Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Prosecution’s not-so-secret weapon v. Mangum’s only weapon

Word count: 2,177

As I have stated before, the trial and inquisition given to Joan of Arc by the English was far fairer and much more humane than the state’s treatment afforded to Crystal Mangum, the Duke Lacrosse case victim/accuser. Ms. Mangum has clearly been subjected to a malign vendetta-driven prosecution by a wide ranging cabal of conspirators with a goal of exacting misguided payback for her role in the Duke Lacrosse case… and you can bet that their pursuit of this persecution is based in part on the fact that she is an African American woman. Those colluding to subvert justice and punish Mangum consist of the medical examiner Dr. Clay Nichols, the mainstream media (which to date has done a magnificent job of concealing the truth from the masses), and the Enablers… individuals and organization who are in positions to help put a halt to the injustices against Mangum, such as the NAACP, but elect to remain silent and do nothing due to lack of will, lack of courage, or both. One of the prosecution’s most valued and no-so-secret weapon is H. Wood Vann, the defense attorney for Crystal Mangum. The fact that he was the Court’s initial choice in appointing a defense attorney, speaks volumes as the entire Tar Heelian justice system has been and is now relying on him to do the bidding of the prosecutors.

Although the State’s initial goal may have been to win a conviction for first degree murder in order to hand Mangum a life sentence, the intervention by the grass roots organization Committee on Justice for Mike Nifong has taken that draconian option out of play and placed the prosecution on defense. The State, representing the city of Durham, is now fighting to extract a plea deal (preferably to a felony) for time served in order to extricate the City of Bull from any civil liability for its malicious prosecution of Mangum. And it is Mangum’s own attorney, Woody Vann, who has been given the mandate to deliver her on a silver platter to Durham prosecutor Charlene Coggins-Franks. You can bet that Mr. Vann will continue to dutifully carry out his assignment as he already indicated that he does not intend to step aside amidst criticism and accusations of some Mangum supporters… accusations against which he has no answer and which include the following:
(1) his failure to file a motion to dismiss the murder charge due to lack of probable cause and a charge based upon a blatantly bogus autopsy report;
(2) his failure to file a motion to dismiss the larceny of chose in action charge due to lack of probable cause;
(3) his withholding important exculpatory evidence from his client including photographs which document her injuries and suggest that Reginald Daye was the aggressor;
(4) his withholding important exculpatory evidence from his client including the report from Dr. Christena L. Roberts which assesses Daye’s cause of death and the autopsy report by Dr. Nichols; and
(5) his testing the waters on behalf of the prosecutors to see if Mangum was ready to accept a plea deal by presenting one to her and advising her to take it… saying that she had a weak case.

For Mr. Vann to suggest that the case for Mangum’s defense is weak when the prosecution is willing to drop a first degree murder charge to assault with a deadly weapon for time served (about 500 days at the time) shows the ludicrous nature of his contentions about the offer. Rest assured that after Ms. Mangum is softened up with more jail time, the plea deal will be offered once more, because the prosecution is not going to take this case to trial, because it has no case. And because, as Mangum’s legal counsel, Mr. Vann holds a position of his client’s trust, he is charged with bringing about her downfall.

On September 18, 2012, Mr. Vann and his collaborators put on a court performance in which he was pretending to valiantly fight to have Ms. Mangum’s bail reduced from $200,000 to $50,000. I felt all along that this event was staged for Mangum’s benefit and that all participants involved in this charade knew that there was absolutely no way in Hades that her bail would be reduced one cent. Vann had been taking a lot of well-deserved criticism from Mangum supporters for not doing anything for his client, so in response he felt forced to put on this little courtroom drama. Mr. Vann’s true allegiances and fidelity are evidenced by his actions in which includes his failure to seek dismissal of the bogus charges against Mangum, his withholding all pertinent discovery and evidence not already in her possession from her, his infrequent visits and lack of communication with his client, and his general lack of urgency and willingness to allow Mangum to unjustly sit in jail separated from her three children. The bottom line is that Mr. Vann has sold his soul to the Blue Devil, as his priorities obviously are to protect Duke University and its hospital from negative publicity.

Because it is obvious to anyone with at least one functioning gray matter neuron that the stab wound inflicted by Mangum was not responsible for Reginald Daye’s brain death and subsequent elective removal from life support a week later and resultant death, the defense and prosecution have even shifted their stories to suggest that Mr. Daye’s brain death was due to a massive aspiration following a bout of emesis. Even the mainstream media is going along with this misdirection by not mentioning the fact that Mr. Daye was improperly intubated by Duke University Hospital staff. This medical mistake that attorneys on both sides and the media are trying to keep covered up led to hypoxia which resulted in brain death and Daye’s comatose state.

In addition to protecting Duke University Hospital’s reputation, Mr. Vann is entrusted with eliminating any legal liability Ms. Mangum has against the city of Durham for bringing a malicious prosecution against her. The privileged Duke Lacrosse defendants, who never spent a single day in jail and who were able to shake down Duke University for $20 million each, feel that they are now entitled to receive $10 million each from the city of Durham just because Attorney General Roy Cooper felt pressured by Joe Cheshire to proclaim that the Duke Lacrosse defendants were “innocent.” Not only that, but the mainstream media has lionized and coddled these boys while viciously attacking Crystal Mangum and labeling her as a liar who is emotionally unstable, violent, irrational and a threat to society. In this backdrop, Ms. Mangum’s attorney is trying to wrangle from her a plea deal that would let the city and its prosecutors off the hook for compensation she rightfully deserves for a premeditated vindictive and malicious prosecution that has deprived her of her liberty for nearly a year and a half and deprived her of contact with her three children who love her and need her.

Whereas Mr. Vann is the prosecution’s not-so-secret weapon against Ms. Mangum, the Committee on Justice for Mike Nifong and Mangum’s supporters are her only weapons against an injustice system bent on making her suffer because of politics related to the Duke Lacrosse case. Legal layperson Sidney Harr, a retired physician who has been sounding the alarm about serious problems with the Nichols’ autopsy report of April 14, 2011 since its release to the public in mid-August 2011, has helped Ms. Mangum draft and file motions to the court to dismiss the charges against her. The result netted by his action has been for the North Carolina State Bar to investigate Harr for the unauthorized practice of law; the action originating from complaints by “more than one journalist,” and whose identities have been hidden by the Bar which assumed the role of complainant for that specific purpose. Then, when Harr filed a Pro se petition for writ of mandamus to order prosecutors to dismiss charges against Mangum for lack of probable cause and to order attorney Vann to desist from withholding evidence and discovery from his client Mangum, the State Bar launched another investigation for unauthorized law practice (this one scheduled to be heard on October 24, 2012). However, all of Harr’s complaints filed with the Bar against prosecutors Kelly Gauger and Charlene Coggins-Franks (for malicious prosecution against Mangum without probable cause) and H. Wood Vann (for withholding evidence and prosecution discovery from his client Mangum) were not acted upon.

What contributes to making this an uphill battle for the Committee and Mangum supporters is the silence and idleness of the enablers – NAACP, the ACLU, the North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence (in Durham), politicians (including those in the North Carolina General Assembly), and civil rights and religious community leaders. It is understandable why people refuse to get involved in trying to help Crystal Mangum… they realize that to do so is politically incorrect and they justifiably fear the consequences. A lesson was learned in 2007 in North Carolina when former Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong was persecuted by the state, disbarred by the State Bar, and crucified in the media because he went forward with his prosecution of the three defendants in the Duke Lacrosse case… that lesson being that acting ethically and with professional integrity will not protect an individual from being mauled by the system. This has even been borne out in this situation as Harr has already been confronted twice by the NC State Bar… actions against him initially instigated by the media.

I am of the firm belief that Dr. Clay Nichols felt under duress to go along with the program and issue a report he knew to be fraudulent in order to wrongly implicate Mangum lest he be subjected to the torturous treatment meted out to Mr. Nifong. The politicizing of Duke Lacrosse related issues have cast a pall over the state’s criminal justice system unlike any other case, forcing some good and decent people to unwillingly take part in corruption and others to look the other way. The timorous NAACP is looking the other way and has been quiet as a dormouse when it comes to the gross injustices against Ms. Mangum… as has the aforementioned enablers. Governor Bev Perdue has been apprised of the injustice against Mangum as has Attorney General Roy Cooper, and they have both elected to ignore the issue and allow an innocent mother of three to remain locked behind bars because of a misguided vendetta.

The Committee is engaged in waging a lonely battle for justice with the enablers being effectively throttled by a statewide reign of political-inspired terror that is ant-Nifong and anti-Mangum. After peeling off the veneer to expose the true nature of the prosecution’s not-so-secret weapon, it is time for Crystal Mangum to jettison Mr. Vann… deadweight that is undermining her case while propping up hopes for the prosecution. For example, Mr. Vann has consistently been inconsistent in his explanations about prosecution discovery and evidence. First he tells Ms. Mangum that he has received Dr. Roberts’ report but will withhold it from her. Then, after confronted by the Committee he states that he has not yet received the report. First he tells Ms. Mangum that he will withhold from her the photographs taken by prosecution related to the April 2011 incident… photographs which document her injuries at Daye’s hand and the other exculpatory evidence. Then, after pressed by the Committee, he told Ms. Mangum that he sent the disc containing the photographs to the printer and they came up blank. The most recent explanation is that the photographs provided by the prosecution show only images of smoke damage to the apartment in the 2010 case… that he has no images related to the 2011 case. Durham Police Forensics report  (Note: the smoke damage was the result of Durham Police officers allowing clothing on fire in a bathtub to burn for fifteen minutes without any attempt by officers to intervene and douse the blaze by turning on the bathtub spigot or shower.) He gave Mangum no indication as to when he would have possession of the above referenced evidence and discovery. He gave her no indication of any action he might take to expedite there retrieval… documents and evidence that holds the key to her release from custody and the dismissal of charges against her as the photos support her claims of self-defense and the Roberts report will undoubtedly reinforce the baseless foundation for the prosecution’s murder charge.

As this justice system tragedy continues to play out, Mangum’s sole supporters will continue to carry the good fight against the state and its not-so-secret weapon… Woody Vann, a wolf in sheep’s clothing who is guarding the hen house. Even so, it is Mangum who will prevail as truth is on her side… and hopefully other current enablers will eventually muster up the courage to do the right thing by moving from the sidelines and take part in this all-important conflict with justice on the line. 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Woody Vann’s appeal for a Mangum bail reduction gets a mixed review; and a complaint is filed against the Medical Examiner

Word count:  1,588

On Tuesday, September 18, 2012, H. Wood Vann and his client Crystal Mangum, the Duke Lacrosse victim/accuser, appeared in Durham’s Superior Court where Mr. Vann argued for a bail reduction from $200,000 to $50,000. I was not present at this event, but from the accounts I have read and comments made to me by eyewitnesses, Mr. Vann put up a spirited attack.

Mr. Vann appropriately stated that Ms. Mangum was no flight risk, was a Durham native, presented no danger to the community, and that she appeared in Court (when under house arrest in the 2010 arson case). Also, he mentioned that Crystal Mangum was defending herself against an intoxicated Daye who kicked in a bathroom door Mangum had locked behind her, and then pulled out some of her hair and hairweave. To his credit, Mr. Vann also brought up the fact that there are questions suggesting that Daye’s death might have been due to treatment he received at Duke University Hospital. He explained to Superior Court Judge Michael Morgan that on the night (Monday, April 4, 2011) after his assault and emergency surgery (Sunday, April 3, 2011) that Mr. Daye was up and walking around and talking to police. Mr. Vann then described that two days later (Wednesday, April 6, 2011) Mr. Daye, who was an alcoholic, went into delirium tremens which preceded a cascade of events, beginning with a bout of emesis (most assuredly induced by the administration of contrast agent into his stomach via a naso-gastric tube), and culminated with his removal from life support and death a week later (Wednesday, April 13, 2011).

According to newspaper accounts, the Durham prosecutor did not refute: 1) that Daye kicked in the bathroom door; 2) that Daye pulled out Mangum’s hair; 3) that Daye was an alcoholic and intoxicated; 4) that Daye’s surgery was successful with an excellent prognosis for a full recovery; and 5) that Daye’s downward spiral to death was directly related to complications from delirium tremens. Instead, Assistant District Attorney Charlene Coggins-Franks gave an irrational, illogical, and unbelievable narrative of events wherein she claimed the two were arguing over cashier’s checks that Ms. Mangum allegedly wouldn’t return to her. The Herald-Sun article even states that the cashier’s checks were given to her - not that she took them. (QUESTION: So, where does larceny fit in in this fantasy scenario conjured up by Coggins-Franks if Reginald Daye gave the checks to Ms. Mangum and she allegedly refused to return them? ANSWER: There is no case for larceny!) Coggins-Franks also admitted during the hearing that Ms. Mangum locked herself in the bathroom, but evidently she did not give an explanation for this action (which was obviously to protect herself from Daye), and then the prosecutor conveniently neglects to mention that Daye was responsible for kicking in the bathroom door!

Prosecutor Coggins-Franks then expects the judge to believe that after an intoxicated Reginald Daye asked Ms. Mangum to leave his apartment (for which he was the sole lessee and who paid the rent) and she refused, that he then decides to leave of his own volition and as he is doing so, Ms. Mangum grabs a knife and stabs him. According to witnesses and Ms. Mangum, the prosecutor stated that he was stabbed in the back. This is a blatantly and factually incorrect statement, as the wound was inflicted to the front-lateral aspect of the chest. There are two possible explanations for this misstatement by Coggins-Franks, which are: (1) She doesn’t know the pertinent facts of this case (possibly due to being overworked or a heavy caseload which have deprived her of time to be knowledgeable about the case), and (2) She purposely attempted to mislead the judge into believing that Mangum stabbed the defenseless and unaware “victim” in the back (a bold attempt to rule out self-defense). Once more, Woody Vann apparently rose to the occasion by rebutting that Mr. Daye was stabbed in the back. To my knowledge Prosecutor Coggins-Franks did not counter the correction made by Mr. Vann.

In another pathetic attempt, Prosecutor Coggins-Franks does her best to shift Daye’s transfer to the Intensive Care Unit from complications related to alcoholic withdrawal to an infection secondary to the stab wound. However, the record clearly shows that concerns by the medical staff were due to impending D.T.s as Daye was given repeated boluses of the sedative Valium intravenously. From the hospital records I have viewed, there was no indication that any cultures were taken or antibiotics given to Daye during his hospitalization. The intention of Coggins-Franks here is again to mislead the Court.

Despite relatively strong arguments by the defense, and weak, illogical and erroneous prosecution statements totally lacking in credibility, the judge refused to reduce bail for Ms. Mangum. If I am not mistaken, every time a hearing has been brought before the Court, a different judge has been sitting on the bench. This leads me to believe that the prosecution spends much of its energies in judge shopping for criminal charges it knows lacks wheels.

Although I was somewhat impressed by Mr. Vann’s performance at this hearing (my expectations were exceedingly low), I still retain questions about his true allegiances. My concerns are due mainly to the following: (1) his refusal to share all prosecution discovery with Mangum… especially the photographs which show her injuries and the crime scene, as they would convey the nature of the abuse and horror to which Mangum was subjected at Daye’s hands and lend to her claim to be a victim of domestic violence; (2) his refusal to turn over to Mangum the report by forensic pathologist Dr. Christena L. Roberts for which Judge Henry Hight ordered the defense expert witness to receive compensation on June 18, 2012 – more than three months ago; (3) his refusal to give his client the mysterious SBI report; (4) his refusal to file a motion to dismiss the ridiculous and baseless “larceny of chose in action” charge which permit the prosecution to up the murder charge to first degree; (5) his pulling punches in his argument for Mangum by protecting Duke University Hospital – laying blame for Daye’s brain death on aspiration rather than the esophageal placement of an endotracheal tube by Duke staff; and (6) his overall lack of urgency and aggressiveness in the face of such bogus and baseless criminal charges. In addition, Mr. Vann has not had adequate communication with Mangum, visiting her on extremely rare occasions. For example, she did not even know that she would be going to court until the morning of the hearing… and she did not know about what the hearing would be.

Personally, I have the impression that the hearing of September 18, 2012, was a staged event, and that it was preordained that bail would be denied to Crystal Mangum. Keep in mind that it is imperative that Mangum remain incarcerated in order for the prosecution to be able to force a plea deal upon her… and that is its ultimate goal. Prosecutor Coggins-Franks cannot take the case to trial because she has no case, and her performance at the hearing was pitiful at best. Defense attorney Vann, on the other hand, did well enough to encourage trust by his client and her supporters – but that is exactly what he wants. A trusting client would be easier for Mr. Vann to persuade to accept a plea deal down the road that would best benefit the prosecution, the medical examiner, and Duke University Hospital… all at the expense of Crystal Mangum who would be saddled with a felony conviction, inability to obtain compensation, and loss of vindication.

If Woody Vann had his client’s best interests at heart, he would refrain from withholding important and probable exculpatory evidence from her, and produce it immediately. The truth behind the evidence that Mr. Vann is withholding from Mangum is enough to have the fraudulent charges against her dismissed.

As The News & Observer editorial’s Our Views column stated in its December 14, 2010 editorial titled “Hide and seek”: “When evidence is hidden that could help a defendant, the justice system is corrupted.”


The fraudulent Autopsy Examination Report of April 14, 2011, by Dr. Clay Nichols, with its fabricated false findings and unsupported conclusion is at the heart of the bogus murder charge against Crystal Mangum, and it is evident it was prepared to prop up the prosecution's case. Dr. Clay Nichols is the Deputy Chief Medical Examiner of the state of North Carolina, and he has a duty to provide accurate, objective, and fair autopsy reports – and not to mold the findings and conclusions to fit the whims of the prosecution… no more so than the SBI lab, which has recently come under scrutiny for its lack of impartiality. This incident which involves the medical examiner is just as damning.

Three weeks ago, I notified the state’s Chief Medical Examiner, Dr. Deborah Radisch, about the problems with the April 14, 2011 autopsy report in hopes that another report would be issued to rectify problems with the initial one. Receiving no indication that such movement was forthcoming, on September 19, 2012, I reluctantly mailed, by certified, a formal complaint with the North Carolina Medical Board against Dr. Nichols. 

Click on the link below to access the Formal Complaint against Dr. Clay Nichols and the accompanying exhibits.


Monday, September 17, 2012

As far as the media’s concerned, when it comes to Crystal Mangum domestic violence is acceptable

Word count: 927

Print and broadcast media have been carrying the tragic story about Kathleen Bertrand, the 41 year-old mother of three who fell victim to domestic violence. She was murdered outside of her workplace in Cameron Village Shopping Center by her ex-husband who traveled from his residence outside of the state in order to end her life. And after accomplishing this deed, he went on to take his own life just miles away.

The News & Observer, which heavily covered the story, published an editorial about the tragedy titled, “Everyone’s Duty: Domestic violence is a community problem, too often a deadly serious one.” “Shops go purple for slain employee” read another newspaper article the following day which covered the successful fundraiser for the three orphaned children.

I have no problem with the coverage of this horrific incident by the mainstream media, and, in fact, I applaud it. However, I believe the media is doing a great injustice to the public by covering up the fact that Crystal Magnum, the Duke Lacrosse victim/accuser, was a victim of domestic violence on April 3, 2011. She fought to defend herself against her intoxicated assailant Reginald Daye, and the stab wound she inflicted did not even have anything to do with his demise. That Daye was the provocateur is without doubt as a reasonable person would easily surmise that Mr. Daye had punched Mangum, pulled out her hair, kicked in the bathroom door prior to being stabbed once by Ms. Mangum… her final act before grabbing her purse and fleeing.

The media, from the git-go, has been successfully misleading the masses into believing that Crystal Mangum got into an argument with Daye, and due to this verbal disagreement became enraged enough to stab him with a kitchen knife… stealing money before leaving. This fantasy, which the majority of people buy into, is far from the truth. True, they were arguing, however not over money, rent, or cashier’s checks. That early Sunday morning in April 2011, Daye, with a stuporous level of alcohol coursing through his vessels, was jealously upset because Crystal had been talking with another man. The argument had absolutely nothing to do with monetary issues as the media has continuously suggested.

One thing the media consistently excludes in covering this story, is that Reginald Daye became physical with Mangum out of anger… punching her in the face and head approximately ten times. He dragged her by the hair, with clumps of hair being noted and recorded by police, and when Ms. Mangum sought refuge in the bathroom by locking the door behind her, Daye kicked it in… off its hinges according to reports. It was only after Daye spit on her, brought in steak knives from the kitchen to throw at her, and was in the process of strangling her that she grabbed a knife lying within reach and stabbed him once. The media conveniently and purposely omits this narrative, not wanting the public to realize that Reginald Daye was stabbed in self-defense. Even with its extensive investigative resources, the mainstream media was unable to unearth Daye’s lengthy criminal record that includes “assault on a female.”

Despite the fact that the injury Mangum inflicted to Daye was not related to his death, the mainstream media allows the public to believe that the wound itself was fatal. Little is mentioned of how the emergency surgery was successful and that his prognosis was excellent. There is an humungous media void regarding the botched intubation, cardiac arrest, and resultant brain death that occurred within he walls of Duke University Hospital, and which led to Daye’s elective removal from life support and death.

The message this biased media reporting is sending to future victims of domestic violence is that if you fight back against your abuser and he/she dies, the possibility exists that you could be charged with murder. Crystal Mangum is not being provided protection under the law as she was turned from victim into assailant in 2010 after she was repeatedly punched in the face by her ex-boyfriend. The media was careful not to mention that the repeated punches to the face initiated the cascade of events that led to Mangum’s unjust arrest. Instead, the media focused on the extremely outrageous charges brought against her, and the alleged statements she made to him after he returned to the house during the police presence. And, of course, the media did not question why the police decided to do nothing and call the fire department for a small blaze in a bathtub that could have easily been extinguished by turning on bathwater.

It is obvious that the authorities as well as the media are after Crystal Mangum, seeking to do the work of the Carpetbaggers by carrying out their vengeful agenda. Both incidents involving Mangum that occurred in 2010 and 2011 are ones in which Mangum was the victim, her assailants were neither arrested nor charged, and she spent, and is spending, significant time in jail away from her three children who need her and love her.

The treatment of Ms. Mangum by the justice system makes it ever apparent that when it comes to the Duke Lacrosse case and its actors and those associated with it, when it comes to the fair application of justice, all bets are off… and those deemed by the Powers-That-Be to be on the wrong end of the Duke Lacrosse case, will undoubtedly be getting the short end of the stick. 

Note: Coming soon, an all important interactive flog!!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Plea deal effort made in order to keep exculpatory evidence from Mangum

Word count: 1,461

It is obvious that Woody Vann, the defense attorney appointed to represent Crystal Mangum, is leading a full-court press in his attempt to pressure his client into accepting a plea deal… one that would be to her detriment and a salvation to Orange County Medical Examiner Clay Nichols, Duke University Hospital, the city of Durham, and prosecutors Kelly Gauger and Charlene Coggins-Franks.

Mangum, the Duke Lacrosse victim/accuser, has been incarcerated since April 3, 2011 on an initial charge of assault with a deadly weapon for the stabbing of Reginald Daye. An alcoholic, Mr. Daye was heavily intoxicated when in a jealous rage he began physically abusing Ms. Mangum by repeatedly punching her in the face and head, spitting on her, pulling out her hair, and kicking in the bathroom door in order to get at her. It was Daye who brought a set of steak knives from the kitchen into the bedroom, where most of the horrific abuse took place, and began throwing them at her. According to Mangum, he was choking her with both hands when she desperately grabbed a knife lying around and stabbed him once.

Prosecution photographs recorded the injuries sustained by Mangum at Daye’s hands, displays the clumps of her hair lying on the floor at the scene, and shows the battered locked bathroom door that Daye had kicked off its hinges.

These photographs have been turned over by prosecution to Ms. Mangum’s defense attorneys (Chris Shella and Mr. Vann), but they have withheld them from her despite her requests to have copies. Her requests for this specific prosecution discovery have been denied by her defense counsel for more than a year.

After Reginald Daye was taken to Duke University Hospital with the non-life threatening wound, he underwent successful emergency surgery by the trauma team and was on his way to a full recovery. On the third postoperative day, however, complications from alcoholic withdrawal led to his transfer to the Surgical Intensive Care Unit. It was then that a decision to intubate him was made in order to administer concentrated oxygen and protect his airway… but, unfortunately the esophagus was intubated instead of the trachea, and the lungs were deprived of oxygen for an extended period of time. This medical malpractice by Duke University staff resulted in Daye’s brain death, and after a week in which no improvement was observed, he was removed from life support and died.

The following day, Orange County Medical Examiner Dr. Nichols performed an autopsy and dictated an Autopsy Examination Report dated April14, 2011. This report, which was released to the public four months later, contained findings of injuries that were not supported by the operative report and other medical records… and many of the reports findings were contradicted by the other documents. Nichols’ narrative omitted mention of problems with delirium tremens which were manifested in Daye, omitted mention of problems with the intubation and re-intubation during CPR, omitted mention of Daye’s weeklong coma, omitted mention of the fact that Daye died after he was taken off life support, and the omission of other pertinent and important facts.

Along with the myriad of false findings and glaring omissions, Dr. Nichols then somehow magically reached the conclusion that Daye died due to “complications of a stab wound to the chest.” No where in the document does the medical examiner even attempt to construct a nexus to support his conclusion. A reasonable person with full knowledge of the facts would immediately realize that Nichols’ conclusion in the autopsy report was reached for the sole purpose of allowing Durham prosecutors to charge Crystal Mangum with Daye’s death… to shift the true responsibility for Daye’s demise from Duke University Hospital staff where it belongs onto Crystal Mangum.

After reviewing the autopsy report by Dr. Nichols, I knew immediately that it was impossible for Daye to have sustained all of the injuries listed (perforations to the left lung, diaphragm, left kidney, fundus of the stomach, spleen, and splenic flexure of the colon) with just a single stab wound with a steak knife. At some point, the State Bureau of Investigation began doing some mysterious experiment that I have been led to believe had to do with the entry wound and its trajectory within Daye’s body. I am not sure what its intention was to prove or to disprove. But, if conducted objectively and scientifically, it would undoubtedly conclude that it was impossible for a single stabbing with a steak knife to inflict the injuries reported by Nichols.

From what I have been told, this mysterious report by the SBI (which has been under scrutiny for many of its unorthodox testing, i.e. markings on bullets, blood spatter, etc.) was conducted over an approximate twelve month period. Crystal Mangum has repeatedly requested to have a copy of this report, as well, but her attorney, Woody Vann has refused.

On May 24, 2012, I showed Mr. Vann the faults within the Nichols autopsy report, and the many discrepancies between it and other medical records. This motivated Mr. Vann to consider having an independent forensic pathologist review the April 14, 2011 autopsy report, and around June 16, 2012, a judge ordered payment for such an expert witness… Dr. Christena L. Roberts.

Crystal Mangum told me that Mr. Vann had received the report from Dr. Roberts but that he would not allow her to see it or give her a copy until after she was released from the Durham County Detention Center. He gave no reason to her for his decision. This important document will undoubtedly refute the determination made by Orange County M.E. Clay Nichols that Reginald Daye died due to complications of a stab wound to the chest. The report by Dr. Roberts would effectively take the murder charge off consideration and destroy the prosecution’s case against Mangum. Crystal Mangum has repeatedly asked Mr. Vann for this document, and he as consistently refused.

Crystal Mangum has been denied the opportunity to see these vital pieces of documents which represent exculpatory evidence. The prosecution is prohibited from withholding such evidence from the defendant, but in this peculiar situation, the defense attorney is the impediment.

As I have said for some time, the truth will set Ms. Mangum free, despite the obstructionist and counterproductive activities of Mangum’s counsel to undermine the strength of her defensive position. Woody Vann, along with prosecutor Charlene Coggins-Franks, is working in conjunction with the mainstream media to keep the truth under wraps. Mr. Vann has no intention of ever allowing these pieces of evidence to ever see the public light of day. The photographs, for example, would heavily lean towards Mangum’s claim that she had been abused and acted in self-defense. The report from the SBI would cast doubt on the numerous injuries listed in the Nichols’ autopsy document, and the report by Dr. Roberts would poke huge holes into the April 14, 2011 report’s findings and conclusion about the cause of Daye’s death. The very credibility of the Nichols autopsy report would be irreparably damaged.

With the annihilation of the Nichols’ report, the prosecution’s case against Mangum would go up in flames as well. As a result of this revelation, Crystal Mangum would be viewed by the public as a victim of Reginald Daye, and a victim of a conspiratorial justice system with heavy collusion from the biased mainstream media. Reputations of the medical examiner, Duke University Hospital, Durham prosecutors, and defense attorneys would also take a beating if the truth were known.

Mr. Vann’s objective now is to keep the truth from being known. To achieve that, he has been seeking to get a plea deal with Ms. Mangum… for her to plea to a felony assault charge in exchange for time served. This would allow the true criminals in this intrigue to escape from the hook, and for the damning prosecution discovery to be disposed of, unseen.

What is truly sad and unfortunate is that Mr. Vann is using his position of trust as attorney for defendant Mangum, to her disadvantage and to the benefit of the prosecution… and he is doing it with the blessing of the North Carolina State Bar. (It seems as though the State Bar is more interested in going after laypersons trying to assist – within the bounds of the law – Ms. Mangum.)

The desperation by the prosecution and its surrogate Vann is evident when he tells Mangum that if she does not accept the plea deal, she is unlikely to get into court before April 2013. This is just one of the scare tactics used by Vann in his bid to protect the prosecutorial conspirators, shield the exculpatory evidence, and really put the screws to the Duke Lacrosse accuser. 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Exculpatory evidence withheld from Ms. Mangum… by her attorney

Word count: 1,549

In a criminal case against Duke Lacrosse case victim/accuser Crystal Mangum, the charges against her should never have been brought. What makes this case truly bizarre and unique is that Ms. Mangum’s attorney holds in his hands the exculpatory evidence to free his client, but is keeping it from her while he tries to convince her to plead guilty to assault with intent to kill inflicting serious injury… a class C felony. The document of interest is a report by Dr. Christena L. Roberts, a forensics pathologist who reviewed the April 14, 2011 Autopsy Examination Report on Reginald Daye. The autopsy and author of the report was Orange County Medical Examiner Clay Nichols.

Dr. Nichols’ report concluded that Mr. Daye died as a result of “complications from a stab wound to the chest,” without mentioning specifics of his death and containing major omissions, such as the deceased was victim of a botched intubation which led to his brain death… irreversible coma secondary to brain death being the prime reason for his elective removal from a weeklong’s worth of life support and proximate cause of death. In addition to Nichols’ conclusion which presented no nexus between the stab wound and Daye’s brain death or actual death, the report contained findings of injuries that were at marked variance with findings in other medical records… such as the operative report and orthopedic surgeon consultation report. Dr. Nichols’ findings suggested that the stab wound Mr. Daye sustained inflicted far more damage than that in the other hospital documents.

It is expected that Dr. Christena L. Roberts, an independent forensic pathologist, would prepare a report that starkly contrasted with the one by Dr. Nichols which was the basis for the murder charge against Ms. Mangum. In particular, it is highly likely that Dr. Roberts would confirm what Mangum supporters have long contended… that Reginald Daye’s death was not secondary to the stab wound. Without doubt, the proximate cause of Daye’s demise would be due to his elective removal from life support… the basis for it being due to his comatose state resulting from a mis-positioned endotracheal tube.

Such a review of the April 14, 2011 autopsy report by an independent pathologist would have been the first thing that a competent defense team should have done to quickly and adequately debunk the prosecution’s false assertion that the stab wound at Mangum’s hand was directly responsible for Daye’s death. A review would also represent exculpatory evidence, proving that Ms. Mangum was not responsible for the victim’s death.

For more than a year, Crystal Mangum rotted in jail while no such review was even sought. It was only after Mangum supporter Sidney B. Harr, a retired physician, spoke with Crystal Mangum’s defense attorney H. Wood Vann on May 24, 2012, that Mr. Vann took actions to put such an investigation into motion. On June 12, 2012, Mr. Vann filed an application for defense expert witness funding, and on June 16, 2012, Superior Court Judge Henry Hight signed the order for it.

The order allowed $3,000 payment to Dr. Roberts at $300/hr… compensation for roughly ten hours worth of work… to review the autopsy report and other medical records, and to draft a report.

As of the date of this posting, it has been more than two months, eighty days to be exact, since the order was given for payment for the report by Dr. Roberts, and still Crystal Mangum has not seen it. She stated that her attorney, Mr. Vann received it some time ago, and that he refuses to give her a copy of it until she is no longer incarcerated.

In addition, a mysterious report by the SBI, purportedly involving entry-trajectory knife path studies, has been completed after a yearlong research. Ms. Mangum states that Mr. Vann has possession of that report, as well.

Finally, Ms. Mangum has never seen the photographs that were taken by prosecution that document the crime scene and the injuries she sustained. Their value is extremely important as they document her condition and support that she was physically abused… in favor of her claim of self-defense. Although her first attorney Chris Shella did share some prosecution discovery with her, he always refrained from providing photographs that she requested. Mr. Vann has continued along that vein by refusing to give her copies of the photographs, as well. Like the other prosecution documents being withheld, Mr. Vann told her he would turn them over to her only after she was released from jail.

The Roberts’ report, the mysterious SBI report, and the photographs taken by prosecution are all major pieces of exculpatory evidence that is being withheld from Crystal Mangum not by the prosecution, by her own defense attorney. This is unheard of… and if not illegal, it is inappropriate action by the defense attorney. If rules and regulations demand that prosecutors turn discover (especially exculpatory evidence) over to the defendant, surely a defense attorney cannot intercept and withhold it from the intended defendant.

Consider that former Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong was accused of withholding exculpatory evidence from the Duke Lacrosse defendants, a myth that was pedaled by the biased mainstream media, which was the main consideration in his being disbarred. First of all, Mr. Nifong never withheld any discovery from defense in that case, and what information that defense attorneys claimed was “exculpatory” was far from being so. The media egged on the State Bar calling for Mr. Nifong’s head.

Compare that incident that occurred six and a half years ago with the current situation in which defense attorney Woody Vann is withholding exculpatory evidence from his own client, defendant Crystal Mangum who is facing a first degree murder charge and a possible sentence of life in prison without parole. Mr. Vann doesn’t want to show her prosecution discovery, thereby doing the dirty work of the prosecution for them… and of course, the media isn’t the least bit interested in the discovery (mainly because it is supportive of Mangum). The mainstream media is concentrating its efforts on learning about the names of the calls placed on former UNC head football coach Butch Davis’s cell phone, and the identities of the UNC football players who had their parking tickets paid for them several years back.

It’s not that the media doesn’t care about Ms. Mangum’s plight, because they do. They are a major part of the conspiracy that is helping to put her away for life because she accused three Duke lacrosse students, from families of wealth, power, and privilege, of sexually assaulting her… and because she’s African American. The media is playing a Jedi Mind-trick on the people by feeding them falsehoods and misinformation in their selective, skewed, and one-sided reporting. For the conspiracy to succeed, the truth behind the prosecution of Crystal Mangum must be hidden from the people… the crimes committed by the prosecution against Ms. Mangum must be concealed from the masses. A big part of that truth lies in the hands of Mangum’s attorney, Woody Vann.

Mr. Vann is aware that if he turns over the exculpatory documents and photographs currently in his possession that the truth about the grand scale conspiracy of persecution against Ms. Mangum will leak out into the public… and that would defeat his current objective. Convincing Mangum to take a plea deal for time served is the desperate play the prosecution is trying to now pull off to avoid civil liability for malicious prosecution, and to protect the reputations and work of Dr. Nichols and Duke University Hospital. If Ms. Mangum was armed with knowledge contained in the prosecution discovery that has been withheld, it is less likely that she would be as agreeable to accepting a plea deal.

One nonsensical argument for withholding prosecution discovery from Ms. Mangum is that if she had access to it, she would then send the copies of it to Sidney B. Harr. That is precisely what she should do, as Harr is a trusted friend and a physician who can best evaluate the report and help interpret it for her.

The argument then would become that if Harr got his hands on the prosecution discovery, then he would put it on the internet. What is wrong with that if, as expected, the prosecution discovery is supportive of Mangum’s innocence of the criminal charges against her? During the Duke Lacrosse case, defense attorneys, including Joe Cheshire, were repeatedly giving well-attended press conferences in which they revealed evidence that they claimed supported their clients’ blamelessness at the March 2006 beer-guzzling party.

As the defendant in a first degree murder charge, Crystal Mangum is entitled to have the entire prosecution discovery package, and it is inexcusable for her defense attorney to keep it from her. There is no logical reason for Mr. Vann to prevent Ms. Mangum from viewing and having the prosecution discovery and evidence with their exculpatory potential. By his actions, Mr. Vann brings into question his true allegiance, which surely does not appear to be with his client, Mangum.

Woody Vann needs to turn over to Crystal Mangum all prosecution discovery and evidence (including the Roberts’ report, the SBI report, and the photographs), or immediately step down from representing her as defense counsel. 