Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A prosecution in desperate need of a plea deal

Word count: 1,471

Here is the deal that Duke Lacrosse victim/accuser Crystal Mangum’s attorney recently suggested that she accept: plead guilty to assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury in exchange for a sentence of time served. Her attorney, H. Wood Vann, also informed her that she has a weak case, implying that if she did not accept the plea deal that she could be expected to be convicted of the first degree murder charge in Reginald Daye’s death.

Mr. Vann presented this plea deal during one of his rare visits to the Durham County Detention Center to see Ms. Mangum. In the other two previous visits he tried to discourage her from giving an interview to the Discovery Channel and to The News & Observer. In his attempts to have her accept the plea deal, he warned that if she did not agree to take it, her next court date would be in April 2013… seven months away. In other words, he threatened her with being forced to sit idly in jail another seven months while he did nothing… as he had done since taking over her defense nearly four months ago.

These recommendations from her defense attorney came despite the fact that he has continued to withhold vital prosecution discovery and other evidence from her. Crystal Mangum has never seen any of the prosecution photographs depicting injuries to her and Reginald Daye and the state of the apartment, including clumps of her hair and the bathroom door kicked off its hinges. Ms. Mangum has never seen the report from the forensic pathologist who reviewed the allegedly fraudulent autopsy report of April 14, 2011 by Dr. Clay Nichols and other documents about Daye’s death. Finally, Ms. Mangum never saw the mysterious yearlong SBI report that was rumored to be about the entry and trajectory of Daye’s stab wound. Ms. Mangum has repeatedly asked Mr. Vann to see these pieces of evidence, and he has continually refused to turn copies over to her for viewing. Yet, he expects her to accept his word that she has a weak defense in light of the fact that photographs, interviews, Daye’s condition and past history, and common sense strongly supports that she acted in self-defense when she stabbed him.

The reason Mr. Vann is trying to persuade Ms. Mangum to accept a plea deal is because he is trying to assist a desperate prosecution in extricating itself from a situation in which it finds itself in serious civil liability, namely malicious prosecution and wrongful incarceration. It is evident that the prosecution of Ms. Mangum was vendetta driven as payback for her role in the Duke Lacrosse case which occurred five years earlier. The simple fact of the matter is that the prosecution has absolutely no case against Mangum, and her attorney is well aware of this… but then, again, he is in collusion with her prosecutors.

The criminal case against Mangum is not unlike that of the bogus case against James Arthur Johnson in which the African American young man solved the heinous Wilson murder-kidnapping-rape-armed robbery of Wilson teen Brittany Willis. Without physical, forensic, eyewitness, or any other credible evidence against Johnson, he was held in jail for more than three years as the trial neared. Wilson prosecutors attempted to line up two “eyewitnesses,” both with ties to the Wilson Police Department, but withdrew once the NAACP became involved and brought media scrutiny to the case. Prosecutor Bill Wolfe tried his best to bluff Johnson into accepting a plea deal, and finally, when the day of the trial arrived, the prosecution backed down and referred their case to a “special prosecutor.” Belinda Foster, the special prosecutor from Forsyth County, was forced to accept the role by her superior District Attorney Thomas Keith, but she did so under the prearranged condition that she not be forced to prosecute the case. Under the pretense of investigating the case, Ms. Foster waited a few months, then per plans already decided upon, she dismissed all of the serious felony charges against Johnson and filed a charge against him of “accessory after the fact.” Instead of being hailed as a hero by the community, receiving a reward, and being endeared by the victim’s family for going against the “no-snitch” law of the streets, and identifying the true killer who had days earlier confided his criminal acts to him, Johnson was incarcerated for thirty nine months, ended up with a criminal record, was disparaged in the media, and was deprived of the $20,000 reward that was offered by the family and friends of Brittany Willis.

Like the Johnson case, Prosecutor Charlene Coggins-Franks has no intention of taking the case against Mangum to trial because there is no case. If she even attempted to do so, she would literally be laughed out of the courthouse. The only thing a trial would accomplish, even if the defense was handled by an inept turncoat attorney, would be to draw attention to the bogus autopsy report and uncover the truth about Daye’s death… which is that it was caused by a medical mistake with a botched intubation by staff at Duke University Hospital. Initially, the prosecution goal may have been to saddle Ms. Mangum with a conviction and lengthy prison sentence under a silently conducted trial, but since the involvement by Mangum’s supporters, the prosecution is now frantically trying to wiggle out of its predicament with a plea deal.

Unfortunately for Coggins-Franks and her staff, their ace in the hole, defense attorney Woody Vann has been exposed as one whose allegiance is traitorously aligned with the prosecution… they are acting in lockstep and depending upon him to deliver the goods – a plea deal of assault with a deadly weapon for time served. But it’s not going to work this time, at least if the Committee on Justice for Mike Nifong has anything to say about it.

Racial prejudice is prevalent in the criminal justice system in North Carolina, and it is a common practice for innocent African Americans to be arrested, held on a high bail, and forced to essentially serve a sentence while waiting to go to trial. Often, these innocents accept a plea deal as a way of getting out of jail… pleading to a lesser crime in exchange for time served. On a few rare occasions, the defendants are merely released without comment… such as what happened to Carletta Patrice Alston. She was arrested and charged with the murder of her stepfather, and was held in jail for a year. When Prosecutor Tom Ford (of the Gregory Taylor case) was unable to manufacture a case against her, she was released.

It is obvious to a reasonable person with full knowledge of the facts that something is wrong with the prosecution’s case when a person indicted on a first degree murder charge is offered a deal by prosecutors to plead guilty to assault with a deadly weapon in exchange for a sentence of time served… less than a year and a half. Prosecutors purposely charged Ms. Mangum with a crime with knowledge that she was innocent, and they are now attempting to remove themselves from the fiasco by forcing her to allow the placement on her record that she is a felon guilty of assault with a deadly weapon.

This is the sort of thing that puts the North Carolina justice system in disrepute… not the prosecutorial actions of former Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong, and not the passionately animated judicial complaints of former Durham District Attorney Tracey Cline.

There is no doubt that in the criminal case against Crystal Mangum that she is up against a prosecution that is the antithesis of a “minister of justice,” and which is up to its eyeballs in a conspiracy with the Orange County medical examiner, defense attorneys representing Ms. Mangum, the mainstream media, and the enablers – the NAACP, ACLU, North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence (enablers being other civil rights organizations, and politicians who are able to make a difference, but stand idly by and say and do nothing). The only ones fighting for justice for Ms. Mangum are her supporters, including the Committee on Justice for Mike Nifong… and regrettably, they are the objects of disparagement and ridicule by the media-types.

The Durham prosecution needs to act responsibly and do the right thing by unconditionally dismissing all criminal charges against Crystal Mangum and releasing her from custody. The charade has been exposed for what it is with the only criminals coming from the prosecution side. Lady Justice makes these demands so that the principles of restorative justice can take place and the innocent mother of three can put her life back together as best as is possible. 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Could it be that the end of the debacle involving Crystal Mangum is near?

Word count: 1,180

For the past few weeks I have been out of contact with Crystal Mangum, as her visitation privileges had been temporarily revoked over what I feel to be a small matter of inconsequence. Revocation of visitation privileges for an inmate, who has been incarcerated for more than five hundred days, however is no trifling thing… as deprivation of weekly visits from a trusted and concerned friend can be demoralizing and devastating. So, although I cannot personally confirm what I heard from a reliable source, I do believe that it is accurate, and if so, is promising.

What I understand is that recently, during the lengthy period when Crystal was without her visitation privileges, she received a rare visit from her attorney Woody Vann. From what I was told, Mr. Vann suggested during his visit with Ms. Mangum that she accept a plea deal from the prosecution. The exact terms of the plea deal were not known by my source, but my source stated that if accepted by Mangum, they would be in exchange for a sentence of “time served,” and she could be released from custody. My source also related that Mr. Vann told Ms. Mangum that she had a “weak case.”

The aforementioned revelations from my source do not surprise me, and in fact I have been anticipating and predicting for some time that the prosecution would go for a plea deal for time served. Durham prosecutors really have no other option as they have absolutely no case against Mangum for either the murder charge or the larceny of chose in action charge. Taking this flimsy case to trial is totally out of the question, and the prosecutors could not expect to get a special prosecutor to even think about taking it. Even if Mangum was to be represented by the most incompetent turncoat defense attorney in the state, the prosecution could not hope to win a conviction. Actually, the prosecution would be laughed out of the courtroom with any so-called evidence that they would even dare to make public.

With the murder case, the prosecutors have no explanation for the appearance of the crime scene with steak knives strewn about, and a bathroom door kicked off its hinges. The prosecution has no explanation for the clumps of Crystal’s hair deposited at two places in the apartment. The prosecution has no motive for the stabbing by Mangum, and to suggest that the two were arguing over two cashier’s checks that had been filled out is ludicrous. Furthermore, the prosecution has the arduously impossible task of trying to somehow link a stab wound that was successfully repaired during emergency surgery with Daye’s brain death… and they would have to do so without mentioning the fact that Daye underwent a botched intubation by Duke University Hospital staff that resulted in his comatose state that lasted for a week before life-support was removed, resulting in his death. Then, there’s all of the discrepancies between the autopsy report of April 14, 2011 and the operative report and other medical records. This would bring serious scrutiny and questions about the credibility of the entire Orange County Medical Examiner’s Office.

Problems with the larceny of chose in action charge that prosecutors face are that they are unable to produce any credible evidence that the cashier’s checks were taken by Ms. Mangum and not given to her by Reginald Daye. Furthermore they lack credible evidence that Ms. Mangum altered or had the intent to illegally convert the cashier’s checks to her own benefit or an unintended purpose. What is also problematic about the larceny of chose in action charge is that it was filed more than two weeks after the alleged criminal event. The fact that the larceny charge was filed along with the murder charge makes it evident that its function was to promote the first degree part of the murder charge through use of the felony-murder rule.

Prosecutors may initially have planned to eventually take Mangum to trial under a cloak of media secrecy in an attempt to have her convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to life in prison without parole, however, now they are trying to save face with any plea deal for time served. The prosecution will not risk damaging Duke University Hospital reputation by bringing attention to its medical malpractice in a courtroom trial. With the Committee on Justice for Mike Nifong directing attention to the case online, prosecutors are hoping to mitigate any civil liability from Crystal Mangum for malicious prosecution and wrongful incarceration. Therefore, prosecutions’ best case scenario is for Ms. Mangum to accept a plea deal for some lesser crime that she did not commit in exchange for a sentence of time served. And that is the exact deal that Mangum’s defense attorney, Woody Vann, is trying to get her to accept. (This was the strategy successfully used by prosecutors to resolve the James Arthur Johnson case wherein he was wrongfully incarcerated for thirty-nine months and ended up accepting a plea deal for a crime he did not commit in exchange for time-served.)

Mr. Vann was initially selected to represent Ms. Mangum for a reason… to carry out the prosecutions’ agenda. The fact that he has kept important prosecution discovery from Crystal Mangum, including photographs and the report by Dr. Roberts, strongly supports the fact that his interests do not lie with his client. His inaction and unavailability to his client show that Mr. Vann does not have her best interests at heart… on the case for more than four months, he did not file a single motion on her behalf. At least Mangum’s previous attorney made several attempts to have her bail reduced. Finally, to try and convince her that she has a weak case when the exact opposite is true, and to suggest that she consider a plea deal clearly spells out the fact that Mr. Vann’s allegiance lies with the prosecution in protecting Duke University Hospital’s reputation and removing legal liability from those who have grievously wronged her.

The Committee on Justice for Mike Nifong, and Mangum’s friends and supporters are responsible for thwarting the prosecutors’ plans to seriously convict Mangum on trumped up charges that are totally baseless. (Politicians, civil rights leaders and organizations and the mainstream media have joined in the conspiracy against Mangum by concealing the injustices or by turning their heads and ignoring them.)

It is time for Durham prosecutors to cut their losses and unconditionally dismiss all criminal charges against Crystal Mangum… forget about saving face. After all, the mainstream media will go easy on the prosecutors of Crystal Mangum, without doubt. It is also time for Woody Vann to step down as Crystal Mangum’s attorney as it is conclusively apparent that he is trying to broker a deal that is best for the prosecution at the expense of his court appointed client… a client for which he has invested very little time, energy, resource, and commitment.

Plea deal for time served is what the prosecution is now aiming for, but you had better believe that it is pie-in-the-sky. Mentality that should be adopted by the prosecutors now is to do the right thing by dismissing all criminal charges against Ms. Mangum, and damn the consequences. With the plea deal for time served not realistically being in play, it is the vendetta-driven prosecutions’ only option.      

Monday, August 20, 2012

Mainstream media’s big role in the conspiracy against Crystal Mangum

Word count: 1904

The truth will set Crystal Mangum free. That is a proposition of which I have been a proponent for some time. Durhamians and Tar Heelians would put a kibosh on the baseless and vendetta-driven criminal charges against Crystal Mangum (the Duke Lacrosse victim/accuser) if they only knew the truth about events of April 3, 2011, that were responsible for Mangum’s current entanglement with the law. But the masses are ignorant of the truth… in the dark, left standing amidst the shadows of a moonless night. The reason for the misguided opinions and sentiments surrounding this injustice is due to actions and inactions of the mainstream media… all acting in concert with one another and their fellow co-conspirators. Media’s main contribution to the conspiracy against Mangum is to keep the truth hidden… buried deep beneath diversions, misstatements, selective omissions, misinterpretations, and outright lies. Instead of acting as a torch of enlightenment in the Mangum case, it has been functioning as a shroud to strike the death knell for justice.

For the prosecution to be able to bring such bogus and baseless charges against Ms. Mangum, with a straight face, requires the devoted participation of four additional center-stage actors: (1) the medical examiner (to provide the fraudulent autopsy report upon which to base the prosecution); (2) extremely pliable turncoat defense attorneys (to look the other way, pull punches, and advise against Mangum’s best self-interests); (3) enablers (individuals and organizations [NAACP, ACLU, etc.] who are in a position to do or say something to positively impact the situation, but elect to remain silent… mostly out of fear, having learned their lessons from the persecution of former Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong); and (4) the mainstream media. Of the aforementioned four, the media is one of the crooked prosecution’s most valued allies because of the influence it has over the public… a public that for the most part places a great deal of trust in the media to provide honest and accurate reporting.

Although the mainstream media has been charged with being a public watchdog, to expose corruption in government and business that adversely affects the civilian citizens, when it comes to the Duke Lacrosse case or any of its participants, all bets are off. The driving force behind the remarkable unity of all media outlets stems from the fact that Rae Evans, mother of one of the Duke Lacrosse defendants, was an executive at CBS News for more than a decade. Afterward, she founded a highly successful Washington DC public relations firm of which she is president and CEO. In addition, her husband is an attorney in a prestigious DC law firm. As strong as her ties are to the other media outlets, there is no doubt that she possesses sway as to how stories are spun, and she has not kept her feelings hidden. During an interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes” show, Ms. Evans stated that she wanted Mr. Nifong to “pay every day for the rest of his life” (as retribution for his having the audacity to prosecute her son and the other lacrosse players). Defying journalistic codes of good standards, CBS never disclosed Ms. Evans’ ties to the station during any of its programs which featured its biased stories about the Duke Lacrosse case.

Another factor which drives the selective, skewed, and one-sided reporting of the Crystal Mangum case is the media’s desire to protect Duke University’s reputation and to mitigate the civil liability which Durham has self-inflicted upon itself with its unjust treatment of Mangum. The quandary at the root of the murder charge against Mangum is the fact that Reginald Daye’s death was not caused by the stab wound inflicted by Mangum. An unrelated botched intubation by Duke University Hospital staff, which resulted in brain death, led to Daye’s elective removal from life support… the proximate cause of his death. The media, through the prosecution’s charge against Mangum, has done its best to shift blame for Daye’s death from the Duke hospital, where it truly belongs, to Crystal Mangum.

Shortly after the stabbing of Reginald Daye by his live-in companion Mangum, the mainstream media flourished with articles about the stabbing, ABC-11 even falsely stating that Daye was repeatedly stabbed by Mangum. Lacking a lot of specifics, especially Mangum’s side of the story, the media devoted little attention to the incident itself, and focused much on the so-called “2010 arson” incident involving Mangum, and her role in the Duke Lacrosse case… never failing to misleadingly mention that the Duke Lacrosse defendants were declared “innocent.” Mangum was represented by media as emotionally unstable, mentally ill, and a perpetual prevaricator with a penchant for being physically violent with her boyfriends… none of which is true. On the other hand, the media hid from the public Reginald Daye’s criminal history (which included assault on a female), the fact that he was an alcoholic, and that he was highly intoxicated at the time of the incident. The media never bothered to mention that Mangum sustained physical injuries, including a swollen lower lip and a cut around her left eye. Nor did the media report findings at the scene of the incident which included clumps of Mangum’s hair, and a bathroom door that had been kicked in by Daye. In fact, the media, at all times, painted Mr. Daye in the most positive light.

As the media became more aware of the weaknesses in the prosecution’s case, its coverage of the case markedly diminished. On the third postoperative night, after Duke University Hospital staff intubated the esophagus rather than the trachea which resulted in Daye’s comatose state, the media went into a self-imposed news embargo on the subject. For a week, while Daye lay in a coma, the media kept the public in the dark as to the serious and significant turn of events in Daye’s medical condition. It was not until after Daye died a week later that the people were even informed about the fact that Daye had been in a weeklong coma. A suddenly apathetic media all of a sudden had no curiosity as to how Daye’s condition dramatically evolved from “expected to make a full recovery” to “irreversible brain-damaged induced coma.” Instead, the media placed the blame for Daye’s death on Mangum… never mentioning the botched intubation and, with the exception of only one media source, not mentioning that Daye was even on life support and that his elective removal from it preceded his death.

There was a flurry of media activity when the autopsy report was released to the public four months after it was written by Medical Examiner Clay Nichols. The media falsely proclaimed to the people that the stab wound inflicted by Mangum perforated “six” organs… the left lung, the diaphragm (not an organ, but a muscle), the left kidney, the stomach, the spleen, and the colon. As I revealed online in the operative report I procured from prosecution discovery, only the spleen and colon were damaged by the knife wound. In addition, other medical reports from prosecution discovery contradicted that Daye sustained any lesions to his left upper extremity which Dr. Nichols interpreted as being “defensive injuries.” Although the lack of credibility of the autopsy report by Nichols was brought to the attention of the mainstream media, they never attempted to question its accuracy or to set the record straight. Instead, the media chose to let their readers and viewers continue to believe that Daye’s death was due to the perforation of six organs by a single stab wound to the torso with a steak knife.

Specifically, I made contact with WRAL and its investigative team (including manager Randall Kerr), and ABC-11 at its downtown Raleigh studio, to enlighten them about the problems with the Daye autopsy report by Dr. Nichols. I even hand-delivered a letter to Jim Goodmon, the president and CEO of Capital Broadcasting Company which owns WRAL and FOX 50 among other media holdings. Per the usual response I have received from the media, I was ignored. As I was aware, the problem was not that the media did not know that what they reported regarding the autopsy report was incorrect and misleading, but that they did not want the general public to know. Such is still the case as the media continues to ignore the injustices in Mangum’s plight.

Another tactic utilized by the media is to not so subtly defile supporters of Mangum by presenting them as being lawless, unstable, and irresponsible. The headlines may blare that “Mangum supporter is being investigated by the State Bar,” but it is that which is underlying that story that is concealed. When approaching her one year anniversary of incarceration with no activity by her attorney of record, Mangum requested my assistance in drafting motions for her. I innocently drafted three motions based upon prosecution discovery that she sent me. She signed the motions and I filed them with the court. According to the State Bar, more than one journalist complained about me practicing law without a license… which propelled the Bar to investigate me. In order to conceal the identities of the journalists, the Bar itself assumed the role of the complainant in the action against me. Although the alleged wrongdoing against me was trivial and petty, the media, and the State Bar both made a mountain out of this tiny molehill. Diversion ruled the day, as the media brought attention to the alleged unauthorized practice of filing the motions (even questioning whether or not Mangum knowledge or consent for their filings), while disregarding the issues addressed by contents of the motions.

The selective and biased reporting by the media is not without severe consequences with respect to the administration of justice. Its role in the conspiracy against Mangum has helped keep a person innocent of committing a crime (and actually being a victim of crimes against her by Daye) incarcerated for 505 days as of today’s posting… and counting. The media is doing a disservice to Ms. Mangum, to Lady Justice, to the cause of “equal justice for all,” and to the public which reads its reports and views its broadcasts. In all fairness I do not fault reporters, news anchors, managers, and editors on the lower rungs of the media business, as the policies regarding how stories about Mangum are to be presented are determined by those at the top. Mr. Goodmon, as president and CEO is to be held accountable, rather than anchor David Crabtree, for example. Presidents and CEOs of ABC-11 and NBC-17 are guilty of failing in their duty to the public, as well. The media conspiracy in this Mangum criminal issue is long on fidelity and ubiquitous throughout the country.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t help persuade the mainstream media to do the right thing when enablers, such as politicians, retired judges, the governor, the Attorney General’s Office, civil rights leaders and organizations, including the North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence, sit on their hands and allow their mouths to be muzzled. Only the Committee on Justice for Mike Nifong is speaking out against the injustice towards Crystal Mangum… and as would be expected, the media has gone out of its way to minimize the group and discredit it whenever possible.

The media’s handling of the Crystal Mangum case has been disgraceful, and its subscribers and the public at large deserve better. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The jig is up on the widespread corrupt 2011 conspiracy against Mangum

Word count 2,720

The pieces have been in place for some time… the puzzle is complete and it exposes a conspiracy so broad in scope as to be mind-boggling… a scenario that is acceptable to all reasonable individuals, even those who are not bona fide conspiracy theorists. This 2011 murder/larceny conspiracy is much broader and more serious than the 2010 arson intrigue that put the Duke Lacrosse victim/accuser Crystal Mangum in jail for three months… but they are both similar in motive and structure.

The first degree murder charge and the “larceny of chose in action” charge against Crystal Mangum related to Reginald Daye’s death on April 13, 2011, are without doubt bogus and baseless… charges which should never have been brought against Mangum, and charges that were inspired by an unquenchable thirst by prosecutors and the misguided to exact payback for her role in the Duke Lacrosse case. The ability to bring these charges was due to complicity of many actors sharing a common desire to inflict severe grief upon Mangum. However, the lynchpin holding the conspiracy against Mangum together was the mainstream media, both local and national… for their job was most important. The media was charged with keeping the public ignorant of the misdeeds and malfeasances being perpetrated by the prosecutors, the medical examiner, and the defense attorneys. The media was also in position to try and discredit supporters of Mangum as being unstable, lawless, and irresponsible.

Since 2007, media-types prepared for this 2011 conspiracy by pulling a Jedi mind-trick on the masses of Durhamians, cultivating an irrational antipathy towards Crystal Mangum while lionizing the three Duke Lacrosse defendants (who never spent a day in jail, shook down Duke University for $20 million each, and are avariciously seeking $10 million more from the cash-strapped city of Durham). So, the culture in the Bull City is one which adores the privileged party-going student athletes from Duke, and despises the African American single mother of three who was enrolled in a graduate program at North Carolina Central University before the city took, without provocation, the liberty of trumping up a series of charges against he in 2010.

In the 2011, as in the 2010 case, Mangum was the victim of domestic physical abuse, and Durham Police and prosecutors in both cases ignored the abusers and arrested the victim. Specifically in 2011, Mangum’s abuse at the had of Daye was documented by photos showing her with a swollen lower lip, cuts around her eye, a lesion to the back of her left hand, clumps of her hair at the scene, and a bathroom door that had been kicked in by Daye as he attempted to get at her. According to Mangum, it was only after Daye was choking her with both hands that she stabbed him with a steak knife that was lying nearby… inflicting a nonfatal wound, and one that most probably saved her life. After Daye sustained the injury, Mangum as able to escape his grasp, grab her purse and flee.

Prosecutors and Durham Police need to be held accountable as to why they refused to arrest Reginald Daye and charge him with domestic violence, assault on a female, and false imprisonment, especially in lieu of the fact that Daye was intoxicated and an alcoholic, and that he had a past history of violence toward women. Instead they elect to arrest and charge Mangum for assault with intent to kill, when it is reasonable to conclude that she was physically beaten, her hair pulled out, and the bathroom door kicked in prior to Daye being stabbed. It is clearly a case of self-defense.

Even had Daye died as a direct result of the stab wound, Mangum should not have been charged with his murder due to the fact that she acted in self-defense. However, facts show that Daye’s postoperative prognosis was for a full recovery, and it is without doubt that Daye died secondary to complications of a misplaced endotracheal tube used to treat Daye for delirium tremens.

The most critical and inflammatory part of the 2011 conspiracy against Mangum is the fraudulent Autopsy Examination Report of April 14, 2011, by Orange County Medical Examiner Clay Nichols, M.D. His report contains findings not corroborated by other medical records, but some that are even contradicted. Furthermore, the conclusion reached by Dr. Nichols that Daye died due to “complications of a stab wound to the chest” is unsubstantiated and there is no nexus established with Daye’s demise.

Without doubt, Durham Prosecutor Kelly Gauger, and her replacement, Charlene Coggins-Franks, knew or should have known that the autopsy report was corrupt and not a reliable document. Abandoning their roles as “ministers of justice” these prosecutors used the fraudulent autopsy document as the basis for charging Mangum with murder. Prosecutors were driven by two motives in charging her with Daye’s death… first, to inflict severe punishment upon Mangum as a vendetta for her role in the Duke Lacrosse case, and second, to protect the reputation of Duke University Hospital whose staff was truly responsible for Daye’s death.

Prosecutor Gauger, when bringing the indictment for murder against Mangum, also were granted indictments on two counts of “larceny of chose in action,” one for each cashier’s check allegedly “stolen” by Mangum. Truth be told, Reginald Daye gave both cashier’s checks to Mangum, and they were both filled out so that she could not convert them for her profit. In addition, she made no attempt and there was no intent for her to illegally convert them… both requisites for the “larceny of chose in action” being absent. This charge was blatantly trumped up, but was necessary in order to impose the “felony-murder rule” to upgrade the charge to first degree murder. When Prosecutor Gauger got the grand jury indictments on April 18, 2011, her ambitious goal was to convict Mangum, who she knew to be innocent of any crime, and have her sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

In order for the prosecution team to pull off such a flagrant injustice, it needed not only the cooperation of the medical examiner, which it had, but even more importantly, the cooperation of Mangum’s defense attorney. They needed an unscrupulous lawyer who would pretend to make an effort to represent his client while selling Mangum down the river at the same time. There is no doubt in my mind that the defense attorneys had assurances from the Powers-That-Be that they would have immunity from the ineffective representation they provided… that such a complaint would never even see the light of an appeal. H. Wood Vann was initially selected to represent Mangum, and I strongly believe that there was a reason for his selection… that it wasn’t purely arbitrary. Then for circumstances unknown to me, Ms. Mangum replaced Mr. Vann with defense attorney Chris Shella. To my knowledge, Mr. Shella conducted no investigation, withheld prosecution discovery photographs from Mangum, and only filed several motions for bail reduction. One was heard by Duke Lacrosse Judge Osmond Smith III who should have recused himself due to conflict of interest… but he didn’t in swiftly denying bail in March 2012. Mr. Shella never challenged Smith’s being on the bench for that hearing.

Mr. Shella’s abrupt departure came after nearly a year with him sitting on the case and accomplishing nothing as his client remained in jail. It was provoked because of action taken by members of the Committee on Justice for Mike Nifong who exposed problems with the prosecution’s case. Mr. Shella wisely removed himself from the case after complaining that Mangum compromised her case by giving some prosecution discovery to me, which I posted online and used to backup my claims of prosecutorial misconduct… in other words, for enlightening the public about problems with the case. The court then re-installed its initial choice to represent Ms. Mangum, Woody Vann.

Mr. Vann followed the same playbook as the prosecution, which was to keep everything about Mangum’s case hidden from the public. The reason for that is simply to conceal the great injustices that were taking place to deprive Mangum of justice. Like Shella, Vann kept important discovery away from his client Mangum… including photographs which visually support that Crystal Mangum was abused, the report by Dr. Christena L. Roberts that evaluates the autopsy report of April 14, 2011 by Clay Nichols, and the mysterious yearlong SBI wound entry trajectory study pertaining to Daye’s wound. Unlike Shella, Vann did not file any motions with the court, and he refused to even consider the possibility of filing a motion to dismiss the charge of “larceny of chose in action.” The few times that Mr. Vann came to visit Mangum was just prior to her giving interviews to the media. (Although the media is markedly prejudiced against her, having the forum to get her story out to the public outweighed the risks of the probable skewed reporting that was to follow.)

One thing that has always been consistent about Mangum’s representation is that it moves at the pace of cooled molasses flowing uphill. There never has seemed to be any urgency, with defense attorneys taking their sweet time while Mangum, under a ridiculously high bail, serves out a sentence… an acceptable practice for use against African American defendants… consider the cases of James Arthur Johnson and Carletta Patrice Alston just to name a few.

Joining the ranks of the conspirators, which includes the Durham prosecution, the Orange County Medical Examiner Nichols, and Mangum’s defense attorneys, is the largest conspirator, the mainstream media. The media’s involvement is a vital one, and necessary for the prosecution to get away with its charges against Mangum. Acting to conceal important information, the media has adroitly acted to cover-up the gross unfairness and bias in the charges and court proceedings against Mangum. It has also played a diversionary role by placing its focus on Mangum supporters. For example, “more than one journalist” was responsible for prodding the North Carolina State Bar into investigating me for the unlawful practice of law. To hide the identities of these activist media-types, the Bar elected to own the complaint and listed itself as the complainant. The “investigation into this Mangum supporter” was given more coverage that the important issues about Mangum’s unjust charges and her ineffective defense.

The media definitely excelled in keeping the people ignorant of the truth about Mangum’s case and spinning it to her disadvantage. Specifically, the media barely mentioned that Daye was heavily intoxicated, that he was an alcoholic, and that he had a past history of abusing women. The media was quick to erroneously state that Daye was stabbed repeatedly, and kept quiet about any alleged “motive” for Mangum to stab Daye… not giving credence to self-defense. A self-imposed media blackout on Daye occurred during his weeklong coma, and his unconscious state was only mentioned after his death. In reporting his death, I only found one source that said he was on life-support and that its removal precipitated his death. The local media, which has been consumed with obtaining copies of former UNC football coach Butch Davis and uncovering the names of the UNC football players whose parking tickets were forgiven, have shown no interest when it comes to problems with the autopsy report and its significant discrepancies with other medical records. A media apathy also swirls around issues concerning Daye’s death and its real cause which was medical malpractice (although a hospital homicide cannot be ruled out).

To an objective and reasonable observer with full knowledge of the facts of the media coverage of Crystal Mangum’s case, it is obvious that its goal was to shift blame for Daye’s death from Duke University Hospital to Mangum, and to work with their co-conspirators by keeping crucial information from the people… a grand large scale nationwide cover-up. Let there be no doubt that the orders dictating how this case was to be handled came from the higher echelons of the media sources as they had an understanding that their reporting was to help determine the case’s outcome.

Now that you have the major conspirators revealed (Durham prosecutor, Orange County Medical Examiner, Mangum’s attorneys, and the mainstream media – both local and national), the final ingredient for this perfect recipe of injustice is the enablers. The enablers are individuals and organizations with the clout, prestige, influence and power to make a difference, but remain idly by and say nothing. This group I find most frustrating… but to an extent, I understand their reluctance to get involved. Simply put, they lack courage. After witnessing what happened to former Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong when he followed his conscience and proceeded with an unpopular prosecution of the three Duke Lacrosse players in 2006, politicians learned of the harsh consequences that oft-times accompany supporting a politically incorrect position. Siding with Mangum is a taboo proposition that is analogous to juggling vials of unstable nitroglycerin… do so at your own risk, and may politicians, attorneys and other professionals are not willing to sacrifice their reputations and careers in an attempt to seek justice for a media maligned African American single mother who is held in contempt by an overwhelming number of Durhamians and Tar Heelians.

Members of the Durham City Council and the North Carolina General Assembly were made aware of the injustices and ignored pleas to get involved… even those in Durham who represented her, such as Senator Floyd McKissick, and Representatives Larry Hall and Mickey Michaux, and Congressman David Price. The NAACP, likewise, has remained silent as a dormouse about Crystal Mangum being deprived of her civil rights, as has the ACLU. The North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence has once again refused to lift a finger or utter a word about Mangum’s double mistreatment by her abuser and the justice system (this group had previously failed to take any action about the 2010 domestic violence against Mangum).

Had these individuals and organizations gotten involved, the broad 2011 conspiracy against Mangum would not have become so entrenched. Because of their silence and inactivity, the enablers share the culpability of the great injustice against Crystal Mangum.

Yes, the jig of injustice against Mangum is up, and the Durham prosecution should drop all criminal charges related to the 2011 incident and release Mangum from jail. Failing that, the following steps, at a minimum, should be taken:
(1) dismiss the “larceny of chose in action” charge as it lacks credible evidence and probable cause;
(2) force Mr. Vann to turn over all prosecution discovery and evidence to Mangum;
(3) remove Mr. Vann as the defense attorney for Mangum;
(4) release Mangum on her own recognizance;
(5) investigate the discrepancies in the autopsy report and other medical records and police reports; and
(6) investigate circumstances of Daye’s death to rule out hospital homicide.

The above actions will not only accrue to the benefit of justice, but help reduce the city of Durham’s running tab for the prosecutorial civil liability for the malicious prosecution and unjust incarceration of Mangum. As it is, the county has already wasted taxpayer dollars to pay for the sham prosecution on bogus charges, and for Mangum to be held at the Durham County Detention Center.

Today marks the five hundredth day of Mangum’s wrongful incarceration on bogus and trumped up charges. Consider that the Duke Lacrosse defendants are suing the city of Durham for $10 million each, and they never spent a single day in jail… plus they have no credible evidence that they were maliciously charged by the state. The Duke Lacrosse players have no explanation for their demands for money from the city other than an overblown sense of entitlement that often accompanies those who come from families of wealth, power, and privilege… such as their carpetbagger families. If anyone is deserving of ten million dollars from the city, it is Crystal Mangum.

Conspirators need to give it up and cut their losses. The jig is up, and although the media continues to try to keep the truth about Mangum’s prosecution hidden from all, with the help of the courageous members of the Committee on Justice for Mike Nifong, the truth will see the light of day, sooner rather than later, and at long last justice will prevail.


Thursday, August 9, 2012

While the Tar Heel justice system burns, the courts, politicians, and the media fiddles

On Tuesday, August 7, 2012, H. Wood Vann, Crystal Mangum’s current attorney, arrived in court long after Mangum’s status was to be heard and asked for a continuance… which was set for around September 27, 2012. Evidently it will take him that long to review what little new evidence and discovery he may have received.

The defendant, Crystal Mangum, was not present for her hearing, which lasted (I have been told) about three minutes, at most. To date, Mr. Vann has been twiddling his thumbs, without any sign of urgency, while his client continues to languish in jail… this posting date being day 494 of her unjust incarceration.

Since the March 2012 hearing before Duke Lacrosse Judge Osmond Smith III, in which he quickly denied Chris Shella’s request for Mangum’s bond to be lowered from a ridiculously high $200,000.00, there has been no further motion for bail reduction. This is problematic in light of the fact that Judge Osmond Smith, who a reasonable person with full knowledge of the facts, would not consider him capable of being impartial when it comes to Crystal Mangum. Since Mr. Vann has taken over Mangum’s case, he has done essentially nothing for his client. His inaction is making his predecessor Shella look like Perry Mason in comparison.

Also, on Tuesday, August 7th, I filed two petitions with the court in Mangum’s case, but as a Pro Se petitioner… therefore, not lawyering. One was a Petition for Writ of Mandamus for petitioners Durham District Attorney Leon Stanback and Durham prosecutor Charlene Coggins-Franks, requesting that the Courts issue a writ of mandamus instructing the respondents to dismiss the Larceny of Chose in Action charge against Crystal Mangum due to lack of credible evidence and lack of probable cause. To begin with the two cashier’s checks at the heart of the issue were given to Mangum, having been filled out by Reginald Daye, and she was listed as neither the payee nor remitter. Secondly, she made no attempt or showed any intent to illegally convert them for her benefit. Thirdly, no where in the police reports that I had access to did Reginald Daye or his nephew Carlos Wilson claim that Mangum took cashier’s checks… they only referred to money, or rent money. For example, Wilson did not say to officers that he heard Daye shout, “Give me back my cashier’s checks” or “Give me back my money orders.” The Larceny of Chose in Action requires that cashier’s checks, money orders, bank notes and other certificates other than money or currency be stolen… and this did not happen.

Finally, a look at the timeline will confirm that had the larceny charge been serious, Mangum would have been indicted for it a day or two following the self-defense stabbing incident… it would not have taken prosecutors a couple of weeks later before making the charge against her. The fact that the larceny of chose in action charge was attained by a grand jury at the same time as the first degree murder charge makes it plain that the charge was trumped up in order to kick in the “felony-murder rule” to upgrade the murder charge to first degree. (Note: this is the same tactic that Andrew Curliss of The News & Observer criticized former Durham D.A. Tracey Cline of employing in his biased and scathing series about her just months ago… yet when it comes to Prosecutor Coggins-Franks using them on Mangum, the newspaper is conveniently muzzled… no complaints… no outrage.)

I believe that prosecutors initially planned to use the first degree murder charge to railroad through a life sentence for Mangum. However, due to the backlash of Mangum supporters, including members of the Committee on Justice for Mike Nifong, the prosecution is now going to try and use it to eventually wring out a plea deal for “time served in order to let the prosecutors and the city of Durham off the liability hook for malicious prosecution and unjust incarceration.” (Similar to what happened in the James Arthur Johnson case.)

In order for the prosecutors to force a plea deal from Mangum, it will be necessary for them to have the cooperation of her defense attorney, and they are counting on Mr. Vann to come through for them, in my opinion. There is no doubt in my mind that Mr. Vann’s priorities are in the following order: (1) Protect the reputation of Duke University Hospital, which was responsible for Daye’s death – not Mangum; (2) Protect the city of Durham from any civil liability for its malicious prosecution of Mangum; and lagging a distance behind (3) Possibly trying to see that Mangum doesn’t spend too long in jail.

The second petition filed on Tuesday was against respondent H. Wood Vann, requesting the Court to issue a writ of mandamus for him to turn over the entire prosecution discovery and all evidence to his client Mangum. Since her incarceration on April 3, 2011, she has never seen photographs from prosecution discovery, despite repeatedly asking her attorneys for them. Ms. Mangum has also not seen the report from Dr. Christena L. Roberts who reviewed the autopsy report of Reginald Daye that was submitted by Orange County Medical Examiner. By depriving Ms. Mangum of access to discovery and evidence, she is being denied the ability to best help in her own defense. It is bad enough when prosecutors withhold evidence from the defense, but when the defense attorney withholds it from his client, that is the height of professional misconduct.

Because of the aforementioned acts of withholding evidence from Ms. Mangum and his propensity to ignore Mangum’s request to see him, I filed a complaint with the North Carolina State Bar against Mr. Vann on Wednesday, August 8, 2012. Needless to say, I do not expect it to take any action.

I can understand why politicians, such as Congressman David Price, State Senator Floyd McKissick, Jr., and State Representatives Mickey Michaux and Larry Hall are mum on this great injustice… it is because they learned from the example that was made of Mike Nifong by the state and the media. They saw what happened when a man of integrity took a stand on principles and acted independently on moral conscientiousness regarding a justice issue that was contrary to the position held by the Powers-That-Be… Mr. Nifong was horrendously persecuted by the state and crucified in the media. For the same reason, civil rights organizations such as the NAACP and the ACLU have shied away from the injustice towards Ms. Mangum… it’s certainly not due to ignorance of what has been sadly transpiring.

It takes courage to take a stand against an unpopular position, and even though the cause in support of Mangum is one of justice and is sound morally, community leaders, members of the North Carolina General Assembly, and clergy, are afraid to take a stand. It is a rare courage that only Mangum and Nifong supporters are bringing against a justice system that is selectively and overtly bias, racist, cruel, and inhumane in its treatment of Ms. Mangum… Joan of Arc received better treatment by the British courts.

What I find most disheartening about all of this injustice towards Crystal Mangum is the fact that the mainstream media is actively involved in the corruption and conspiracy swirling around this case. The media’s priorities are not unlike Vann’s… to first protect Duke University (which heavily advertises, especially on WRAL and The News & Observer), secondly to protect the city of Durham from civil liability due to its misdeeds and malfeasance, and finally, to carry out the Carpetbagger Jihad agenda to destroy everyone considered by the Powers-That-Be to be on the wrong end of the Duke Lacrosse case (that includes Mangum, Nifong, and their supporters… and yours truly).

Despite the best efforts of the media (using its selective, skewed and one sided reporting) to keep the gross wrongdoings against Mangum hidden from the public, the stench is starting to leak out… and the cover-up in this case can not go on in perpetuity. It’s time for the media to start questioning and investigating the following:
(1) the problems with the autopsy report by Dr. Clay Nichols;
(2) what grounds does Durham prosecutors have for their larceny charge against Mangum;
(3) why is Mr. Vann keeping discovery and evidence from his client Mangum;
(4) why has a judge not been assigned to Mangum’s case;
(5) what role did Duke University have in Reginald Daye’s death; and
(6) why is Governor Bev Perdue and Attorney General Roy Cooper standing on the sidelines.

I believe that if Durhamians and Tar Heelians knew the truth about the injustices against Crystal Mangum, they would not allow it to continue… the truth will set Crystal Mangum free. The question I have is how long will the mainstream media attempt to keep it hidden from the people.  

LINK:  http://www.justice4nifong.com/legal/cgm/manusAB/masMen.htm