w-ed- ELECTION DAY 2012 IS HERE
One Stop Early Voting/Same Day Registration ends in North Carolina this Saturday, Nov. 3rd. That means unless you plan to cast your ballots on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6th, you’ll have only today, Friday and Saturday to cast your early vote ballot.
Contact your county Board of Elections to determine times of early voting operation. On Election Day, polls open at 6:30 a.m., and close at 7:30 p.m.
If someone tries to challenge or intimidate you while you peacefully attempt to carry out our Constitutional privilege, just quietly, without anger, go inside the polling place with the person, ask for the chief polling judge, and a hearing will be held immediately to determine your voting status.
DO NOT allow anyone to get you upset at the polls.
As always, this newspaper is making our considered recommendations about the candidates we endorse for public office. Of course, we hope that our readers and community are closely following all of the candidates on the ballot, and make their ultimate choices based on competence and record, not party.
Our entire list of candidates follows this week’s final roster of hopefuls.
This is a pivotal election in so many ways, not just for the state, but also for our nation, and ultimately our children. Our community made history in 2008 with the election of the first African-American president.
Now, in 2012, we must secure our future.
Thus far our community is doing well at the polls in early voter, but that’s no reason to let up. There’s no such thing as having “enough” votes or having too many.
Make sure that you, your friends and family vote. It means that much.
JONATHAN BARFIELD AND ROB ZAPPLE - NHC COMMISSION BOARD
As vice chair of the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners, Jonathan Barfield has displayed an impressive commitment to improving the quality of life for all residents. During his first term, the young Democrat has worked hard on the issues of economic development; waste disposal; and of course, finding ways to attract more businesses and industry to the county that would employ more citizens.
Rob Zapple, a Democrat, is a local developer who believes if the puzzle of economic growth can be solved for New Hanover County, then the other problems will be well on their way to being more easily solved. Zapple wants to bring his experience and perspective to the Commission Board to help make that happen. He believes that engaging large NHC corporations more about expanding their operations in the county would go a long way towards creating jobs immediately.
Jonathan Barfield has brought energy, clarity and commitment to the Commission Board, and Rob Zapple will bring new ideas and a business perspective that could benefit all of us.
We endorse Barfield for a second term, and Zapple for his first. They’re right for New Hanover County.
KAREN CLAY BEATTY FOR NHC BOARD OF EDUCATION
As we said last May during the primaries, Karen Clay Beatty has stepped up to the plate, and offered the community her experience, service, and deep commitment to improving education for all of our county’s children, and we’re glad she has.
A product of the school system that she wants to serve, Beatty retired from NHC Public Schools earlier this year after 30 years. Twenty-one of those years have been as a Licensed School Social Worker, where she served a couple of years as a lead social worker for secondary schools. Prior to that, she was an Educational Diagnostician for the system. She holds a B.A. degree from Shaw University, a BSW from Pembroke State University, and a MSW from East Carolina University.
If elected, Beatty vows to work to increase the graduation rate; develop more mentoring programs; and create a stronger bond between the schools and the community.
We need her experience, her vision and her leadership. Vote for Karen Clay Beatty for the NHC Board of Education.
ELIZABETH REDENBAUGH FOR NHC BOARD OF EDUCATION
When she was a Republican, NHC School Board member Elizabeth Redenbaugh, while excepting the national JFK Courage Award, called her Board of Education, “…the bottom of the political food chain.” Given the courage she displayed fighting the racial bias of her GOP colleagues on the board, we knew there would always be a place in our hearts for this principled leader. It wasn’t long before Redenbaugh kissed the GOP goodbye, and joined the Democrats, hoping to continue to shape policy that honestly spoke to the needs of all children, instead of the racially resegregating redistricting parlor tricks her Republican board colleagues felt perfectly justified in engaging in. She fought to stop the closing of D.C. Virgo. She’s determined to close the racial achievement gap. This is one courageous leader who we must re-elect to the NHC Board of Education. Elizabeth Redenbaugh is a fighter for all children. Let’s keep strong leadership on the job.
EMMA SAUNDERS FOR NHC BOARD OF EDUCATION
Here’s another retired NHC educator with over 30 years elementary school experience, in addition to being an administrator. Emma Saunders brings a wealth of learning experience with her, in addition to a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education and Elementary Education from Florida A&M University, and a Masters Degree in Elementary Education from Fayetteville State University. The biggest challenges, beside budget, facing NHC Public Schools, Saunders says, is raising all student achievement, reducing the dropout rate, and raising the graduation rate across the board. Emma Saunders knows what NHC Public Schools need, and that’s why she deserves to be elected to the NHC Board of Education.
ROBIN WICKS ROBINSON - NC DISTRICT COURT JUDGE DISTRICT 5
Last year, attorney Robin Wicks Robin son was appointed to serve as District Court Judge for New Hanover and Pender counties, and now she’s running to serve a full term. Judge Robinson has had 25 years of legal experience in family law, criminal law, juvenile law and civil law. There is no question that Judge Robinson has the experience, and since 2011, she has proven to have the judicial temperament.
Judge Robinson has impressed us with her integrity on the bench. We endorse her candidacy.
NO NC HOUSE DISTRICT 18 ENDORSEMENT
It’s rare when there are two candidates in a race, and both are so bad that we can’t find any redeeming value in either of them.
Such is the case with the House District 18 race between the Democratic incumbent Suzi Hamilton, and her Republican challenger Louis Harmati.
Hamilton has already proven that she can’t be trusted. The stunt she pulled last year voting with the Republicans, and against Gov. Perdue, on the fracking bill, finally proved that you trust this woman at your own risk.
Endorsing her is like having blood on your hands.
Sorry, Suzi, but we kind of like having clean hands when we recommend public servants to our community.
As for her Republican opponent, Louis Harmati of Leland, we trust him even less than Suzi, if that’s possible. He says our greatest threat is socialism. That means if elected to join his Republican brethren in the NC General Assembly, he will vote to cut everything short of lunch money.
No thanks, Louis.
So thus, we endorse no one in this race. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t vote for someone, however. But if you do, you better hold them to the strictest standards.
Whomever you choose must fight fir jobs, jobs and more jobs for our mostly black state House District 18. Suzi Hamilton likes to tout her connections with the movie industry, and that getting more tax credits for the moviemakers translates into more jobs. Maybe, but not for us, and that’s been proven by research.
Whoever ultimately wins this contest should be willing to vote to compensate the sterilization victims of the state’s longtime eugenics program.
Whoever is elected must be for safe methods of increasing our energy supply via our own resources. We are energy dependent on the Middle East, and that has to stop. We must cultivate our own energy resources, but not at the risk of hurting our environment or not exploring alternative energy sources like solar and wind.
Whoever is elected from House District 18 must advocate for expanding and improving our port. Wilmington lost 3,000 potential jobs recently because our port did not have the capacity needed, forcing Caterpillar and a major tire plant not to locate in Brunswick County.
With our newspaper, it’s not about the color of your skin or your party affiliation, but whether you are ready, willing and able to fight to improve the quality of life for all of the people in District 18.
We urge our readers, and the voters of state House District 18 to do their homework on Rep. Hamilton and Mr. Harmati. Who is paying their bills and wanting them to vote a certain way? Have either of these unacceptable candidates proven that they will work hard for poor people in our district.
This is why we caution our readers about voting a straight Democratic ticket. Not all Democratic candidates are for us, so putting them in office is just as bad as putting someone who has no regard at all for our community. Black people are smarter than that if given the choice and the proper instruction on how to discern which candidates, regardless of party, might prove worthy of our support.
Take the time to study all of the candidates, as we have. Don’t vote the straight Democratic ticket, not with Rep. Suzi Hamilton on it for sure.
DAVID DOWDY - SOIL & WATER CONSERVATION SUPERVISOR
In case you didn’t know, the nonpartisan New Hanover Soil and Water Conservation District Board of Supervisors ensures that the quality of our water is maintained at the highest standard through strong conservation and storm water management efforts.
There are four candidates for seats on that board, but the best, in our opinion, is David Dowdy, a hard worker and grassroots community servant we can trust. Dowdy says protecting our water and environment will be his top priorities if elected.
So let’s do it. Let’s elect David Dowdy to the NHC Soil and Water Conservation Board.
OUR COMPLETE LIST OF ENDORSEMENTS
Barack Obama - president
Walter Dalton - governor
Linda Coleman - lt. governor
Cherie Berry - labor commissioner
Roy Cooper - state attorney general
Beth Wood - state auditor
June Atkinson - state schools supt.
Janet Cowell - state treasurer
Wayne Goodwin - state insurance commissioner
Steve Troxler - state agriculture commissioner
Elaine Marshall - secretary of state
Wanda Bryant - NC Appellate court
Cressie Thigpen - NC Appellate Court
Linda McGee - NC Appellate Court
Sam J. Ervin IV - NC Supreme Court
Mike McIntyre - congressman Seventh District
Erik Anderson - congressman, third District
Deb Butler - NC Senate
NO ENDORSEMENT IN HOUSE DISTRICT 18
Jonathan Barfield - NHC Board of Commissioners
Rob Zapple - NHC Board of Commissioners
Karen Clay Beatty - NHC Board of Education
Elizabeth Redenbaugh - NHC Board of Education
Emma Sanders - NHC Board of Education
Robin Wicks Robinson - NC District Court Judge District 5
David Dowdy - Soil and Water Conservation District Supervisor
ELECTION 2012 - DOWN TO THE WIRE
By Cash Michaels
Will President Obama win North Carolina, let alone re-election?
What will happen if the state elects a Republican governor and re-elects a GOP-led NC General Assembly?
And will the NC Council of State remain in Democratic hands?
With One Stop/Early Voting ending this Saturday, Nov. 3rd, and Election Day, Nov. 6th next Tuesday, those questions will soon be answered as tight, and some not-so-tight races come down to the wire.
In early voting statewide, as Oct. 31st, 1,876,309 early ballots were cast in North Carolina, according to the NC Board of Elections. Thus far based on the ballots cast, 49 percent were Democrats; 32 percent Republican; and 20 percent unaffiliated.
Per One Stop Early Voting, black female Democrats continue to lead all groups with 290,316 ballots cast. Black male Democrats to date have cast 171,848; while female Democrats have logged 217,136, and white male Democrats 150,991.
On the Republican side, black females have cast 3,376 ballots; black males 3,377; white females 254,528 and white male GOP’ers 239,749.
Just from these numbers alone, while it is clear that black Democrats are holding their own and outpacing their 2008 presidential election year numbers, white Democrats are being out paced by their Republican counterparts.
Assuming that most white Democrats are not crossing over to vote for Republican presidential challenger Mitt Romney, that deficit could spell an extremely tight race for the president in North Carolina. The latest poll from Elon University this week shows a both candidates in a 45-45 percent dead heat.
However, a SurveyUSA poll conducted for WRAL-TV in Raleigh this week suggests Republican Romney will win North Carolina on Election Day 50 to 45 percent, despite Democratic early vote dominance. The poll says the number of pro-Romney voters who will weigh-in on Nov. 6th are 2 to 1 to Obama voters.
Jim Messina, campaign manager for the Obama campaign, says he has faith in the tremendous field operation he has on the ground in North Carolina, which helped the president win North Carolina by a slim 14,000 votes in 2008.
In the gubernatorial race between Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton, a Democrat; and former Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory, the Republican; most polls show McCrory with a double-digit lead of anywhere from 14 to 19 points. Published reports show Dalton with just one-sixth the campaign war-chest of McCrory as he continues to struggle to present himself to the voters of North Carolina.
McCrory has made no secret that if he’s elected, he’ll be in lockstep with the Republican-led state Legislature on voter ID, cutting public education, and shrinking social services.
In the race for lt. governor, Democrat Linda Coleman and Republican Dan Forrest are neck-and-neck, which means whose campaign best turns out its supporters will ultimately win the office.
For the rest of the NC Council of State, Republicans are salivating at the prospect of taking the majority for the first time.
Republican Debra Goldman, who serves on the Wake County School Board, is hoping that a recent alleged sex scandal involving her and fellow Republican Wake School Board member Chris Malone, a candidate for the NC House, doesn’t hurt he chances to unseat Democratic incumbent State Auditor Beth Wood. Wood is leading that race while Republicans are turning against Goldman.
And State Supt. June Atkinson charges that her Republican/Tea Party opponent, John Tedesco - also a Wake School Board member - has a problem telling the truth, has no real experience in education beyond his two years on the school board (compared to her 35 in education) and create “chaos” with everything he says and does.
Atkinson and the NCNAACP label allegations by Tedesco that the Democratic state schools supt. has hired the NCNAACP to campaign for her as absolutely false, and she points to that as an example of what she means. Tedesco, who has made it clear he has no love for the NAACP, stands by his allegation.
In the nonpartisan races for the state Appellate and Supreme Court, Appeals Court judges Wanda Bryant, Linda McGee and Cressie Thigpen hope that voters will return all of them to the bench. Running as the Keep Fair Judges’ team, the three say if they go down, the appellate will lose most of its female and African-American representation.
In the race for State Supreme Court, Appeals Court Judge Sam J. Ervin IV hopes that voters will cast their ballots for him over conservative opponent Paul Newby.
Judge Ervin says he offers fair, nonpartisan judgment of cases as he does now on the appellate court. He is endorsed by Congressman G. K. Butterfield . The Morganton native has been practicing law since 1981. He served on the NC Utilities Commission since his appointment in 1999 by Gov. Jim Hunt. Judge Ervin was elected to the NC Court of Appeals in 2008.
Editor’s note - At the polls, there are reports of attempts at voter intimidation, some of them even violent. If you have any problems while trying to lawfully cast your ballot, call Election Protection, the nation’s largest nonpartisan voter protection coalition, at it’s toll-free hotline at 1-866-OUR-VOTE (1-866-687-8683). For answers to most questions about where, when and how to vote, go to the special website: www.NCElectionConnection.com. Voters can preview their own ballot, find the nearest Early Voting site, and check their registration status.
In addition, because of the new redistricting plan adopted this year by the NC General Assembly, your voting district lines may have changed. You may even get a different ballot from your neighbor who lives down the street because of how the new district lines zigzag through neighborhoods. About two million voters live in precincts divided by district lines and you’re 50 percent more likely to live in one of those split precincts if you’re black. So check with your county board of elections, or call 1-866-OUR-VOTE to confirm what your voting district is, and where you should vote.
UNC LEGAL EXPERT SAYS PARDONS
DESERVED IN WILMINGTON TEN CASE
By Cash Michaels
Saying that revelations about Assistant New Hanover County District Attorney James “Jay” Stroud Jr.’s racial jury gerrymandering, and his plot to cause a mistrial to impanel a “KKK” type jury in the Wilmington Ten case were “stunning and beyond outrage,” a UNC legal expert tells The Carolinian that those facts alone justify individual pardons of innocence from Gov. Beverly Perdue for the Wilmington Ten.
Meanwhile, the Libertarian candidate for NC governor, announced her support Wednesday for pardons of innocence for the Wilmington Ten, citing the documented actions of prosecutor Stroud in saying, “A pardon of innocence by [Gov.] Perdue would grant some closure for the surviving members of the Ten, and must come before Perdue’s term ends December 31st.”
In another development, the North Carolina chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference announced in Greenville Sunday that it was formally supporting the pardons of innocence effort for the Wilmington Ten.
Dr. Benjamin Chavis, leader of the Ten, was on hand for the announcement.
“It is stunning, and beyond outrage, to learn the level of prosecutorial abuse that dominated, infected, and ultimately drove the outcome in the Wilmington Ten trials,” says Gene R. Nichol, Boyd Tinsley Distinguished professor at the UNC School of Law at UNC - Chapel Hill, after reviewing portions of what is now known as “the Stroud file.”
“This intense abuse of governmental authority, prosecutorial misconduct -- both professional and racial -- casts a long shadow over the North Carolina system of justice, Prof. Nichol continued. “It also, of course, worked massive and unforgivable constitutional injury on the lives of ten North Carolinians.”
“The prosecutor made mockery of his high office by knowingly, intentionally, and purposefully placing perjured testimony at the heart of the trial. It is also clear now, in ways not demonstrated by documentary evidence before, that he tainted the trial initiation process and vital jury selection through patent, overt, and outcome-determinative racism.”
“It is crucial that North Carolina act to admit and concede such a potent and defining abuse of power,” Prof. Nichol maintains. “To allow public servants to behave in such a fashion, without remedy, is literally intolerable.”
Prof. Nichol’s legal analysis comes after the fortieth anniversary of the convictions of the ten civil rights activists for crimes they did not commit. On Oct. 17th, 1972, nine young black males and one white female - all led by the Rev. Benjamin Chavis of the United Church of Christ - were falsely convicted during their second trial of conspiracy in connection with racial violence that gripped Wilmington in February 1971.
The Stroud files now cast a large shadow over those convictions.
“The Ten,” as some call them, were all sentenced collectively to 282 years in prison, some of which they all served before worldwide public pressure forced early releases. In 1976, Amnesty International, a respected international social justice agency, labeled the Wilmington Ten “political prisoners” because they were targeted only after they protested racial discrimination in their local public school system five years earlier.
In 1977, the three witnesses on whose testimony the Wilmington Ten were convicted recanted their testimonies before a grand jury, saying that state prosecutor Jay Stroud paid them to lie with gifts and privileges. The CBS News program “60 Minutes” broadcast an expose’ on the fabrication of evidence in the case, strongly suggesting a false prosecution.
And in 1980, the US Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, citing prosecutorial misconduct on Stroud’s part, among other issues, overturned all ten convictions. But the state of North Carolina has upheld those convictions for the past 32 years.
It was not until 2011, when the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) - an association of over 200 African-American newspapers across the nation - voted to officially seek pardons of innocence for the Wilmington Ten, did the effort to legally address the issue begin in earnest, and the Wilmington Ten Pardons of Innocence Project was born.
On May 17 of this year, a legal petition of pardons of actual innocence was formally submitted to Gov. Beverly Perdue’s Office of Executive Clemency on behalf of Dr. Benjamin Chavis; Wayne Moore; Marvin “Chili” Patrick; Reginald Epps; James “Bun” McKoy; Willie Earl Vereen; William “Joe” Wright; Jerry Jacobs; Ann Shepard and Connie Tindall.
Wright, Jacobs, Shepard and Tindall are deceased. Tindall, 62, died in August.
During the course of researching the case, the original files of Wilmington Ten state prosecutor Jay Stroud were found, and evidence of extraordinary prosecutorial misconduct uncovered. North Carolina Central University School of Law Professor Irving Joyner, and James Ferguson, original lead defense attorney forty years ago for the Wilmington Ten - both of whom filed the petition papers with the state - spent last summer researching and authenticating handwritten jury selection notes by prosecutor Stroud which indicated during the first trial in June 1972 in Pender County how he sought to impanel a “KKK” type jury to guarantee convictions.
Stroud’s notes also document how he plotted to cause a mistrial in the first June 1972 Wilmington Ten trial because there were ten blacks and two whites on the jury, his star false witness against the Ten, Allen Hall, was not cooperating, and it looked very unlikely that Stroud could win the case given the lack of evidence.
History shows that prosecutor Stroud told the presiding judge in the first June 1972 trial that he had become “ill,” and could not continue.
A mistrial was ultimately declared.
It was during the second trial in Pender County, which began Sept. 11, 1972, that Stroud got a jury more to his liking - ten whites and two black domestic workers - and a different judge who was arguably biased against the defense.
This time, the Wilmington Ten were convicted, sentenced, and sent away to prison.
As The Carolinian exclusively reported in September, it was during a Sept. 5th forum at NCCU’s School of Law, that defense attorney James Ferguson said his examination of the Stroud files was revealing.
“There was a fair amount of confirmation of things we suspected at the time that race was the central strategy of the prosecution,” attorney Ferguson maintained, singling out a legal pad that prosecutor Stroud used during jury selection of the first trial to track Ferguson’s questioning of potential jurors in Pender County, a neighboring county the case had been moved to in June 1972.
Pender had a larger African-American population than New Hanover County, where the Wilmington Ten had been charged, thus, more black candidates for jury service.
Ferguson detailed how Stroud wrote on the top of one page of his jury selection legal pad,” Stay away from black men.” Next to that on the top of that same sheet, Stroud wrote, “Leave off Rocky [Point], Maple Hill. Put on Burgaw, Long Creek Atkinson Blacks.”
In Stroud’s mind, Ferguson said, blacks from the more rural towns of Burgaw, Long Creek and Atkinson, would probably be less likely to identify with “radical” civil rights leaders like Ben Chavis, than African-Americans from the more urbane towns of Rocky Point and Maple Hill.
Indeed, the 29th prospective juror on that same page named “Randolph” has a capital “B” in front of his name in the margin, and in parentheses the word “no,” and written afterwards, “on basis Maple Hill.”
In contrast, per another possible juror, number 9 with a “B” named “Murphy,” Stroud has written in parentheses, “Worth chance because from Atkinson.”
There are several prospective jurors listed by name, and if not, certainly by number, who have the capital letter “B” written in the margin. If there was any doubt about the “B” indicating “black” - which was attached to many names the words “leave off” were written next too, that is dispelled by what Stroud writes in addition to some of them.
On prospective “B” juror number eleven named “Graham,” Stroud writes, “knows; sensible; Uncle Tom type.”
On Number 27 named “Stringfield,” Stroud writes, “no named black on jury.”
On Number 19 named “James” Stroud writes, “stay away from,” apparently indicating that the potential juror is a black male he doesn’t want.
And prosecutor Stroud had unmistakable codes for white jurors he felt he had to have.
On that same legal pad sheet tracking juror interviews, when Stroud was impressed with a white interviewee’s answers, he’d write down the three letters of the alphabet most commonly associated with the most fear white supremacist group in the South at the time - the Ku Klux Klan.
“KKK?...good” is what Stroud wrote for juror Number 1 known as “Pridgen.” For Number 6 named “Heath,” the reverse, “O.K.” then “KKK?”. Number 75 on a subsequent page was “Fine - probably KKK!!” and on Number 99 Stroud writes, “does not have a record - KKK!!”
Stroud apparently was also concerned if potential black jurors in the June trial read about the case in The Wilmington Journal, the local African-American newspaper. Stroud considered the Journal a subversive publication that supported the Wilmington Ten.
“Blacks - you get Wilmington Journal or read it - view sympathetic to letters from Chavis,” Stroud wrote in the column of his legal pad, making note of question would ask of potential black jurors.
The notation is chilling because the following year, The Journal was firebombed by a white supremacist on June 1973, and historically, another black newspaper, The Daily Record, was burned to the ground by white supremacists during the November 10, 1898 racial uprising, demonstrating a long held fear of the Black Press in Wilmington.
“Race infused the jury selection strategy in that June trial,” attorney Ferguson said of Stroud’s jury selection notes.
As indicated earlier, the sheer number of prospective black jurors for the first Wilmington Ten trial resulted in a panel of ten African-Americans, and two whites.
“We were able to position ourselves in a way that we were headed towards getting what appeared to be a jury that might be fair,” defense attorney Ferguson said.
“But at that time, as they say, a funny thing happened on the way to the forum.”
Ferguson and Prof. Irving Joyner note that on the cardboard back of that jury selection legal pad Stroud used, the prosecutor literally drew a line down the middle.
On the left he titled it, “Disadvantages of Mistrial.”
On the right, “Advantages of Mistrial.”
“Most people don’t list the pros and cons of getting sick,” quipped Ferguson.
Stroud then proceeded to list reasons for both, seemingly to devise some sort of strategy as to what his next move should be.
For disadvantages, the prosecutor wrote, “1 - waste of a week; 2- could affect Hall’s attitude and other witnesses (referring to star state’s witness Allen Hall, who was being paid by the prosecution to deliver false testimony) 3 - possibly waste of 2 weeks unless Allen can set up quick docket; 4 - inconvenience to all concerned; 5 - possibly get Judges Chess, Godwin or Copeland on new trial; and 6 - delaying getting cases over with.”
On the other side of Stroud’s list for “Advantages of Mistrial’ in the first Wilmington Ten trial, the prosecutor listed, “1 - different judge; 2 - better prepared to select jury and to handle motions/more organized; 3 - avoid longer jury selection and hung jury in Pender because of their concern about retaliation; 4- fresh start [with] new jury from another county; 5- avoid reversible error [and] new trial on lack of [defense] witness interviews; 6 - can enlist Dan Johnson’s help; 7 - opportunity to separate [white Wilmington Ten member Ann] Shephard (sic) from others to keep out [Allen] Hall’s letter; and 8 - time to have case well prepared and organized.”
Stroud apparently decided to cause the mistrial as a result of his deliberations.
“The main prosecutor in the case (Stroud) suddenly became ill,” Ferguson recalls. “For what reason I do not know. [Perhaps] sitting there looking at that many black folks serving on the jury. But he became ill, sort of speak, and decided that he could not proceed with the trial. So that trial was aborted.”
After reviewing the same materials, UNC law Professor Gene Nichol was deeply concerned.
“The Stroud memo reveals that the most cynical and stunning use of racial antagonism and hostility drove the prosecutor's decisions in launching, and re-launching the Wilmington Ten trials,” Prof. Nichol says. “No justification exists, or could exist, for such bald constitutional transgression. It is vital that the state officially declare, as it would through a pardon of innocence, the flat rejection of the use of racial hatred in the exercise of criminal prosecution. Ignoring such outrageous misbehavior, once revealed, would be a fundamental breach of duty.”
In reaction to the Stroud Files, Barbara Howe, Libertarian candidate for governor, said in a press release Wednesday, “This September, the files of the prosecutor in the case, Jay Stroud, were released, providing further insight into the depth of the misconduct. The notes from jury selection reveal an active pursuit of jurors with possible KKK ties and attempts to have black jurors removed.”
Howe continued, “The evidence that has been revealed over the years since the convictions paints a very gloomy picture of the North Carolina judicial system. The recanting of witness statements and the prosecutorial misconduct that has come to light with the release of the Stroud files clearly demonstrate the need for action [by Perdue]. A pardon of innocence for the Wilmington Ten would show a renewed commitment by the State of North Carolina to the cause of justice.”
Ms. Howe added that until those pardons of innocence are granted, the Wilmington Ten remain convicted felons in the state of North Carolina.
Prof. Nichol, who has also written a letter of support directly to Gov. Perdue for the Wilmington Ten Pardons of Innocence, continued, “I am confident that the prosecutor's rank, grotesque, abuse of authority merits a pardon of innocence. There are surely no circumstances to seek a 'pardon of forgiveness'. It would be stunning to say to a group of defendants subjected to such breathtaking misconduct that we now 'forgive' you.”
“The only acceptable response from the State of North Carolina,” Prof. Nichol concluded, “…is to concede that its power was exercised in the Wilmington Ten prosecutions in a tyrannical rejection of honesty and constitutionalism.”
CASH IN THE APPLE - 11-1-12
By Cash Michaels
ELECTION DAY - We hope, if you haven’t voted yet, that you will early vote by this Saturday, Nov. 3rd. And if you can’t make it then, then your last chance is Election Day, Nov. 6th. The polls open at 6:30 a.m., and close at 7:30 p.m. A lot’s at stake here.
ELECTION NIGHT - I’ve been invited to join my old NBC-17 “At Issue” partner, Donna Martinez, on 680 WPTF-AM (folks in Wilmington can listen also at www.WPTF.com) to do election returns that night. Six years ago, Donna and I did election night on NBC-17, so we work well together, though I’m certain there will be other analysts on the show.
Given how close the presidential race is, I have the funny feeling I better bring my sleeping bag, because it’s going to be a long night!
SANDY - I hope by now you have looked at your family, and thanked GOD that all of you are safe, and then said a special prayer for all of those impacted on the mid-atlantic and east coast by Superstorm Sandy this week. Over twenty-nine dead, over eight million without power, and tens of billions of dollars in damage.
My hometown, New York City, hasn’t been hit this hard since 9/11. The city’s subway system was flooded, as were many city streets below 40th Street in Manhattan b y an unprecedented 13-foot storm surge. Several homes were ablaze in Queens and Breezy Point, and the front of a four-story building ripped off by powerful winds.
Oh, and did I mention that a giant construction crane was blown off a 90-story building, and at press time, was still dangling from the top of that building in Manhattan?
But do you know what part of all of this was the weirdest for me?
The fact that all of this was happening in the North, when it normally happens here in the South.
Normally, it’s my family back in Brooklyn who is calling me when they see reports of tornadoes or hurricanes reeking havoc here in North Carolina. So it weirded me out this week to be telling my Aunt Millie, “Make sure you have enough water; protect your windows against strong winds; prepare yourself for when the power goes out, because it will go out.”
But for the grace of GOD…
HEROES - We conveniently forget the brave men and women of law enforcement, fire fighting, emergency medical personnel, and yes, news media, who function at their highest capacity during disasters - natural or otherwise. They all take life-threatening risks the rest of us would never think of.
And let’s face it - in tomes of real trouble, there’s no one else to turn to.
So we owe all of our public safety personnel and news media, who function at the highest standard in times of extreme need, the biggest thanks. Always being there when we need you is something that should be deeply appreciated by all of us.
OUT IN THE WIND - I’ve been involved in a raging debate online about how far television news should go to bring us the story when natural disasters strike. Some folks see no reason to have some reporter standing in 60 mph winds and rain, telling us what’s going on where they are.
The argument is, we can see and hear what’s going on, so why do we need someone out there risking their lives to tell us?
Simple, because if they didn’t, they wouldn’t be doing their jobs.
A real reporter just doesn’t tell me what I can see and hear, but what I can’t, and is important for me to know. Don’t get me wrong, this can be abused, and many viewers, and even other reporters say that it has. They feel that when a reporter puts him or herself in danger unnecessarily, all they’re doing is hyping the story.
I don’t disagree that, at times, that happens, primarily because of TV competition for ratings. But by and large, most journalists I know want to go back home to their families after the hurricane is over.
They are all very competitive. They want their coverage to be the best. They know that exciting pictures, along with the good information, makes for the best news coverage. Their job is to get exactly that.
Of course risks must always be measured, and common sense always employed.
But ultimately, when you get into the business, you signed up to always do you best. Period!
Now if you have a problem with that, then simply turn someplace else.
But I admire the journalists who have real ink in their veins, and do whatever it takes to get the story, and get it right. Because when you do that, only then are you really doing your job!
MICKEY TO BUY DARTH VADER - Great news this week that Disney studios has agreed to purchase Lucasfilm Ltd. and the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises for $4.05 billion. Even greater news that Disney is committed to make more Star Wars movies every two or three years, starting in 2015. The last one, “Revenge of the Stith,” was made in 2005, and was supposed to be the last ever by producer George Lucas. Lucas will become a creative consultant under Disney’s helm.
Disney isn’t kidding, is it? It purchased Marvel Studios, which makes “Iron Man” and “The Avengers,” and Disney also owns Pixar Studios, maker of “Toy Story.”
So expect to see more movies, and perhaps more Star Wars special programming on Disney’s cable channels.
QUEEN LATIFAH SHOW - Look for actress/rapper Queen Latifah’s new syndicated talk show next fall. It’s executive produced by Latifah, Will Smith and Will’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. Go to the show’s website to learn more at http://www.queenlatifah.com/. It even has a countdown clock until the show begins.
Make sure you tune in every Thursday afternoon at 4 p.m. for my talk radio show, ''Make It Happen'' on Power 750 WAUG-AM, or online at www.myWAUG.com. And read more about my thoughts and opinions exclusively at my new blog, ‘The Cash Roc” (http://thecashroc.blogspot.com/2011/01/cash-roc-begins.html). I promise it will be interesting.
Cash in the Apple - honored as the Best Column Writing of 2006 by the National Newspaper Publishers Association. Columnist Cash Michaels was also honored by the NNPA for Best Feature Story Journalist of 2009, and was the recipient of the Raleigh-Apex NAACP’s President’s Award for Media Excellence in Sept. 2011.
Until next week, keep a smile on your face, GOD in your heart, and The Carolinian in your life. Bye, bye.
STATE NEWS BRIEFS
BAD BEHAVIOR AT THE POLLS STATEWIDE, SAYS ELECTIONS CHIEF
[GREENSBORO] Over 1.2 million people across North Carolina have taken advantage of One Stop Early Voting, election officials say. But with the high numbers have also come schemes and bad behavior at the polls. In a letter to county elections supervisors across the state, Gary Bartlett, executive director of the NC Board of Elections, wrote, “"I have heard more complaints, more misinformation and more what I call intimidation or suppression than any time during my tenure.” Bartlett was referring to reports of people electioneering inside the mandated 50-foot buffer zone, or literally just changing it. Partisan supporters are cussing each other, and one person was physically injured at a Wake County polling place. He also noted several attempts to mislead or intimidate voters. “It seems like civility is not on the forefront for some of these folks," Bartlett said. "We need to make sure they do not do anything to the voter or the precinct official.”
NC NAACP BLASTS FRANKLIN GRAHAM FOR MORMON FLIP-FLOP
[CHARLOTTE] Saying that Franklin Graham has been “seduced by the sirens of money and power,” NCNAACP Pres. Rev. William Barber, joined by a group of black ministers, blasted the conservative evangelist for his stated support of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Rev. Barber was particularly critical of the removal of Mormonism from a list of cults by Graham’s organization. Romney is a Mormon. Rev. Dr. Gregory Moss, one of the black ministers with Rev. Barber, said the issue was Romney’s faith, but that Graham was being hypocritical. “To change your mind for political expediency lend you hypocritical and morally bankrupt,” Rev. Moss said.
NC ALPHAMEN PRESENT MISS BLACK AND GOLD PAGEANT NOV. 3RD
The Association of North Carolina Alphamen will hold its annual Miss Black and Gold Pageant Saturday, Nov. 3rd at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Winston-Salem. Ten beautiful and talented women representing Alpha Phi Alpha Chapters from HBCU’s across the state will compete for the title of Miss Black and Gold 2012. The winner will represent the association at the 2013 Southern Regional Pageant in Mobile Alabama. The public is invited to attend.
TRIANGLE NEWS BRIEFS
“COATS CAUSE WE CARE” DRIVE NOV. 10TH
Coats Cause We Care” is a community service event where individuals, along with private and public sector organizations, provide new or gently used/clean coats for children in the Raleigh area. The goal is to collect 500 coats. Citizens can drop off children’s coats at any City of Raleigh community center, or the Raleigh Police Substation at 1601-30 Crosslink Road now through November 10th. The coats will be distributed on Nov. 10th at the Sgt. Courtney T. Johnson Community Center; 1801 Proctor Street; Raleigh, NC 27610 from 11 .m. to 2 p.m. For more information, contact Grady Bussey, director at the Sgt. Johnson Center at 919-831-6719.
“SUPERSTORM” SANDY BRUSHES TRIANGLE, AND NC
The historic storm that killed over 50 people in New York, New Jersey and other northeastern states, and caused billions in flooding, power outages and high wind destruction earlier this week, was kind to North Carolina in comparison. The North Carolina coast experienced heavy rain and strong winds. The Outer Banks experienced some flooding and high winds. In Western NC, four to eight inches of snow fell in the mountains. In areas like the Triangle, cold temperatures, wind and rain dominated Sunday through Tuesday.
REJECTED PASSENGER ACCIDENTALLY BY BUS
A homeless man who was not allowed to board a Raleigh CAT bus last Friday evening on New Bern Avenue, was accidentally killed when he reportedly fell while getting off, and the bus rolled over him. Raleigh police identify the victim as Wade Junior McCray, 65. Police say McCray apparently fell against the bus after he got off. The driver didn’t see him fall before pulling off. No charges have been filed. McCray was not allowed to board the bus because the driver determined he may have been drinking.