[Ppnews] Update and "Beating Back Batson" by Mumia Abu-Jamal

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Tue Apr 7 10:14:08 EDT 2009


From: "Sis. Marpessa" <nattyreb at gmail.com>


NOTE from Sis. Marpessa:  Here's a link to 
excerpts of Ass't DA McMahon's training 
video: 
<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rv9SJPa_dF8>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rv9SJPa_dF8

Check that short piece out (57 secs), and then 
please re-read this piece Bro. Mumia wrote last year:

Beating Back Batson
[col. writ. 9/6/08] (c) '08 Mumia Abu-Jamal

For those who read court opinions, few can ignore 
the U.S. Supreme Court's 1986 Batson v. Kentucky decision.

Essentially, it prohibited the State from 
removing Black jurors for racial reasons. It 
re-wrote the rules from the Swain v. Alabama ( 
1965) case, where the court required systematic 
discrimination over a number of cases, over a 
period of years. Needless to say, such a 
challenge was clearly beyond the resources of 
most people, and relatively few were made, and 
even fewer successful. It is hard to resist the 
suspicion that this was merely judicial lip 
service to a principle that was easily ignored, in the breach.

For, it took over a generation, over 20 years, 
for Swain to be overruled by Batson, and now, 
Batson is beginning to bear an eerie resemblance 
to its unworkable parentage, because courts have 
been loathe to grant relief, and have either 
created new rules, or simply ignored its dictates.

We see this at work recently in a number of 
cases, among them Com. v. (Robert) Cook, WL 
284060 (July 24, 2008). In this case, the DA used 
74% of his strikes to remove 14 Black jurors. 
Incredibly, the Phila. Court of Common Pleas 
initially found that even this didn't constitute 
a prima facie case of discrimination. Later, it 
found a prima facie case, but ruled that the DA 
put forth sufficient race-neutral reasons for 
exclusion, and therefore not a violation of Batson.

Recently, the PA Supreme Court agreed, even 
though the DA couldn't recall why he removed 2 
Black jurors -- or, in other words, couldn't articulate a justification.

Now remember -- Batson states that the improper 
removal of one juror violates the constitution. One -- not 14.

But here's the kicker. The DA in Mr. Cook's case 
made a video training tape, where he taught his 
fellow prosecutors how to violateBatson - and how to lie about it to judges.

But perhaps the then prosecutor, Jack McMahon, 
didn't need to work that hard, for courts would 
take up the slack. For where the DA can't 
remember a reason, the court will invent one.

This is especially egregious in this case, for 
the man who wrote the opinion was the DA when 
McMahon made the tapes, but now sits as Chief 
Justice of the court. Can you spell 'conflict of 
interest?' Did he recuse himself? (What do you think?)

For over a decade, Pennsylvania courts have 
painted McMahon as the bad guy, a kind of rogue 
prosecutor, and most of his convictions have been 
reversed (except Cook's), but McMahon wasn't, and 
never should've been, the issue. For he was 
simply describing the pattern and practice of the 
office, and training his colleagues in techniques used over years of trials.

Mr. McMahon was putting into words what DAs did 
to get convictions. Does that mean his office 
sought a fair and impartial jury? In McMahon's 
words, " Well, that's ridiculous. You're not 
trying to get that." In fact, McMahon explained, 
their jobs were to get the most "unfair" jury 
possible. And, in many cases, that meant getting 
as few Blacks to serve on the jury as possible.

Batson is as empty as Swain was, for if they 
don't want to give it up, any reason will do.

They proclaim ideals of fairness that bear no 
relationship to the real process happening daily 
in courtrooms all across America.

That would be, to quote McMahon, "ridiculous."

-- (c) '08 maj
==========================


WE'VE GOT TO KEEP MOVING FORWARD, TO BUILD THIS 
MOVEMENT LARGER THAN EVER, TALK ABOUT MUMIA'S 
CASE, CONTACT THE ICFFMAJ TO HELP DO WORK ON 
MUMIA'S BEHALF, HOST A BOOK PARTY, HELP 
FUNDRAISE, HELP WITH PHONE CALLS, DO P.E. AROUND 
MUMIA'S CASE, DON'T JUST WEAR THE T-SHIRT OR 
SPORT HIS PIX ON YOUR WEB PAGE, THERE IS A JOB 
FOR EVERYONE TO DO, ORGANIZE, ORGANIZE, ORGANIZE!! -- Sis. Marpessa

The Power of Truth is Final -- Free Mumia!

Audio of most of Mumia's essays are at: 
<http://www.prisonradio.org/>http://www.prisonradio.org

<http://mumiapodcast.libsyn.com/>http://mumiapodcast.libsyn.com/
Mumia's got a podcast! Mumia Abu-Jamal's Radio 
Essays - Subscribe at the website or on iTunes 
and get Mumia's radio commentaries online.

Mumia Abu-Jamal's new book -- JAILHOUSE LAWYERS: 
PRISONERS DEFENDING PRISONERS V. THE USA, 
featuring an introduction by Angela Y. Davis -- 
will be released soon!  It will be available from 
City Lights Books at a 30% discount weeks before 
you can get it at any other bookstore, or from 
Amazon. Sign up for an email alert and when the 
book becomes available for sale you'll receive an 
email letting you know: 
<http://www.citylights.com/book/?GCOI=87286100448090>http://www.citylights.com/book/?GCOI=87286100448090

In support of Mumia and the publication of 
JAILHOUSE LAWYERS, organizations around the 
country will be holding "More Than a Book Party" 
events on or around Mumia's birthday, April 24, 
2009. If you are planning to organize an event or 
would like to order in bulk, you can also receive 
a 45% discount on any bulk orders of 20 copies or 
more. The book retails for $16.95, for orders of 
20 copies or more the discounted price would be 
$9.32 per book, plus shipping and 
handling.  Prepayment would be required and books 
are nonreturnable.  If you or your organization 
would like to place a bulk order, please contact 
Stacey Lewis at 415.362.1901 or 
<mailto:stacey at citylights.com>stacey at citylights.com
Let's use the opportunity of the publication of 
this brilliant, moving, vintage Mumia book to 
build the momentum for his case, to raise the 
money we desperately need in these challenging 
economic times, to get the word out – to produce 
literature, flyers, posters, videos, DVD's;  to 
send organizers out to help build new chapters 
and strengthen old ones, TO GET THE PEOPLE OUT IN 
THE STREETS 
 all the work that we must do in 
order to FREE MUMIA as he faces LIFE IN PRISON WITHOUT PAROLE OR EXECUTION!

Please make a contribution to help free Mumia. 
Donations to the grassroots work will go to both 
INTERNATIONAL CONCERNED FAMILY AND FRIENDS OF 
MUMIA ABU-JAMAL and the FREE MUMIA ABU-JAMAL COALITION (NYC).

<http://www.freemumia.com/>WWW.FREEMUMIA.COM

Please mail donations/ checks to:
FREE MUMIA ABU JAMAL COALITION
PO BOX  16, NEW YORK,
NY 10030
(CHECKS FOR BOTH ORGANIZATIONS PAYABLE TO:  FMAJC/IFCO)

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
215 476-8812
212-330-8029
Send our brotha some LOVE and LIGHT at:

Mumia Abu-Jamal
AM 8335
SCI-Greene
175 Progress Drive
Waynesburg, PA 15370

WE WHO BELIEVE IN FREEDOM CAN *NOT* REST!!

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