DURHAM — A State Bar committee voted this week to issue a cease and desist letter telling a Crystal Mangum supporter to stop performing legal duties for her.
The Authorized Practice Committee of the N.C. State Bar voted Tuesday to send a letter to Sidney Harr asking him to refrain from “preparing or assisting in the preparation of court pleadings or other legal documents for others,” wrote David Johnson, deputy counsel, in an email.
“At least some of the members were quite concerned with what he had done and wanted to emphasize to him the seriousness of his acts,” Johnson wrote.
“I can live with that,” Harr said after learning about the committee’s action.
Harr has said that he didn’t realize it was inappropriate for him to assist in drafting legal documents but that he will stop. Harr, a retired physician and a co-founding member of the Committee on Justice for Mike Nifong, drafted three motions in April for Mangum. They sought to dismiss her murder charge, move the trial to another county, and remove Superior Court Judge Osmond Smith from the case. The filings, which Mangum signed, state they were filed “pro se,” or on her behalf, but composed with assistance from Harr with the full knowledge that he is not an attorney and has no related training.
Mangum, 33, has been in jail since April 2011 on a first-degree murder charge related to the death of her boyfriend Reginald Daye, 46.
She and her supporters say she stabbed Daye in self defense and that she is being persecuted because she accused three members of the Duke University lacrosse team of sexually assaulting her six years ago. Attorney General Roy Cooper dismissed the rape charges against the three players and said they were innocent.
Nifong, the Durham County district attorney, was disbarred in 2007 for ethical violations in his handling of the Duke lacrosse case.