Monday, November 26, 2012



                      FORMER NEW HANOVER ASST. D.A. JAY STROUD

By Cash Michaels
Staff writer

Saying that former New Hanover County prosecutor James Jay Stroud is “delusional” for still defending his “frame-up” of the Wilmington Ten forty years ago, Dr. Benjamin Chavis, leader of the Ten, and others in the pardons effort, maintain that Stroud’s recent remarks in a StarNews interview this week are further evidence, beyond his own recently discovered handwritten trial notes documenting his attempt to racially gerrymander the jury and cause a mistrial, that pardons of innocence from Gov. Perdue are well deserved.
            Facts are facts, and it is an irrefutable fact that all the members of the Wilmington Ten were completely innocent in 1972 of the racially-motivated framed-up charges filed against us by prosecutor Jay Stroud,” Dr. Chavis told The Wilmington Journal exclusively late Wednesday evening.
“It is a fact that the 4th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals overturned our unjust convictions on December 4, 1980. Today in 2012, we, the Wilmington Ten, are still innocent of Stroud's unjust and illegal fabrication,” Dr. Chavis maintained.
In a StarNews interview reportedly conducted in October, but only published Wednesday online after the NCNAACP’s Tuesday press conference in Raleigh calling upon Gov. Beverly Perdue to pardon the Wilmington Ten, Stroud was reportedly shown copies of his handwritten notes from the June 1972 trial by a reporter, and confirmed their authenticity.
            But the former prosecutor denied that racism, as the NCNAACP maintains, played any role in his jury selection. The “KKK…good” reference he wrote in variations next to several white potential jurors’ names on the legal pad, for example, “…was a strike against the juror because of the potential of a hung jury,” the story said.
            “I could have had an all-white jury, but I didn’t want to do that,” Stroud told the StarNews. “Why would I leave a KKK on the jury?”
            That rhetorical question runs counter to the written record.
            The StarNews apparently failed to challenge Stroud on other written notations showing that he approved of several white potential jurors if they did have Ku Klux Klan attitudes.
            Next to potential juror #6 Stroud wrote, “Heath (O.K.) (KKK?).” Number 28 he wrote, “(probably o.k.) if white.”
            And potential juror number 52 named “Bryant,” prosecutor Stroud wrote, “(KKK) good.”
            Stroud’s negative ratings for potential jurors were unmistakable. Next to several on his list, especially if they had a “B” written in front of their names or numbers, Stroud wrote, “Leave off” or “stay away from,” but never “good.”
             Stroud further told the StarNews that he wanted “conservative blacks” on the jury, later specifying that “Uncle Tom-type” means, “blacks that could be fair.”
            But the StarNews apparently didn’t ask Stroud why he wrote “Stay away from black men” at the top of one of his jury selection notes, or didn’t want black jurors from certain towns in Pender County, where that trial had been moved to.
Because a jury of ten blacks and two whites was finally impaneled during the June 1972 trial, Stroud, citing “illness,” forced a mistrial to get a jury and judge more to his favor, the NCNAACP says. His own handwritten notes on the back of a legal pad, weighing the advantages and disadvantages of a mistrial, betrayed his intent, the civil rights organization says.
But in its interview, the StarNews apparently never asked Stroud about his written mistrial calculations, which included getting a different judge.
It was in the second trial in September that year –with a jury this time of ten whites and two blacks - that the nine African-American males, led by civil rights activist Rev. Benjamin Chavis, and one white female, were falsely convicted for conspiracy in the firebombing of a white-owned grocery store during racial violence in Wilmington in February 1971.
 They were all sentenced to 282 years in prison, some of which they served, before they were released from prison early after immense public pressure.
In the StarNews article, former prosecutor Stroud still maintained that despite a federal appellate court’s 1980 ruling – which not only overturned all of the Wilmington Ten’s convictions, but also cited him specifically for gross prosecutorial misconduct – the Wilmington Ten were guilty, and deserved to go to prison.
“They got more than a fair deal as far as I’m concerned,” Stroud was quoted as telling the Wilmington newspaper. “I think they should have had to serve their sentences like any other convicted felon.”
Ironically, in that same StarNews article where Stroud is convinced that the Wilmington Ten couldn’t have possibly been anything but guilty, he adamantly agreed that prosecutorial frame-ups do exist.
Against him.
When asked about his twelve convictions over the past six years, mostly in Gaston County, for charges ranging from domestic violence, to repeatedly ramming cars because, Stroud told a judge, “Satan was with [the drivers],” Stroud, who lost his license to practice law in 2008, told the StarNews, “I am not guilty of any of the charges that were leveled against me as stated in the warrants. All of the charges were false and fabricated."
Jay Stroud did serve time in jail for several of those charges. He told the Gaston Gazette in 2011 that he’s suffered from a bipolar disorder since his time in college.
Attorney Irving Joyner, who, along with James Ferguson, the lead defense attorney forty years ago for the Wilmington Ten, filed the pardon petition papers last May requesting that Gov. Beverly Perdue grant pardons of actual innocence to each member of the Wilmington Ten, was resolute.
“We have never presented any information regarding the Wilmington Ten case which has not been fully vetted and determined to be absolutely accurate,” Joyner, who is also a law professor at North Carolina Central University’s School of Law in Durham, said late Wednesday night.
 “Jay Stroud did no more than acknowledge the obvious with respect to his authorship of the racially inspired efforts to prevent African-Americans from serving on the Wilmington Ten jury. In the same handwriting, he also described his successful effort to fake an illness, misrepresent his medical condition to the Court, and to deliberately perpetrate a fraud in Court, a criminal offense,” Joyner continued.
“The comments and notes, which Stroud made, speak for themselves, and further support the obvious conclusion that the persecution of the Wilmington Ten was racially inspired and constitutionally deficient.”
 “It is now up to the Governor of North Carolina,” Joyner said,  “to determine whether she is going to correct an injustice, or stand on the side of a racist and illegal persecution in the name of the State of North Carolina.” 
Renowned UNC – Chapel Hill criminal law Professor Richard Rosen, in his letter to Gov. Beverly Perdue supporting pardons of innocence for the Wilmington Ten, wrote, “It has been clear for decades that the Wilmington Ten defendants were innocent of all of the charges brought against them, and were the victims of a politically motivated prosecution brought at a time of acute racial friction.” 
“The key prosecution witnesses have long since recanted their testimony,” Prof. Rosen continued. “All of the defendants in this case claimed that they were innocent from the very moment of arrest, and most turned down lenient plea bargains offered by the prosecution, leading to the subsequent lengthy prison terms.  [Four] of them are now dead, and all have struggled to repair their lives.”

In addition, Michael Carmichael, a former public information officer with the NC State Attorney General’s Office at the time of the Wilmington Ten case, says Stroud's prosecution was without foundation from start to finish.
The Wilmington Ten were railroaded to jail in a kangaroo court where the eyewitnesses were all teenaged felons who had been bribed, coerced and coached to perjure themselves,” Carmichael wrote in a comment to a story in the Raleigh News & Observer this week. “[The witnesses’] testimony was rehearsed. The federal court ruled that not one shred of evidence links any of the defendants to the crime.”
At Tuesday’s NCNAACP press conference, veteran civil rights attorney told reporters the trial tactics Stroud used were illegal, and that the State Bureau of Investigation should look into the matter, and then put the former prosecutor in jail.
Stroud’s defiant attitude didn’t not surprise Wilmington Ten member Wayne Moore, who says that Stroud’s dogged campaign to persecute Moore and the nine other young civil rights activists ultimately led to his own professional downfall.
“From the beginning, Stroud’s colleagues in Wilmington, including head prosecutor Alan Cobb, knew that Stroud was up to no good,” Moore, 60, said in an email statement from Michigan Wednesday evening. “Following the Wilmington Ten case, Stroud was ostracized from practicing law in New Hanover County.”
 “He was an ambitious young attorney who didn't care who he hurt along the way, including his [boss],” Moore, who spent several years in prison because of Stroud, added.
            “Stroud's latest admissions of his zeal to unjustly convict us is just another fact why the Wilmington Ten should be granted a pardon of innocence by Governor Perdue,” W-Ten leader Dr. Benjamin Chavis says. “Stroud is still delusional forty years later about basic fairness and equality under the law.”
 “I pray that Stroud will one day find it in his heart to repent for the wrong that he has done with respect to the Wilmington Ten.”
NC NAACP Pres. Rev. William Barber, who blasted Stroud Tuesday for his “unconstitutional” and “racist” tactics to “frame” the Wilmington Ten, found his StarNews comments justification for singling the former prosecutor out for further condemnation.
            The more we learn the truths about how race polluted and poisoned the unjust, unconstitutional and unethical prosecutorial acts utilized on this case by Stroud, to frame and falsely convict these young people, the more disturbing they are,” Rev. Barber exclusively told The Wilmington Journal Wednesday evening.
“We have a crooked prosecutor who fostered a crooked persecution of innocent individuals, who now wants to admit on one hand his actions, and then on the other hand engage in a distressing revisionist rationale as to why he did what he did. NC must see all of these facts for what they are and represent---- calculated and sinister racism used in our court system.”
Rev. Barber continued,  “Only a pardon can begin to cleanse the depth of wrong being further revealed.”

By Cash Michaels

            In an effort to define both the moral and legal arguments for Gov. Beverly Perdue to grant pardons of innocence to the Wilmington Ten, the NC NAACP Tuesday focused on the now infamous, and many say “illegal” behavior of prosecutor James “Jay” Stroud during the trials forty years ago.
            In fact, veteran civil rights attorney Al McSurely told reporters during Tuesday’s NAACP press conference that the State Bureau of Investigation should probe Stroud’s alleged racial jury gerrymandering, and his calculated “illness” that forced a mistrial in the first June 1972 Wilmington Ten trial.
            “This is direct evidence, and this evidence should put Mr. Stroud in jail,” attorney McSurely declared.
            Stroud feigned sickness because he didn’t think he could win with a jury of ten blacks and two whites, his own handwritten notes reveal.
            When prosecutor Stroud got both a judge, and a jury – ten whites and two blacks – that were more to his liking for the second trial in Sept. 1972, that’s when he was able to falsely convict the Wilmington Ten of conspiracy in connection with the racial violence that struck the port city in February 1971.
            "We rarely get such direct evidence of prosecutorial racism in jury selection," Rev. William J. Barber, president of the North Carolina NAACP, told reporters at First Baptist Church in Raleigh. "The prosecutor is ethically bound to put justice over winning. District Attorneys represent all the people in North Carolina, not just white people in North Carolina.” 
            Frequently referring to large poster blowups of pages from the Stroud legal pad where the prosecutor wrote to “stay away from black men” during jury selection for the first trial; put a “B” next to the names and/or numbers of prospective black jurors; and wrote “KKK…good” for white jurors he liked and “Uncle Tom type” next to black jurors he would accept, Rev. Barber went on to detail how methodically prosecutor Stroud was in trying to racially gerrymander the jury.
            "If this direct evidence had been available for the Fourth Circuit [US Court of Appeals, which overturned the Wilmington Ten convictions in Dec. 1980]," Rev. Barber commented, "I believe they would have recommended prosecuting the prosecutor."  "The new evidence is a nightmare. It's a nightmare to see evidence of this District Attorney committing such egregious acts of hate on behalf of the citizens of North Carolina. The evidence clearly reveals the injustice that took place in the conviction of the Wilmington 10 and the entrenched racism that polluted the process. North Carolina needs to repent and cleanse itself of this tragic misuse of power in our judicial system."
            Attorney Irv Joyner, chair of the NCNAACP Legal Redress Committee and attorney for the Wilmington Ten Pardons of Innocence Project, said even without the Stroud files, the evidence that the Wilmington Ten are innocent of all crimes they were convicted for is overwhelming.
            The Stroud files just add fuel to the fire that further proves that the state of North Carolina framed the Ten because of their civil rights activism, not for any crimes the state accused them of committing, he said
            Both Joyner and Rev. Barber urged Gov. Perdue to grant pardons of innocence to all members of the Wilmington Ten, four of whom have since died.
             In an interview published Wednesday in, Stroud confirmed that the damning handwritten notes were his, but denied any racial intent in his jury selection notations. He added that he still felt the Wilmington Ten were guilty, but denied any guilt at all for the many crimes he's been convicted and sent to jail for for the past six years.
           Stroud lost his law license in 2008.
            The Carolinian, and other African-American member newspapers of the National Newspaper Publishers Association – the sponsor of the Wilmington Ten pardons of innocence effort - first and exclusively reported about the Stroud files last September after attorney Irving Joyner, law professor at the North Carolina Central University School of Law; and James Ferguson, longtime lead defense attorney for the Wilmington Ten, revealed the contents of the Stroud files at a forum at the law school.
            With the exception of an Oct. 28th Associated Press article which mentioned the Stroud files, this week was the first time that the mainstream press en masse statewide actually focused on the story.
            In their reporting, it was revealed that New Hanover County District Attorney Ben David admitted that he turned over a box of materials labeled “Wilmington Ten” to Duke University historian Prof. Timothy Tyson several years ago. Prof. Tyson was doing research for a book about the Wilmington Ten case.
            In that box were the files of former New Hanover County Assistant District Attorney James Stroud, and the infamous yellow legal pad that has been the center of so much controversy.
            In February of this year, Prof. Tyson allowed the Wilmington Ten Pardons of Innocence Project access to the materials, which were all public record.
            During the spring and summer, attorneys Joyner and Ferguson, who had filed the legal petition with the Governor’s Office of Executive Clemency, extensively researched the entire file to authenticate every document against the court record.
            They revealed their findings last September.
            Prof. Tyson, a Senior Research Scholar at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University in Durham, says the Stroud files are now located at the Southern Historical Association at UNC in the Timothy B. Tyson Papers section.
            Last week, the national NAACP launched a nationwide online petition for the Wilmington Ten pardon effort. Officials say they expect to garner at least 10,000 signatures by the end of this week.
            Here in North Carolina, thousands of petition signatures – both hard copy and online – will be calculated this weekend and delivered to the Governor’s Office next week.
            The Wilmington Ten Pardons of Innocence Project is still encouraging those who want to continue to support the effort to write Governor Beverly Perdue, and send their letters to:
                                                The Honorable Beverly Eaves Perdue
Governor of North Carolina
116 West Jones St.
Raleigh, North Carolina 27603

Letters should be sent by Dec. 15th.
A spokesperson for Gov. Perdue says while she will be stepping down by January 5th, 2013, there is no timetable between then and now for the governor to make her pardons decision.
Indeed, it could be the last thing Gov. Perdue does as she leaves office.

                                       JUSTICE TIMMONS-GOODSON

            The first African-American woman ever to serve on North Carolina’s highest court will be stepping down shortly, allowing outgoing Gov. Beverly Perdue to now make an appointment to the NC Supreme Court before she leaves office Jan. 5th.
            Published reports say Justice Patricia Timmons-Goodson, 58, has filed her papers to step down, and told colleagues on the seven-member court of her departure. She was first appointed to the High Court by then Gov. Mike Easley in 2006, and then won election to an eight-year term later that year. Her term ends in 2014. Timmons-Goodson previously served as a state district court judge and a NC Appellate Court judge.
            At press time Wednesday, Gov. Perdue praised Justice Timmons-Goodson for her many years of service to the state and the criminal justice system.


            An area FM radio station is finding itself on the short end of bad public relations after featuring a black man hanging from a tow truck, dressed in a fairy dress with wings, during the recent Raleigh Christmas Parade. Radio station G-105FM is apologizing for the racist stunt by its morning man Bob Dumas, who hosts the station’s daily “Showgram” show. Dumas was quoted as calling the black fairy figure, “Tyrone the Black Christmas Fairy who was going to turn crackers into Beyonce.” A station official said “poor judgment “ accounted for the racist stunt.
            Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane didn’t find it funny, saying that racism will not be tolerated in Raleigh. She apparently told reps from G-105FM that when she met with them recently. Meanwhile the Greater Raleigh Merchants Association, the group that sponsors the annual Raleigh Christmas Parade, said it will now tighten up standards on what is allowed in what is supposed to be a community family event.

            City officials say someone is placing fake parking notices on the windshields of cars in West Raleigh, demanding that drivers pay overdue fees totaling $476. The notices have the City of Raleigh emblem and have “Parking Violations Bureau” on them. Luckily, the scammers listed a website, a toll free number and two post office boxes for payments, none of which either work or exist. If you have any information about who may be behind this, Raleigh police ask that you call them at 919-996-3335.


            [Oxford] An activist minister is urging all who celebrate Christmas not to go broke this holiday season, but rather teach their children the true reason for the season. Min. Curtis E. Gatewood, head of the Faith, Hope and Justice Ministries in Oxford, has kicked off “Operation Boycott Santa’s Costs,” his way of warning families not to spend beyond their means for Christmas, and instead teach their children the biblical story of the birth of Jesus Christ. “Santa is only a face the commercialists hide behind to rob us blind spiritually and financially,” Gatewood says. He adds if you must spend, to then do so with an African-American small business in the community.

            [Raleigh] Plaintiffs in a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the new redistricting plan created by the Republican-led NC General Assembly have filed a motion asking that Republican NC Supreme Court Justice Paul Newby recuse himself from hearing the case because Republicans bankrolled his re-election campaign to ensure that the High Court’s Republican majority was held in place when the case reaches its level. The NCNAACP, state Democratic Party, and other nonprofit progressive plaintiffs allege Republicans “with a direct stake” in making sure the redistricting plan – which favors Republicans – stands, spent almost $2 million to keep Newby on the bench. To allow the Republican justice to then hear that very case would threaten the integrity of the court. Supporters for Justice Newby argue that he had no control in who spent what to re-elect him, thus he shouldn’t be targeted or asked to recuse himself from any case.

            [Lawrenceville, Va.] Historically black St. Augustine’s University in Raleigh is close to a deal to purchase struggling St. Paul’s College in Virginia, published reports say. St. Aug, which officially adopted its university status last August, will manage St. Paul”s, another HBCU, beginning Jan. 1st. The Raleigh school hopes to eventually turn St. Paul’s into a satellite campus. St. Paul’s has been losing enrollment even since it lost its accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

CASH IN THE APPLE for 11-29-12
By Cash Michaels

THE WILMINGTON TEN PARDON EFFORT - As you may know, besides being editor/chief reporter for The Carolinian Newspaper in Raleigh, and a staff writer at The Wilmington Journal in Wilmington, I am also coordinator for The Wilmington Ten Pardons of Innocence Project - sponsored by the National Newspaper Publishers Association (of which The Carolinian and Wilmington Journal are member newspapers) working to have Gov. Beverly Perdue grant pardons of innocence to the Wilmington Ten before she leaves office on January 5th
The Wilmington Ten, as you know, were nine black males and one white female who, forty years ago, were falsely convicted and sentenced to 282 years in prison - some of which they all served - for crimes they did not commit in connection to racial violence in Wilmington in 1971.
History shows that the three witnesses who testified against the Ten later admitted they committed perjury. In Dec. 1980, the US Fourth Circuit of Appeals overturned the Ten’s convictions based on prosecutorial misconduct. But the state of North Carolina never followed suit.
Since then, four of the Wilmington Ten have died, never seeing the day when their names could be cleared.
We have been working hard since January of this year to change that.
Dec. 1st is our deadline for getting in all of our petition signatures for the Wilmington Ten Pardons of Innocence Project, so we're trying to get as many signatures as possible before then.
Please, go to our Change.Org petition link at, sign it, and then send out the link via your own email tree, asking everyone you contact to also sign it, and then share the link with their contacts BEFORE Dec. 1st.
The governor will be making her decision in December, and we want to have at least 1,500 online signatures for her. Currently we have over 918 as of Tuesday evening (we should have topped well over 1,000 by the time you read this on Thursday), so you see we're hustling for the goal.
We are also asking, for those individuals, churches or institutions who wish to beyond just signing the petition, to send letters to Gov. Perdue asking her to grant pardons of innocence to the Wilmington Ten by Dec. 15th.
Here is that address:
                                                            Hon. Beverly Eaves Perdue
                                                                  Governor of North Carolina
                                                            20301 Mail Service Center
                                                                 Raleigh, NC 27699-0301
            If you want more information about the Wilmington Ten Pardons of Innocence Project, you can go to or on Facebook at
Please, as we enter this holy season of Thanksgiving and Christmas, let us deliver peace and justice to those who have been forty years denied.
As a black journalist, and a proud member of the community, after forty long years, I’d like to see justice done for the Wilmington Ten.
I sincerely hope that you do too.
REV. EUGENE TEMPLETON – By the time you read this, I would have already sat down for an exclusive interview with the Rev. Eugene Templeton, the former pastor of Gregory Congregational Church in Wilmington.
Templeton was an historic figure. In 1971, he was the white pastor of what was a predominately African-American church. As a minister in the United Church of Christ, Templeton was the one who contacted church leaders in the midst of the black student boycott in New Hanover County Public Schools, asking for assistance.
That’s when a young Rev. Benjamin F. Chavis was sent to the city to help guide the young people.
The rest, as they say, is a disturbing history.
Rev. Templeton hasn’t said much publicly about what happened that resulted in police, a year later, arresting Rev. Chavis and nine others. So my interview with him, during one of his rare visits back to North Carolina in the past forty years, will be historic.
Look for the exclusive in next Thursday’s edition.
PRESIDENT WINS AGAIN; GUN SALES UP AGAIN – About three years ago when I was covering the state Republican Party Convention in Raleigh, I interviewed a black minister who was also the son of a black preacher.
This young man was so conservative, and so ignorant, he was convinced that Pres. Barack Obama was going to do a lot of evil things.
Like take away his right to bare arms.
And even though there was no evidence that either Obama, or Attorney General Eric Holder, was even thinking about taking anybody’s pop pistol or worse, this clown was certain that the “evil” and “unchristian” Obama was going to do great harm to his rights as an American.
Three years later, and what’s happened?
In fact, if anything, Pres. Obama has expanded gun rights, permitting folks to legally carry one in federal parks.
Doesn’t matter. After the president won re-election a few weeks ago, the guns and ammo began flying off the shelves again, just like they did in 2008 after Obama won the first time.
So part of the population wants to lock and load, and another part want to secede from the country entirely.
If that isn’t proof of just how deeply sick our nation is, I don’t know what is.
But I do know this…this foolishness tells me that it only takes one idiot to try to change history.
I pray it never happens.
THE DEATH OF ELMO – I’m not going to be graphic at all here, because I know children sometimes read this column (I know my youngest daughter does.) So, suffice it to say, I am more than heartbroken about what has happened to Kevin Clash, the black puppeteer who rose to worldwide fame as “Elmo” from TV’s “Sesame Street.”
As you know, Clash was forced to resign from the long-running children’s educational program because of serious allegations made against him which cast a dark shadow over his alleged past behavior with children.
Again, these are allegations. A lawsuit was filed this week by one of three accusers (the first recanted his story, the second got Clash fired). So this will all come out in court, unless some kind of settlement is reached.
It is important to note that Clash has denied all three allegations.
The bottom-line is Clash’s career in entertainment is essentially over. There are certain allegations no one puts up with. Allegations that dogged singer Michael Jackson and almost landed him in prison before he was acquitted in a court of law.
I pray for Kevin Clash and his family, for this is going to be extremely hard for them. The alleged victims certainly deserve prayer too.
But for something so ugly to touch the otherwise joyful image of one of the world’s most famous children’s characters, is just such a sad shame indeed.
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 And read more about my thoughts and opinions exclusively at my new blog, ‘The Cash Roc” ( 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.

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