Black Panther Mumia Abu-Jamal Granted Right Of Appeal + Court Decision Likely Win for Mumia

Black Panther Mumia Abu-Jamal Granted Right Of Appeal + Court Decision Likely Win for Mumia

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Updated: Jan. 19, 2019

TheRealNews on Jan 8, 2019

The world’s most renowned death-row inmate Mumia Abu-Jamal has been granted the right of appeal after 30 years. Eddie Conway, former Black Panther wrongfully convicted and imprisoned for 44 years himself, now released, discusses Mumia’s case with Scholar Anthony Monteiro.

Transcript

Court Decision Likely Win for Mumia, Says his Former Lawyer

TheRealNews on Jan 15, 2019

Mumia’s former lawyer Rachel Wolkenstein gives clarity to new events in Mumia Abu-Jamal’s case, whereby Mumia has been granted appeal rights. Mumia’s lawyers argued that Supreme Court Justice Ronald Castille should not have presided over Abu-Jamal’s appeals because of a conflict of interest. Castille was formerly Philadelphia’s district attorney whose office fought to keep the activist behind bars.

Transcript

Mumia Abu-Jamal’s Road to Freedom w Rachel Wolkenstein

Redacted Tonight on Jan 10, 2019

Thousands of petitions for Mumia Abu-Jamal delivered to Philly DA

by Joe Piette
Workers World, January 13, 2019
January 16, 2019

A community delegation delivered thousands of petitions to Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner on Jan. 7, asking him to not stand in the way of justice for Mumia Abu-Jamal and to not appeal a Dec. 27, 2018, court decision by Common Pleas Judge Leon Tucker.

Wayne Alexander Cook, a nephew of Mumia Abu-Jamal, handed the 4,227 signed petitions to Krasner’s assistant as the delegation entered the lobby outside the DA’s office.

The thick manila envelope also contained letters from Tadashi Seto, the International Labor Solidarity Committeeof Doro-Chiba, the Japanese rail workers’ union; Edwin R Ferris, International Secretary-Treasurer of International Longshore & Warehouse Union; and other labor statements in support of Abu-Jamal’s quest for freedom after 37 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit.

Krasner refused to talk with the group that also included Michael Africa Jr., son of MOVE 9 members Debbie and Michael Africa Sr., released from prison in 2018; Sandy Joy, a Rowan University professor; and other members of the umbrella support group Mobilization4Mumia. The DA’s Director of Communications Ben Waxman did meet with the group, but revealed no new information when asked whether or not Krasner will appeal. “That’s above my paygrade,” he said.

The online petitions were gathered in 10 days from thousands of people in the U.S. and from around the world by Roots Action and Mobilization4Mumia.

The petitions are part of an effort to persuade Philadelphia DA Krasner to not appeal Tucker’s ruling.  Such an appeal would lead to years of court proceedings and further postpone Abu-Jamal’s chance to prove his innocence. Abu-Jamal has spent almost four decades in prison and suffers from serious liver disease and related ailments. Years of court delays will be nothing less than a death sentence for him, as well as denial of justice.

On Jan. 5, almost 200 people marched in the rain with signs and banners in front of the DA’s office chanting, “Justice!”  “Krasner: Don’t Appeal!” and “Free Mumia!”

Mumia Abu-Jamal won the significant victory in Judge Leon Tucker’s decision granting Abu-Jamal new rights to re-open appeals. The ruling could impact other prisoners whose appeals have been similarly denied by biased judges.

Tucker ruled that former PA Supreme Court Justice Ronald Castille denied Abu-Jamal fair and impartial hearings by not recusing himself from the defendant’s appeals between 1998 and 2012.  The ruling referenced Castille’s public statements of being a “law and order” prosecutor, responsible for 45 men on death row; his siding with the Fraternal Order of Police; and new evidence supporting the claim that Castille singled out men convicted as “police killers.” Tucker cited all the above because they created the appearance of bias and impropriety in the appeal process.

Krasner ran for Philadelphia District Attorney on a platform that included standing “for justice, not just for convictions.”  He promoted reviewing past convictions and freeing the wrongfully convicted. In Philadelphia, Abu-Jamal’s frame-up stands out as the city’s most notorious wrongful conviction. Yet, after his election victory, Krasner appointed Ron Castille to his transition team.

Abu-Jamal has always maintained his innocence in the fatal shooting of police officer Daniel Faulkner. Judge Tucker’s ruling means that Abu-Jamal’s appeals of his 1982 conviction are restored. Abu-Jamal has argued through his past appeals that he was framed by police and that the prosecution manufactured evidence of guilt and suppressed proof of his innocence, in addition to other violations of his due process rights.

Long-time International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal organizer Pam Africa said, “After decades in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, the charges should be dismissed and he should be freed.”

District Attorney Krasner has until Jan. 27 to decide whether to appeal or to let Mumia have a chance to prove his innocence. For actions to take now for Mumia, go to mobilization4mumia.com/actions/.


Articles copyright 1995-2019 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.

Philly DA reveals hidden Mumia files after court ruling

by Betsey Piette
Workers World, January 14, 2019
January 16, 2019

If Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner can be believed, on Dec. 28 while he and his staff were reportedly searching for an office desk in a remote, nearly inaccessible, locked storeroom, they “found” six banker boxes containingfiles related to political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal’s case.

The newly discovered boxes, supposedly stored under the desk, reportedly had “McCann” written on the visible side. Until 2015, Edward McCann served 26 years in the DA’s office, the last four as First Assistant District Attorney. Krasner and his assistants say when they pulled the boxes out, they found “Mumia” and “Mumia Abu-Jamal” on the hidden side.

This discovery allegedly took place one day after Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge Leon Tucker’s historic Dec. 27 ruling that Abu-Jamal, imprisoned for over 37 years, had the right to new hearings on appeals previously denied by former PA Supreme Court Justice Ron Castille. In the ruling, Tucker cited evidence of Castille’s judicial bias.

Tucker also raised that prosecutors representing the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania failed to produce documents they were obligated to preserve while Abu-Jamal’s appeals were active. He noted that unavailability of the documents could be prejudicial to Abu-Jamal.

In a Jan. 3 letter to Tucker and Abu-Jamal’s attorneys Judith Ritter and Samuel Spital, Assistant DA Tracey Kavanagh wrote: “This [discovery of the boxes] means that the Commonwealth’s prior representations that it had produced the complete file for this Court’s review in this case were incorrect.”

Krasner’s office announced that the files are being reviewed, and will be turned over to Tucker. The office has volunteered to allow inspection by Abu-Jamal’s attorneys. The find was not made public until Jan. 9.

Potential grounds for new trial

Responding to an earlier order from Tucker in September 2017, prior to Krasner taking office, the district attorney’s office had delivered 32 boxes of acknowledged case-related files, sequentially labeled “1 of 32, 2 of 32, 3 of 32,” etc.

The newly reported boxes were labeled “18 of 29, 21 of 29, 23 of 29, 24 of 29, and 29 of 29,” with one box unlabeled. In his Jan. 3 letter Assistant DA Kavanagh wrote: “Nothing in the Commonwealth’s database showed the existence of these six additional boxes.” Kavanagh did not account for the other 24 boxes in the marked sequence.

That boxes of files on Abu-Jamal’s case were never accounted for in the DA’s database, and were then buried in a remote storage area under office furniture, is no surprise to Mumia’s supporters who feel there are ample grounds for his case to be blown wide open.

The timing of the “discovery” — one day after Tucker’s favorable ruling — raises a serious question: Would the files have seen the light of day if Tucker had ruled for the Commonwealth and denied Abu-Jamal’s appeal?

If these boxes contain any evidence that prosecutors improperly withheld from Mumia’s defense in his first hearing — significant enough that the jury might have found a verdict of “not guilty” — that could be grounds for a retrial. Even less significant evidence could create an opening for a new Post Conviction Relief Act hearing before the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas.

Krasner’s office has sole authority to appeal Tucker’s Dec. 27 ruling and must respond by Jan. 26. In recent court hearings in the case, Abu-Jamal supporters voiced concerns that Krasner, despite his background as a progressive attorney, appeared to be bending to pressure from the Fraternal Order of Police — who were given preferential seating in Tucker’s courtroom.

Between Jan. 3 and Jan. 7, supporters of Abu-Jamal inundated Krasner’s office with thousands of petitions, phone calls, emails, letters — and a twitter storm. This support came from U.S. and international individuals and organizations, including prominent labor unions. All urged Krasner to allow Abu-Jamal’s appeals. One can only hope the concerted public pressure moved the DA to acknowledge the missing files.

Strong evidence of police and judicial misconduct

Whether or not these files contain “new evidence” about Castille’s involvement relating to the basis for Abu-Jamal’s 2017 appeal, the very existence of hidden files mirrors decades of police and prosecutorial misconduct in denying justice to Abu-Jamal.

After spending nearly 29 years in isolation on death row, since 2011 the 64-year-old political prisoner has been serving a life-without-parole sentence at Pennsylvania SCI Mahanoy. As a result of years of untreated hepatitis C, he suffers from unresolved skin rashes and cirrhosis of the liver, a potential precursor to liver cancer.

Convicted in 1982 for the death of a Philadelphia police officer, Abu-Jamal’s case stands as one of the most controversial in the history of Philadelphia, which is known for widespread corruption in both the police department and district attorney’s office.

Fifteen of the 35 police officers involved in collecting evidence in Abu-Jamal’s case in 1981 later went to jail for evidence tampering. Several witnesses in his case reported being pressured by police to change their testimony. Krasner’s predecessor Seth Williams, who delayed Abu-Jamal’s release from death row from 2001 until 2011, is currently in prison for five years for bribetaking.

Mumia Abu-Jamal, the highly political, nationally honored Black journalist, was targeted by the state for his support of the MOVE organization; his public opposition to racist, neo-fascist former Philadelphia Mayor and one-time police commissioner Frank Rizzo; and his earlier membership in the Black Panther Party.


Articles copyright 1995-2019 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.

***

Updated: Jan. 19, 2019

Mumia’s Lawyer Discusses the Fact that New Boxes of Evidence Were Found

TheRealNews on Jan 18, 2019

Rachel Wolkenstein, former co-counsel for Mumia Abu-Jamal, discusses what the discovery of six new boxes of evidence means for Mumia’s case. Wolkenstein believes the boxes contain incriminating evidence against the police in his case.

Transcript

From the archives:

Murder Incorporated by David Swanson + To Hell With Manifest Destiny

Chris Hedges and Mumia Abu-Jamal: 32nd Anniversary of MOVE Bombing

Imagine: Living in a Socialist USA

Abby Martin and Cornel West: Capitalism Cannot Exist Without Racism

Larry Hamm: The Long Distance Revolutionary, interviewed by Chris Hedges

Michael Parenti on The State of Human Rights in the U.S.A. (clip from Long Distance Revolutionary)

Mumia Abu-Jamal: The Meeting of the Nerds: Cornel West, James Cone and Chris Hedges

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