Thursday, March 29, 2012

April 3rd… a truly sad anniversary

April 3, 2012 will mark the one year anniversary of yet another Durham tragedy… one that surely calls for no celebration. It will be a year since Crystal Mangum, the Duke Lacrosse victim/accuser has been in jail on bogus charges related to the stabbing of Reginald Daye. What this day will invoke, in people of enlightenment and good will, is a feeling of shame for yet another injustice based on the vendetta prosecution of Ms. Mangum. Like a pit-bull that won’t turn loose a leg of lamb, the Durham police and prosecutors continue to pursue to seek vengeance against the person, an African American female, who was responsible for what has been known as the Duke Lacrosse case.

The Carpetbagger families of the Duke Lacrosse defendants are not just satisfied with the $20 million payout that they each received in a shakedown of Duke University… they thirst for blood of all involved in the case. Rae Evans, mother of Duke Lacrosse defendant Dave Evans, made clear her vindictive streak by publicly stating that she wanted Mike Nifong to “pay every day for the rest of his life.” With her strong connections to the media, which includes more than a decade of working as an executive with CBS News, she has managed to direct the mainstream media into an all-out crusade to crush former Durham district attorney and Duke Lacrosse prosecutor Nifong, Crystal Mangum, Nifong supporters, and anyone considered by the Powers-That-Be to be on the wrong end of the Duke Lacrosse case.

This Carpetbagger Jihad agenda has been highly successful in manipulating the mainstream media to destroy the honorable careers of Mike Nifong, lab director Brian Meehan, and the then Durham Assistant District Attorney Tracey Cline… although, removed from her elected position as Durham district attorney using a little known-rarely used elastic law, the Jihadists’ work on Cline will not be completed until she is at least disbarred. Police detectives and officers who worked on the Duke Lacrosse case have also been put through the wringer by the media and courts, however, with the possible exception of Mike Nifong himself, no one has been exposed to as much media-spurred venom and wrath as Crystal Mangum.

It wasn’t enough that she was abused and exploited at the March 13, 2006 Duke Lacrosse beer-guzzling, stripper-ogling, under-aged drinking debauchery, the city of Durham pounced on its first opportunity to destroy her when she was in need of the services of Durham’s finest. On that February 17, 2010 night, being a victim of a domestic assault in which police were called to her apartment by her children who feared for her life, she ended up in jail on a multitude of trumped up charges. Among them was a felony arson charge for clothes set on fire in the bathtub, with Durham police being the only ones with the means, motive, and opportunity to commit the crime. Her three months of incarceration were interrupted only by the benevolence and generosity of a bail bondsman who had the courage to assist her by satisfying her $100,000 bail. With a mistrial on the most serious arson felony charge, Mangum was convicted on three frivolous and merit-less misdemeanors and sentenced to time served.

Having lost everything after her lengthy time in detention, Crystal Mangum had to virtually start from scratch. With her media-driven notorious past and arson charge, she was unable to find a landlord willing to rent to her, so she entered into a symbiotic relationship with Reginald Daye, a recently laid-off painter who was in arrears with his rent and facing eviction. Their arrangement was for her to help with paying the rent in exchange for her and her children to be allowed to secretly cohabitate in his apartment.

Unfortunately, Mr. Daye had a problem with alcohol and on the evening of April 2, 2011 he had been heavily drinking. An argument between Daye and Mangum ensued and proceeded into the early morning hours of April 3, 2011. It eventually became physical with him dragging her around by her hair and punching her in the face. In self-defense she stabbed him with a paring knife… once in the left torso, and then left the premises.

Daye was awake and walking around his apartment by the time first responders arrived. EMT noted no injuries other than the stab wound to the left torso that had minimal bleeding. They accessed his left upper extremity and found not lesions, contrary to the autopsy report of April 14, 2011… no “defensive wounds.” He was transported to Duke University Medical Center where, in addition to the stab wound, a blood alcohol lab test revealed a level of 296 mg/dL… enough to cause stupor in a normal individual.

When EMT later picked up Crystal Mangum, they noted a cut under her left eye and a swollen lower lip. In addition, at the scene, police recorded finding tufts of brown hair.

Mangum was arrested immediately for assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, despite her claims of self-defense, and forensic evidence to backup her claim.

Meanwhile, Reginald Daye, having successful emergency surgery to repair a lesion to the splenic flexure of his colon and a mild lesion to his spleen, required treatment for severe alcohol withdrawal… and was treated with benzodiazepine sedatives to control his symptoms of delirium tremens.

On the evening of the third postoperative day, April 6, 2011, Daye was having respiratory problems and a diagnostic procedure was ordered. However, while being prepped for the procedure, Daye sustained a severe and lengthy anoxic episode that induced a cardiac arrest and brain damage. These events were responsible for Daye lapsing into a deep coma which eventually brought about his elective removal from life support one week later. His brain death had absolutely nothing to do with the stab wound inflicted by Mangum, but rather the lack of oxygenated blood circulating to his brain which was directly responsible for the death of brain cells.

One year later, Mangum remains in jail for acting against Daye in self-defense. Compare this with the case in Sanford, Florida, where George Zimmerman shot and killed an unarmed seventeen year old boy because he “looked suspicious”… evidently defined as being a young black boy wearing a hoodie. In this case Zimmerman was obviously the aggressor and was in pursuit of the young black teen who was walking with iced tea and a bag of Skittles while talking on the cell phone with his girlfriend. There was no photographs released of Zimmerman, who alleges to have sustained a broken nose and a bloody wound to the back of his head. There was no indication of facial trauma on the recently released video of his visit to the police station immediately following the incident. There was no indication of any blood from Trayvon Martin on Zimmerman’s clothing; Martin who Zimmerman claims was on top of him when he shot Martin in the chest. Zimmerman’s story of self-defense doesn’t stand up, and yet he has remained free for more than a month since the incident happened.

Why is it then that Crystal Mangum has already served a one year sentence in jail for acting in self-defense in a state which has its own version of Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law? The answer is simple… it is because of race. Had the roles in Sanford, Florida been reversed and Zimmerman was an African American and Martin was white, then an arrest would have been made at the scene and the shooter would be in jail today and not awaiting for a grand jury to convene on April 10, 2012 to make a determination.

The problem is in large respect due to mainstream media and its inherent bias. The incident involving Trayvon Martin was of no interest to the mainstream media. It was the social media that brought national and worldwide attention to this outrage, and forced the mainstream media to get involved.

With the circumstances involving Crystal Mangum, she has been so vilified and demonized by the mainstream media that it is nearly impossible for her to get any sympathy from anyone. This is compounded by the NAACP, both locally and nationally, ignoring her plight. Also the African American politicians, especially in Durham, are turning a blind eye and deaf ear to this grave injustice. Senator Floyd McKissick, and Representatives Mickey Michaux and Larry Hall, as well as the entire North Carolina Legislative Black Caucus should be up in arms about the injustices that have plagued Crystal Mangum since February 2010. But they aren’t, and she continues to languish in jail… for a year now.

This is a truly tragic anniversary of incarceration of an innocent person, Crystal Mangum… and it is one that will not be repeated if the Committee on Justice for Mike Nifong has anything to say about it.

Monday, March 12, 2012

It’s a crime to steal from yourself!

“Drats!” I can almost hear one of the executives of the Prison Industrial Complex now muttering as on February 22, 2012 a felon slipped through its greedy grasp to gain his freedom. Anxious to build its prison population to expand its bottom line the correctional facility failed to reel in the potential boarder in large measure because he was not a person of color. The fact that he was a retired Cary police officer most assuredly helped him wiggle off the hook. The News & Observer article of February 23, 2012 by Amanda James titled “Artist off the hook for theft charges” detailed the story of one, Keith Adams… artist turned felon. His crime – collecting his artwork from a restaurant that had closed.

According to the article, the Angier artist loaned 26 of his paintings to Bistro 155, an Apex restaurant that was shuttered in January 2012. Keith Adams, who valued his paintings at more than $5,000, was advised by the building owner’s lawyer to wait until inventory was taken before collecting his pieces. However, concerned that some or all of his paintings might be stolen, he entered the restaurant, gathered his paintings, took them home, and then alerted police authorities. He didn’t want the police to think that they had been stolen. With that information, or confession, in hand, the Apex police promptly placed Mr. Adams under arrest and charged him with larceny… for stealing his own property.

At a hearing in the Wake County Courthouse on February 22, 2012, Assistant District Attorney Jeff Cruden informed the court that charges against Adams, larceny and breaking and entering, were being dismissed. It was a rare act of sanity in the Tar Heelian justice system that deprived the Prison Industrial Complex of some income for its insatiable fiduciary appetite.

Unfortunately the Assistant District Attorney of Durham County, Kelly Gauger, lacks the wisdom, sense of justice and courage to do the same in the case against Crystal Mangum, the Duke Lacrosse victim/accuser. In essence she is charged with two counts of larceny, one for each of the two money orders that she purchased and took with her after she stabbed Reginald Daye in self defense. (Note that it was not mentioned that Keith Adams was charged with 26 counts of larceny… one for each of his works of art.) Instead, Ms. Gauger is moving forward with the prosecution, along with a first degree murder charge which totally lacks merit. Gauger is doing her part to appease the Prison Industrial Complex which is after taxpayer money and to sate the Carpetbagger Jihadists’ call for vengeance against anything and anyone considered to be on the wrong end of the Duke Lacrosse case.

The larceny charge against Mangum is unwarranted because she paid for the two money orders, which were made out to Daye’s landlord, with her money even though Daye was listed as the remitter. Reginald Daye was placed on the money orders because he held the lease to the apartment which they shared. Because of the notoriety surrounding the bogus and trumped up arson charge against Ms. Mangum, she was unable to find anyone to allow her to rent an apartment.

Daye wanted the money orders for use to purchase alcohol, which was the basis of the hours long argument that preceded the stabbing. If Reginald Daye had the money, he simply would not have paid for the money orders and instead would’ve wasted the money on booze sans input from Crystal Mangum. Daye did not pay for the money orders and he was not entitled to them.

Now the biased mainstream media wants the public to believe that Crystal Mangum stabbed Reginald Daye with a knife in order to steal two money orders that Daye purchase which were made out to the landlord and ones which she could not convert to cash as her name was not even listed as the remitter.

But, then, the prosecution is desperate for a motive in the stabbing and a reason for keeping Crystal Mangum behind bars. Prosecutor Gauger is focused on punishing Crystal Mangum by doing the dirty work for the Carpetbaggers. Justice… that’s not in the prosecutor’s purview.

And, like in the James Arthur Johnson case, and many others like it, prosecutor Kelly Gauger will drag out the proceedings as long as possible to assure that Crystal Mangum serves a term in jail without even being convicted. That’s the way North Carolina’s selective justice based on Class and Color works.

An action such as prosecuting a person for “stealing his/her own property” is what makes North Carolina’s justice system the laughing stock of the country and brings it into disrepute. The larceny charge against Ms. Mangum makes no more sense than the larceny charge against artist Keith Adams. At least the Wake County assistant D.A. had the common sense to drop the larceny charge against Mr. Adams.

Unfortunately, even though the charges against Mr. Adams have been dropped, he is still recorded as a felon. However with a little effort and money, he should be able to have those charges expunged. One lesson he could take away from this is to undervalue his works that he loans out so that if it becomes necessary for him to retrieve them in the future he will only be charged with a misdemeanor. 

Coming soon: Currently work is being done on an interactive flog that should be uploaded in about two weeks and is focused on the marked disparity in the application of laws in the Tar Heel state. Don’t miss it!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

A justice system that is already in disrepute?

On February 24, 2012, one week prior to Franklin County Superior Court Judge Robert Hobgood handing down his decision to permanently remove Tracey Cline from her position as Durham County district attorney, I gave my observations about Cline’s challenges and her hearing to Barry Saunders, the humorously sarcastic columnist for The News & Observer. Specifically, I told him that a single snowflake had a better chance of remaining intact for a year within the bowels of Hades than Tracey Cline had of being reinstated by Judge Hobgood as the district attorney for Durham County. Mr. Saunders had contacted me days prior to get my take; in particular wanting to know if I felt the attempt to remove Cline had any connection to former Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong. I expressed to him that I definitely not only felt that the media, especially The News & Observer, had targeted Ms. Cline because of her congenial relationship with Mr. Nifong, but also because she is an African American.

Then I proceeded to enlighten Mr. Saunders by explaining to him about the Duke Lacrosse/mainstream media connection. Mr. Saunders, like so many others, was unaware that Ms. Rae Evans, the mother of Duke Lacrosse defendant Dave Evans, had worked as an executive for CBS News for more than a decade, that she then founded and is CEO of a highly successful PR firm in Washington, DC, and that her husband is an attorney in a prominent DC law firm. Even CBS, in violation of acceptable journalistic standards, did not disclose this vital relationship when it interviewed Ms. Evans during its numerous and skewed “60 Minutes” news magazine stories devoted to the Duke Lacrosse case. Possibly this unexpected revelation contributed to his decision to omit any of my comments from his column in the March 3, 2012 edition of the newspaper… a revelation that is supported by an article in today’s newspaper of March 4, 2012.

The News & Observer isn’t through with Tracey Cline… not by a long shot. Now that the N&O has succeeded in dethroning Cline of her position as the top Durham prosecutor, it is moving forward with stage two… having Tracey Cline disbarred. The full court press has begun with an article in today’s March 4th paper by pit bull investigative reporter J. Andrew Curliss titled “Lacrosse case had Cline input.” This is the first admission by the media that I am aware of to confess that it has been targeting Cline because of her relationship with the Duke Lacrosse case and Mike Nifong… it reinforces my long held contention that the Nifong connection was the seed that sowed Cline’s media-instigated downfall. The appearance of the Curliss article helps explain why columnist Barry Saunders chose not to ridicule me in his column for my contention that Cline’s removal was related to her association with Mike Nifong. Not only that, but Barry, who I believe does possess some journalistic ethics, would’ve felt compelled to mention Rae Evans’ connection with CBS News had he made mention of me in his column.

The complaint filed by Durham defense attorney Kerry Sutton, which cited a little known, rarely used elastic law, alleged that District Attorney Cline engaged in “conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice which brought her office into disrepute.” In quoting that famed philosopher Yogi Berra, “This is deja vu all over again.” Not unlike 2007 when the North Carolina State Bar heaped all of the woes in the state’s justice system upon Mike Nifong’s handling of the Duke Lacrosse case, Judge Hobgood and the media are scapegoating Ms. Cline by accusing her of bringing the justice system into disrepute. The fact is that the present-day condition of the justice system preceded her, and will continue long after her removal. In Durham itself, for example, Crystal Mangum is being held on a charge of first degree murder for stabbing a man in self-defense… a man well on his way to recovery from the wound, but who mysteriously on the third postoperative day went into a coma which led to his elective removal from life support and his death. This prosecution of Ms. Mangum is vendetta motivated, as was the trumped up 2010 arson-related charges she faced. Crystal Mangum is not a criminal; she committed no crimes in 2010 and 2011; and she should not have served a day of jail time. This is the type of biased and vindictive justice that is responsible for Durham’s ill-repute.

That Durhamian Erick Daniels and Shawn Massey, two African Americans who were wrongly convicted of crimes for which they served more than seven and twelve years respectively, were denied pardons by the Governor’s Executive Clemency Board – pardons which are required before they can receive compensation for their wrongful incarcerations – itself brings the North Carolina justice system into disrepute. In denying the petition of Erick Daniels, Governor Bev Perdue’s General Counsel Mark A. Davis refuted my claim that the determination refusing his pardon was because of racial bias. Instead, Mr. Davis claimed that the Governor’s Office had conducted its own investigation which questioned Daniels’ true innocence… but then added that he was unable to back it up by sharing investigative findings with me due to “confidentiality concerns.” Everyone knows that explanation is nothing more than hogwash. Unless the Governor’s Office is willing to publicly prove otherwise, the impetus for rebuking Daniels’ and Massey’s calls for the pardons is due to the color of their skins.

However, one of the most egregious attempts to infringe upon the judicial rights of the people is playing out now in the U.S. District Court in Greensboro, North Carolina, involving the Dukegate Discrimination Scandal of April 2010. Succinctly, Duke University maliciously harassed, humiliated, and intimidated Sidney B. Harr because he was a Nifong supporter, and then attempted to arrest him because he is an African American. When Harr’s attempts to reasonably resolve the incident in good faith were rebuffed by Duke University, he filed a Pro Se lawsuit against the powerful institution alleging discrimination.

What makes this matter so outrageous is that Duke University would choose to fight rather than amicably settle... especially when one realizes the defense Duke’s legal team has chosen to use. First they claim that the wrong individuals (Duke University President Richard H. Brodhead, Duke Law School Dean David F. Levi, and Duke University General Counsel Pamela Bernard) were named as defendants in Harr’s complaint. However, this is through no fault of plaintiff Harr, as he tried at the scene of the incident and for months following to learn the name of the individual(s) responsible for his mistreatment. Other than “the building manager” as quoted by the security guard, and “the Duke Police,” Harr could not learn the identity of the ringleader or other conspirators in the plot against him. Had the actions against Harr been proper, appropriate and above board, then surely someone would have accepted responsibility for them. Harr has the conviction to stand by all actions and statements he makes and take full responsibility for them. Because the intrigue against Harr was so malicious, despicable, and corrupt, no one at Duke University wants to accept responsibility for it. The fact that Harr sent letters to Brodhead and Levi initially, and then included Bernard in all of the subsequent communications definitely affixes legal liability to them.

The second defense used by Duke is that it is immune from discrimination complaints because it is a private institution and not a state one. F. W. Woolworths was not a state agency when it refused lunch counter service to African Americans back in the day when the civil rights wars in the Jim Crow south were at their zenith. This is what Duke University attorneys want the people to believe… that Duke is protected when it discriminates based on race, color, religion, gender, sexual preference, etc. Without a legitimate defense, Duke is trying its best to stave off an inevitable defeat in court by not allowing the case to go to trial. In other words, Duke is trying to get the Courts to do its dirty work for it. Currently, the case hinges on a Motion to Dismiss filed by the Duke defense.

Because Harr filed as a Pro Se plaintiff, Duke University is unable to undermine his legal representation, a tact which would have been first used if Harr had retained an attorney. Also, since Harr is Pro Se, the Duke defendants cannot rely on any legal consultation to bleed him dry financially. Duke defendants’ only hopes to prevail, with their non-existent defense, against Harr is to prevent the case from going to court. Everything is riding on the defendants’ Motion to Dismiss. And Duke University is doing everything in its power to replicate the courtroom course that took place when former lab director Brian Meehan filed a lawsuit against the company which fired him. Meehan, whose lab was used by Prosecutor Mike Nifong in the Duke Lacrosse case, was denied the opportunity to have his wrongful dismissal case heard in court when a judge found in favor of a defense motion to dismiss.

This is the strategy that is being used by Dixie T. Wells, of the Greensboro law firm of Ellis & Winters, LLP. I do not fault the firm for using the “Motion to Dismiss” tactic, as it is available to the defendants and is the only realistic chance for them to prevail. Ellis & Winters, LLP is a business and its priority is its bottom line. Unlike the ideal of a prosecutor in a criminal case whose ultimate goal is to seek justice, the attitude in the realm of civil lawsuits is “justice be damned.” If Ellis & Winters, LLP gives Lady Justice a black eye and defiles Christian morals, it is no big deal as long as the outcome results in a win for its clients.

That Duke University retained a Greensboro law firm to represent it, gives it an upper hand as its legal staff has undoubtedly had dealings with the U.S. magistrate judges. What brings this legal matter into disrepute is the fact that Magistrate Judge P. Trevor Sharp would purposely make false statements (lies) about facts of the case in a manner that is willfully prejudicial in favor of the Duke defendants. Magistrate Judge P. Trevor Sharp’s recommendation to the U.S. District Court to accept the defendants’ Motion to Dismiss is now under consideration despite the fact that it contains serious false and misleading statements that Judge Sharp has refused to correct. In an attempt to clarify the facts of the case, Harr filed a motion that the defendants’ Motion to Dismiss be heard in court… a motion which defense attorney Dixie Wells vehemently opposed. The Duke University defendants want the U.S. District Court judge to make a ruling based upon a recommendation that contains blatantly false and misleading statements that go directly to the core of the case. Duke defendants do not want the Court to rule on the Motion to Dismiss based upon the truths of the case.

If the Duke defendants prevail in its Motion to Dismiss, it would set a detrimental precedent of allowing the big and powerful corporations and individuals to keep meritorious complaints against them by ordinary individuals from being heard in court. Individuals with legitimate grievances should not be deprived of the opportunity to have their cases heard in court. Justice should be available to everyone regardless of their class, color, or financial standing.

One thing that the Duke University defendants have been able to rely upon thus far has been the prejudicial silence of the mainstream media. Despite awareness of the Dukegate Discrimination Scandal of April 2010, the media has, in concert, remained silent about it… keeping it hidden from the public. The mainstream media was informed about the discrimination lawsuit against Duke that was filed in April 2011, and keeping true to form, has purposely ignored it, as well. That the media has chosen to collude with Duke University to keep the Dukegate Scandal under wraps puts the mainstream media in violation of important journalism ethics.

Unfortunately, with the engineering of her successful removal from office, the media is now pushing for Tracey Cline’s disbarment; this after finally admitting that its vendetta motive against her was related to her role in the Duke Lacrosse case. Instead of generating news stories and taking sides, the media should focus on objectively reporting about them… all important and relevant stories, even the ones that might cause embarrassment to the big and powerful. Actions by the mainstream media threaten to embed it, alongside the justice system, in disrepute with the public. All Tar Heelians expect and deserve better from the justice system and the mainstream media.