Mangum gets new attorney

Mar. 28, 2013 @ 05:45 PM

Crystal Mangum got her wish that attorney Scott Holmes be appointed to defend her against the charge that she murdered her boyfriend, Reginald Daye.

Holmes issued a press release Thursday saying he had been appointed to represent her.

Mangum, who has changed attorneys several times as well as represented herself since she was charged with killing Daye in April 2011, appealed to Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson last week to appoint the public defender’s office to represent her. She specifically wanted Holmes.

Hudson said he couldn’t guarantee that the public defender’s office would appoint Holmes, who is not a public defender, but granted her motion for a public defender appointed.

Because she is charged with murder, the appointment went through the Capital Defender’s Office, which then appointed Holmes.

Sidney Harr, a retired California doctor living in Raleigh, and others, including Victoria Peterson, have taken every opportunity to speak to the media about Mangum’s case.

Holmes apparently doesn’t plan on doing that.

“There will be no interviews, appearances or information provided to the media by the Defense team during this case,” Holmes said in the release.

He emphasized in bold underlined words that no one else should speak for Mangum.

“Anyone who makes statements about this case during the pendency of this matter is not with the Defense team and is not assisting Ms. Mangum,” he wrote.

Holmes, a former public defender and an experienced criminal attorney, has made appearances in more than 30 first-degree murder cases, according to his firm’s website. He has also handled more than 30 appeals before North Carolina appellate courts.

When Mangum was being held in the Durham County Detention Center pending trial, she pushed for an early trial date, and her trial was set for July, but since she has posted bond and is out of custody and Holmes has just started working on her case, they may try to push that date back.

In addition to the murder charge, Mangum faces a larceny charge for allegedly stealing two money orders for rent from Daye. If convicted of both the murder and the larceny charge, Mangum could be sentenced to life in prison.

Meanwhile, the N.C. Bar filed a lawsuit on Feb. 18 against Harr in Wake County for practicing law without a license. The court enjoined him from any conduct such as preparing legal documents for others, said David Johnson of the N.C. Bar.

During the hearing, Superior Court Judge Carl Fox tried to “explain things,” to Harr, Johnson said.

If Harr violates the court order, he could be held in contempt of court, Johnson said.