Thursday, July 29, 2010

Angela Garcia-Lamarca wastes taxpayer dollars by monitoring Crystal Mangum

Durham Assistant District Attorney Angela Garcia-Lamarca is plundering the cash-strapped coffers of Durham County, wasting taxpayer money by electronically monitoring Crystal Mangum, the victim in the Duke Lacrosse case. Ms. Garcia-Lamarca is clinging onto the house arrest of Ms. Mangum as it represents her last pitiful bargaining chip in an effort to eek out a plea deal. However, with members of the Committee on Justice for Mike Nifong’s support, it is highly unlikely that Ms. Mangum will plead guilty to trumped up charges when she is, in fact, not guilty. The travesty that befell James Arthur Johnson is not likely to be repeated in this case.

As has been pointed out previously, the trumped up charges against Ms. Mangum (attempted first degree murder, first degree arson, injury to personal property, identity theft, communicating threats, assault and battery, etc.) were the first part of the Carpetbagger Jihad’s agenda to have Ms. Mangum serve a sentence without being convicted of a crime. This bogus case brought by Garcia-Lamarca against Ms. Mangum was intended to be a plea-bargain case from the get-go, and was never intended to see the light of a courtroom with a seated jury.

The angelic bail bondsmen responsible for her release from the Durham County Detention Center, enabled members of the Committee on Justice for Mike Nifong to have access to Ms. Mangum, which allowed the truth to be known… specifically, that she had no prior knowledge or involvement in the clothes set afire in the bathtub. Another truth revealed publicly at her press conference on June 30, 2010, is that Ms. Mangum had no prior knowledge or involvement in the vandalism to a car owned by her ex-boyfriend. In other words, someone other than Ms. Mangum and her children put clothes in the bathtub and set them on fire. The only other possible suspects would be either Ms. Mangum’s ex-boyfriend or member(s) of the Durham Police Department.

It is quite curious that the police reports state an officer allegedly saw Ms. Mangum putting clothes in the bathtub, but that no officer actually witnessed Ms. Mangum setting fire to the clothing items. The case regarding the alleged vandalism to the car is just as murky, if not more so. These are bogus, trumped up charges without credible evidence to support them. And is the assistant district attorney going to force Durham’s finest to commit perjury in order to exact some vendetta on behalf of Carpetbaggers who are presently pursuing a $30 million lawsuit against the cash-strapped Bull city? All rationale and logic cry out for this charade of charges against Ms. Mangum to be dropped immediately and for the city to proceed to work towards restorative justice in an attempt to make Ms. Mangum restored to her position prior to her February 17th arrest.

Since the mid-May release of Ms. Mangum from the detention center, Ms. Mangum has been under house arrest and electronically monitored. This is not a free service, but costs the county twelve dollars ($12.00) per day to maintain. That amounts to $360.00 per month of taxpayer money going down the drain… and for what? Ms. Mangum is not a flight risk and is not a threat to society. In addition, the diversion of attention towards Ms. Mangum deprives those who are really in need of the service.

Now Angela Garcia-Lamarca is willing to stretch out the period of the electronic monitoring of Ms. Mangum over years, if necessary. James Arthur Johnson, for example, was incarcerated 39 months before his trial could no longer be delayed by Wilson Prosecutor Bill Wolfe (at which time he called in a special prosecutor, because, like Garcia-Lamarca, he had no case). What makes this such an outrage is that individuals convicted of DWI are limited by law to 60 days of electronic monitoring. I would like to know who is more deserving of long-term electronic monitoring, Ms. Mangum (a victim of domestic violence), or a person convicted of multiple DWIs?

If there was a reason for monitoring Ms. Mangum, I would not object to the anklet. But Ms. Mangum is definitely no flight risk. She was born in Durham and lived most of her life in Durham, the exception being the years she served in the U.S. Navy. She has no transportation, she does not have the financial wherewithal to leave the area or establish herself elsewhere. And, she is a mother with three children which would make flight impossible.

Now, this is just my opinion, and it is possible that someone might have a reasonable explanation in support of Ms. Mangum being electronically monitored 24/7. If someone is able to provide me with what I consider to be a logical reason for Durham County monitoring Crystal Mangum, then I will award that person with one thousand dollars ($1,000.00) in cold hard cash. This offer is opened to anyone, including Angela Garcia-Lamarca and Judge Claude Allen. However, in the unlikely event I determine that someone is deserving of the monetary award, its payment will be made only after James Arthur Johnson receives his $20,000.00 reward for solving the murder of Brittany Willis.

I believe that electronic monitoring has its place in society, but like most everything, it can be subjected to abuse. Prosecutor Garcia-Lamarca’s use of it against Ms. Mangum is an example of that abuse at its worst… using it when it is not warranted and for punitive and malicious purposes. And not only that, but it is a prime example of wasting taxpayer money.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Linwood Wilson…Nifong’s personal investigator?

WRAL and other mainstream media outlets continue to spin the news reports like yarn by stating that former Duke Lacrosse case investigator Linwood Wilson is Mike Nifong’s investigator. A recent WRAL online article about Linwood Wilson has the following headline: “Guns, computers seized from home of former Nifong investigator.” It doesn’t read: “… of former Duke Lacrosse investigator.” It doesn’t read: … of former state investigator.” The fact is that Mr. Wilson is not Mr. Nifong’s personal investigator, and the media is red-handedly caught purposely trying to tie Mike Nifong into the recent domestic troubles facing Linwood Wilson.

A sampling of other WRAL online headlines about Linwood Wilson, who is currently under a cloud of negative publicity and possible criminal charges, include the following:
“Former Nifong investigator gets higher bond after case revisited;” “State handling domestic case involving former Nifong aide;” and “Nifong’s former investigator in domestic dispute.”

However, Linwood Wilson’s presently alleged problems being tied to the former Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong is nothing new. A WRAL headline in 2007 read: “Nifong’s top investigator toppled.” And an article in 2008, which was also about Mr. Wilson, read: “Nifong’s investigator in Duke case wants lawsuit dropped.”

Such headline is disingenuous to say the least, and without doubt, selective. When the state and media recently lowered the boom against the initial head investigator of the case against Alan Gell, Dwight Ransome, the media referred to him as “SBI investigator.” The mainstream media never mentioned or referred to Mr. Ransome as “(David) Hoke’s investigator.” In fact, in most all media articles about Alan Gell’s unjust prosecution, Prosecutor David Hoke’s name was never mentioned. This, of course, is in strict compliance with the media’s PAPEN (Protect All Prosecutors Except Nifong) Policy.

However, it is unheard of for media to attribute investigators as being possessions of the prosecutor(s) of cases being investigated. Only in the Duke Lacrosse case can one expect the unusual, the unexpected, the unprecedented, and the unjust treatment by the state and the media.

Like Mike Nifong, Crystal Mangum, Brian Meehan, myself, and others who are considered to be supporters of Mike Nifong and/or on the wrong end of the Duke Lacrosse case, Linwood Wilson, as a Duke Lacrosse prosecution investigator, is a high valued target in the Carpetbagger Jihad agenda. Because of that, it is unwise for one to place faith in what is spoon-fed about him to the public by the media. The media has been very effective in vilifying Mike Nifong, and supporting the state’s trumped up charges against Crystal Mangum, the victim in the Duke Lacrosse case.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Lies about Sherrod… lies about Mangum... and lies about Nifong

Recently, right-wing conservative Tea-bagger and blogger Andrew Breitbart unleashed a torrent of statements and activities which brought awareness to the nation as a whole the person holding a midlevel position in the United StatesDepartment of Agriculture… Shirley Sherrod. This African American woman, first vilified as a racial hate-monger by those on the right, as well as some leaders in the federal government and the head of the national organization – NAACP, was shortly thereafter transformed into near sainthood, as lies about Breitbart’s blog and its edited video were exposed to the light of day.

The misleading video, from a source the unapologetic Mr. Breitbart has refused to identify, takes comments made by Ms. Sherrod totally out of context and suggests that she denied assistance to a white farmer solely based on his race. Department of Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack was quick to force Ms. Sherrod to resign, based on the perception of Ms. Sherrod that was presented by Mr. Breitbart. NAACP President Benjamin Jealous quickly denounced Ms. Sherrod, as well. This happened before the truth about Ms. Sherrod’s statements became known.

When the truth became known, retractions and apologies were issued by the USDA Secretary Vilsack, the White House, and the NAACP president.

Now, what is of importance in this event is that Mr. Vilsack, the man directly responsible for Ms. Sherrod’s ouster, then followed the principles of “Restorative Justice” (as is taught at Campbell University’s School of Law) in dealing with Ms. Sherrod. Those principles include: 1) Acknowledging a mistake (he admitted he made a mistake by acting without having all of the facts); 2) Apologizing (he apologized profusely and publicly to Ms. Sherrod); 3) Restoring her to her pre-incident status (he offered her another job in the agency); and 4) Preventing such an incident from occurring in the future (he stated that he would take time to fully investigate complaints in the future before taking any action). For his response to his mistake, I applaud Mr. Vilsack.

At the other end of the spectrum is Andrew Breitbart, who refused to apologize to Ms. Sherrod, but even denies any problem with his blog that was responsible for the furor that followed. Even Fox’s Bill O’Reilly offered a half-hearted apology to Ms. Sherrod for calling for firing early on in this story’s cycle. By and large, most individuals connected to this story and who acted prematurely based on the misleading Breitbart blog, did exhibit conscientiousness and common sense by issuing an appropriate mea culpa to victim Sherrod.

As unfortunate and despicable as the actions that were taken against Ms. Sherrod because of lies disseminated by Breitbart’s blog, the consequences she suffered pale in comparison to those suffered by the falsely accused Duke Lacrosse victim Crystal Mangum, and former Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong. First and foremost, the snippet of video featuring Ms. Sherrod, was taken out of context, whereas the lies about Ms. Mangum and Mr. Nifong were total fabrications. Many lies have been presented by the media and the state against Ms. Mangum, including the unsubstantiated claim that she attempted to murder her ex-boyfriend. This lie was the basis for justifying the extremely high bail of $1 million, set by Magistrate B. Wakil. Although she was charged with the attempted first degree murder charge at arrest, the charge was never sought before the grand jury because Prosecutor Angela Garcia-Lamarca knew that the charge was bogus beyond belief. What is so insidious is that the Durham Police Department trumped up the charge of first-degree arson and used it for the purpose of forcing Ms. Mangum to serve a lengthy prison sentence. To add icing to the cake, the prosecution also trumped up vandalism charges against Ms. Mangum, accusing her of damaging the windshield and tires of her ex-boyfriend’s car. The media, for the most part, has ignored this accusation, more likely than not because they doubt its credibility. The state and media should follow the lead of USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack in the Sherrod affair, and immediately act in accordance with the principles of Restorative Justice in its dealings with Ms. Mangum.

With respect to Mike Nifong, many lies have been fabricated and disseminated by the state and media, but I will focus on one of the most blatant examples – the statement by MSNBC Senior Legal Analyst Susan F. Filan in an online article titled “Nifong punishment extreme, appropriate.” In that article, Ms. Filan stated that Mr. Nifong asked his son to attend his disciplinary hearing before the State Bar in order to garner sympathy. She then berates Mr. Nifong for using his son, and being an insensitive and selfish parent. The only problem with this scenario is that it is totally fabricated… a figment of Ms. Filan’s imagination.

What is even more disturbing is that the head honchos at NBC-Universal refuse to acknowledge the falsity of Ms. Filan’s statement… thereby supporting the false and misleading statements that impugn Mr. Nifong’s character and expose him to unwarranted public scorn. Rick Cotton, Executive Vice president and General Counsel, and Jeff Zucker, President and CEO, have both refused to accept certified correspondence questioning the accuracy of Ms. Filan’s article.

Ms. Filan and MSNBC need to take up Restorative Justice principles with respect to Mr. Nifong. He is not the only one to whom they owe such a response, as they purposely duped their subscribers and viewers. Furthermore, it is advisable for them to rectify the erroneous article by Ms. Filan in order to help re-establish their own credibility. For them not to take such steps only reinforces their position as being biased against Mike Nifong.

An extensive report is now available on our official website. A link will be provided to the directory of the newly established “Investigative Reports” page. Click on the only button currently with a report, and it will bring up the story. The report shows all documents in my possession that are related to the false statement made by Ms. Filan and the refusal be NBC-Universal big-wigs to take responsible and corrective actions.


Monday, July 19, 2010

Million dollar bail… a case comparison – Part 10

Earl Travis Deans Jr., of Pikeville, in Wayne County was arrested on Wednesday, July 14, 2010, and slapped with charges which include: second degree kidnapping, assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury, and assault on a female. Of note is that Mr. Deans was not charged with attempted murder. Outstanding charges against Mr. Deans included: five counts of failure to appear in court, and two counts of failure to pay child support.

According to law enforcement, current charges stemmed from a Sunday, July 11th argument between Deans, 34, and his on again, off again 24 year-old girlfriend. He is alleged to have imprisoned the woman since Sunday by tying her up with phone cord and locking her in a bedroom closet until her escape three days later on Wednesday, July 14th. During her captivity, sheriff’s officials state that the young lady was beaten and burned with a curling iron, and presented physically with bruises and burns all over her body. Wayne County sheriff’s Captain Tom Effler stated that Deans also cut off all her scalp hair. After the three days of torture, the victim of Deans was taken to Wayne Memorial Hospital where she was hospitalized.

Deans’s past criminal history, which dates back to 1997, includes a conviction for assault on a female, and simple assault. He served a three months jail sentence for a 2008 conviction of resisting a public officer and violations for his probation for assault on a female and larceny in 2007.

Now despite the seriousness of charges against him, his past violent criminal past record, and his failure to appear five times in court, Mr. Deans’s bail was set at only $103,000. This amount is approximately one-tenth the bail set for Crystal Mangum on trumped up charges filed against her on February 18, 2010. In that incident, Ms. Mangum was attacked and beaten by her ex-boyfriend, and committed no criminal act. The one million dollar bail levied, and the ludicrous charges leveled against her were nothing more than payback for her role in the Duke Lacrosse case. Not unlike the February 17th incident, Ms. Mangum was a victim in the lacrosse case, as well. In short, the current criminal boondoggle is a prime example of North Carolina’s vendetta justice.

To add insult to injury, Mr. Deans will not be required to be placed under house arrest or electronic monitoring if he bonds out. Although released under a $100,000 bail, the house arrest order that Ms. Mangum has been placed under is purely malicious, unwarranted, and cruel… again, representing North Carolina’s vendetta justice.

Ms. Mangum, after her hearing on Monday, July 12, 2010, theoretically remains under house arrest, which because of a few hours on weekdays during which she is at liberty to leave the confines of the house is euphemistically referred to as “electronic surveillance.” She has some unrestricted freedom to move about away from the house, but only during the weekday hours of 8:00 am until 5:00 pm. From 5:00 pm until 8:00 am, and on weekends she is confined to the residence under which she is on house arrest.

Crystal Mangum, just like former Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong, is being persecuted by the state because of her link to the Duke Lacrosse case, and the media is working hard to pull a Jedi mind-trick on the public in order to demonize her just like it did Mr. Nifong. The selective justice and special treatment that is blatantly administered should be recognized by the people for what it is… an infringement on the rights of all the people to be treated with “equal justice for all.”

Friday, July 16, 2010

Duke University destroys Lacrosse evidence

Like cat burglars in the dead of night, Duke University, on the morning of Monday, July 12, 2010, stealthily moved its backhoe with its huge claw into position on property located at 610 North Buchanan Boulevard in Durham, and commenced razing the historic bungalow. Purchased by the university just months prior to the infamous Duke lacrosse spring break beer-guzzling stripper party of March 2006, the house, which sat vacant since the incident, fell into disrepair, according to Duke official Michael Schoenfeld. He told WRAL that it was an eyesore, and that it was not torn down for any symbolic reason.

The reason the property became an eyesore is because its owner, Duke University, did not maintain the property and had every intention of letting it become an eyesore for the purpose of justifying its destruction. Duke certainly maintains its other properties in excellent condition. The house on Buchanan Boulevard had become a symbol of Duke’s shameful past, and Duke officials had every intention of seeing it removed. To prevent any interference in their plans, they initiated a blitzkrieg strategy that had the structure leveled before any objections could be made, or even awareness known of their battering intention. By the time the media heard about activity on the property, the house was half demolished.

The house at 610 North Buchanan Boulevard, being a historical landmark, should have been preserved and, if nothing else, possibly used as a center for counseling or treatment. Its shameful past history should not have forced it to face the wrecking ball. There are other structures, such as the palaces along the Ivory Coast of Africa which served as a holding cell for Africans who were captured and destined to go to the New World to toil as slaves, which have a much more horrendous past and they were not destroyed. In fact, they are now treasured for their historical value… a true life museum that affords its visitors an up-close and personal experience of the horrors of the sixteenth and seventeenth century African slave trade. The Nazi death camp of Auschwitz is another example of property with a despicable and inhumane past which was not torn asunder and buried. It was preserved; if for no other reason than to serve as an ugly reminder of the brutal extent of man’s inhumanity to man. In a like vein, the Duke Lacrosse Party House should have been preserved for its historical and social value.

However, with recent revelations about the trumped up charges of February 17, 2010 against the falsely accused Crystal Mangum (the victim in the Duke Lacrosse case), the possibility, though remote, of renewed interest in conducting an objective investigation into the Duke Lacrosse case, undoubtedly gave impetus to plans for the house’s quick demise. As Ms. Mangum’s credibility grows, even in light of the biased representations in the mainstream media, people are beginning to question Roy Cooper’s April 11, 2007 “Innocent Promulgation” and his assertion that “nothing (criminal) happened” that night in 2006. With the party house now nothing more than a memory, the dimensions of the bathroom and the alleged discrepancies in the photographs taken inside the house which some construed to be “doctored,” these issues can no longer be adequately explored. Further, the collection of evidence, DNA and otherwise is lost forever. The crime scene is no more. Duke has successfully covered its tracks.

Crystal Mangum was silenced from presenting, in court, her story about the Duke Lacrosse case. Now being the falsely accused, and out from under the thumb of a public defender who was working in the best interests of the state, Ms. Mangum has been putting her story before the public, even though the media negatively skews it as much as possible. Yet the trumped up charges against her are becoming more exposed, and they are not even a house of cards; they are nothing more than smoke, mirrors, and hot air.

How much do you know about the incident involving Ms. Mangum that occurred the night of February 17, 2010 and the trumped up charges against her? Click on the link below to get access to our ten question quiz, and find out what your SJ.Q. (Subjective Justice Quotient) is on the subject.


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A bit of relief for Crystal Mangum in court

On Monday, July 12, 2010, Ms. Mangum attended court for a hearing in which she had the condition for house arrest removed, yet she remained under electronic surveillance. She is now free to leave the small confines of her residence and its porch, but is limited with respect to the time she is free, as she is under curfew from 5:00 pm until 8:00 am. These limits, which are supposed to currently in place, were set by individuals from the Pre-trial Jail Diversion program, specifically Ms. Christie Long. Attempts to reach her for an explanation have been unsuccessful. Wake County Superior Court Judge Michael Morgan gave the Pre-trial staff the discretion of parameters of her monitoring, including hours of curfew.

Judge Morgan was brought into the hearing when Judge Kenneth Titus, for reasons unknown, did not make an appearance. He seemed to be relatively unfamiliar with the case, which is to be expected, and was not specific about the monitoring. On both occasions when Ms. Mangum attempted to address the court, Judge Morgan inexplicably denied her the opportunity, telling her instead to confer with her counsel, who would then communicate with him.

Prosecutor Angela Garcia-Lamarca argued that Crystal Mangum’s three children were victim’s of Ms. Mangum because she set clothes on fire in the bathtub while they were in the house… a charge that Ms. Mangum has steadily denied. The judge appeared to side with Ms. Garcia-Lamarca by conceding to her request that the children’s visits with their mother are supervised.

At the trial’s end, Public Defender Clayton Jones requested that he be removed as attorney of record for Crystal Mangum. He cited meddling by members of the Committee on Justice for Mike Nifong as the reason, stating that it interfered with his ability to adequately represent his client. Judge Morgan granted this request, and the high ranking officer in the Public Defender’s Office is believed to be seeking other counsel for Ms. Mangum.

Well attended by the media, the hearing got off to a rather auspicious start when the location of the hearing was shifted from court to court, and it was learned that the judge who had scheduled the hearing a week earlier would not be sitting on the bench.

All in all, Ms. Mangum landed on the positive side of the ledger, having been removed from the stringent conditions of house arrest, and being to enjoy periods of unsupervised freedom. The process of obtaining justice for Ms. Mangum has been like peeling an onion… removing one layer at a time. Next on the agenda for Ms. Mangum’s justice is working to do away with all monitoring of Ms. Mangum. This monitoring is solely punitive, of no beneficial value to Ms. Mangum or the state, and is an unnecessary financial burden to the taxpayers. Social services or Child Protective Services should restore unbridled visitation rights of Ms. Mangum with her children without much ado.

Little by little the prosecution in this flawed and trumped up case is being pushed to the brink. Any leverage it had to force Ms. Mangum to accept a plea deal has been drastically whittled to the size of a toothpick. One thing is certain, and that is that what happened to James Arthur Johnson under the watch of the NAACP, will not happen to Ms. Mangum. The only question is whether the prosecutor will use common sense and take the initiative to drop all charges, or proceed naked into the blades of a whirlwind, fueled by the Committee on Justice for Mike Nifong. Pursuing the later course will put many of Durham’s Finest on the line and in the spotlight… facing the possibility of committing perjury in order to keep in lockstep with the Carpetbagger Jihad’s Plan of Retribution. The question… is it worth it? I don’t think so.

A link is provided below to take you to our website’s news directory. Click on the button that reads, “Posted: July 14, 2010” to see detailed examples of how the prosecution’s case falls apart.


Monday, July 12, 2010

Radio Host Tara Servatius discusses Crystal Mangum, Mike Nifong, and the Committee

On Thursday, July 8, 2010, Tara Servatius, host of the Charlotte, North Carolina’s conservative talk show bearing her name, was gracious enough to interview the Committee on Justice for Mike Nifong’s Lay Advocate Sidney B. Harr. The interview, which lasted nearly eight minutes, covered a range of topics from the Duke Lacrosse case to the current criminal charges that Crystal Mangum faces. Although I am unfamiliar with the show’s format, I believe that a longer interview session, with questions from callers, would have made for an extremely interesting and informative program.

This is not the first time Harr has given an interview on a radio talk show. Nearly a year ago he, as well as Committee member and co-founder Victoria Peterson each gave interviews on Raleigh’s conservative equivalent, WPTF. Although the appearances lasted about an hour, actual air time sans commercials, news, weather, and traffic more closely approximated 25 minutes. Although Ms. Peterson’s interview was outstanding, Harr’s performance on WPTF was less than stellar. He had been chomping at the bit to return to discuss other aspects of the Duke Lacrosse case and Mike Nifong’s disbarment, but was told that the only interview the station would consider giving in the future would be to Mr. Nifong, himself.

The interviews with WPTF’s Bill LuMaye Show covered a lot of ground, however there are so many facets to the Duke Lacrosse case that an entire show on the topic could be fit into a weekly schedule. Certainly, the unfair accusations against Ms. Mangum that occurred during an incident the night of February 17, 2010, should be extensively explored. However, this seems to be a topic that the media is not anxious to dissect, which is understandable in light of the fact that she is once again a victim. The Carpetbagger-driven media was extremely successful in transforming Ms. Mangum from a victim to a villain in the Duke Lacrosse case. It has a much more challenging row to hoe in demonizing Ms. Mangum, who is obviously a victim in this situation in which charges were lodged against her as payback for her accusations in the Duke Lacrosse case.

I would ask WPTF news director Rick Martinez to reconsider having me or other members of our Committee discuss Duke Lacrosse related topics on the Bill LuMaye Show. One thing about our organization is that it is made up of a diverse group of individuals with differing viewpoints, various political philosophies, temperaments which cover the gamut, and different methods to approach solving an issue. Each member speaks for himself/herself only, and not for the group as a whole, as reaching consensus on most issues is not realistic. Some commenters to this blog are quick to point out that “there’s dissention in the ranks.” Well there is dissention in all groups to some extent, but we feel that differences of opinion help make our group stronger. The one point in which we all find common ground, however, is that former Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong was selectively and unjustly disbarred by the North Carolina State Bar. Furthermore, our group’s common goal is to see that Mr. Nifong’s license to practice law in North Carolina is unilaterally and unconditionally reinstated.

We welcome a seat at any media table, radio or television, liberal or conservative, to discuss the important issues related to the criminal justice system in North Carolina, and the Duke Lacrosse case. Hopefully the July 8th phone interview with Ms. Servatius will not be the last with members of the Committee on Justice for Mike Nifong.

A link is provided below to our website’s Multi-media page. Click on the button marked “The Tara Servatius Show” to access the most recent interview.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Lessons learned from James Arthur Johnson

James Arthur Johnson served a sentence of 39 months in jail. Because Special Prosecutor W. David McFadyen, Judge Milton Fitch and others applied sufficient pressure, Johnson accepted an Alford plea to a “misprision of felony” charge. Despite pleading guilty to the charge, Johnson was not technically or legally guilty of the charge. The misprision charge is rarely employed by the prosecution for a person who withholds his/her knowledge of a crime. James Arthur Johnson did not withhold knowledge of a crime because he was the one who told police the true identity of the person he believed to be responsible. The prosecutors were quick to point out that Mr. Johnson waited three days before going to the police with the evidence, but the charge of misprision of felony does not specify a time limit. Johnson didn’t wait three years, three months, or even three weeks before going to the police with his knowledge of the crime, yet he spent more than three years in jail because he did not go to the police within three hours or so of learning about the crime.

The plea deal in Johnson’s case is very chilling, because the misprision of felony can be leveled against anyone who does not report knowledge of a crime immediately. Most people want to at least think about the consequences to themselves and their families if they go to the police with information of a crime. As things stand with the James Arthur Johnson plea deal, as the clock ticks, people will be less inclined to come forward to help solve a crime out of fear of being incarcerated for misprision of felony… especially people of color and in the lower socio-economic strata.

Wilson Prosecutor Bill Wolfe had full knowledge that James Arthur Johnson was not involved in the crimes against Brittany Willis, but because the confessed killer was an African American male, Wolfe transferred his hostility of the killer to all African American men. Wolfe wanted to punish Johnson because he was an African American, not because he felt he had any involvement in the crime. And, Wolfe, along with Wilson District Attorney Howard S. Boney Jr. were able to obtain an unreachable bail and drag out pre-trial proceedings for 39 months before a trial could no longer be delayed. Wolfe never had a case against Johnson, as the only witness, the confessed killer, later admitted he implicated Johnson out of anger because he had “snitched” on him. That didn’t deter Wolfe, as he lined up two other “eyewitnesses,” both with connections with the Wilson Police Department. However, when Reverend William Barber of the NAACP took interest in the case, the increased scrutiny forced Wolfe to silently jettison his witnesses.

Up until the day of the trial, Wolfe tried to wrangle a plea deal out of Johnson, who had languished in jail more than three years. Johnson refused, and in calling the prosecution’s bluff, the Wolfe and Boney folded like an accordion and announced they were turning the case over to a special prosecutor so there would be no doubt about the fairness of the proceedings.

The truth is that Wolfe, after releasing his two phony witnesses, had no plan of taking his case to trial because he had no case. All his marbles were on Johnson agreeing to a plea deal, which, fortunately, did not happen. However, because Johnson had stated during his initial interview with police investigators that he had helped wipe fingerprints off the victim's car (an event that had no bearing on the confession of the admitted killer), Forsyth Prosecutor Belinda Foster was forced to charge Johnson with “accessory after the fact” while dropping charges of murder, rape, kidnapping, and armed robbery against him. It was the threat of being convicted on the “accessory” charge (though remote) and the possibility of being sentenced to more jail time, along with unbearable pressure from others that made Johnson accept the Alford plea. The Alford plea allows the defendant to maintain his/her innocence while forcing him/her to admit that the prosecution has enough evidence to prevail in obtaining a conviction.

Like James Arthur Johnson unjustly served a sentence of 39 months without being convicted of a crime, it was the intent of the Durham prosecution, under Assistant District Attorney Angela Garcia-Lamarca, to have Crystal Gail Mangum serve a two year sentence… minimum. That was the first plea deal the prosecution made after Ms. Mangum’s arrest on charges which included felony attempted first degree murder, and felony first degree arson. The prosecution never had any intention of taking the case against Ms. Mangum to trial. Their intent was to follow the pattern of Bill Wolfe, which is: 1) levy a serious charge (felony attempted first degree murder); 2) use the charge to bolster a high bail ($ 1 million); 3) have the prosecution (which controls the pace of court proceedings) move at a snail’s pace; and 4) after sufficient time has been deemed to have been served, offer a plea deal in exchange for “time served.” This was the way things were supposed to go.

Unexpectedly, after Mangum had served 90 days behind bars, angelic bail bondsmen with courage, kindness, and generosity, satisfied the bond needed to release her from the Durham Detention Center, although a condition of her release was that she be placed under house arrest. The house arrest is the last vestige of leverage the prosecutors have on forcing Ms. Mangum to accept a plea deal, and so they offered it to Ms. Mangum in order to extricate themselves from the sticky mess that they had gotten into. The prosecution is not now, and has never been preparing to take this case to trial. It was a plea deal from the beginning, and the District Attorney’s office was counting on the other state employees from the Public Defender’s office, to encourage Ms. Mangum to accept a plea deal.

Again, unexpectedly, members of the Committee on Justice for Mike Nifong enveloped Ms. Mangum in their protective arms, and encouraged her not to plead guilty for a crime that she did not commit. Ms. Mangum needs to be restored, as best as possible, to the same condition that she was on the day of her arrest: living independently and supporting her three children in an apartment, employed full-time, and taking a full load in a graduate program at NCCU where she is pursuing a Master’s Degree in psychology. The Durham Police Department and Durham District Attorney’s office have a duty to restore in Crystal and her children faith in law enforcement, so that when the need arises they can feel comfort in calling 9-1-1 instead of consternation.

James Arthur Johnson pleaded guilty to a crime he did not commit. We, members of the Committee on Justice for Mike Nifong, do not want history to repeat in Crystal Mangum’s case.

Link follows to News & Observer article about Ms. Mangum and her attorney:

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Grading the local media coverage of Crystal Mangum’s press conference

I have always maintained that the media has been in cahoots with the Carpetbagger families of the Duke Lacrosse defendants and the state of North Carolina in meting out vendetta justice to Mike Nifong et al. True to form, the biased media reinforced my premise by the way it approached the press conference that was held by Crystal Mangum at her residence of house arrest on Wednesday, June 30, 2010. This important conference with the media was scheduled to give Ms. Mangum an opportunity to set the record straight regarding events that occurred the night of February 17, 2010 which resulted in her arrest. It was also held two days before her upcoming court appearance on Friday, July 2, 2010. Grading the local media ranged from a high grade for NBC-17 News, to a low one for Durham’s daily newspaper, The Herald Sun.

In addition to the statement by Ms. Mangum and the question-answer interval that followed, all media in attendance received a signed written statement as well as a complete 8 page formal complaint filed with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division. Lay Advocate Sidney Harr filed the complaint two weeks ago, and in it he complained about the discriminatory and selective treatment Ms. Mangum received by police, prosecutors, and the courts.

In assessing the media coverage, content, presentation, and objectivity were taken into consideration. Broadcast, publication, and online works were evaluated when available. It should be noted that the Committee on Justice for Mike Nifong, which arranged the press conference, was never mentioned by name in any of the media reports – in writing or video, or online. Grades were doled out, from best to worst, as follows:

Grade of B for NBC-17 News - it garnered the highest grade based mainly on its online video which includes the entire extemporaneous statement by Crystal Mangum which lasted three minutes and 47 seconds. The online text and the broadcasted segment on television also made mention of the fact that a complaint was filed with the federal government about Ms. Mangum’s treatment (although the name of the complainant was never mentioned). It is the only media outlet to mention the complaint. My main complaint with NBC-17 is that it was difficult for me to find the story by searching for it. Kendall Jones was the reporter for the event.

Grade B- for ABC-11 News. Reporter Anthony Wilson did a good job in reporting on the main points made by Ms. Mangum during its segment which lasted two minute and 17 seconds. Points were detracted from ABC-11’s grade because it dwelled too much on the Duke Lacrosse case, showing file video of the Duke Lacrosse defendants at their news conference, Ms. Mangum in a correctional jumpsuit, etc. Although the Duke Lacrosse case was the proximate impetus of the mistreatment of Ms. Mangum, it had no direct bearing on the incidents of the night of February 17, 2010.

Grade C for WRAL/Fox 50. Reporter Erin Hartness did a good covering the major points in the one minute 54 second video. Again, file video showing Ms. Mangum in the jumpsuit resulted in deductions to the final grade.

Grade D- for the News & Observer. The article by Stanley Chambers gives the police’s story of what happened the night of February 17th and not Crystal’s version of events. Although it covered a few points made by Ms. Mangum accurately, the article was obviously biased by its misleading rehashing of the Duke Lacrosse case. In particular is the false statement “State Attorney General Roy Cooper cleared the three men in 2007.” It has been brought to the media’s attention time and again that the attorney general does not have the power to clear anyone. He has the power to dismiss a case, which is what he did in Duke Lacrosse. There is also the implication that Ms. Mangum should have faced charges. The media failed to view Ms. Mangum as the victim even though she was the one who was sexually assaulted at the beer-guzzling stripper party in which Ms. Mangum was hired to perform under false pretenses by a lacrosse player who used a false name. The article failed to mention the most important point by Ms. Mangum, which is that she did not have any prior knowledge or involvement in setting clothes on fire in the bathtub or in vandalizing the car. The article is also misleading in stating that the house was on fire (which it wasn’t) and that her ex-boyfriend was the only other person in the home (again, false, because the police were in her apartment). What is extremely objectionable about the News & Observer is the fact that the article was placed on the third page of the local news section and not on the front page of that section. Instead, the front page article of the local section featured the milk-chugging contest between the senators and representatives at the General Assembly, and the color photograph showed a picture of a representative being served some ice cream.

Grade F+ for 14 News Carolina. This was truly pathetic example of journalism. The clip of the press conference, which lasted all of 33 seconds, featured no actual video from the press conference, although the reporter was there with the camera. Only file footage of Ms. Mangum wearing a jail jumpsuit and scenes of her apartment with crime scene tape sloppily strewn around were shown during the 33 seconds. The voiceover was in a monotone which sounded as though the individual making the statement was extremely bored. There was no effort put forth by 14 News Carolina. The journalist/cameraperson wasted time covering the event, as none of her efforts were utilized. Pathetic and unprofessional.

Grade F- for The Herald Sun. This newspaper is the daily local newspaper for Durham and the surrounding area, and although the assignment editor was notified well in advance of the press conference, she stated that no one would attend, because some reporters were on vacation. She requested, and was e-mailed hours after the morning press conference, a written statement by Ms. Mangum as well as the copy of the complaint filed with the U.S. Department of Justice. Yet nothing appeared in Thursday’s newspaper or online. One member of the Committee on Justice for Mike Nifong was told by someone at the newspaper that the press conference would be covered along with an article about Mangum’s Friday, July 2nd hearing. Only one problem, and that is that the hearing was cancelled without notice. The public defender did not even have the common courtesy to notify Ms. Mangum of the cancellation, and she showed up at an empty courtroom along with three other members of the Committee on Justice for Mike Nifong. The Herald Sun’s failure to cover this story is beyond outrageous… it is journalistic malpractice.

In conclusion, the coverage of Crystal Mangum’s press conference of June 30, 2010, solidly reinforces my premise that the media is biased against Ms. Mangum and will go to great lengths to represent her in a negative light.

For decent coverage of Ms. Mangum's press conference of June 30, 2010, go to the following link and click on the button with the story posted for the date of July 6, 2010:

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Prosecution’s last bargaining chip… Crystal Mangum’s house arrest

A desperate Durham prosecution team, led by Assistant District Attorney Angela Garcia-Lamarca, is coveting the house arrest of Crystal Mangum which was made a condition by Judge Claude Allen of her release upon making $250,000 bond. When Superior Court Judge Paul Ridgeway reduced the bond to $100,000, he left the house arrest condition in place. Prosecutors never thought they would need to rely on it until Hammond & Hammond Bail Bondsmen, Inc. of Durham unexpectedly satisfied the bond for Mangum’s release from the Durham Detention Center, where she had been held for three months.

Garcia-Lamarca’s plan was to drag out pretrial events while Ms. Mangum languished in jail for a year or two, then offer her a plea deal in order to get out of jail. She anticipated that public defender Clayton Jones would do his part by persuading Ms. Mangum to accept the deal for “time served” in exchange for pleading guilty to misdemeanor arson… or some charge. The fact is that neither Ms. Garcia-Lamarca or Public Defender Jones planned on this case going to trial because the prosecution had no case. There was no credible evidence. Charges against Ms. Mangum related to the 2010 events of February 17th and 18th were excessive and trumped up… suggesting malfeasance and misdeeds on the part of law enforcement. Therefore, the end-stage of this legal melodrama is, and always has been, a plea deal… with the taste of freedom from behind bars, as opposed to a long and indefinite incarceration, being the surefire incentive.

Leverage of using hard time to force a plea deal was undercut from the prosecution when the $100,000 bail for Ms. Mangum was provided pro bono by the owners of Hammond & Hammond. This was a major blow to Team Garcia-Lamarca as living under house arrest is far more tolerable than the restrictive, punitive, dangerous, and overbearing conditions that exist in jail. Though electronically confined to the house and its porches, Ms. Mangum under house arrest is able to set her own routine, has unlimited and unsupervised contact with family and friends, enjoys the comforts of home and the privacy not available in a correctional facility.

So even though Ms. Mangum is out of jail on $100,000 bond, is no flight risk, and is no danger to society, the prosecutors tightly are grasping to the house arrest… for without it, the prosecutors would have no leverage to pry an acceptance of a plea deal out of her. Zilch. Nada. Therefore, even at a waste of taxpayer money and without justification, the prosecution will fight tooth and nail to see that house arrest is maintained. And, there is always hope that she will take one step too many from the porch or otherwise violate terms of the house arrest, thereby providing grounds for placing her back behind bars. This would also serve as retaliation against the bondsmen for releasing her from jail in the first place.

Prosecutors always felt confident that they could mistreat and abuse Ms. Mangum because the media had so successfully molded the minds of the public against her, as it had against Mike Nifong. They had no reason to believe that the elected officials or politicians would get involved in seeking justice for someone sullied by being on the “wrong end” of the Duke Lacrosse case. And they were right. Durham County representatives Larry Hall, Mickey Michaux, and Paul Luebke, along with Durham County Senator Floyd McKissick Jr., have all refused to write a letter about Ms. Mangum’s selective and unjust treatment. They were willing to allow her to sit in jail for a year or two on obviously trumped up charges, rather than seek justice on behalf of their constituent. But it is not only politicians, but civil rights organizations that have been ignoring Ms. Mangum’s plight. The NAACP, on any level, has kept its distance from Ms. Mangum, abandoning her just like the organization abandoned the wrongfully accused and charged Scottsboro Boys. Other Durham civil rights organizations are idle and silent as well.

The prosecution’s last bastion in securing a plea deal with Ms. Mangum was her court-appointed attorney from the Public Defender’s Office. With state malfeasance and misdeeds involved in the prosecution of Ms. Mangum, Public Defender Clayton Jones is presented with a mammoth conflict of interest, and he has chosen the path that is better for his career than his client. The hearing that was scheduled for Friday, July 2, 2010, was initially planned to pressure Ms. Mangum into accepting a plea offer from the prosecutors wherein she would plea guilty (to a crime she didn’t commit) in exchange for release from house arrest with time served). This, of course, would have accrued to the benefit of the state, not Ms. Mangum. This is what happened with James Arthur Johnson who spent 39 months in jail with prosecutor Bill Wolfe offering plea deals up until the day of the trial, before turning the case over to a special prosecutor. Like the Wolfe prosecution team in the Johnson case, Garcia-Lamarca is unable to take her case to trial because she has no case.

Members of the Committee on Justice for Mike Nifong however, like the Hammonds, unexpectedly became another fly in the ointment. This organization is taking on the fight for justice for Crystal Mangum alone, as politicians, elected officials, media columnists and op-editorialists have opted to remain out of the fray. In most instances, it is the media higher-ups who control the content of what is aired and published, and they are thoroughly indoctrinated by the Carpetbagger Jihad Agenda.

The July 2, 2010 hearing for Ms. Mangum was mysteriously cancelled, as three members of the Committee showed up for court, along with defendant Mangum, only to find that she was not on the day’s docket. According to staff in the Superior Court Clerk’s office, the next scheduled event for Ms. Mangum is a hearing on Wednesday, July 7, 2010. The reason given by Public Defender Jones for the hearing is vague and mysterious. But it is very likely that it has to do with some Hail Mary attempt by the attorneys and all prosecutorial staff involved, to force Ms. Mangum to accept a plea offer… something that is definitely not in her best interests.

Stay tuned.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Durham Community idle and silent when it comes to Crystal Mangum

As a result of the events the night of February 17, 2010, Crystal Mangum had been charged with attempted first degree murder, without credible evidence to back it up. Of course, the prosecution under Assistant District Attorney Angela Garcia-Lamarca never planned on bringing that charge to trial. Ms. Mangum was given that serious charge at the time of her arrest for the purpose of allowing the media to “bad-mouth” the so-called Duke Lacrosse accuser, but more importantly to justify a high bail.

Also as a result of the February 17th incident, Crystal Mangum had been charged with felony first degree arson, again without any credible evidence. The prosecution-media’s story has been that Crystal set clothes on fire in the bathtub in the presence of the police, and was arrested at that time. Also, it is maintained by the police that as soon as the fire was discovered, a call was placed to the fire department. However, the time of arrest preceded the call from the police to the Durham Fire Department by fourteen minutes. Another report has a police officer seeing Crystal Mangum carrying clothes into the bathroom. The prosecution-media story never really specified the number of clothes burned… one report stated a “bathtub full” and another stated a “pile of clothes.” Furthermore, the definition of arson requires that a structure or building be burned, yet in reports and media articles there is no mention of any flame damage to Crystal Mangum’s apartment. Even information about the smoke detector is muddled.

The February 17th incident resulted in Crystal being accused of vandalizing her ex-boyfriend’s car, but there is no credible evidence to support this accusation. When, for example did the damage take place? And what could be the motive for Ms. Mangum to shatter the windshield and deflate the tires? Was there a witness to the destruction of the car, which had been used earlier in the day to transport Crystal home from the hospital’s emergency room where she was treated for a headache?

The felony identity theft charge was based on what? Ms. Mangum, aware of the notoriety garnered by her involvement in the Duke Lacrosse case, admitted she did not want her true identity to be known due to prejudicial and adverse treatment that might follow… which prophetically is exactly what transpired. The identity theft charge is a serious one and is not applicable when a person merely gives authorities the wrong first name.

As Ms. Mangum stated in her press conference of Wednesday, June 30, 2010, she did nothing wrong. She committed no crime. She was the victim of domestic violence when her ex-boyfriend started punching her in the face. Her attack against him was in self defense only. Yet Ms. Mangum is the one who was arrested and placed under a one million dollar bail; her ex-boyfriend was not charged, and released.

The information given above is a matter of record, and it substantiates the premise that the actions taken against Ms. Mangum by the authorities and prosecution are nothing more than payback because of her role in the Duke Lacrosse case.

Members of the Committee on Justice for Mike Nifong have long been supportive of Ms. Mangum during her plight with this issue. They have written to her, written to others on her behalf, sent her money while she was in jail, and held a prayer vigil for her release from the Durham Detention Center. That prayer was answered by the generosity and benevolence of Mr. and Mrs. Lonnie Hammond, who satisfied her bond pro bono. Aside from the Hammonds and members of the Committee on Justice for Mike Nifong, no one has made a move towards acting on Ms. Mangum’s behalf against the gross injustice she has suffered. Elected officials, such as the state representatives and senator of Durham County, have turned down requests from Committee members to write letters to the judge and prosecution asking for the electronic house arrest to be dropped. Likewise, the NAACP, on both a state and federal level have remained idle and silent during this legal nightmare. Editorial columnists and op-ed writers have avoided, like the plague, penning on the topic of Crystal’s selective and unjust treatment by the police, prosecutors, and judges. And the investigative reporters want no parts of delving into the mysteries of why the police did not turn on the shower to douse clothes on fire in a bathtub… or info about the specifics about the alleged vandalism to the ex-boyfriend’s car… or why the charge of attempted first degree murder was lodged against Ms. Mangum.

For politicians, community leaders, civil rights organizations, columnists and op-ed writers, and the mass media to allow an injustice of the magnitude that Ms. Mangum has been hammered with to persist without taking action or speaking out is an injustice itself. Their silence and inactions make them all complicit in the unjust treatment to which Ms. Mangum has been subjected. Until they man up and join the fray for justice for Crystal, Committee on Justice for Mike Nifong members will carry the fight on her behalf alone.