year old boy who was adopted from China last November was so severely beaten by his mother on March 19, 2010, that he has been in a coma ever since. The child had a skull fracture with large bruises on the frontal region of his brain. Michele Andi Stein, the mother, was finally arrested and charged by Apex police with one count of felony child abuse, and severe bodily injury. A month earlier in February, workers at the day care the child attended noticed bruises on his back and leg, and the month prior to that the boy was admitted to the UNC-Chapel Hill Burn Center with second and third degree burns to both of his hands.

It is of interest to note that Ms. Stein was not charged with attempted first degree murder or assault and battery despite the traumatically induced coma. Furthermore, she was arrested with a bail of only $200,000.00. Now compare this with Ms. Mangum, who was alleged by the Durham police to have scratched her boyfriend and thrown punches and objects at him. He did not sustain any injuries and did not require any medical attention in a dispute which he termed as a “misunderstanding” and one which he did not press charges. Also, no deadly weapon was involved in the alleged “altercation.” Yet, it is Ms. Mangum who is charged with attempted first degree murder, assault and battery, and placed on a $1million bail… an amount five times more than the mother accused of beating her three year old child and leaving him with a skull fracture and a contused brain which are responsible for him being comatose for three weeks and counting.

The answer to the following rhetorical question of why the disparity in the charges and bail between the two aforementioned cases can be found with four words… the Duke Lacrosse case! The severely excessive accumulation of charges against Ms. Mangum is obviously nothing more than payback for accusations she made years earlier in the Duke Lacrosse case against the sons of the Carpetbagger families. Had the same scenario played out against a couple that did not include Ms. Mangum, then it is more likely than not that the man involved in the dispute, if anyone, would be the one to be arrested. But most of all, none of the charges (such as attempted first degree murder, assault and battery, communicating threats, destruction of personal property, identity theft) would have been made. And had the police been in the apartment when a woman without connections to the Duke Lacrosse case set her boyfriend’s clothing ablaze in the bath tub, then the police would’ve merely turned on the faucet in the tub and put out the fire. They would definitely not have called the fire department and charged her with any counts of arson.

The reason the police saddled Ms. Mangum with the ridiculous charge of attempted first degree murder, assault and battery, etc. was in order to justify the enormous $1 million bail. The high bail was to assure Ms. Mangum languish in jail while the prosecution lollygags, in order to draw out Ms. Mangum’s incarceration. Well, if we’re careful, it might be many years that Ms. Mangum spends behind bars before her case gets to court, as in the James Arthur Johnson case (he wrongfully spent 39 months in jail while the prosecution tried to force him to accept a plea deal), and the Floyd Brown case (he spent fourteen years in jail on a murder charge without his case ever going to trial. The Attorney General’s Office promised to investigate the Brown case… but to no one’s surprise, there’s been no investigation).

The end objective of the police and prosecutors was to impose a lengthy jail stay upon Ms. Mangum. This amoral scheme exposes the visceral hatred and malice Durham prosecutors have towards those viewed unfavorably by the Carpetbagger families of the Duke Lacrosse defendants. The vacuous minds of those responsible for Ms. Mangum’s lengthy jail stay are undoubtedly under the control of the Carpetbagger Jihadist Movement… like many in the public, victim’s of wide-spread and systemic Jedi mind-tricks of the biased mainstream media.

As things stand, after Monday, April 5, 2010, Ms. Mangum, for allegedly scratching her boyfriend has been indicted by a grand jury of the following: (1) first degree arson, (2) three counts of contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile, (3) injury to personal property, and (4) resisting a public officer. And for these alleged charges, she is under a $250,000.00 bail, which if met, according to Judge Claude Allen, would require that she be released to house arrest. Keep in mind that the mother arrested for her 3-year old adopted son’s skull fracture, bruised brain, and three week coma has a bail of only $200,000.00, and if she makes bond, there is no stipulation by the court that she be held under house arrest.

The disparity in the treatment of the two mothers in this above case comparison is extraordinary and blatant, and a prime example of the state’s tenet of “selective justice based on Class and Color,” which has widespread application in this state. The same disparity of treatment applies to that which former Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong was subjected to by the prosecutors, courts, and the media for his handling of the Duke Lacrosse case… his disbarment, his jail sentence, the withholding of his status of immunity as a state employee, his lack of representation by the Attorney General’s Office, to mention a few.

A system wherein court decisions are meted out with disparity is fraught with the very inequities and injustices against which it is supposed to protect. One step that can be taken to chisel off a piece of the slab of mockery and disdain under which the North Carolina system of disparate justice is currently pinned, is to eliminate the bail for Crystal Mangum and release her from custody under her own recognizance. She is definitely not a flight risk, she is definitely not a threat to society, her incarceration is an unnecessary and undue burden on taxpayers, and the charges by the grand jury do not warrant her incarceration.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Crystal Mangum: victimized by Carpetbagger Jihad justice and the media

Wednesday afternoon I had to rummage through the garbage in order to find Tuesday’s edition of the News & Observer. Although I had been through Tuesday’s paper a day earlier, a friend told me of an article on Ms. Mangum that I had evidently missed. And sure enough, tucked away deep in the bowels of the second section on page 7 was an article titled, “Mangum faces arson charge.” Maybe I missed it because I was halfway expecting the article to be on the front page or second page of the “Triangle & Co.” section, and not hidden amongst the obituaries.

To recap what transpired on Monday, April 5, 2010, for the many who did not find the News & Observer article: the hearing for Ms. Mangum which was finally to be held regarding the alleged crimes for which she was charged two months earlier in February, was postponed because the assistant district attorney was sick. The public defender representing Ms. Mangum was expecting the hearing to take place the following day. However, late Monday afternoon, the prosecutors went before a Durham County grand jury which issued indictments against her on the following: first-degree arson, three counts of contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile, injury to personal property, and resisting a public officer.

It is of interest to note that even though police said she tried to kill her boyfriend and was charged at the time of her arrest with attempted first-degree murder, no such charge was sought by prosecutors from the grand jury. Miraculously, other charges which were heaped on Ms. Mangum on her arrest but were not considered by the grand jury included: three counts of misdemeanor child abuse, resisting arrest, identity theft, communicating threats, and assault and battery. Why, you might ask, were these charges not sought before the grand jury? Answer: Because the Durham police and prosecutors knew the charges were false and that they could not substantiate them. However, filing the bogus charges did accomplish its intent, which was to form the basis for obtaining an outrageously high bond which Ms. Mangum and her family could not afford. That would ensure that Ms. Mangum would spend a significantly long time in jail. In short, the bogus charges were filed against Ms. Mangum for punitive reasons only… to see that she received as much jail time as possible. There is no doubt in my mind that the prosecutors never seriously considered bringing charges before the grand jury other than the ones they eventually did bring against Ms. Mangum on Monday. In order for the judge to hand down a $1million bond, some serious charges, such as attempted first degree murder, needed to be in play.

Unfortunately, this unfair and inappropriate use of filing punitive charges against someone based on that person’s past acts, is unjust and unethical. Make no doubt about it, Ms. Mangum was excessively punished by Durham police, prosecutors, and judges because of her role in the Duke Lacrosse case. This is no secret… everyone knows it to be the truth, but no one, including those in the media or public officials, will speak openly about it. Attorneys licensed by the North Carolina State Bar are particularly reticent to speak about anything related to the Duke Lacrosse case, because they are terrified by that very same unregulated agency that has control over their licenses and livelihoods. I am sure that everyone connected to the legal travesty that has enveloped Ms. Mangum will deny, with a straight face, that Ms. Mangum’s treatment had anything to do with her past. This situation is not unlike the Las Vegas judge who sentenced O. J. Simpson to excessively long prison sentences when he was convicted in what was obviously a sting operation. She went on record and upfront stated that the sentence given to Mr. Simpson had absolutely nothing to do with the murder of his wife and her friend Ron Goldman. But everyone knows that it was nothing more than payback. And that is what Durham is engaged in with its actions against Ms. Mangum… nothing more than payback.

What is really idiotic is that the cash-strapped city of Durham, by going after Ms. Mangum because of her role in the Duke Lacrosse case, is feeding into the Carpetbagger Jihad Movement’s vendetta goals. And it is the very people behind this vengeful and avaricious movement who are seeking thirty million dollars from the city of Durham, and has already cost the city multi-millions of dollars in attorneys’ fees to defend itself (from them). Then the Carpetbagger families of the three Duke Lacrosse defendants have the unmitigated gall to tell the media that they are not seeking $10 million for each of their sons out of greed, but they are doing it to improve the city of Durham’s criminal justice system. How?... by diverting moneys from services and salaries of the Durham Police department to pay lawyers’ fees in defending the city against their extortionistic lawsuits? Well, the people are not buying that line of reasoning, no more than they believe that the Las Vegas judge sentenced O. J. Simpson solely on the merits of the particular incident for which he was charged, and not taking the unsolved murder of his wife and her friend into consideration. Nor are Tar Heelians buying the Carpetbaggers’ altruistic reasons for seeking a total of $30 million from Durham, anymore than they believe that the domestic violence charges and bail against Ms. Mangum are based solely on that case and not related to her role in the Duke Lacrosse case.

Unfortunately, the law in North Carolina is all too often used unjustly and punitively by police, prosecutors, and courts to exact revenge from individuals who are currently being charged and treated based upon past acts and not based upon merits alone of the case at hand. The Durham City and County should be ashamed of its involvement in the despicable, selective, and unjust actions against Ms. Mangum. Furthermore, it should be embarrassed for carrying out the Carpetbagger Jihad agenda… an agenda which starkly runs against the city’s own best interests.

As far as the media goes, I must at least give the News & Observer a few points for writing an article, even though it was very effectively concealed and not splashed over the front pages of the local section as was the news of Ms. Mangum’s arrest two months earlier. I was unaware of any of the other local mainstream media outlets that reported on Ms. Mangum’s arrest, doing a follow-up story about the grand jury indictment. This kind of reporting (picking and choosing which of the stories related to a case to promote and which ones to bury) is not uncommonly used by the biased media.

The N & O’s extreme bias is evident by the article’s final paragraph which reads: “Mangum never faced any charges for falsely accusing the three former Duke lacrosse players.” Now although I do not concede that the charges made by Ms. Mangum in the Duke Lacrosse case investigation were false, the article’s final statement suggests that individuals who make false statements are routinely charged for it. I believe that the News & Observer would be hard pressed to find an instance in North Carolina where an alleged rape victim was charged with making false accusations during the investigation of a criminal complaint.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Carpetbagger families of Duke LAXers and their direct link to the mainstream media

Rae Forker Evans, the founder and president of Evans Capitol Group, has an extraordinarily impressive resume. The Evans Capitol Group had its beginning in 1995, and is a public policy firm operating in Washington, D.C. It provides strategic guidance to corporations, non-profits, and trade associations seeking to influence the political process on a broad range of public policy issues. In 1982, Ms. Evans established the National Affairs office and represented Hallmark Cards, Inc. and its 25,000 employees on Capitol Hill, at the Executive Branch, and with national and international communities in Washington. She has received numerous honors and appointments throughout her career, including serving as president and Board Member of the Business-Government Relations Council, recipient of the 1996 National Women’s Economic Alliance Director’s Choice Award, and a 1992 appointment by President George W. Bush to the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships. Ms. Evans is married to a Washington D.C. attorney, David Evans, and they have two children, David and Kristen. Her son, Dave, was a student at Duke University, and was one of three Duke lacrosse players who were indicted by a grand jury on sexual assault charges stemming from the infamous stripper and beer guzzling party on Durham’s Buchanan Street in March 2006.

I would be remiss, if I were not to mention that Ms. Evan’s stellar professional career also included a decade-long stint at CBS News. From 1971 to 1981, she held positions at CBS News, the megacorporation that produces “60 Minutes” on CBS – TV. Later she worked as Director of Government Relations for CBS, Inc. The strong and intimate relationship that Ms. Evans enjoyed with CBS News is information that neither CBS, Inc. nor the mainstream media has wanted to share with the public after the Duke Lacrosse case was brought to the fore by the media. CBS’s “60 Minutes” devoted several television programs to the Duke Lacrosse case, and featured interviews with Ms. Evans, and the parents of the two other Duke Lacrosse defendants. Never once, did CBS, Inc. disclose that Ms. Evans, mother of one of the Duke Lacrosse defendants, had worked for more than a decade with CBS, News. Likewise the biased mainstream media never bothered to bring up this relationship between Evans and CBS.

CBS, like other mainstream media – ABC, Fox News, and NBC – has been markedly prejudicial in its coverage of former Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong and the Duke Lacrosse case. For example, like the rest of the mainstream media, it embraces the concept that Attorney General Roy Cooper’s April 11, 2007 “Innocent Promulgation” carries legal weight and is a matter of fact. It consistently and constantly refers to the Duke Lacrosse players as being “innocent,” “falsely accused,” “cleared,” and “exonerated,” based on the attorney general’s statement. It is my belief that the news media knows that they are misrepresenting the Duke Lacrosse defendants when it refers to them as “exonerated” or “innocent,” but they believe and rely on the belief that the majority of the public will not be aware that these descriptions are misleading, and that those who do, won’t care.

All the same, I wrote to executives at major media outlets to inform them that their use of the “innocent”-like adjectives with relationship to the Duke Lacrosse defendants was incorrect and misleading. To give credence to my position, I told them that Campbell University law school professor Anthony V. Baker agreed that Attorney General Cooper’s proclamation of innocent had no legal substance or standing. Professor Baker stated, “The A.G. presents a case but does not sit as "trier of fact" -- or ultimate adjudicator -- of it. That is the sole province of the jury, or a judge sitting in lieu of a jury.” To date, the media, in general, has chosen to ignore my complaint with this aspect of the Duke Lacrosse coverage.

CBS News is also guilty of another instance of attempting to mislead the public. It arises out of the Carpetbagger Families’ obsessive and intense desire to erase from the minds of people that an attack or criminal action against the exotic dancers could have possibly taken place the night of March 13, 2006. Through attorney Joseph Cheshire’s underling, Brad Bannon, the Attorney General in his April 11, 2007 statement capitulated to Carpetbagger demands by stating that “no attack occurred.” The Carpetbaggers tried to extract a similar statement from Prosecutor Mike Nifong, using the threat of significant jail time (on trumped up contempt charges), however, despite the duress Mr. Nifong constantly maintained that he believed that something (criminal) happened. To get around Mr. Nifong’s persistent stand on this issue, CBS News put words into Mr. Nifong’s mouth with its blaring headline, “Ex-DA admits no crime in Duke case.” The headline is a blatant outright falsehood that is not substantiated within the text of the article.

As with “60 Minutes,” the online CBS News article with the false headline does not disclose the close relationship between the mother of defendant Dave Evans and CBS News. If the public were aware of the close relationship, then questions of bias and fairness would be entertained by those with open and objective minds… and that is something neither the Carpetbaggers nor the media wants. And let there be no doubt about it, that Rae Evans, with all of her relationships with CBS and other media, as well as the contacts she has made throughout the upper echelons of government in the nation’s capital, and her husband who is an attorney in a prestigious Washington law firm, carries humongous clout. And if you have any doubt that she would use this clout, let me refer to her vindictive “60 Minutes” interview in which she promises that “he (Mr. Nifong) is going pay every day for the rest of his life.”

Ms. Evans had the clout with the media, and with her attorneys and others, she did a magnificent job in orchestrating a media propaganda campaign that was so successful in defining Mr. Nifong and the Duke Lacrosse case to her liking, that former Bush architect Karl Rove would be green with envy. There’s no doubt about it… the mainstream media is not only in cahoots with Carpetbagger Jihad Movement against Mike Nifong etal., but is at the fore, actively blazing the way amongst the weak-minded populous. The link is undeniable.

There is no doubt that Ms. Evans is a brilliant and highly motivated individual, and a person of whose achievements I am in awe. However, it was her famous and insightful statement in the “60 Minutes” interview with Lesley Stahl: “Mr. Nifong, you picked on the wrong families,” that so succinctly and accurately defined the crux of the problem with the state’s criminal justice system. As I am sure that Ms. Evans would agree, the North Carolina system of justice is one that is based on a tenet of “selective justice based on Class and Color.” For this profoundly truthful admission by Ms. Evans, we, Tar Heelians who ascribe to the principle of “equal justice for all,” are extremely grateful.