Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Nifongs are a class act… the same can’t be said for “Newsday”

According to the May 24, 2010 posted article by writers Joseph Mallia and Melanie Lefkowitz of Newsday titled “Collin Finnerty, once falsely accused, graduates college,” Cy Gurney (wife of former Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong) when she was told Newsday was calling about Collin Finnerty's graduation and homecoming, said, "I think that's wonderful. I can't speak for my husband, and I wasn't involved in the case, but I think that sounds like a great story. I believe that people should go forward.” This statement is typical and representative of the class, grace and style that the Nifongs have displayed throughout the horrific assault against them by the state of North Carolina and the biased mainstream media. Mike Nifong’s refusal to speak with meida is understandable when one takes into consideration the media assassination of him by media journalists and tv news producers. The launch of oppressive and spiteful attacks against Mr. Nifong was borne from Rae Evans’s (mother of Duke Lacrosse defendant Dave Evans) Carpetbagger Jihad call for action during a CBS “60 Minutes” television interview. Ms. Evans, in lashing out against the prosecutor who dared to bring charges against her son and two other Dukies, promised that Mr. Nifong would “pay, every day, for the rest of his life.”

Ms. Evans, who worked for more than a decade as an executive for CBS News (a fact which CBS has chosen not to disclose), is now founder and owner of a thriving Washington, D.C. consulting firm, and consequently she has the political and media connections to propel the unwarranted onslaught against a man who merely had the courage to do what was right. That man, Mike Nifong, did what he felt was the right thing to do when the alleged victim of a Duke lacrosse Spring Break beer-guzzling stripper party accused three Duke players of sexually assaulting her in March 2006. Mr. Nifong’s decision to move forward with the prosecution flew in the face of the wishes of Duke University, the North Carolina attorney general, and Governor Mike Easley. And, contrary to the rigged May 1, 2006 primary poll by SurveyUSA which was sponsored by WTVD ABC-11 News, Nifong’s pursuit of the Duke defendants severely compromised his chances of being elected to his incumbent position of Durham district attorney.

Make no mistake about it, the media is no friend of Mr. Nifong… it’s his worst nightmare. It has persistently played a Jedi mind-trick on the public with its false and misleading representations, such as the following: (1) stating that the Duke Lacrosse defendants were “exonerated”; (2) headlines falsely stating that Mr. Nifong “admitted that nothing happened”; and (3) fabricating statements, a specific example being an article by MSNBC Senior legal analyst Susan F. Filan which fictionalizes a conversation wherein Mr. Nifong asks his son to attend his disciplinary hearing.

The biased media was successful in its underhanded undertaking to destroy Mr. Nifong’s image and reputation nationwide, heaping scorn upon him and turning him into a virtual pariah. The majority of people who are aware of his unjust persecution are unwilling to show him any support for fear of being targeted themselves… the one exception being members of the Committee on Justice for Mike Nifong. This grass roots organization of supporters, formed in June 2008,has been largely ignored by the media which aims to minimize any show of support for the former embattled district attorney. Because of the anti-Nifong propaganda spewed forth by the media, many sppon-fed media subscribers have developed a visceral hatred for this honorable, gentle, decent man of integrity… Mike Nifong. So it should not come as any surprise that Mr. Nifong now refuses to talk to the media.

What I find truly disturbing is that Newsday would have the audacity to phone Mr. Nifong in order to get his opinion about Duke Lacrosse defendant Collin Finnerty’s graduation from college. Was the Newsday attempt to interview Mr. Nifong done intentionally to provoke, embarrass, rub in, flaunt, inflict emotional distress, taunt, or all of the above? I do not know what the motivation was for Newsday calling Mr. Nifong, but I know that it was uncalled for, insensitive, malicious, and demonstrated that Newsday has no class.

If Newsday wants to conduct an interview on a topic related to the Duke Lacrosse case, I would be more than happy to oblige. Instead of talking about the graduation of one of the Duke Lacrosse defendants, I would suggest the subject of Crystal Mangum’s recent incarceration on trumped up charges and her excessive $1 million bail. Newsday doesn’t want to tackle the outrageousness of this fiasco, however. Trumped up charges against Ms. Mangum included: (1) felony attempted first degree murder; (2) assault and battery; and (3) felony identity theft. These charges were included at arrest for the purpose of helping to justify the ridiculously high bail of $1 million, but they were not sought on the grand jury indictment because prosecutors knew these charges were frivolous and totally lacking in merit. The charges upon which Crystal Mangum was indicted by the grand jury were just as phony: (1) felony first degree arson (initially five counts reduced to one count at indictment) in a case where Ms. Mangum obviously executed a controlled burn and there was no flame damage or intention to damage her apartment building by fire. This charge is bogus because first degree arson by definition requires the deliberate burning of an occupied building or structure; (2) three counts of contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile are dependent on the first degree arson charge being valid, which it isn’t… therefore these three counts are baseless, as well; (3) injury to personal property – there was no proof that the few clothes burned in the bathtub had a value of $200 or more, and the claims of vandalism to the car of the ex-boyfriend brings the credibility of the Durham police reports into question; and (4) obstructing the investigation of a public officer by claiming Ms. Mangum’s giving a false name to police officers is ludicrous because they knew Ms. Mangum’s true identity before asking her.

The overriding issue is that Ms. Mangum, like Mike Nifong, DNA lab director Brian Meehan, two chief investigators of the Durham Police Department, the Durham City Manager, Nifong supporters as myself, and others considered by the Powers-That-Be to be on the “wrong end” of the Duke Lacrosse case, have been victimized by the Carpetbagger Jihadist movement. Unfortunately the media has served as a pivotal cog in the ‘Bagger’s machinery of destructive retaliation against anything pro-Nifong. By so doing, the media serves the interests of the few, well-heeled privileged at the expense of the vast majority of common folk who seek from the media honest, unbiased, and objective reporting.

The article about Duke defendant Finnerty’s graduation may be accurate in its account, but the actions by its authors to secure an interview with Mike Nifong clearly shows that Newsday is no class act.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Million dollar bail… A case comparison – Part 8

On Saturday evening, May 15, 2010, a 35 year old man, Johnny West, went to pick up his 11 year-old daughter from a house in Stedman, a city in Cumberland County. On their return trip home, they traveled through a neighborhood with children at play in what one man thought was at an excessive speed. He yelled at Johnny West to slow down. Angered by the rebuke, Mr. West arrived home, picked up a shotgun, and with two of his nephews joining him and his daughter, drove back to the neighborhood with the intention of confronting the man who had yelled at him. West shot at the man, who returned fire with a weapon of his own. Johnny West sustained a superficial wound to his arm, however his daughter was struck by a bullet in the abdomen. She was taken to the hospital where she is in critical condition after undergoing surgery to remove part of her stomach and her spleen.

Two days later, on Monday, May 17, 2010, police charged Johnny West with felony child abuse, three counts of assault with a deadly weapon, assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, and communicating threats. He was not charged with attempted first degree murder. His bail was set at $28,000, and he was released after the bond was satisfied. Also, on making bond, there was no condition that upon his release from Cumberland County Detention Center that he be placed under house arrest.

Crystal Mangum, on the other hand, allegedly scratched her ex-boyfriend and initiated a controlled burn using some of his clothing for kindling and was charged on arrest with felony first degree attempted murder, five counts of first degree arson, felony identity theft, communicating threats, assault and battery, three counts of child abuse, injury to personal property, and resisting, delaying, and obstructing a public officer. Magistrate B. Wakil set bail at $1 million. When Durham Assistant D.A. Angela Garcia-Lamarca went before the grand jury, she obtained indictments for one count of felony first degree arson, three counts of contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile, injury to personal property, and obstructing a public officer.

Later Ms. Mangum’s bail was reduced by Judge Claude Allen to $250,000, but with the condition that if she bonded out, she would be placed under house arrest. Weeks pass before Judge Ridgeway reduced the bail to $100,000, with conditions for house arrest still in place. On Saturday, May 15, 2010, members of the Committee on Justice for Mike Nifong held a prayer vigil for Crystal’s release, and on Monday, May 17, 2010, their prays were answered by the gracious, courageous, kind, and generous owners of Hammond & Hammond Bailbondsman, Inc. They posted the $100,000 bond to secure Crystal Mangum’s release from jail. Lonnie Hammond and his wife Janet made the bond on Ms. Mangum’s behalf pro bono after reading an article in The Herald-Sun about efforts Ed Clark and some other members of the Committee on Justice for Mike Nifong were making to raise bond.

Thankfully, Ms. Mangum, though not free, is no longer incarcerated at the Durham correctional facility… she’s is being electronically monitored to keep her from straying from her home. The same cannot be said for Johnny West, who, after making bond, is free to go wherever he pleases… with his shotgun… a man provoked to kill because a stranger yelled at him to slow down in a neighborhood where children were at play… a man who attempted to kill a stranger for yelling at him to slow down… and a man who took his daughter and two nephews with him to an armed confrontation with a stranger.

This is but one of many case comparisons that reinforces my belief that the North Carolina justice system has its priorities misplaced, to put it nicely. Bluntly, the state runs a “vendetta justice system based on Class and Color,” making a mockery of justice and making it the laughing stock of the nation. If it’s equal justice you’re after, North Carolina is not the place to be… just compare the cases of Crystal Mangum and Johnny West, and you’ll see.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Million dollar bail… A case comparison – Part 7

On Wednesday, May 12, 2010, in Chapel Hill, 26 year old Theodore James Walker savagely attacked a 19 year old female jogger. Investigators say Walker grabbed the young woman from behind and then apparently tried to subdue her with pepper spray discharged in her face. He was dragging the victim to his car, when two concerned citizens raced on foot to her rescue. Walker left his victim and jumped in his car, and in making his escape, hit one of the rescuers, propelling him on top of the hood where the windshield was smashed. The 51 year old hero sustained a “fractured and compressed disc” (not clear whether the vertebral body was fractured or compressed according to the newspaper article). From Walker’s car, which was found shortly after the failed abduction, police confiscated a 12-gauge shotgun with shells, a condom, a baseball bat, and a pepper-spray case. Investigators at the suspect’s apartment seized a knife, Hustler and College Girls DVDs, photographs, cameras, and video recording equipment. Walker is charged with second-degree kidnapping, assault on a female, and assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury… however, he was not charged with attempted first degree murder, as was Crystal Mangum for allegedly scratching her boyfriend. The magistrate set bail for Theodore James Walker at $500,000 (a bail amount half of that set by a magistrate for Crystal Mangum).

Comparison with the bail handed to Theodore James Walker of a half million dollars clearly points to the absurdity of Magistrate B. Wakil’s million dollar bail for Crystal Mangum, who did nothing more than allegedly scratch her boyfriend. Walker used his car as a deadly weapon in inflicting serious injuries to a heroic rescuer who required subsequent treatment at a hospital. Ms. Mangum, on the other hand, was described on police reports as using the following weapons against her ex-boyfriend: “hands and feet.” No knife, no gun, no baseball bat... but her bail is twice that of a vicious male predator who is stalking young, unsuspecting females.

Even though Theodore James Walker’s bail was later raised to $ 5 million after it was learned that he was involved in possible other attacks on women, including one in which a female allegedly jumped from his car while it was traveling 30 miles per hour which resulted in severe head injuries, no condition was made by a judge that he would be confined to house arrest if he was able to make bail. That ridiculous condition is what Crystal Mangum faces now, even though she is no flight risk or danger to society. The same cannot be said for Mr. Walker, who if he makes bond, is free to leave the confines of his home and continue to stalk feminine prey.

The disparity in which charges are made and sentences handed out in North Carolina helps to reinforce and support a system which fosters “selective justice based on Class and Color.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Serving time without being convicted of a crime

I owe a debt of gratitude to blog commenters “kenhyderal” and “Whatchoo talkin’ ‘bout, Sidney?” for their very interesting and informative exchange in the comment section of my previously posted blog. The exchange, edited for spelling and grammar, is presented below in its entirety, and deserves a serious look.

kenhyderal said...
When will Crystal's charges be disposed of? Is there no time limit as to when this comes to court? Will she, possibly, have any recourse against these extreme over-charges, if they do eventually get thrown out? I'm thinking in terms of, loss of employment, interruption of her education, separation from her children etc.
May 10, 2010 3:12 PM

Whatchoo talkin' 'bout, Sidney? said...
kenhyderal said -When will Crystal's charges be disposed of?

Probably sometime this summer, kenhyderal. It looks like her attorney is hoping to get her 6 months, with time served. If she gets more, she may be moved to state jail.

Is there no time limit as to when this comes to court?

Welcome to North Carolina, ken, the state which has no speedy trial law. The DA also controls the docket, unlike any other state I have ever seen.

Reforming those two issues alone would help so many people of color and of limited means, yet folks like Sidney and the NC NAACP prefer to ignore those and make headlines when they get one person freed. Rev Barber does that because that's how he makes his money. Sidney does it because he doesn't know better.

I'm thinking in terms of, loss of employment, interruption of her education, separation from her children etc.

Employment - what job?

Education - NCCU will give her another sheepskin like they did her BA.

Children - her kids are safer now.
May 10, 2010 8:43 PM

kenhyderal said...
Six months!! I guarantee this incident would have resulted in less than one day in gaol in Canada. It would have been dealt with in Family Court or in a Magistrate's Court the following morning resulting in a fine most likely with time to pay and if requested by the victim a no-contact order. The rate of spousal abuse is lower in Canada. 2006 statistics from the USA show 124/1000 couples/year for males, assaulted and 122/1000 couples for females assaulted. In Canada in that year 113/1000 not differentiated by sex
May 10, 2010 9:56 PM

Both commenters make great points. I agree wholeheartedly with kenhyderal’s concerns about how the unjust incarceration of Crystal Mangum is impacting her life. Her incarceration is nothing more than vendetta justice maliciously designed to disrupt and upend her life. As was pointed out by Whatchoo, the lack of a speedy trial law coupled with the District Attorney controlling the docket enables prosecutors to make suspects serve time behind bars without them being convicted of a crime. This especially works well in cases where the prosecutor’s case is weak… the James Arthur Johnson case immediately comes to mind (held 39 months without a trial) and the Floyd Brown case (held 14 years without a trial), as well as the current fiasco involving Crystal Mangum.

Now, I am taking a giant leap of faith in believing Whatchoo without first confirming what he states, but it sounds like it is on the money. If his statements about those two issues are true, then he is absolutely correct when he stated that I was ignorant about it. I appreciate his bringing the issue to my attention, and I will work to see what I can to encourage the General Assembly to work to rectify this injustice. As regarding Reverend Barber’s motive, I am equally ignorant about that too.

Assistant District Attorney Angela Garcia-Lamarca is dragging out the prosecution of Crystal Mangum because she has no legitimate case. Consider the following: (1) the charge of felony attempted first degree murder on her arrest was not included in the grand jury indictment; (2) the misdemeanor simple assault and battery charge on arrest was not included in the grand jury indictment; (3) the misdemeanor communicating threats charge on arrest was not included in the grand jury indictment; and (4) the felony identity theft charge on arrest was not included in the grand jury indictment. These four serious charges, made at the time of arrest with the four additional charges on arrest and brought forth in the grand jury indictment, were responsible for laying groundwork for the million dollar bail.

Of the remaining four charges at arrest and entered in the grand jury indictment, take consideration of the following: (1) Felony first degree arson by definition requires that an occupied structure or building be set afire. There is no doubt that Ms. Mangum executed a controlled burn when she set fire to a few of her ex-boyfriend’s clothes in the bathtub where water from faucets and shower heads is readily available (though the Durham police failed to consider using it to extinguish the fire). This charge is totally bogus, as there is no mention in the police or fire records of any fire damage to the building… there is fire damage to clothing, however, and smoke damage to the building (which was the proximate result of the police electing to wait 23 minutes for the fire department to come and put out the fire).
(2) Misdemeanor child abuse – three counts – is dependent upon Crystal Mangum setting fire to the building or committing first degree arson. She did not do that, therefore this charge is as bogus as the first degree arson charge.
(3) Misdemeanor injury to personal property charge, I believe, is inflated on a grand scale. I am sure that the burned clothes of the ex-boyfriend, counting depreciation, were not worth more than $200. To increase the amount of property damaged, the police record attributed to Crystal damage to the ex-boyfriend’s car’s windshield and tires. The police record and police incident report do not specify what damage was done, whether or not instruments were used to inflict damage, or when the vandalism took place. I doubt that vandalism was done to the car by Ms. Mangum because the biased media did not mention it… and believe me they would’ve reported as much damage as possible to make Ms. Mangum’s actions look bad.
(4) Misdemeanor resist, delay, obstruct public officer charge was made because Crystal Mangum allegedly gave a false a false name which, by their reasoning, interfered with the police investigation. I submit that the Durham police knew her identity before they asked her what her name was. That is why they were quick to arrest her. If police at the site had not known her true identity, then the ex-boyfriend would probably have been the one arrested, the police would have turned on the water in the bathtub and extinguished the fire, and the Durham Fire department, with its multiple units, would not have been beckoned out in the middle of the night to extinguish a few clothes burning in a tub.

None of the charges against Ms. Mangum in the grand jury amount to a hill of beans, yet she is under a $100,000 bail (down from the initial $1 million bail). As of May 12, 2010, she remains in jail (although some in the media which were too embarrassed to admit that she was still in jail, such as Newsweek magazine, stated that she was under house arrest). The fact is, however, that even if Ms. Mangum were to make the bail, she would be released on the condition that she is confined to house arrest!

How about a few comparisons with Ms. Mangum’s $1 million bail and aforementioned charges versus charges and bail set for other North Carolina defendants:
Christopher Ray McBride Bail initially: $125,000. Criminal act: physical child abuse beating his 1 year-old daughter so severely that she was left permanently blind.
Labrian A. Lynch Bail: $60,000. Criminal act: assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury. He stabbed his girlfriend, who attempted to escape by running into the street where she was struck by a car. Mr. Lynch also has priors including attempted robbery with a dangerous weapon in 1997.
Bryant Harrison Dennis Bail $10,000. Criminal acts: Statutory sex offenses, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia.
Michele Stein Bail: $200,000. Criminal acts: felony child abuse, severe bodily injury. The three year old victim sustained a skull fracture and bruises to the frontal part of the brain. The boy has been comatose ever since the trauma, more than three weeks ago.

To recap, the scam run by the prosecutors goes like this when a person who they have targeted commits a minor offense:
(1) Overcharge defendant with serious charges and excessive charges upon arrest;
(2) the more severe and numerous the charges, the higher the bail will be set;
(3) with an excessively high bail, the defendant will be unable to make bond and be forced to remain in jail (the beginning of his/her jail sentence);
(4) prosecutors drag out the process, insuring that the defendant will have a longer stay in jail (since the district attorney sets the docket, this can be easily achieved);
(5) get a grand jury indictment, which is private, instead of having a public hearing in court (this prevents the media from realizing that the prosecutor has no case worth merit);
(6) omit the most extreme and outrageous charges when obtaining indictments from the grand jury;
(7) continue to stall and avoid bringing the case to trial by moving the case along at a snail’s pace which will help make the jail sentence last longer;
(8) when satisfied that enough time has been served by the defendant, offer the defendant’s attorney a plea deal for his client, wherein he/she pleads guilty to a lesser offense and is sentenced to time served. More likely than not, the demoralized defendant will accept the plea deal just in order to taste freedom once again and get out of jail.

This is the exact cart-before-the-horse strategy that the prosecution under Assistant D.A. Garcia-Lamarca is following in the Crystal Mangum case. The case is a travesty of justice, using Carpetbagger inspired vendetta justice which has kept Ms. Mangum in jail since February 18, 2010 (nearing the three month mark and counting). And make no doubt about it, Ms. Mangum’s incarceration has nothing to do with justice or the incidents that occurred the night of February 17, 2010… it is purely payback for accusations she made in the Duke Lacrosse case. To repeat, right now she is serving a sentence, not for any of the cockamamie trifle listed in the grand jury indictment in reference to the night of February 17th. She is currently serving an indeterminate sentence for having the gall to accuse Duke lacrosse players from families of wealth, power, and privilege of a sexual assault. And that sentence could last a long time because leaders of the black community remain silent as dormice while the media columnists, op/ed writers, and newspaper editors look the other way.

Keep in mind, that the prosecutorial scam of having a defendant serve a sentence prior to trial was brought to my attention by a blog commenter who is an ardent critic of mine and a person who is very critical of the cause for which I advocate, which is justice for Mike Nifong. Again, Whatchoo, thank you for your contribution… and I would like to thank kenhyderal for your insightful and compassionate statements.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Making a big deal out of a little fire: the Mangum arson timeline

The following information has been obtained from fire records, police reports, and other documents that are accessible by the public. Data from these papers are used to set up an accurate account of what transpired during the night of February 17, 2010, and early morning of February 18, 2010 at the Durham apartment that was rented by the Duke Lacrosse accuser Crystal Mangum.

February 17, 2010 – evening. Crystal Mangum is at the apartment she rents with her three children. She has a dispute with her ex-boyfriend who has been staying for a short time at her apartment intermittently. Crystal’s nine year-old daughter becomes concerned about her mother’s welfare during this dispute, and places a call to 911 seeking help for her mother.

Durham Police officer H. P. Thompson arrives at the house in which the dispute is taking place, late at night on the 17th, no time of arrival is listed on the reports.

February 17, 2010 – 11:53 pm. Ms. Mangum is placed under arrest by Officer Thompson, according to the arrest report.

February 18, 2010 – 12:08:56 am. 15 minutes after Ms. Mangum’s arrest, an alarm to the Durham Fire Department is placed by the Durham Police reporting a “structure fire with a subject trapped” at the address of Crystal Mangum.

February 18, 2010 – 12:15: 10 am. 6 minutes, 14 seconds after receiving the call, Fire Engine 3 arrives on the scene. When they arrive, they find the bathroom door closed, and upon opening it notice that a fire was visible in the bathtub. With a 1 ¾ inch hose-line extending through the front door, the firemen spray water on the fire in the bathtub.

February 18, 2010 – 12:18:00 am. 2 minutes, 50 seconds after arriving on the scene, the firemen extinguish the fire in the bathtub. Although there is no indication from the fire reports or police reports that the walls, floor, or ceiling of the bathroom sustained any fire damage, the firemen pull the ceiling of the bathroom to check for extension of the fire… and find that there is none.

Engine 3 then advises command that an investigator is needed for this incident.

February 18, 2010 – 1:40:31 am. 1 hour, 22 minutes, 31 seconds after extinguishing the fire, the last unit leaves the scene.

What is not clear in any of the reports is why the police officers, upon finding the clothing on fire in the bathtub did not simply turn on the faucet or shower head and douse the fire? Instead, it seems, the police decided to close the bathroom door in hopes of slowing the spread of the fire from the bathtub to other parts of the structure. There was no mention of any fire damage to the walls, floors, or ceilings in the bathroom or anywhere else within the apartment. It seems that had the fire been extinguished by the police when they first became aware of it, any smoke damage would have been significantly minimized. The time that had elapsed from when Ms. Mangum was arrested by police until the fire was extinguished by the fire department was 25 minutes.

I am not a fireman, but I have serious questions as to why an investigator would be needed for this fire. Common sense would dictate that Ms. Mangum must have harbored some ill feelings toward her ex-boyfriend and wanted to release frustrations by setting his clothing on fire (not unlike the scene in the movie “Waiting to Exhale” in which the Angela Bassett character sets her boyfriends clothing on fire… not in a bathtub like Ms. Mangum did, but in her boyfriend’s sports car). It is obvious that by placing the ex-boyfriend’s clothing in a fireproof bathtub, that Ms. Mangum was executing a controlled burn, and had no intention of burning down the house. In lieu of a fireplace, the bathtub is the most logical place to burn someone’s clothing. Furthermore, there was no mention in any of the official reports of an accelerant being used in the fire. It makes no sense that in a fit of anger at her ex-boyfriend, Ms. Mangum would burn her residence that she shared with her three children.

If anyone acted negligently during this event, it would be the police, who instead of immediately extinguishing the fire in the bathtub upon detection, decided to close the bathroom door and call the fire department to put out the fire. Their irresponsible actions put the entire apartment building in jeopardy of being burnt to the ground. The police enabled the smoke damage to the building grow in magnitude, and the extensive smoke damage possibly forced the firemen to pull the ceiling in the bathroom. Why the reluctance on the part of the police to put out the fire? More likely than not it was to magnify the seriousness of the charges that they would lob against Ms. Mangum, the accuser of the Duke Lacrosse defendants. Their misguided motivation for acting against Ms. Mangum was in compliance with the Carpetbagger Jihad movement directed at anyone or anything on the “wrong end” of the Duke Lacrosse case.

With respect to the fire, Crystal Mangum was arrested on a felony first degree arson charge (initially five counts, then later reduced to one count). Ms. Mangum was indicted by a grand jury on the charge of first degree arson under North Carolina statute 14-58. According to that statute, a first degree arson charge is in reference to a building or a structure that is burned while inhabited. It is evident that the structure (building, or apartment) was not burned, nor was there an attempt made to burn the structure by Ms. Mangum. The blatantly false charges are vendetta-driven and make a mockery of the North Carolina justice system, its police officers, prosecutors and courts. It is past time for the Duke Lacrosse case related foolery to cease. Crystal Mangum should be immediately released from custody and the charges against her dismissed. The justice system should not be involved in lengthening her time of incarceration for the purpose of disrupting her employment situation and losing custody of her children. What is really shameful is that our system of justice is not only cruel and draconian in its workings, but that it allows the Carpetbaggers to dictate the degree of callous and inhumane treatment.

In addition to releasing Crystal Mangum, the courts should also immediately release Alan Gell, another victim of vendetta justice. Prosecutor David Hoke withheld exculpatory evidence in winning a capital murder conviction against Gell, an innocent man. After serving ten years of wrongful incarceration, Gell was set free at re-trial, and he filed lawsuits against those individuals and agencies responsible for his conviction. When law enforcement learned that he impregnated his girlfriend just prior to her turning legal age, he was convicted on some convoluted cockamamie charge and sentenced to five years. This, after serving ten years wrongfully incarcerated. Do the math: Gell wrongfully incarcerated ten years minus five year cockamamie sentence equals immediate release from prison with five years credit.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Million dollar bail… a case comparison – Part 6

Christopher Ray McBride, 28, has a troubled past history that includes an eleven month prison sentence in 2003 for breaking and entering, embezzlement, assault, larceny and drug manufacturing. According to the News & Observer article of April 30, 2010, McBride was convicted in 2004 and 2005 of assaulting a female and resisting an officer, and served a probation sentence until April 2006. Most recently, he was scheduled for court this month on firearms possession and drug charges.

The April 30th N & O article titled “Father charged in blinding” states that Mr. McBride was jailed on a child abuse charge after he assaulted his 1 year-old daughter and left her permanently blind. The loss of the child’s sight as due to brain trauma she sustained at the base of her skull. Mr. McBride was not charged with attempted first degree murder, and his bail was initially set at $125,000.

Crystal Mangum, who allegedly scratched her boyfriend, on the other hand, is charged with attempted first degree murder in what her boyfriend described as a “misunderstanding.” Ms. Mangum used no weapons, inflicted no injuries, and yet she was saddled with a million dollar bail, and remains in jail after her arrest on February 18, 2010.

When her prosecutor obtained a grand jury indictment, the felony attempted first degree murder charge was not even considered. Also, the simple assault and battery misdemeanor charge was not acted upon by the grand jury. Neither the misdemeanor charge of communicating threats nor the felony charge of identity theft was entertained by the grand jury. And although many of the charges piled on Ms. Mangum at her arrest were not sought by prosecutors before the grand jury, her bail was reduced to $250,000 with the condition that if she were to raise the bond, she would be released from jail to remain under house arrest. Her bail has since been reduced to $100,000.

As has been stated previously, the selective and unjust treatment Ms. Mangum has endured from the police, prosecutors, and courts, is not unlike the abusive, excessive, and unjust treatment to which former Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong was subjected. The disparities in their sentences in comparison with others are the proximate result of their roles in the Duke Lacrosse case… Ms. Mangum, the accuser, and Mr. Nifong, the prosecutor.

The vendetta justice that ensnared Ms. Mangum is not unlike that which resulted in Alan Gell being given an extremely harsh five year prison sentence for a charge with circumstances that would have only netted others probation. Gell spent a decade wrongfully incarcerated, initially sentenced to death for a murder he did not commit. Prosecutor David Hoke withheld exculpatory evidence from Gell’s defense attorney in winning a capital murder conviction. And when Mr. Gell sought the legal retribution to which he was entitled, he incurred the wrath of the North Carolina justice system… and he now sits in prison, a victim of vendetta justice.

Both Crystal Mangum and Alan Gell should be immediately released from confinement. Neither of them is a flight risk or a danger to society. In fact, the charges against them both are drastically inflated and not worthy of incarceration. Their incarcerations, solely to quench the vindictive thirst of the North Carolina justice system and, in the case of Ms. Mangum, the Carpetbagger families of the Duke Lacrosse defendants, are exacting a toll on North Carolina taxpayers who must pay for their prison accommodations. The money used to keep them behind bars is money that could be better spent… for example, to help pay to defend the cash-strapped city of Durham from the civil lawsuits filed by the avaricious Carpetbagger families and their greedy attorneys.

Although their release makes sense on a financial level to taxpayers and North Carolina residents, their immediate release from custody is the right thing to do, it is the ethical thing to do, and it is what justice demands to be done. There is no place in a just justice system for vendettas.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Million dollar bail... a case comparison - Part 5

On April 30, 2010, Leonard Earl Wilson, 39, was arrested for assaulting a female by ripping her clothes, scratching her, and breaking her wrist watch. He also resisted attempts by the Durham cops to arrest him by refusing to sit down and put his cans (plural) of beer on the ground, and pulling away when officers tried to place him in custody. His bail for this behavior... a whopping $3,000.

Now compare this with Crystal Mangum, who allegedly scratched her boyfriend during what he described as a "misunderstanding." She is charged with attempted first degree murder, and placed under a one million dollar bail. Although the bail was later reduced to a measly $100,000, the judge stated that in the event she made bail that she would still be placed under house arrest. No such condition was made for Mr. Leonard Wilson. Why the discrepancies...? Answer: Vendetta justice!

Vendetta justice is selective, illogical, and discriminatory... and Ms. Mangum, like former Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong are victims of vendetta justice. There are many other such comparative cases like Leonard Earl Wilson's that readily expose the harsh draconian treatment of Ms. Mangum. Ms. Mangum continues to languish in jail with no end to her ordeal in sight, while the so-called leaders of the black communities in Durham remain as silent as dormice. Where is the Durham NAACP? What is their position with relationship to Ms. Mangum's charges and bail? Has the NAACP written any letters to the courts, the prosecutors, or the media to explain their displeasure (if they are displeased) about Ms. Mangum's treatment?

I, for one, a member of the Committee on Justice for Mike Nifong, am outraged at the travesty of this vendetta justice towards Ms. Mangum... and I have backed it up with letters to Ms. Mangum's prosecutor (Angela Garcia-Lamarca), the Durham District Attorney (Tracy Cline), one of the presiding judges (Honorable Claude Allen) and people in the media, including the Herald Sun, and News & Observer.

When the Scottsboro Boys were charged with rape in the early half of the twentieth century, the NAACP's legal team lacked the courage to step in and see that these accused received their best defensive representation. It is a blight on the history of this august organization. The defense of the Scottsboro boys came from socialist/communist groups... the NAACP being silent as dormice. Well, history is unfortunately repeating itself with Crystal Mangum. This is truly another sad and shameful episode in Durham history, and in the history of the Durham NAACP.

Now I must give credit to Reverend William Barber and the state NAACP for saving James Arthur Johnson from being railroaded by the Wilson prosecutors, led by Bill Wolfe. However, to my understanding, Mr. Johnson has yet to receive the $20,000 he earned for solving the crimes against Brittany Willis. Furthermore, it is my understanding that the ludicrous felony charge of "misprision of felony" (failure to notify authorities of the knowledge of a crime) is still on his record. Everything connected with this fiasco needs to be expunged from Johnson's record. The NAACP should at least follow up and see that Mr. Johnson receives the reward he deserves, and have all related criminal charges expunged from his record.

But restorative justice for Mr. Johnson can be put on the back burner because he is at least enjoying his freedom. The brunt of the NAACP's attention and efforts should be focused on having the ridiculous charges against Ms. Mangum dismissed, and having her immediately released from the Durham County Correctional facility. The NAACP and other so-called leaders of the black communities of Durham should accept nothing less.