Mangum wants still another attorney

Mar. 21, 2013 @ 06:12 PM

Crystal Mangum was once again in Durham County Superior Court Thursday to talk to the judge about a lawyer.

This time she apparently wanted to fire herself as her lawyer.

Mangum, who is charged with first-degree murder for killing her boyfriend, Reginald Daye, asked the judge to appoint the public defender’s office to represent her, but only if the public defender’s office selects attorney Scott Holmes to be her lawyer.

Otherwise, she said, she’ll go back to representing herself with attorney Woody Vann as her backup counsel.

Mangum, who falsely accused Duke lacrosse players of raping her at a party where they hired her as a stripper, has often been in court talking to judges about attorneys and the need for her to move forward with the case as quickly as possible.

But now that Mangum is out on bond, she may not be as eager to move toward trial as she was while she was in the Durham County Detention Center. The prosecutors office has scheduled her trial for July.

When she was first charged with killing Daye after he died April 13, 2011, Vann was appointed to represent her. She then said she wanted attorney Chris Shella to be her attorney.

While Shella was representing her, Sidney Harr, a retired doctor and a member of the Committee for Justice of Mike Nifong, filed motions for Mangum with the Durham County Clerk’s office.

Shella withdrew in June 2012, saying that Mangum had shared confidential discovery information with others. Vann was then reappointed to represent Mangum.

Harr was chastised by the N.C. Bar for practicing law without a license, and Shella has since been arrested for solicitation of prostitution in Wake Forest.

Then Mangum received permission to act as her own attorney, and the court assigned Vann to be her standby counsel, meaning he could provide assistance to her if needed.

In November, Mangum told a judge that she had a new attorney, whom she identified as “Paris,” but “Paris” did not attend the hearing.

Later that day an attorney named Paris Ramadan said she had spoken to Mangum about the possibility of representing her, but that she had not been hired to represent her.

Ever since Mangum was charged, members of the Committee for Justice for Mike Nifong have written leaders to judges and prosecutors claiming there was a conspiracy against Mangum among the prosecutor, Shella, the media and the medical examiner who performed Daye’s autopsy.

They claimed Mangum was being held in jail unfairly and asked that her trial be scheduled more quickly. The prosecutor’s office set her trial date for July.

Mangum, through her attorneys and acting as her own attorney, asked several times that her bond be reduced from $200,000 to $50,000, but those motions were denied.

Then in February, someone posted Mangum’s $200,000 bond through a bondsman, and Mangum was released.

During the hearing Thursday morning, Mangum said she now wanted Holmes to be her attorney and wanted the state to pay him.

Holmes is an experienced attorney who has represented several people charged with murder and is on the Capital Defender’s Office list of attorneys who can be appointed for first-degree murder cases.

He is not, however, on the Durham County’s list of court appointed attorneys for non-capital murder trials, and the state is not seeking the death penalty against Mangum.

Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson suggested that if Mangum wants Holmes as her attorney, she can hire him.

Mangum said that if Holmes is not appointed to be her attorney, she’ll continue to represent herself with Vann as standby counsel.

Assistant District Attorney Charlene Coggins-Franks opposed Mangum’s motion saying she’s already had two courtappointed attorneys and previous judges had questioned her carefully about whether she wanted to represent herself and she said she did.

Hudson agreed to allow Mangum’s motion for a court-appointed attorney and said it would be up to the public defender’s office to appoint which attorney would represent Mangum.

Mangum, dressed in a colorful spring dress, left the courtroom, and declined to speak to the media after the hearing.