[Ppnews] Fred Muhammad Burton - support one of Philly's Political Prisoners

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Mon Jul 2 12:24:08 EDT 2007

Fred Muhammad Burton PCRA Court Hearing
July 10th  9AM
Superior Court of PA
530 Walnut St  17th Floor
Philadelphia, Pa

Show your support for one of Philly's Political Prisoners by 
attending Muhammad's court hearings!

Frederick Burton is an innocent man who has diligently attempted to 
prove his innocence to the courts for the past 37 years. Prior to his 
incarceration, Fred worked for a phone company, was a well respected 
member of his community and his wife was preparing to have twins, his 
third and fourth child. In 1970, Fred was accused and then convicted 
of participating in the planning of the murder of Philadelphia police 
officers. While the plan was allegedly to blow up a police station, 
what occurred was that a police officer was shot and killed allegedly 
by members of a radical group called "the Revolutionaries."

Only one witness, Marie Williams, who was the wife of co-defendant 
and primary actor, Hugh Williams, testified as to the relationship 
between, Fred and "the Revolutionaries." Fred was not accused of 
being at the scene of the crime. At Fred's trial, Marie Williams was 
compelled by order of the court to testify. Ms. Williams inculpated 
Fred by testifying that on one occasion, she had heard someone in her 
basement, a floor below her, say, "Let's off some pigs." She did not 
accuse Fred of making those statements. She only testified to Fred's 
presence at that meeting. Ms. Williams also testified that beside the 
one meeting, she had no knowledge of the content of the meetings. The 
Commonwealth intentionally struck every African-American from the 
active jury. The all white jury unanimously convicted Fred after 
being purposefully misled by the Commonwealth and Marie Williams.

The testimony of the Commonwealth's star witness, Marie Williams, was 
marred by contradiction. Marie Williams initially claimed Fifth 
Amendment at the first two of three preliminary hearings and refused 
to testify. At Fred's third preliminary hearing, Marie Williams 
completely exonerated Fred. she testified that she had no knowledge 
of "the Revolutionaries" or of Fred's involvement with that group. 
After the third preliminary, the case was held for trial. Marie 
Williams was then subjected to a closed immunity hearing and 
compelled to testify at trial.

While searching through records that his family had obtained, Fred 
came across several items of exculpatory evidence: 1) the transcript 
of Marie Williams' previously undisclosed immunity hearing, 2) the 
two alleged original statements by Marie Williams given to the police 
after the murder, and 3) a pretrial letter authored and signed by 
Marie Williams to the prosecutor. This letter was submitted as 
evidence in the immunity hearing. It stated that the prosecutor and 
the police were intimidating Marie Williams and forcing her to lie in 
court. Most importantly, the same letter stated Marie Williams has no 
knowledge that Fred Burton participated in any meetings or crimes.

In September 2003, Fred brought a pro se Post Conviction Petition to 
vindicate his rights based on the newly discovered documents along 
with essential documents from the record that prove the occurrence of 
a fraud on the court, a gross miscarriage of justice and his 
innocence. The petition was delayed because the Commonwealth refused 
to disclose the third preliminary hearing transcript, of which the 
Commonwealth possessed the sole copy, both before and after the trial.

The present PCRA trail court has refused to address any substantive 
claims of Fred Burton. The court found without a hearing that Fred 
"neither plead let alone proved any exception to the 42 PA C.S. 9545 
time bar." The court held that it had no jurisdiction pursuant to the 
42 PA C.S. 9545 time bar.

In early 2007, Fred's lawyer filed a new PCRA brief to the Court of 
Appeals and recently the court ruled that it will schedule a hearing 
for oral arguments on July 10th.

contact: Ethel Burton  215-869-4410

Freedom Archives
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110

415 863-9977

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