[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
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
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
More information about the PPnews