Sunday, February 27, 2011

Gluttonous Carpetbaggers’ shakedown of Duke greater than believed

Recent revelations about a 2007 IRS tax lien against Duke Lacrosse defendant Reade Seligmann just goes to confirm the obvious, as I stated long ago… the reason for keeping the financial arrangement of Duke University’s settlement with the party-going Duke Lacrosse defendants secret was because it was so outrageous. Duke University was too embarrassed for rolling over without a fight and submitting to the demands of the avaricious attorneys, and the Carpetbagger families didn’t want people to think that they threatened Duke with a law suit just for the money. It seems that the amount Duke University forked over to each of the Duke Lacrosse defendants was far greater than the figure my sources gave me of $7 million. That amount actually is closer to the amount of tax due the IRS, which the agency puts at $6.5 million. According to Raleigh tax lawyer Jack Cummings, a tax of that amount would be indicative of an income of $18 million. Another tax attorney has the estimate as $20 million… which is probably the most accurate and the figure with which I will refer.

And it was in 2007 that Duke University settled out of court with the Duke Lacrosse defendants, and it is where the vast majority of their income would be of account. That is $13.5 million after tax per Lacrosse player, and that’s not bad especially when you consider what they went through to get it. First, they attended a beer-guzzling, stripper-ogling party with under-aged drinking, shouting of racial epithets (and probably other crimes taking place), then after being charged with a sexual assault they did not spend one day in jail. They became media darlings with all the media types coddling over them and misleading the public by proclaiming that they had been “exonerated” (as was reported by Deborah Morgan of WRAL-TV-5 as recently as the night of February 24, 2011, when the story broke here.) Then books are written about the Duke Lacrosse party incident which is revisionist propaganda history at its best. And HBO has been wracking its brains trying to somehow produce a movie about the Duke Lacrosse case without showing the true colors of the Duke Lacrosse defendants. Two objective screenplays have already been written, but the head honchos discarded them and fired their authors… HBO is essentially requiring that the Duke boys be put in a positive light which is itself an impossibility if a story about the Duke Lacrosse case is to contain an iota of truth. The plan which seems to be adopted by HBO movie executives is to demand a script that does not mention the Duke Lacrosse boys and instead focuses on former Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong. (I would suggest that they consider hiring MSNBC Senior Legal Analyst Susan F. Filan. She has shown the capacity to fabricate libelous statements about Mr. Nifong and then to use those very false statements to attack his character.) Finally, universities and Wall Street bigwigs have been clamoring to bring the boys into the fold to study and work.

Now it’s not enough that each of the defendants was rewarded with $20 million for their bad behavior, but even after that, they want an additional $10 million each from the city of Durham. It is very apparent that the Carpetbaggers and their counsel thought that when the mighty Duke University toppled, that the city of Durham would follow suit and turn over the money. Somehow the cash-strapped city managed to summon up the nerve to stand and fight against the Carpetbagger juggernaut, not unlike Winston Churchill stood up against Nazi aggression. Now action on that front has been at a standstill for years, more or less. Nonetheless, Durham is still wasting taxpayer dollars to pay lawyers to go through the motions of defending the city.

The Carpetbaggers want the public to believe that they are so much in legal debt in fighting Duke University and the aftereffects of the Duke Lacrosse case, but surely they can use some of their net gain of $13.5 mil to pay their attorneys. Their stated excuse for suing the Bull City (to effect changes in the criminal justice system to the benefit of all Durhamians) is nothing more than a bunch of bull. They are suing the city because they are GREEDY.

Although Duke shelled out $60 million in an ill-advised settlement with the Carpetbaggers, they compounded that mistake by trying to force the National Union Fire Insurance Company, the university’s insurance company, to reimburse them… this, after making such an outlandish settlement without even discussing it with them. Duke is the one that breached its agreement with the insurance company, yet it filed suit in an attempt to recover the money it handed over on a platter. Just recently, Duke reached an agreement with the company, an affiliate of AIG, and per protocol terms were not disclosed. However, both parties agreed to drop claims and counterclaims against each other, and pay their own legal costs.

The Carpetbaggers need to emulate Duke University with regards to its squabble with National Union Fire Insurance Company. Instead of continuing to throw good money after bad, they need to rein in their attorneys and drop their suit against the city of Durham. They need to accept the fact that the city refused to take their bluff, as did the mighty university, unless it is the underlying goal of the Carpetbaggers to deplete the city’s coffers as a final vindictive act. But I don’t believe that is their goal… they’re in it for the money. 

According to a news report last night, Duke University has approved a substantial increase in tuition… no doubt to help cover its giveaway to the Duke Lacrosse defendants and its ill-advised lawsuit against their insurance company.

Note: Click on the link below to access the latest installment (Part 9) of Episode V of “The MisAdventures of Super-Duper Cooper.”


Sunday, February 20, 2011

Solution to problems with the State’s Racial Justice Act

North Carolina’s Racial Justice Act was enacted as law in response to the perceived disparity in the disproportionate number of African American criminal defendants sentenced to death. Studies, including one by Michigan State University’s law school, have supported findings that higher numbers of African American men were sentenced to death when their victims were white, or when juries deciding their fate were white. The purpose of the law was to enable those on death row, mainly African Americans, to cite that their capital convictions were based on issues of race, and thereby afford a judge the ability to convert their sentences from death to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Prosecutors from Forsyth County are complaining that the law is too sweeping and vague, and are claiming that some non-African Americans who are facing execution are using the Racial Justice Act to get off death row. However, as defense attorneys have pointed out, it is not just the race of the defendant, or the makeup of the jury that is the basis for inequity, but the race of the victim. Murderers of white victims are far more likely to be convicted of a capital offense than if the victims are of color.

What concerns some Forsyth County prosecutors is that the number of appeals processes to which death row inmates are entitled can become extremely high. That is a legitimate claim in these times of our state and nation’s fiscal calamity. However, the taking of a person’s life by the state should not be taken lightly, either.

One of the first test cases to be subjected to the Racial Justice Act was recently taken out of contention when the judge who was hearing the case removed Isaac Stroud, an African American convicted of killing his girlfriend in 1995, from a date with the executioner. Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson commuted Stroud’s sentence from death to life without the possibility of parole because of his mental illness, which prevented him from contributing to his own defense.

However, Stroud was mentally ill when he was sentenced to death initially and at the time he allegedly committed the homicide. It begs the question, why was he sentenced to death in the first place? I don’t know, but you can bet that race played a part.

The solution to inequities in the way capital punishment is dispensed is simple. Abolish the death penalty. Not only would it prevent the execution of innocent people, but it would save millions upon millions of taxpayer dollars that go towards attorney fees to appeal capital sentences and to fight the appeals. The issue of race of the defendant, race of the victim, and makeup of the jury would become moot if no death penalty was ever to be enacted.

Lawmakers at the General Assembly, especially Republicans who claim to be fiscal conservatives, should refocus their energy from diminishing the potency of the Racial Justice Act, and instead concentrate on repealing the state’s death penalty… if for no other reason than to save the state money. 

Part 8 of 17, Episode V, of “The MisAdventures of Super-Duper Cooper” is now uploaded on the website: A link is provided below. Be sure to view the commentary that follows this educational comic strip.


Sunday, February 13, 2011

NC State Bar eager to disbar prosecutor

The North Carolina State Bar can now boast that it disbars prosecutors just like it does criminal defense and civil lawyers. By golly, Mike Nifong is not the only prosecutor to be disbarred by the Bar since its inception in 1933. The albatross around its neck has been lifted with the disbarment of a former district attorney for Person and Caswell counties, Joel Brewer, slated to take effect on February 25, 2011.

It was the fact that Mike Nifong’s disbarment in 2007 represented the only time that a prosecutor had been disbarred, to my knowledge, which spurred my activism and led to the formation of the Committee on Justice for Mike Nifong. I have often made the following argument… that Mike Nifong was the only prosecutor to be disbarred by the NC State Bar. With the recent order of disbarment against Mr. Brewer, I must now modify my statement about Mr. Nifong to read that he is the only prosecutor to be disbarred for prosecutorial misconduct by the North Carolina State Bar since its inception in 1933.

The reason the State Bar jumped on the disbarment option when made aware of unprofessional conduct about Brewer was most likely its desire to shut me up about my claims about Nifong being the only prosecutor disbarred. In their search to find a prosecutor that could be thrown under the bus like a human sacrifice, the Bar latched onto Brewer like a pack of wolves to a slab of bacon. And, what, you may ask, were Brewer’s grievous offenses that cost him his law license? It appears that during June 2008 and September 2009, Brewer conducted himself inappropriately by kissing and fondling women, often after illegally making traffic stops by posing as a police officer. The seven counts of misdemeanor assault which resulted from his unsolicited acts of affection were not the only charges he faced, and to which he pled guilty. According to the ABC-11 online article, Brewer also routinely dismissed random citations, which may account for the one count of “willful failure to discharge his duties.”

Although the charges against Brewer are criminal and serious, they come no where near to approaching the professional misconduct of prosecutors who have schemed and used foul tactics to put innocent people in jail. These prosecutors, such as Tom Ford (Gregory Taylor case), Bill Wolfe (James Arthur Johnson case), Michael D. Parker (Floyd Brown case), and David Hoke (Alan Gell case), and their prosecutorial misconduct have caused their defendants to be wrongfully held, charged, convicted and sentenced… with their actions being willful and malicious. By far, they are more deserving of being disbarred than Joel Brewer.

The practical solution to Mr. Brewer’s obvious problem was counseling, and not disbarment. A temporary suspension of his license while the extent of his problems could be ascertained along with a thorough mental and physical evaluation would have been reasonable steps for the State Bar to take. According to the ABC-11 article, Brewer’s behavioral problems occurred over a fifteen month interval, with the last known offense taking place more than a year ago. There might have been a physical explanation (brain tumor, for example) or emotional problem (family death, etc.) to explain Brewer’s string of irrational behavior. From what I could glean from the online articles, nothing suggested that Brewer’s prosecutorial actions during the period in question resulted in innocent people being convicted and languishing behind bars.

Because Joel Brewer was a prosecutor, you can expect for him to receive the “rare deal”… one that is not available to the disenfranchised, poor, and people of color. After pleading guilty to the nine misdemeanor charges, Brewer was not sentenced to serve jail time, but was placed on supervised probation (the length of which was not mentioned in the article), and fined $50,000.00. Rare deals often include fines that are arbitrary. For example former Governor Mike Easley, when pleading guilty to a felony charge, was fined $1,000.00 while serving no jail time. And the media kept talking about how the State Bar could take Easley’s law license, but don’t count on it. He’s being represented by Joe Cheshire and the State Bar doesn’t want no parts of that.

For a brief comparison, consider the following: Brewer pleads guilty to nine misdemeanor counts and receives no jail time. Easley pleads guilty to one felony charge and receives no jail time. Crystal Mangum gets assaulted by her ex-boyfriend, is charged with a fire started by the Durham police, and serves 88 days in jail (she was extremely lucky that the bail bondsman came through out of nowhere). Mike Nifong does nothing wrong, but is accused by Judge Osmond Smith III (who is evidently a mind-reader just like the Bar’s F. Lane Williamson) of lying to the court and ends up serving 24 hours in jail. And I was nearly arrested on the Duke University campus for being a Nifong supporter, although its spokesperson came up with the cockamamie excuse that I was “soliciting” because I handed out a half dozen business cards to people who I had been talking to, and may have suggested that they visit my website. It all boils down to selective justice based on Class and Color, and it makes North Carolina’s justice system the laughing stock of the nation.

For former D.A. Joel Brewer it was a matter of bad timing. Had his offenses and his grievance before the Bar taken place prior to me raising a stink about Mike Nifong being the only prosecutor to be disbarred by the North Carolina State Bar, then he undoubtedly would’ve been given nothing more than a mild reprimand, and possibly a paltry fine. Prosecutors, however, still need to be wary as the Bar will continue on its troll for disposable prosecutors to relieve of their law license in order to make the number of disbarred prosecutor appear to be realistic, especially when compared with the total number of disbarred professionals. 

Note: In keeping with its PAPEN (Protect All Prosecutors Except Nifong) Policy, The News & Observer’s only mention of Brewer’s disbarment was snuck in at the bottom of page 2B in the February 5, 2011 issue of the paper, and which consisted of a four sentence blurb by the Associated Press.

Below is a link to Part 7 of EpisodeV of “The MisAdventures of Super-Duper Cooper. Be sure to take a few minutes to view the commentary, insight, and analysis of Part 7 that follows.

It is very enlightening.


Sunday, February 6, 2011

Judge allows Floyd Brown suit against SBI to proceed

According to The News & Observer February 4, 2011 edition, Floyd Brown’s civil suit against the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation will be allowed to proceed. The article by Mandy Locke and Joseph Neff, which strictly followed the PAPEN (Protect All Prosecutors Except Nifong) never once mentioned the name of Brown’s prosecutor, Anson County District Attorney Michael D. Parker. It was Parker who charged the severely retarded African American male, with the intelligence of a seven year-old, with a 1993 murder that was based solely on the existence of a so-called confession from Brown that was taken by verbatim by SBI agent Mark Isley.

There was no eyewitness or forensics evidence tying Brown to the crime… in other words, there was no credible evidence for with which to charge Brown. Therefore, Parker relied on the “verbatim confession” to charge Brown with murder and hold him in a mental institution. It was the objective of the mental health staff to somehow miraculously whip Brown’s severe retardation into a state that would allow him stand trial for the murder with which he was charged. But the mental health team was unable to perform miracles, and Floyd Brown languished in the institution at taxpayer expense for fourteen years until an appeal was held outside of Anson County wherein he was freed.

Brown’s declaration of freedom was based on the fact that the judge heard from a variety of expert mental health witnesses who averred that Floyd Brown’s retardation was so severe that there was no way that the six page verbatim written confession could have been attributed to him. So Brown was finally released to the custody of his family, but not before prosecutor Parker maliciously went out of his way to disrupt assisted living plans that the government social workers had put together for Brown’s release.

Brown’s family sought to bring a civil suit against the prosecutors, but Attorney General Roy Cooper proclaimed that Michael Parker had immunity against such action. This is not the stance he took in the Duke Lacrosse case when he invited civil suits against former Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong who had prosecuted the Duke Lacrosse case within acceptable bounds, acted as a true “minister of justice,” and did so without malice.

Parker, with the complicity of media-types, transferred all of the blame for the “doctored” confession on SBI agent Isley. Any person of reasonable mind would no doubt believe that Parker was aware that the alleged “verbatim confession” by Brown was a fabrication, which was more likely than not pressed forward by prosecutor Parker. Michael Parker is an intelligent man, and has likely had much experience in orchestrating unethical schemes to prevail with a favorable verdict, yet steer clear of any liability. Parker was also indoctrinated by the state’s policy of “selective justice based on Class and Color” and was fully aware that stealing years of a man’s life would be of little consequence as long as he/she were poor, disenfranchised, and a person of color.

When Brown’s family brought the suit against the SBI for its role in Floyd’s lengthy detention, the Attorney General’s Office objected, according to the newspaper, by arguing that it didn’t matter whether a SBI agent “elaborated or augmented or even smoothed out the alleged confession.” In other words, when defendants belong to a certain class and color, it is permissible in the eyes of the state’s head prosecutor to charge a defendant with a confession that is bogus… or as the state euphemistically put it “smoothed out.”

Unfortunately the state of North Carolina “smooths out” a lot of evidence and testimony in order to place behind bars many innocent people who are considered by the Powers-That-Be to be disposable. Attorneys representing the Attorney General’s Office do not feel that Floyd Brown, a retarded man who was involuntarily held in a mental hospital for fourteen years based on a bogus “verbatim confession,” is deserving of any compensation from the state. There is no doubt that he deserves compensation… just like Alan Gell deserved compensation… and Greg Taylor deserved compensation. Many others who deserve compensation by the state but are unlikely to receive any are Erick Daniels, Levon Bo Jones, and James Arthur Johnson.

Superior Court Judge Forrest D. Bridges undeniably made the right decision in allowing the civil case against the SBI to proceed. The civil suit against Mike Nifong for his handling of the Duke Lacrosse case is the one that should have been dismissed, as it was prosecuted honorably and in good faith. Not to mention that the three Duke Lacrosse defendants not only received seven million dollars each, but in contrast to Floyd Brown, Gell, Taylor, Johnson, Daniels, and others, never spent one day in jail.

With the SBI now under scrutiny thanks to the ill-advised challenge by Prosecutor Tom Ford and Wake County District Attorney Colon Willoughby against Greg Taylor’s release, it seems like the scales of justice are tipping, ever so slightly, towards that which is just. 

Be sure to catch the latest installment of Episode V of “The MisAdventures of Super-Duper Cooper” -- Part 6. Just click on to the Link below. Also be sure to view the “Commentary, Insight, and Analysis” which immediately follows the strip. A new feature to the commentary allows viewer feedback by e-mail at its conclusion.


Note: The e-mail response at the end of the commentary which follows the strip may not be functional at this time.