Sunday, January 30, 2011

Durham County Sheriff’s Office uses Mangum trial as pretense to investigate

Although The News & Observer printed newspaper never bothered to write an article about the Durham district attorney deciding not to retry Crystal Mangum on the trumped up arson charge, it did write one about the Durham County Sheriff’s Office conducting an investigation on Crystal Mangum supporters. The article, by staff writer Jesse James DeConto appeared in the January 26, 2011 edition of the paper and was titled “Crystal Mangum supporters investigated.” According to the article Major Paul Martin of the Sheriff’s Department is investigating Mangum supporters for alleged witness intimidation, and he stated that he would decide whether to bring charges against anyone next month.

What is particularly troublesome is that Maj. Martin would not tell the reporter what sort of intimidation may have occurred. If this were a legitimate cause of action, the specifics of the witness intimidation would not be under wraps. For example, what action does he feel warranted the charge? How many “Mangum supporters” are being investigated? How in depth does he plan carry out the so-called investigation? There is no doubt in my mind that these questions are not being answered by the major because he is using it as a pretense to conduct an investigation into everyone who has shown support for Crystal Mangum and/or Mike Nifong. It is a fishing expedition in which he hopes to be able to reel in peaceful law-abiding activists who seek justice for Mike Nifong and Crystal Mangum. And it is apparent that he wants to give himself at least a month’s worth of time to cast his wide net and see what he’s able to dredge up against the civic minded citizens.

This action by the Sheriff’s Office of Durham once again exemplifies how the law enforcement agencies and courts of the cash-strapped city will go to extreme lengths to appease the Carpetbagger families of the Duke Lacrosse defendants and their attorneys. When it comes to the Duke Lacrosse case, Mike Nifong, Crystal Mangum, or anyone considered by the Powers-That-Be to be on the wrong end of the Duke Lacrosse case, no pretext is considered too mundane or trivial to capture the full attention of the law enforcers. They are following the Carpetbagger Jihad Agenda handbook to the letter.

The city of Durham should be pleased to win a conviction on the misdemeanor charges and walk away without any collateral damage to its police and fire departments… something that Wake County District Attorney Colon Willoughby and Prosecutor Tom Ford failed to do in the Gregory Taylor case when they unintentionally exposed long standing unethical practices by the SBI lab. The Sheriff’s Office should let this travesty of Durham justice regarding Mangum slink away, and not continue to beat the dead horse.

Now if this was a homicide case, in which a witness or witnesses was threatened, then I could understand conducting such an investigation. However the charges against Ms. Mangum which stemmed from the February 2010 incident were trumped up by Durham’s finest. The only crime committed that night (Ms. Mangum being assaulted by her ex-boyfriend) was totally ignored by police, the courts, and the media.

According to Major Martin during a television news interview, a serious drug war is about to break out in the city. There are plenty of homicides already on the Durham ledgers, as well as rapes, robberies, and other violent and cold case crimes that have yet to be solved. To me it does not seem that the Sheriff Department has the time or luxury to investigate a group of non-violent supporters in an attempt to bring up more bogus charges. What is the Sheriff’s Office’s end game... to take a couple of Nifong and Mangum supporters off the streets and house them behind bars at taxpayer expense? Not only that, but an investigation into Mangum and Nifong supporters eats up taxpayer dollars and distracts law enforcement resources and manpower from the important issues of protecting the citizens and property of Durham.

Let there be no doubt that the investigation into Mangum supporters is nothing more than a fishing trip, because otherwise Maj. Martin would have given specifics to The News & Observer writer Jesse DeConto. Unfortunately, with the media’s help, the public has swallowed Maj. Martin’s investigation into members of Mangum supporters hook, line, and sinker. 

Notice: A link will follow to Part 5 of Episode V of “The MisAdventures of Super-Duper Cooper.” Be sure to look at the commentary, insight, and analysis that follow the comic strip to get the most out of this feature.


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Not surprising that D.A. won’t re-try Mangum

I recently was made aware by an e-mail from a friend that the prosecution has publicly stated that it will not seek to re-try Duke Lacrosse case victim Crystal Mangum on the phony trumped up arson charge. Although I know that the Carpetbagger families and their attorneys, the higher echelon at Duke University, and the media types would love to stick Mangum with a felony, prosecutors obviously learned their lesson from the Gregory Taylor case. Prosecutor Tom Ford and Wake County District Attorney Colon Willoughby fought a hearing before a three judge panel in which Gregory Taylor sought to have his 17 year old murder conviction overturned. It was during his hearing that misdeeds and malfeasance by the SBI lab came to light. For whatever reason, the media, especially The News & Observer, put this issue on the front burner and went after SBI agents, lab techs, and everyone but the very prosecutors who were behind legal culture of deceit. The risk Durham prosecutors run in re-trying Ms. Mangum on the so-called “first degree arson” charge is the possible exposure of the Durham police force’s role in starting the fire. After all it was the Durham police, specifically Officer Tyler, who had the motive, means, and opportunity to set the fire… not Crystal Mangum or her ex-boyfriend.

There was never any doubt in my mind that there would not be a re-trial. Prosecutors were relieved just to get a conviction on the misdemeanor charges, which themselves had no merit. Furthermore, Durham’s Assistant D.A. Mark McCullough should send Mangum’s defense attorney Mani Dexter a couple of dozen roses or a floral bouquet of orchids for her lackluster featherweight defense of her client which allowed prosecutors to prevail on all of the measly misdemeanor charges. The majority of jurors, fortunately, did not have the heart to find Mangum guilty on the felony arson charge, especially when they most likely believed that the police were responsible for the fire. Had Joseph Cheshire been defending Mangum with the gusto he did in the Duke Lacrosse case, Officer Tyler would be charged with arson and felony fraud, the Durham Police chief would have been forced to resign, and all of the officers involved in the case would have been severely sanctioned.

I did not find it surprising that the prosecution would not re-try the case… however, what I did find surprising is that the media would actually cover the story. I never heard it mentioned on WRAL-TV 5 News, ABC-11 News, or NBC 17 News. I searched throughout the deepest recesses of most recent The News & Observer newspaper to see if I could find an article about it tucked away somewhere, but I came up empty. However, that’s what I expect from the media types. So, The Herald-Sun has some kudos coming its way… not only for covering the announcement, but for the photograph used in the online story (which was e-mailed to me). The Mangum photo was a file photo which was taken at a book signing event a couple of years ago, and was one which nicely represented her. What I expected was the usual photo with her shackled and handcuffed in an orange jumpsuit.

The article by Herald-Sun staff writer John McCann followed national media protocol with its obligatory misleading statement “The players were later completely exonerated.” Mr. McCann is not stupid, and neither is the staff at The Herald-Sun, but they think its readers are. This so-called “exoneration” is based solely on Attorney General Roy Cooper’s April 11, 2007 “Innocence Promulgation.” This is a big lie that the biased media has tried to stuff down the public’s throat for years, and it is shameful.

The article also downplays Mangum’s supporter Jackie Wagstaff’s opinions about the criminal charges by writing, “Ms. Wagstaff was of the mindset Mangum never started the fire.” Of course, and there are many people who believe that Mangum did not set the fire… but the media doesn’t want the people to know that. And if Ms. Mangum did not set the fire, then that leaves the police as the likely culprits. What also focuses the light on police as instigators of the fire is that no effort was expended to extinguish the blaze. Police wanted there to be just enough fire damage to the building to support a felony charge. Had police not been responsible for setting the fire they would have reacted like any other reasonable person and at least turned on water in the bathtub.

McCann also documented the following: “The forewoman on that jury said the charges against Mangum seemed too harsh in light of the evidence presented.” That they were and it begs the question, why was she convicted? The three count charge of “contributing to the delinquency of a minor” was directly, but convolutedly, tied to the arson charge. Logic is defied by her not being guilty of the arson charge, yet being convicted on the child delinquency charges… and the judge rightfully returned full custody of her children to Ms. Mangum after he declared a mistrial on the only unresolved felony charge. And the media has also stayed away from the alleged damages to the ex-boyfriend’s car. Questions abound as to the number of articles of clothing burned and the owner of clothes placed in the bathtub. This covert operation performed by the Durham police to trump up a felony charge against Ms. Mangum turned out to be a sticky mess from which prosecutors were fortunate to extricate themselves and the men in blue.

What began with a rabid flourish in the media about an attempted first degree murder, identity theft, communicating threats, assault, child abuse and arson slunk out meekly in the dead of night when the final page was turned in this sordid chapter of Tar Heelian justice wherein a young lady who was independent, employed, self-sufficient in raising her three children, and enrolled in graduate school for a master’s degree had her life suddenly and unjustly snatched from her. The volume of the media’s outlet on this subject has been muted by their gradual realization that what was heralded initially as a serious criminal case was more likely than not a piece of fiction that was staged. Phony. 

NOTE: A link is presented below to Part 4 of Episode V of “The MisAdventures of Super-Duper Cooper.” Following the strip is a commentary about installment presented.


Thursday, January 20, 2011

A simple question that Nifong detractors cannot answer

As I have so frequently stated, the Grievance Commission of the North Carolina State Bar used all of the creative juices it could muster to come up with an excuse for disbarring former Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong. They are so elaborate and nonsensical that not even Nifong bashers can make sense of them. The problem stems from the fact that no one can explain why Mike Nifong was disbarred… the only prosecutor to be disbarred by the North Carolina State Bar since its inception in 1933. He certainly did not withhold discovery from defense attorneys of the Duke Lacrosse defendants. He had his staff deliver more than a thousand pages of discovery in three sets to attorneys for the defendants within 24 hours of the defense’s motion. What the media doesn’t want the public to know is that defense attorneys did not reciprocate when prosecutors sought discovery held by defense.

Unlike other prosecutors, Mr. Nifong did not fabricate confessions, arrange for eyewitnesses to appear out of the woodwork, or make plea deals with jail house snitches to provide perjured testimony. Mike Nifong acted honorably and in good faith in prosecuting the complaint of sexual assault in the Duke, and assumed the mantle of “Minister of Justice” by initiating the dismissal of the rape charges when the standards required for a charge were not deemed to be met in his opinion.

Some may say that Mr. Nifong made some statements before the media that were inappropriate, inflammatory, or denied the defendants of a fair trial. The only problem with this argument is that these statements were made early on in the investigation and well before any defendants were indicted. The generalized statements were made in an attempt to flush out any courageous and conscientious partygoers into voluntarily coming forward and cooperating with the police investigation. No way was there anything within the statements made to the media that should warrant any action against Mr. Nifong.

Finally, there is the issue about so-called lies Mr. Nifong made to the court. I have been trying to find out what lies were told. One commenter referred me to a transcript by the State Bar Grievance Commission head, which, no doubt included a lot of legalese mumbo-jumbo which was an attempt to pull the old Jedi mind-trick on the gullible, naïve, and mindless. The explanation is so convoluted that not even blog commenters can recite in a clear and cogent manner what lie(s) Mr. Nifong is alleged to have told which resulted in his disbarment and contempt of court judgment.

One needs to keep in mind that making a statement which may be inaccurate or contain misstatement of facts, does not constitute telling a lie. A lie requires mental consciousness of making a statement that is false. It would appear that F. Lane Williamson, who was the head of the Grievance panel responsible for Mr. Nifong’s disbarment, has mind-reading capabilities as he has determined that Mike Nifong prosecuted the three Duke Lacrosse defendants in order to court that black vote in Durham to enhance his chances of winning election to the D.A. position to which he had been appointed. If you just give it a scintilla’s worth of thought, you could tell that that is the perfect prescription for losing an election… any election. The way for Mike Nifong to assure a victory would have been for him to drop all charges and the investigation immediately… as he was pressured to do by the Powers-That-Be. And because he acted independently in following the principles of “equal justice for all,” the state set out to make sure that he was made an example of. Their campaign was most effective, as Rowan County District Attorney Bill Kenerly, in handling the prosecution of former Governor Mike Easley with kid gloves and giving him a rare deal, stated that he was not going to make a “Mike Nifong mistake.”

You can bet that no other prosecutor will make the “Mike Nifong mistake” because it could definitely cost him/her their law license… even though he/she may do nothing to warrant such action. That is no comfort as the State Bar head honchos are very creative and can come up with a creative reason for disbarment, like they did in the Mike Nifong case.

Creative reasons are commonly used to defend unjust actions. Case in point has to do with my ouster and near arrest on the Duke University campus. Although I was at the campus on an invitation to an event open to the public, I was kicked off the campus for no reason other than being a Nifong supporter. When I pressed the university for a reason for my ouster, the creative response I got was that I was asked to leave because I was “soliciting” which was defined as handing out my business card and asking them to visit my website. (I handed out but a half dozen cards to individuals with whom I had engaged in conversation while awaiting for the event to take place.)

In case you may have missed it before, I will provide a link below to the audio and transcript of the dialogue that I had with the security guard.


Sunday, January 16, 2011

Rare deals in the North Carolina justice system are pretty common

An article by Thomasi McDonald of The News & Observer dated January 13, 2011 is titled “Sheriff’s daughter gets a rare deal.” This is about Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison’s daughter Paula Gail Harrison who was charged with drug trafficking. She pled guilty to the charges, but the Johnston County prosecutor Adren Harris made a deal with the defendant wherein she was granted a prayer for judgment continued… which is legalese mumbo-jumbo for withholding any punishment if the defendant follows some arbitrary and ambiguous conditions set forth by the prosecutor. Prosecutor Harris refused to state what those conditions might be or what consequences she would face if she did not follow said conditions.

Ms. Harrison is one lucky lady, as she was charged with three felony counts of trafficking opium or heroin, a Class E felony that carries jail sentences of seven to nine years for each count. So technically Ms. Harrison faced a maximum of 27 years in prison, but instead is getting off scott free.

What I find most offensive about this entire case is that the Johnston County Assistant District Attorney Harris had the gall to state that this “rare deal” had absolutely nothing to do with Ms. Harrison being the daughter of the popular Wake County Sheriff, Donnie Harrison. Prosecutor Harris stated, “Because she is his daughter then it’s going to be deemed by some as biased, but it’s not. I trust that what we are doing is in the best interest of justice.” Well, Harris is correct, because everyone knows that the deal is biased and was reached because of her family ties. Harris insults the intelligence of North Carolinians when he makes such disingenuous statements. Not only that, but he refuses, along with Harrison’s attorney (state Representative Leo Daughtry) to publicly express the details of the conditions of this rare deal.

But North Carolina is full of rare deals… one of the most obvious being all of the rare deals given to former Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong. For actually honorably doing his job in good faith, he was disbarred… an extremely rare deal, as he is the only prosecutor to be disbarred since the State Bar’s inception in 1933.

Another rare deal is that given to Duke Lacrosse victim Crystal Mangum who was beaten up by her ex-boyfriend only to have police arrest her on bogus arson charges. No action was taken against her boyfriend who initiated the physical conflict by repeatedly punching Ms. Mangum in the face. The rare deal Ms. Mangum got was that she served three months of what prosecutors had planned was a two or three year jail stint while awaiting trial. (Similar to the rare deal given to James Arthur Johnson who solved a murder in Wilson. The rare deal he got for solving the heinous murder of Brittany Willis was not the $20,000 reward offered by the family and friends of Brittany Willis, but 39 months in jail, and being forced to accept a plea deal.)

Former NC Governor Mike Easley also benefited from a rare deal doled out by Rowan County Prosecutor Bill Kenerly, escaping jail time for the felonies he committed and satisfying his criminal debt to society with a $1,000 fine. State Senator R. C. Soles also received a rare deal after shooting an unarmed man in the leg who had his back turned, was retreating and posed no imminent threat.

Rare deals in North Carolina are very common. I speak from personal experience because I got a rare deal when I attended a public event on Duke University’s campus in April 2010. I was kicked off campus without explanation, merit, or logic… and my rare deal nearly ended with my arrest. When pressed for an explanation about being kicked off the campus, the lame excuse that Duke Spokesman Michael Schoenfeld came up with was that I was “soliciting” which he described as handing out business cards and asking people to visit my website.

Surely Mr. Schoenfeld doesn’t believe that I’m stupid enough to believe the reason he gave for my ouster last April. No more than Prosecutor Adren Harris could possibly believe that North Carolinians are dumb enough to believe that the rare deal that Paula Harrison received had nothing to do with her being the daughter of Sheriff Donnie Harrison. And Tar Heelians aren’t dummies when it comes to the rare deal that Mike Nifong was given by the State Bar. For the Bar head F. Lane Williamson to even imagine that Mr. Nifong prosecuted three boys from wealthy and privileged families for the purpose of winning an election defies rationale in the reasonable person who investigates the facts and is not brainwashed by the media. Since when is courting the black vote a sure fire recipe for an electorial victory?

In North Carolina rare deals are commonplace and are correlated to issues of Class and Color of those involved. To put it another way, “equal justice for all” has no place in the North Carolina justice system. It is no wonder that Prosecutor Adren Harris refused to prosecute Paula Harrison with the same fervor as he would drug trafficking defendants who are poor, disenfranchised, and people of color… Harris treated Harrison with kid gloves for the same reason that Prosecutor Bill Kenerly treated former Governor Easley. As Kenerly so aptly put it, Harris did not want to make a “Mike Nifong mistake.” So Harris pulled the prosecutorial punch when faced with the sticky situation involving a sheriff’s daughter, and once again “selective justice based on Class and Color” prevailed.

Tar Heelian prosecutors have certainly learned their lessons well by the example set of Mike Nifong by the state for pursuing the principle of “equal justice for all” when he prosecuted the Duke Lacrosse case. g

NOTE: Part 3 of Episode V of “The MisAdventures of Super-Duper Cooper” is now posted. Click on the link below for the most current installment.


Saturday, January 15, 2011

Part 3 of Super-Duper Cooper is now posted

Due to scheduling problems, Part 3 of "The MisAdventures of Super-Duper Cooper" Episode V has just been posted. It is posted a day earlier than planned. As with the two previous parts, there is commentary, insight, and analysis which follows. It does require audio, and a link will be provided below.

It was decided to add the post-strip commentary to better help educate the viewers, and although it is time-consuming to produce I believe that it is definitely worthwhile. The downside is that time constraints reduce the number of blogs that are posted on this blogsite. I will try to post at least two blogs per week, time permitting.

Also, I am working on other important projects which will be unveiled in the near future, as well as once again re-vamping the main website... changing it from HTML to Flash, to better accommodate animation and interactivity.

Enjoy the comic strip. I welcome any comments here about it.


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

SBI agent Duane Deaver is fired

North Carolina SBI agent Duane Deaver, who testified on behalf of Wake County District Attorney Colon Willoughby and prosecutor Tom Ford against Gregory F. Taylor’s bid for freedom after 17 years of wrongful incarceration, was fired on January 7, 2011. Before the three judge panel of the Innocence Commission which heard the appeal, Deaver testified about the SBI lab and its long-standing policy of withholding and/or skewing data and lab results from a criminal investigation which might be beneficial to defendants. Such was the case in Gregory Taylor’s case, as Deaver stated the SBI lab, according to policy, allowed the jury hearing Taylor’s case to be misled into believing that blood was on the bumper of Taylor’s vehicle (which prosecutor Tom Ford maintained came from a murder victim Jacquetta Thomas). Fact was that although a presumptive test was positive a confirmatory test for human blood was not. Deaver’s testimony under questioning by defense attorney Mike Klinkosum exposed how the SBI lab purposely and systematically tilted the playing field against defendants in hundreds of cases. This revelation, in part, no doubt played a role in Greg Taylor’s subsequent exoneration.

Christine Mumma, executive director of the NC Center on Actual Innocence, who also represented Taylor, aptly referred to Deaver’s termination as the SBI’s “throwing the employee under the bus while those responsible for giving the employee direction and approving his work walk away unscathed.” Her assessment is right on the money. Deaver, the good soldier who was following orders to help prosecutors with their weak cases by providing hocus-pocus lab results and misleading testimony on the stand, was given the shaft by the very people who had earlier depended upon and lauded his devious work. His firing, however is cold comfort for the many innocents who have spent years wrongfully behind bars, dependent mainly on their Class and Color.

The fortuitous exposure and downward spiral of the reliability in the SBI’s past prejudicial lab work on criminal evidence was a self-inflicted wound. Hubris of Taylor’s original prosecutor Tom Ford enabled him and the Wake County district attorney to fight the overwhelming evidence which strongly supported Greg Taylor’s innocence. According to the January 11, 2011 article in The News & Observer, which per PAPEN (Protect All Prosecutors Except Nifong) Policy did not mention Tom Ford’s name, Deaver plans to appeal his firing. This is a good thing… not so much in that it could possibly lead to Deaver’s reinstatement, but rather for the light it will shed on the conduct, attitudes, and culture of prosecutors statewide.

As I have religiously maintained, the prosecutors (such as Tom Ford, Bill Wolfe, and others) are at the crux of the injustice that has been meted out by the North Carolina justice system. For the most part they are intelligent, diabolical, and cunning, and have no qualms about orchestrating lab techs and agents in order to obtain convictions in weak cases without credible evidence. To suggest that prosecutor Tom Ford was unaware of the underlying deceit in Deaver’s testimony in the case against Taylor is not credulous. Ford knew that the SBI lab’s statements about alleged blood on the bumper of Taylor’s SUV was as credible as the plea deals he brokered to acquire false testimony against Taylor in retaliation for Taylor’s refusal to implicate a black man, Johnny Beck, who he knew to be innocent of a murder.

The solution to North Carolina state’s woeful justice system is to institute a policy following the principle of “equal justice for all” and to abandon its current tenet of “selective justice based on Class and Color.” A tall order indeed. Prosecutors need to become something that few of them have ever been… Ministers of Justice. As was clearly evident in the Duke Lacrosse case, however, doing so can be hazardous to one’s professional and private lives. Former Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong was honorably executing his prosecutorial duties in that case and was exemplifying the very concept of “Minister of Justice.” As a result, he was disbarred, tossed in jail, deprived of professional immunity, denied representation before the State Bar, and crucified in the media – both locally and nationally.

Until the North Carolina State Bar unilaterally and unconditionally reinstate Mr. Nifong’s license to practice law in the state without restrictions, the state’s system of justice will never take a step on the road to recovery.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Prosecutorial discretion follows Class and Color

In North Carolina, prosecutors are given wide leeway when it comes to how to proceed with a case. Without exception, the defendant’s class and color takes overriding consideration when the prosecutors determine the degree of lengths to take prosecuting. Naturally, the powerful, well-heeled, and privileged defendants will be treated with the most leniency, often with the prosecution not even seeking jail time. The poor, disenfranchised, and people of color, on the other hand, will usually be subjected to the harshest terms available (most always including jail time), and then some. There are numerous examples I could cite, but I will mention but a couple below.

Former North Carolina Governor Mike Easley.

Bill Kenerly, a Rowan County district attorney for twenty years, was appointed to be the special prosecutor in the felony case against Mr. Easley which included charges that he violated campaign disclosure laws and other campaign laws. As The News & Observer pointed out, Easley received may questionable gifts, but prosecutor Kenerly did not charge him with any. The gifts, for which Easley did not face charges, included:
(1) Discount of $137,000 on a waterfront lot in a posh coastal development (after Easley granted environmental permits to the developer of the subdivision);
(2) Waiver of $50,000 in monthly dues at an exclusive golf country club over an eight year period (after the governor got a state official to drop objections to the club siphoning millions of gallons of water from a nearby creek during the 2002 drought);
(3) 88% pay increase to an annual salary of $170,000 in 2008 for Governor Easley’s wife for a job created for her at North Carolina State University;
(4) Free use of an SUV by Governor Easley’s son for six years.

Of the numerous free personal flights worth close to $88,000 which the governor failed to disclose, special prosecutor Kenerly decided to focus on only one October 2006 helicopter flight valued at $1,600. In fact, this was the sole felony charge to which Easley pled guilty in the negotiations Kenerly made with Easley’s attorney Joseph B. Cheshire V. The prosecutor also worked to see that the Alford plea agreement involved no jail time for the former governor, that all other state and federal charges and investigations would be dropped, and that Easley would pay only $153 in court costs and a $1,000 fine… less than the value of the 2006 helicopter flight.

Although, according to Katherine Jean, General Counsel for the North Carolina State Bar, attorneys convicted of a felony are typically disbarred, it appears that the Bar is not rushing forward to do so. The unregulated State Bar has unbridled discretion and as has been its history, it will bend over backwards to protect its prosecutors… except for the one who did not follow the state’s tenet of selective justice based on Class and Color (former Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong).

So, it appears that Mike Easley has gotten off easy… and he did. He won’t even be deprived of his voting rights as he was never physically incarcerated for the felony crime with which he was convicted… yet another loophole for society’s upper echelon who happen to run afoul of the law. There was public outrage at the leniency of Easley’s plea deal which was worked out with prosecutor Kenerly (much of it tamped down by the media). Kenerly was aware that he let Easley off the hook, and he acknowledged it. But he also defended his actions by stating, “I didn’t want to make a Mike Nifong mistake.” In other words, he did not want to prosecute a powerful and privileged defendant against the wishes of the Powers-That-Be. Therefore, he pulled all of his punches with respect to the prosecution of Easley.

As was so accurately pointed out by Mr. Kenerly, Mike Nifong’s professional mistake was to prosecute the Duke Lacrosse defendants according to the principle of “equal justice for all.” In other words, to prosecute them as he would anyone else under the circumstances without regard to their societal class, financial status, or skin color. Bill Kenerly learned his lesson well as the example set by the unmerciful and demonic persecution of Mr. Nifong dissuaded him from prosecuting Mr. Easley in the same manner as defendants from the lower rungs of society’s totem pole. The “Mike Nifong mistake” is an act which requires the courage to do the right thing in the face of unforeseen and potentially devastating consequences. Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Becket made the Mike Nifong mistake, in going against the wishes of England’s King Henry II, and he paid the ultimate price.

Larry Phillips and John June.

The News & Observer article of January 7, 2011 failed to name the prosecutors who reached a plea agreement with Larry Phillips and John June. Both men were convicted on two counts of obtaining property by false pretense. The men were accused of falsifying sales records and invoices to evade paying taxes on cigarettes and tobacco products that they sold in 2005. Defense attorneys stated that the defendants were acting on bad legal advice and were under the assumption that what they were doing (falsifying records in order to gain unfair windfall profits) was within the bounds of the law. Under the Alford plea agreement the defendants reached with the prosecutors, both men agreed to pay a total of $6.5 million in restitution and fines. In exchange they would avoid prison time and be placed on unsupervised probation for 18 months.


As the two aforementioned cases clearly show, prosecutorial discretion is the big gun in the state’s arsenal of dispensing disparate justice. NC prosecutors approach high echelon criminals with kid gloves seeking an Alford plea and a fine. Rarely is anyone from this criminal class sentenced to jail time. When it comes to the poor, disenfranchised and people of color, NC prosecutors come down hard with an iron fist. For example, the alleged fraud committed by Heather Holley pales in comparison with the large-scale multi-million dollar tax-fraud scheme cooked up by Phillips and June… yet it is Ms. Holley who is jailed on $5 million bail.

Any perceived connection to be on the wrong end of the Duke Lacrosse case will guarantee the harshest of treatment by the prosecutor. Crystal Mangum, the victim in the Duke Lacrosse case, was targeted by police and prosecutors, who with the cooperation of the Durham Fire Department and judges tossed Crystal Mangum in jail on trumped up charges. The February 2010 criminal charges against Mangum resulted when her children, concerned for her safety after an ex-boyfriend initiated a physical confrontation by repeatedly punching her in the face, called 9-1-1. When police recognized the connection Ms. Mangum had to the Duke Lacrosse case, they dismissed their domestic violence investigation involving Mangum’s ex, and set about literally cooking up an arson charge and concocting an attempted first degree murder charge because she allegedly “lunged” in the direction of the man who had just used his fist to bash in her face. Mangum was initially placed under a $1 million bail, and it was the Durham prosecution’s intent to allow her to languish in jail for two or three years before forcing her to accept a plea deal for time served (a tactic effectively used by Bill Wolfe against defendant James Arthur Johnson). This plan was undermined when a bail bondsman, compelled by his conscience to act against this overwhelming injustice, bonded her out when bail was reduced to $100,000.

Bottom line.

Prosecutors will treat the caviar-class criminals lightly, and seek a minimal fine and possibly some restitution in lieu of a jail sentence regardless of the amount of the money stolen or defrauded. When it comes to defendants considered to be disposable by society, prosecutors invariably go to extremes with prosecution seeking the harshest of jail sentences. There is no way on earth that a North Carolina prosecutor will make a “Mike Nifong mistake.” Just ask Bill Kenerly.

Provided below is a link to the latest installment of “The MisAdventures of Super-Duper Cooper”… Part 2 of 17. Be sure to follow the commentary at the end.


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The judge’s hand in the capital convictions of Shan Carter

The Donald Brunson kidnap/murder.
On December 6, 1996, at approximately 3:00 am, a home invasion took place at the Wilmington, NC house that 27 year-old Donald Brunson shared with his girlfriend Ana Santiago and her children. According to initial reports by Ms. Santiago, three masked invaders beat and kidnapped Brunson in an attempt to find his stash of drug and gambling money. Brunson’s beaten body with a fatal bullet wound was later found near Santiago’s car which was used in the kidnapping. The car contained two masks and a toboggan cap which were used to shield the identities of the intruders. DNA evidence from these articles linked Kwada Temoney to the crime, but excluded Shan Carter. Mr. Carter has always maintained his innocence in this crime, stating that he was at home with his wife during the early morning hours when the crime was committed.

The deaths of Tyrone Baker/Demetrius Green.

In November 1996, the month prior to Brunson’s death, Shan Carter, along with Kwada Temoney and Damont White, burglarized the apartment of Tyrone Baker, a drug-dealer from New York. They had taken a coat, boots, and a few other items before coming across a cache of $40,000 which they evenly split. Baker had taken White into his confidence somewhat, and suspected he (White) had a part in the theft. Baker kidnapped White in broad daylight, held him for approximately six hours and pistol whipped him to get information about the burglary. Word was soon on the street that Baker intended to kill those who stole his money, and according to his reputation, Baker was one to follow through on his threats. On February 16, 1997, a couple of months after the burglary of Baker, Shan Carter parked his car on the corner of Ten and Dawson Street. Kwada Temoney was his passenger, and they exited the car with Carter heading for the corner store. In the periphery of his vision, he saw Temoney being forcefully sucker punched in the face by Tyrone Baker. (Temoney later told Carter that the blow knocked him unconscious.) Baker with a heavy field Army draped over his arm, concealing his hand and a possible weapon, menacingly advanced toward Carter at which time Carter withdrew his .357 magnum from his shoulder holster and fired low at Baker, with the intent of wounding, not killing him. The first bullet struck Baker in the thigh, but the recoil of the powerful weapon which was held in one hand forced the barrel of the gun higher… and when he squeezed off the second shot it caught Baker below the left rib cage as he had turned to his right in order to flee. As Baker ran from Carter, Carter followed at an angle in order to prevent Baker from using the corner of the building as a shield from which to return fire. As Baker ran across Tenth Street, Carter fired approximately three more rounds as motivation to keep Baker on the defensive. It was during this series that a bullet unintentionally struck 8 year-old Demetrius Green in the head killing him. As Baker collapsed Carter returned to his car, along with Temoney who had regained consciousness, and they left the scene. Before police arrived at the crime scene, Renee Barnes, a woman who sold drugs for Baker, went to his side and took his coat, and whatever it possibly concealed, along with his car keys. She then drove Baker’s car to his girlfriend’s house. The coat eventually ended up in New York. It was later that day that Carter learned that Baker had died from his wounds and surprisingly and remorsefully that an innocent bystander (Demetrius Green) had been killed.

February 18, 1997, two days after the Tenth and Dawson Street shooting, Carter and Temoney were arrested when leaving a Wilmington motel. They have both been in custody since that day. Temoney later entered a plea deal, confessing to killing Donald Brunson and implicating Carter as an accomplice in that crime. He did so in order to escape a possible death sentence. What subsequently happened to Carter is a total miscarriage of justice… sentenced to two death penalties and serving a life sentence.

The state of North Carolina, in securing death penalty convictions, was successful in its objective of seeking to put Shan Carter to death even though he did not commit a capital crime. Whether the state’s motive was due to one victim of the violence being an 8-year old boy, or if the defendant’s class and color was sufficient, is anyone’s guess. But the state is proceeding with its efforts to put to death a man who they very well know is not deserving of it. The judges, prosecutors, and the media-types are not dumb, but they believe the public in general is, and that is why they feel they can get away with it. Below I will set forth the scheme which I strongly believe led to the unjust capital convictions against Shan Carter.

That Shan Carter was responsible for the February 16, 1997 deaths of Tyrone Baker and Demetrius Green is not in dispute. Carter’s contention was that he shot Baker in self-defense, and he directed his gunfire with the intent to wound and not kill Baker. The tragic and unfortunate death of the 8 year-old boy was a horrific accident that Carter was not aware of until hours later when the story was carried on the news. The state’s prosecutors, however, argued to the jury that Carter’s actions in killing Tyrone Baker were deliberate and premeditated. And, using a little known and arbitrarily utilized legal statute, extended the capital charge in Baker’s case to apply to that in the case involving the boy’s death.

In order to turn the obvious self-defense death of Baker into one worthy of the consideration of capital punishment, the prosecution had to paint Carter into the monster that he was not. Up to this point, Shan Carter did sell crack cocaine, and he did burglarize residences thought to be unoccupied. He used his gun only for self-defense and never in the commission of a crime. Carter never robbed a bank, or an individual at gunpoint. He fired his weapon only on two occasions… both times in self-defense. The first time was on February 5, 1997 when another burglary victim of Carter’s, Keith Richardson confronted Carter and drew a pistol on Carter first (this has been documented by an affidavit by Julius Jones). The other time Carter fired his gun was on February 16, 1997 at Tenth and Dawson when he was threatened by Tyrone Baker, as described previously. A small-time petty thief, burglar, and drug dealer, yes… but Shan Carter was no cold-hearted trigger happy killer, as the prosecutors made him at to be in his trials in 2000 and 2001.

Kwada Temoney, on the other hand, more aptly fit the role of a criminal monster. He did use a gun to rob banks and individuals. Temoney had no compunction about shooting at the unarmed who posed him no threat. He shot Louis Tyson, a robbery victim in both legs, and allegedly fired shots at customers during a bank robbery. And it is Temoney who was tied to the murder/kidnapping of Donald Brunson. Carter will be the first to admit that he was involved with the monster Temoney in a couple of burglaries, but that is about it. And Carter had absolutely no prior knowledge or involvement in the crimes against Donald Brunson on December 6, 1996.

New Hanover prosecutors invested their efforts up until October 1998 trying to forensically link Shan Carter to the Brunson kidnap/murder, for they knew that if they were to prevail with serious charges against Carter in the Baker/Green deaths that they would need him convicted on more serious charges beforehand. The police and prosecutors then began using unethical and illegal practices to obtain hearsay testimony for which to charge and later try Carter for Brunson’s death.

Prosecutors wanted to convict Carter in the Brunson murder case before putting him on trial for the deaths of Baker and Green… charges which were in place long before prosecutors brought charges of murder against Carter for the Brunson murder. Therefore, prosecutors had to fast-track the Brunson case against Carter so that it’s probable guilty verdict could be used to elicit a serious conviction against him in the Baker/Green cases.

Part Two will be added to this blog tomorrow.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Comic strip gets year off to great start

The big day has arrived at last… the unveiling of Episode V of “The MisAdventures of Super-Duper Cooper.” The title of this episode, “Super-Heroes Smackdown – Initial Encounter,” promises to be the most hilarious, action-packed, and educational comic strip ever produced anywhere by anyone. And, I’m not just boasting… it’s the truth, as you will see.

This episode contains seventeen parts, one more than the four previous episodes combined. And unlike the previous episodes, this episode will feature an extra bonus. After the episode is complete, you will have the option of continuing on (if a part has already been posted), or linking up to an audio-visual document in which I will discuss the part that you had just read. Comments and analysis may address cases, legal point, individuals and items within the strip, conceptual origins, facts and tidbits about the strip… any number of things may be addressed.

The commentary for the first part runs a little over five minutes, but I will try to keep this exciting new feature at five minutes or less.

Special features in this episode includes the incorporation of one of the regular blog commenters, guiowen, and I will pay homage to as many of the commenters to the site that I can.

So, sit back, relax, and prepare to roll in the aisles, while at the same time learning about the state’s criminal justice system, in the upcoming seventeen Sundays.

As usual, I welcome any comments about the strip.

A link to the strip is provided here.