[News] Mumia update

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Wed Apr 26 08:43:41 EDT 2006


Legal Update – April 2006
International Concerned Family & Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal
icffmaj at aol.com  |  215-476-8812  |  www.mumia.org


Ona Move! 2006 marks the 25th year of the 
incarceration of Black journalist, former Black 
Panther, father, and grandfather Mumia 
Abu-Jamal.  Mumia remains on death row in 
Pennsylvania for a crime he did not commit, and 
the state of Pennsylvania continues to actively 
seek his legal lynching despite international 
support and evidence of his innocence.

In December 2005, the United States Court of 
Appeals for the Third Circuit agreed to review 
two additional issues raised on federal habeas 
corpus and in a subsequent appeal.  The Court is 
now considering a total of four issues, three of 
which could lead to a new trial for Mumia and his 
ultimate release.  These three constitutional 
issues address Mumia’s right to a fair trial, due 
process of law, and equal protection of the law 
under the Fifth, Sixth, and Fourteenth Amendments 
to the United States Constitution.

In addition to their constitutional significance, 
the three issues currently before the Third 
Circuit also have another factor in common: 
bias.  These issues shed light on the 
prosecutorial and judicial misconduct which 
occurred at Mumia’s original trial in 1982 and 
during post-conviction proceedings, which were 
presided over by the original trial judge, Albert 
Sabo, who was overheard by a court stenographer 
to have said during a trial recess: “I’m going to 
help them fry the nigger.” These issues relate to 
Prosecutor McGill’s prejudicial jury summation 
that Mumia would have “appeal after appeal;” the 
unconstitutional use of peremptory challenges to 
exclude Blacks from serving on Mumia’s jury; and, 
the impact of Sabo’s racism on Mumia’s rights to 
due process during post-conviction proceedings 
where the defense offered evidence of coerced 
witnesses, questionable confessions, and faulty 
ballistics which was callously disregarded and illegally denied.

The fourth issue before the Court is whether 
Mumia will get the benefit of a “Mills challenge” 
to his death sentence: that it is 
unconstitutional for jury instructions during 
sentencing to lead jurors to believe they cannot 
vote against the death penalty unless they all 
agree on the mitigating evidence which does not support a death sentence.

April 24, 2006 also marks the tenth anniversary 
of the Anti-Terrorism & Effective Death Penalty 
Act (AEDPA), which was signed into law on Mumia’s 
birthday.  The AEDPA is significant for two 
reasons: (1) it dramatically limited federal 
habeas corpus by reducing the filing deadline for 
habeas claims and narrowing the issues which can 
be reviewed by the courts; and, (2) it amended 
Section 212(c) of the Immigration and Nationality 
Act increasing the likelihood of deportation for 
any immigrant with virtually any criminal 
conviction that constitutes a ground of 
deportation: any aggravated felony, any 
controlled substances offense, any firearm 
offense, or any two crimes involving more 
turpitude w/sentences exceeding one year.

Why is this important?  The AEDPA was touted as 
legislation that would “improve the fair and 
timely review of state court judgments by the 
federal courts” and “control illegal 
immigration,” but ten years later Congress is 
AGAIN reviewing BOTH federal habeas and 
immigration policies in an effort to further 
curtail basic human rights.  Current pending 
federal legislation (S. 1088 + H.R. 3035) is 
looking to further “streamline” federal habeas 
corpus to make it even more difficult for the 
innocent/wrongly convicted to obtain relief in 
the courts at the same time H.R. 4437 and other 
legislative proposals seek to make it even easier 
to deport more people, take away more rights from 
immigrants facing deportation, and make it harder 
for immigrants to become citizens of the United 
States -- a country started by settlers on indigenous land!

Mumia is ALL OF US, and we must continue to fight 
for peace and justice against racism, 
discrimination, war, and death!  On April 29, 
2006, there will be an honoring ceremony outside 
of the city of Paris -- whose city council voted 
Mumia an honorary citizen in 2001, shortly before 
Judge Yohn’s federal habeas decision which is now 
pending before the Third Circuit -- in the town 
of St. Denis, where they have constructed a 
thoroughfare leading into the largest arena in 
France: the Nelson Mandela Stadium.  La Rue Mumia 
Abu-Jamal will serve as a constant reminder of 
the work of the PEOPLE on behalf of the voice of 
the voiceless.  Liberte pour Mumia!  Freedom now 
for our innocent freedom fighter on death row! 
Join our call for a simple demand for justice! 
Help us bring our brother home THIS 25th year!
Ona move!


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