[Ppnews] Mumia - May 17th oral arguments in Philadelphia

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Fri Mar 23 08:47:11 EDT 2007

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March 22,2007
Lepal Update

Re: Mumia Abu-Jamal v. Martin Horn, Pennsylvania Director of Corrections
U.S. Court of Appeals Nos. 0 1-90 14,02-900 1 (death penalty)

Dear Friends:

Today notification was received that oral argument in the case of my 
client, Mumia Abu-Jamal, is scheduled on
Thursday, May 17, 9:30 am, in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third 
Circuit, Ceremonial Courtroom, 1" Floor,
U.S. Courthouse, 6"' and Market Streets, Philadelphia. The NAACP 
Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., and
the National Lawyers Guild, which have filed amicus curiae (friend of 
the court) briefs, are also participating.

This case concerns Mr. Abu-Jamal's right to a fair trial, 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 complex issues under consideration, which are of great 
constitutional significance, 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
which encouraged the jury to disregard the presumption of innocence 
and reasonable doubt, and err
on the side of guilt.

Whether the prosecution's use of peremptory challenges to exclude 
African Americans from sitting
on the jury violated Mr. Abu-Jamal's rights to due process and equal 
protection of the law under
the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments, and contravened Batson v. 
Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79 (1986).
Whether the jury instructions and verdict form that resulted in the 
death penalty deprived Mr. Abu-
Jamal of rights guaranteed by the Eight 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 the 
jurors from considering any mitigating
evidence unless they all agreed on the existence of a particular circumstance.

Whether Mr. Abu-Jamal was denied due process and equal protection of 
the law under the Sixth
and Fourteenth Amendments during post-conviction hearings as the 
result of the bias and racism of
Judge Albert F. Sabo which included the comment that he was "going to 
help'em fry the nigger".
Recently the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office sent a letter to 
the court suggesting that the entire Third Circuit
should disqualify itself from deciding the case of my client. We 
filed a reply strongly objecting to this absurd request,
explaining that the position of opposing counsel was "utterly 
unfounded and should be rejected." On March
10 the court rebuked the prosecution, advising that it had failed to 
follow proper procedure and thus no action
would be taken.

Professor Judith L. Ritter, associate counsel, and I are in this case 
to win a new and fair trial for Mr. Abu-Jamal.
The goal is for our client to be free. Nevertheless, he remains in 
great danger. If all is lost, he will be executed.
Your interest in this struggle for human rights and against the death 
penalty is appreciated.
Yours very truly,

Lead counsel for Mumia Abu-Jamal

The Freedom Archives
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 863-9977
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