[Ppnews] Mumia Abu-Jamal - Legal Update
Political Prisoner News
ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Mon Sep 4 08:30:38 EDT 2006
From: <mailto:RobertRBryan at aol.com>RobertRBryan at aol.com
Date: September 3, 2006 2:08:56 PM PDT
To: m(<mailto:JackHeyman at comcast.net>JackHeyman at comcast.net)
Subject: Mumia Abu-Jamal - Legal Update [Please Circulate]
On October 4, 2006, our Reply Brief in response to the briefs
submitted by the district attorney will be filed on behalf of Mumia
Abu-Jamal in the United States Court of Appeals for the Third
Circuit, Philadelphia. This is pursuant to a September 1 court order.
We continue to aggressively pursue relief for Mr. Abu-Jamal. On July
20, Professor Judith L. Ritter, associate counsel, and I filed a
lengthy opening brief supported by voluminous exhibits. A week later
NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., through Christine
Swarns filed an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief. A
separate amicus curiae brief was filed for the National Lawyers Guild
by Jill Soffiyah Elijah of the Harvard Law School, Professor Zachary
Wolfe of George Washington University Law School, and Heidi
Boghosian, its Executive Director. They were joined by the National
Conference of Black Lawyers, International Association of Democratic
Lawyers, Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice of
Harvard Law School, Southern Center for Human Rights, and the
National Jury Project. These amicus briefs greatly strengthen our
quest to protect the constitutional rights of Mr. Abu-Jamal and
secure a reversal.
This case concerns my client's right to a fair trial, and the
struggle against the death penalty and the political repression of an
outspoken journalist. Racism and politics are threads that have run
through this case since his 1981 arrest. The issues under
consideration by the court are complex and of great significance
under the United States Constitution, include:
* Whether Mr. Abu-Jamal was denied the right to due process of
law and a fair trial under the Fifth, Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments
because of the prosecutor's "appeal after appeal" argument that
called upon the jurors to disregard the right to the presumption of
innocence and reasonable doubt, and err on the side of guilt.
* Whether the prosecutor's use of peremptory challenges to
exclude African Americans from sitting on the jury violated Mr.
Abu-Jamal's right to due process and equal protection of the law
under the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments and contravened the
prohibition against racism in jury selection held in Batson v.
Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79 (1986).
* Whether the verdict form and jury instructions that resulted in
the death penalty deprived Mr. Abu-Jamal of rights guaranteed by the
Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments to due process of law, equal
protection of the law, and not to be subjected to cruel and unusual
punishment, and violated Mills v. Maryland, 486 U.S. 367 (1988),
since the judge precluded jurors from considering any mitigating
evidence unless they all agreed on the existence of a particular
* Whether Mr. Abu-Jamal was denied due process and equal
protection of the law under the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments
during post-conviction proceedings as a result of the bias of Judge
Albert F. Sabo which included the statement that he was going to
"help'em fry the nigger".
The case continues to move rapidly. Once the briefing phase is
complete, we will present oral argument before a three-judge panel in
the U.S. Court of Appeals. I will notify you when a date is eventually set.
Our purpose is to win this life-and-death struggle, gain a new and
fair trial, and see our client walk out of jail a free
person. However, Mr. Abu-Jamal remains in great danger. If the case
is lost, he will be executed.
Thank you for your concern and support in this campaign for justice.
With best wishes,
Robert R. Bryan
Law Offices of Robert R. Bryan
2088 Union Street, Suite 4
San Francisco, California 94123
Lead counsel for Mumia Abu-Jamal
The Freedom Archives
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
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