Friday, May 24, 2013

State v. Welch is not applicable to the Crystal Mangum case

Word count: 1,802

Much hullabaloo has been raised recently about the North Carolina Appellate Supreme Court ruling of November 2, 1999 in the case, State v. Welch. This ruling has been twisted and wrangled by a few of the commenters of this blog site in an attempt to essentially place blame for all events occurring at Duke University Hospital on Crystal Mangum.

Yes, Crystal Mangum, the Duke Lacrosse victim/accuser did stab Reginald Daye in the left side of his torso during the wee hours of Sunday, April 3, 2011, but that injury was far from being the proximate cause of his death… nor was it an intervening or contributory cause.

The appellate ruling by Honorable Judge Timmons-Goodson is actually one with which I concur. My position is that the State v. Welch case, though containing a few similarities with that of Mangum’s case, is markedly different with respect to essential conditions. Furthermore, the commenters to this blog site have taken the liberty to stretch far beyond logical bounds the findings and conclusions drawn by the black rober.

To begin with, we’ll acquaint you with the case of the State of North Carolina v. Theondra Ozell Welch, and then draw comparisons and contradictions with the Magnum case.

In the latter part of 1996, Theondra Ozell Welch had shared a residence in Sanford, North Carolina, with his girlfriend Martina Lemmons for approximately nine months… the past few months having been troubled.

On December 17, 1996, according to a report given to police by Mr. Welch, sometime after he arrived home around 5:00 pm, his girlfriend began to repeatedly refer to him using the “n-word” epithet. She then used her cell phone to converse with another man in front of Welch, which, he later admitted to police, made him angry.

He then grabbed a six inch kitchen knife which he stated that he carried for protection and stabbed her… once to his recollection, then shortly thereafter helped transport her to the emergency room for help.

The surgeon observed multiple stab wounds to her upper extremities and torso, which included one to the left chest wall. Ms. Lemmons’ vital signs and other physical findings indicated to the surgeon that she had lost a substantial amount of blood, and the doctor wanted to begin transfusing blood. However, Ms. Lemmons was a Jehovah’s Witness and in compliance with that religion’s mandates, she refused. Physicians waited until she had been placed under anesthesia and then tried to get consent for the transfusion from the patient’s mother and brother. It was unsuccessful as they too belonged to that religion.

Martina underwent surgery to treat her injuries, and following surgery her condition was stable, however she deteriorated as complications set in which the doctor believed were due to the lack of oxygen in her blood stream. Unfortunately, she she eventually passed away.

The surgeon stated that she probably would have survived her injuries had she accepted a transfusion when initially offered, but stated that he could not have made a guarantee on that point.

On February 3, 1997, Theondra Ozell Welch was indicted for first degree murder in the death of his girlfriend Martina Lemmons.

In comparing this case with Mangum’s, the similarities are that both couples were living together, Welch-Lemmons for about nine months, and Daye-Mangum for about one month.

Arguments preceded both acts of violence, and the source being the same… uncontrolled rage because the women had been conversing with another man. Prior to the argument with Daye, Mangum had spoken with a Durham police officer who was in the parking lot on an unrelated call.

Both women were victims of domestic violence with Lemmons being stabbed with a six inch kitchen knife, and Mangum being hit, her hair pulled out of her scalp, fingernail gouges to her face, and a locked bathroom door busted off its frame by Daye. Mangum claims that Daye was choking her when she grabbed a knife lying nearby and stabbed him once.

Although Lemmons received potentially life threatening injuries and sustained serious blood loss, Mangum’s injuries were not life threatening, and the stab wound she inflicted on Daye in self-defense was non-life threatening.

The autopsy report and hospital records of Ms. Lemmons are not available, so I am unaware of any pre-existing health condition or medical malpractice incident that may have contributed to her death.

Reginald Daye, however was a heavy alcoholic, and was heavily intoxicated on his admission to Duke University Hospital. Records show the medical staff recognized the threat of alcoholic withdrawal, and began administering sedatives early in his hospitalization.

Regarding malpractice, there is none related to Ms. Lemmons’ treatment according to the sparse amount of information available. Malpractice is an integral part of Daye’s treatment as esophageal intubation is a gross and life threatening mishap by a health care provider.

There is no doubt that the esophageal intubation led to anoxia, and subsequently Daye’s brain death. Likewise, his dire neurological prognosis without hope of any recovery was the determinant to remove Daye from life support… and it was the removal of life support that was the proximate cause of Reginald Daye’s death.

For purposes of elucidation, the definition of “proximate cause” will be given attention. Simply, it is defined thusly: An act from which an injury results as a natural, direct, uninterrupted consequence and without which the injury would not have occurred.

Although commonly used in reference to injuries due to alleged negligence in tort cases, we will use its application in the criminal case regarding Reginald Daye’s death.

The proximate cause of Daye’s brain death was clearly the errantly placed endotracheal tube that was introduced into his esophagus instead of trachea. Its wrong placement was the direct cause of lack of oxygen to the brain cells and cells throughout his body… and it was the lack of oxygen to the brain cells that resulted in his brain death. Consequently, the mis-positioned tube was also the direct cause of Daye’s cardiac arrest.

Had the initial intubation been tracheal instead of esophageal, then Daye would not have become brain dead and would not have lapsed into cardiac arrest. Both events were due to the wrongful placement of the endotracheal tube.

The stab wound was the proximate cause of injuries to Daye’s colon and spleen. Injuries from the stabbing were not considered to be fatal… as his stable condition provided the trauma surgeons with the luxury of performing CAT scans and other diagnostic examinations preoperatively. The surgery was a success and Mr. Daye had a prognosis for a full recovery.

To review, the proximate cause of Daye undergoing surgery on April 3, 2011, was the stab wound inflicted by Mangum.

The proximate cause of Daye’s brain death and cardiac arrest on April 6, 2011, was the esophageal intubation by Duke University Hospital staff.

The proximate cause of Reginald Daye’s actual death was his removal from life support on April 13, 2011, by Duke University Hospital staff.

Finally, the proximate cause of Reginald Daye’s transfer to the Surgical Intensive Care Unit was delirium tremens… a result of his alcoholic intoxication on admission and his history of alcoholism.

Mangum’s actions in stabbing Daye were responsible only for him undergoing surgery on April 3, 2011, which was uneventful and successful. The wound she inflicted to Daye had nothing to do with circumstances that occurred later in his hospitalization and included his lapsing into delirium tremens and transfer to the SICU, his brain death, his cardiac arrest, his removal from life support, and his actual death. For these events, Mangum is without liability.

Now, let’s apply law to the cases. In State v. Welch, the defendant alleges that his stabbing of Ms. Lemmons was not the act that was responsible for her death. He claims that she died because she refused to accept blood transfusions, and he cites the statements made by the surgeon. Defendant Welch claimed that had the victim accepted the transfusions early on, she would have survived… defining her refusal of this potentially life saving treatment as an intervening cause which led to her death. Put another way, had she allowed the transfusion of blood to take place, she would have lived.

In response to this argument, Judge Timmons-Goodson replied, “But for the defendant’s act of stabbing the victim, she would not have been in need of a transfusion.”

I full heartedly agree with the judge’s statement which is direct and limited. Specifically, it is noted that the defendant’s action of stabbing the victim was directly related to the treatment she required and refused. In Mangum’s case, however, the stabbing had nothing to do with the events that transpired later in Daye’s hospitalization, such as the esophageal intubation.

Commenters have also tried to broaden the scope of the judge’s statement. Keep in mind, the black rober did not state, “But for the defendant’s act of stabbing the victim, she would not have required hospitalization.”

Therefore, the commenter’s argument that claims that Mangum is responsible for every action and event that takes place during Daye’s hospitalization is not supported by this case. The ruling is specific and limited to the transfusion, as the defendant Welch is arguing that Ms. Lemmons’ refusal of the procedure was responsible for her death.

Also, neither the defendant nor judge state or suggest that malpractice had a role in the transfusion not being given… the word “malpractice” not even mentioned in Judge Timmons-Goodson’s decision.

Malpractice during the intubation of Daye, however, was an intervening and proximate cause of Daye’s brain death. This completely relieves Mangum of culpability in Daye’s brain death by Judge Timmons-Goodson’s statement that, “To escape responsibility based on an intervening cause, the defendant must show that the intervening cause was the sole cause of death,” or in Mangum’s case, “brain death.” Daye’s brain death would not have occurred without the esophageal intubation by Duke University Hospital staff.

Another argument used by the judge in the Welch case is that the doctor stated that he could not have guaranteed that the stabbing victim would have survived had she received a timely transfusion.

In Mangum’s case however, Daye’s prognosis by surgeons was for a full recovery. It was the independent and intervening act of an esophageal intubation that was the proximate cause of Daye’s brain death, and his elective removal from life support that was the proximate cause of his actual death.

Too many differences exist between the Mangum and Welch cases for there to be applicable case law. The Welch case decision is far more restrictive, defined, and limited than commenters to this blog site want to recognize.

I concur with the findings and decision of the State Supreme Court on State v. Welch, and believe it only strengthens the argument that Crystal Mangum is neither responsible for Reginald Daye’s brain death nor his actual death. 

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Mainstream media - a cog in the Durham prosecutor's wheel of conspiracy against Mangum

Word count: 2,639

In order to pull off a first degree murder charge against Crystal Mangum in the death of her boyfriend Reginald Daye, Durham prosecutors had to rely upon four conspiratorial contingents because their case against the Duke Lacrosse victim/accuser was weak to the point of being non-existent.

The Durham prosecutors were seeking a life sentence in their vendetta prosecution against Mangum as payback for her role in the Duke Lacrosse case… and they knew, or should have known, that Mangum acted in self defense and that the stab wound played no part in Daye’s death.

In actuality, Mangum was the domestic violence victim of an intoxicated Mr. Daye during the early Sabbath morning hours of April 3, 2011. Prosecution discovery confirms that she sustained blows to the head, fingernail gouges to the face, clumps of hair forcibly pulled from her scalp, and that a locked bathroom door was battered off its frame by Daye, enraged by jealousy.

The incident’s terminal event was a single stab wound with a steak knife by Mangum into Daye’s left side, which she claims was an act of desperation as her attacker was atop her with his hands around her neck strangling her.

Daye’s emergency surgery at Duke University Hospital was a success, as trauma surgeons repaired the laceration to the colon and minor lesion to the spleen. Postoperative prognosis was for a full recovery.

On the third post-op day, complications from delirium tremens led to Daye’s transfer to the intensive care unit where a determination was made to intubate him in order to protect his airway and provide oxygen.

Unfortunately, the 8 mm endotracheal tube was placed into the esophagus instead of the trachea, which resulted in Daye’s brain death. Misplacement of the tube was recognized after Daye went into cardiac arrest and cardiopulmonary resuscitation was begun. This included removing the errantly positioned tube and replacing it with another… according to records this tube being 7.5 mm in diameter. With its proper placement, oxygen flow was restored to the lungs, blood, and cells of the body and the heart recovered. The brain did not, and Mr. Daye remained in a coma.

After a week of observation without signs of improvement, the medical staff at Duke University Hospital electively removed Daye from life support after which he died… the stabbing and its treatment playing no part in his demise.

To confront the challenge of dismissing the reality of Reginald Daye’s death and instead placing the blame on Crystal Mangum, prosecutors required the cooperation of the following four entities: (1) the medical examiner; (2) Mangum’s defense counsel; (3) the mainstream media; and (4) the enablers.

The medical examiner, Dr. Clay Nichols, was required to produce a false and misleading autopsy report upon which would serve as the foundation for the prosecution’s murder charge against Mangum. This fraudulent document would divert responsibility for Daye’s death from Duke University Hospital to Crystal Mangum.

Mangum’s defense counsel would be called upon to ignore the serious faults in the autopsy report as well as Duke University Hospital’s hand in Daye’s death. If a conviction seemed unattainable, these turncoat lawyers’ plan B would be to convince their client to accept a plea deal with the harshest terms possible.

Mainstream media’s role was to keep the masses uninformed and ignorant of the true facts and realities of the autopsy report and Daye’s death. Its purpose was to poison the potential jury pool against Mangum and to go after her supporters without giving them fair representation or voice.

Enablers are the politicians, civil rights activists and organizations, clergy, and other community leaders who lack Nifongian courage to speak up or take action in this morality play.

However, of the four plotters in lot with the Durham prosecutors, it is the mainstream media faction that most influences the attitudes, thoughts, and opinions of the populous… unfairly and adversely against Crystal Mangum.

It cannot be said that the media was unaware of Mangum’s plight and the fact that the Durham murder charge against her was based on a purposefully flawed autopsy report because I personally notified them in writing… as early as November 2011 – a mere three weeks after the official autopsy report on Reginald Daye was released to the public.

In April 2012, I reached out to local media with letters detailing the fraud and injustice… in particular I contacted WRAL-5 News, ABC-11 News, NBC-17 News, The News & Observer, and Capitol Broadcasting Company… a mega-media conglomerate whose holdings include WRAL-5 and Fox-50 News.

Nationally and outside of North Carolina, I attempted to engage the Associated Press, USA Today, Thomson-Reuters News Service, The Washington Post, and The Washington Times.

In September 2012, I forwarded copies of a handwritten letter by Mangum, who was still incarcerated, to members of the local media… a document in which she professed her innocence and alluded to discrepancies between the autopsy report and other medical records.

The mainstream media, both local and national took no action regarding my passionate entreaties, and did not even have the courtesy to respond to them. It was truly as though they were acting in unison… as one giant whole in ignoring me and my concerns.

View the conclusion of this fvog in Part Two for a complete understanding of how the media plays its Jedi mind-tricks on the people, regarding the Mangum murder case, by their omission, obfuscation, misdirection, inaction, and outright falsehoods.

The media has two basic and important functions in society. The first is informative… to present news, ideally, in a fair and completely objective manner. Its second function is to help protect the masses and preserve democratic principles and ideals by exposing corruption and injustice through its investigative and editorializing branches. Only when armed with knowledge, do the people truly have direction.

The mainstream media fails miserably when it comes to dealing with the Crystal Mangum murder case. Since the wee morning hours of April 3, 2011 self-defense stabbing incident, the mainstream media has generally let down its viewers and readers in the following four ways: (1) concealment, or cover-up; (2) misrepresentation and diversionary reporting; (3) failure to investigate; and (4) refusal to editorialize.

A prime example of concealment is the across the board media silence regarding Reginald Daye’s weeklong coma. Even after Daye’s death on April 13, 2011, following his removal from life-support, most local media failed to mention that his death was preceded by a seven day coma. Of course, the event at Duke University Hospital that precipitated Daye’s brain death… the esophageal intubation… is rarely mentioned.

Mainstream media is aware that the autopsy report on Daye that was produced by the North Carolina Deputy Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Clay Nichols is false and misleading in its findings and conclusion, but yet it secrets this from their subscribers.

Misrepresentation and diversion go hand in hand with the media’s concealment in reporting on Mangum. One of the most egregious examples of both comes from an Associated Press article released around February 20, 2013 which stated, “The 34-year-old mother is representing herself in court, saying she killed Daye in self-defense.” Crystal Mangum told me that she never stated that she “killed Daye…” She said she never used the word “kill.” I was not at that hearing and do not have its transcripts, but I believe that Mangum did not accept responsibility for Daye’s death as she is aware that Duke University Hospital staff’s esophageal intubation led to his brain death and subsequent removal from life support.

Using the word “kill” was neither negligent nor sloppy reporting, but rather a calculated move to make it appear as though Mangum concedes that she is responsible for Daye’s death and that her defense is solely one of self defense. In this not-so-subtle way, the media is diverting attention from questions regarding the cause of his death to focusing on the issue of self-defense… thereby omitting the medical examiner and Duke University Hospital from the equation. In other words, the media is attempting to protect the medical examiner, Dr. Clay Nichols, and Duke University Hospital.

The previous paragraph is also false and misleading with its statement, “Crystal Mangum was released Wednesday from the Durham County jail, where she had been held since her April 2011 arrest for the fatal stabbing of Reginald Daye.” The term “fatal stabbing” is absolutely incorrect as the stab wound was non-life threatening and was successfully treated with emergency surgery. The stab wound had nothing to do with Daye’s death, but the Associated Press is deliberately trying to put in the mind of the people that it directly caused his demise. Daye’s descent into delirium tremens is the event that led to his fatally errant intubation. An example of the media using Jedi-mind tricks on the masses.

The article’s opening paragraph began, “The woman who falsely accused three Duke University lacrosse players of raping her…” This routinely used media preface is false in itself, as it was never proven as fact that Mangum was not sexually assaulted at the 2006 Duke Lacrosse party… and Ms. Mangum has consistently maintained that she was. By attaching the label of false accuser to Mangum, the media is poisoning the potential jury pool against her in her upcoming trial. The media wants jurors at her trial to disregard her story or any testimony she may give.

The fourth of five paragraphs can be adjudged to be the most accurate and it reads as follows: “In 2006, Mangum claimed Duke lacrosse players gang raped her at a team party where she was hired as a stripper.” Although not necessarily misleading it fails to mention the following facts: (1) the Duke lacrosse player who called the escort service to arrange for the entertainment used an alias, contracted the dancers under false pretenses stating it was for a small bachelor party of four or five rather than a beer-guzzling keg party of fifty or more; (2) the client requested Caucasian dancers, but the escort service sent two African American women; and (3) partygoers shouted the n-word racial epithet at Mangum as she was leaving. The exclusion of these facts deprives the article of balance.

The first sentence of the final paragraph reads, “The three arrested were eventually declared innocent by North Carolina's attorney general after Mangum's story crumbled and her mental stability was called into question.” Although technically the three may have been under arrest, by using the word “arrested” the media is subtly attempting to engender reader sympathy for the three by imply that they served time in jail… which they did not!

It then states that they were declared innocent by the NC attorney general… something which is irrelevant as he has no such legal authority, and to do so is irresponsible and unprecedented. The media has constantly misled the public on this important issue. The last sentence stating the prosecutor, former Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong, championed her case. Mr. Nifong no more championed her case than Prosecutors Gauger and Coggins-Franks are championing the case of Reginald Daye’s family in the murder case against Ms. Mangum. Words matter, and to use the word “champion” in referring to Nifong’s prosecution of the case is, again misleading and calculated. The only thing that Mike Nifong championed as a prosecutor was the cause of equal justice for all.

In other words, he didn’t make exceptions and allow “rare deals” when the defendants hailed from families of wealth, power, and privilege… and he didn’t give “raw deals” to suspects who were poor, disenfranchised, and people of color.

It was because Mr. Nifong was a prosecutor of uncommon independence and integrity that he was disbarred because of the Duke Lacrosse case… the only prosecutor to be disbarred by the North Carolina State Bar in its eighty year existence. Again, something that the article omitted.

Unfortunately, the Associated Press version is the one that is utilized by media outlets nationwide… including the Huffington Post.

WRAL-5 News, ABC-11 News, The News & Observer, and other media proclaim to be deeply involved in investigative work… for the purpose of protecting the people. That’s the way it should be, but that is not the reality… especially when it comes to Crystal Mangum.

Jim Goodmon, the President and CEO of Capitol Broadcasting Company, was contacted on April 24, 2012, with a letter about the injustices against Crystal Mangum. He was alerted to the fact that the autopsy report on Reginald Daye, which was the basis for the murder charge against Mangum, was fraudulent. Other local mainstream media were notified about discrepancies with the autopsy report at that time, as well… but none bothered to investigate, much less respond.

Recently, The News & Observer, a McClatchy newspaper, along with other local media, has focused its investigative spotlight on former UNC-Chapel Hill football coach Butch Davis. The media even went to court in order to obtain copies of his personal cell phone records so they could see if a tutor called him.

The media’s investigative arm also seems to have spent a lot of time, money, and resources delving into who paid the parking tickets for the Tar Heel football player.

And, of course, the African American Studies program at UNC has been scapegoated by the investigative press for allowing the school’s athlete’s to remain eligible to play by providing courses that are not considered academically challenging enough.

Yet, when the integrity of a justice system is on the line… for example, a prosecutor who is in collusion with a medical examiner in manufacturing a fraudulent autopsy report in order to trump up a murder charge against an innocent mother of three… then the mainstream media is simply not interested… especially when the defendant is Crystal Mangum.

Op-ed pieces provide a forum for public discourse that helps engage subscribers in meaningful thought on topics of relevance and importance. Opinions can be enlightening, and they can serve to alter or enhance attitudes and views. It is a valuable media tool.

Since Crystal Mangum’s arrest on April 3, 2011, there has been no editorial view from the staff of The News & Observer about Crystal Mangum’s case. No mention about the problems with the inconsistencies about the autopsy report on Reginald Daye. No mention about the refusal of the defense expert forensic pathologist to provide Mangum with a written report. No mention about Duke University Hospital’s culpability in Daye’s death… nothing.

John Drescher, the editor of The News & Observer, frequently editorializes, but again, he refuses to broach the subject of Mangum’s mistreatment.

I don’t hold Mr. Drescher at fault for the way Mangum is represented, misrepresented, or not represented in his newspaper because I know him. In my opinion he is a fine person who I like and respect. I even gave him a cameo in my comic strip, “The MisAdventures of Super-Duper Cooper” – not an honor that is indiscriminately bestowed.

As with all media outlets, be they television, radio, online, or print, it is the people at the very top who make policy that determines how the news is reported. Newpaper editors, news anchors, and news reporters are accountable to the CEOs of the companies for which they work.

A broad scale national conspiracy is possible only at the top of networks and publishing corporations with transactions regarding policy then filtering down to local stations and newspapers.

… and that conspiracy by the mainstream media, to protect the medical examiner and Duke University Hospital, has long been in effect – since April 2011 – and it has been extremely effective. 