[Pnews] Mumia’s struggle for freedom reaches crucial stage

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Mon Jul 3 11:24:43 EDT 2017


http://sfbayview.com/2017/07/mumias-struggle-for-freedom-reaches-crucial-stage/ 



  Mumia’s struggle for freedom reaches crucial stage

*July 2, 2017**
*
------------------------------------------------------------------------

*/by Chris Kinder for the Labor Action Committee to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal/*

*Join us at Oscar Grant Plaza, 14**^th **and Broadway, Oakland, on 
Friday, July 7, at 4 p.m.*

The people won Mumia’s cure; now it’s time to free him! Join the Oakland 
march or organize a march and rally where you are.

Mumia Abu-Jamal has been kept alive while on the slow death row of life 
imprisonment without parole, thanks to all those who came out to support 
him worldwide in the fight to get him Hepatitis-C treatment!

“Now, I’m told, I’m Hep C ‘negative’! Aint’t that a gas? I wanna thank 
you and the brothers in N. Cali for helping to make it happen. Without a 
people’s movement. we would have never gotten into ct. W/out it, we 
never coulda won,” he wrote in a letter to the Labor Action Committee to 
Free Mumia Abu-Jamal.

Mumia’s Hepatitis-C infection, which came from a blood transfusion in 
the hospital after he was critically wounded from police shooting him on 
Dec. 9, 1981, is cured due to active support by thousands of supporters 
who tirelessly resisted the Pennsylvania prison system’s refusal to 
supply the needed medication. Mumia’s federal legal victory is now the 
precedent to provide Hep-C treatment to thousands of prisoners.


      Mumia Abu-Jamal has been kept alive while on the slow death row of
      life imprisonment without parole, thanks to all those who came out
      to support him worldwide in the fight to get him Hepatitis-C
      treatment!

Now, Mumia has a new legal action pending in the Pennsylvania courts, 
and the movement of Mumia’s supporters worldwide has called for actions 
on July 8 to free Mumia. Mumia’s legal action relates to a 2016 U.S. 
Supreme Court ruling in the case of Williams v. Pennsylvania which 
applies to Mumia’s case.

In Williams, the Supreme Court ruled that a prosecutor who “had 
significant personal involvement” in a “critical decision” cannot later 
sit in judgment in appeals concerning the very same case. This was found 
to be a conflict of interest that violates the due process right to an 
impartial appeal.

In the Williams case, the former DA, then judge, was one Ronald 
Castille. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Williams now has the right to 
re-litigate all of his legal arguments that were previously rejected.


      Now, Mumia has a new legal action pending in the Pennsylvania
      courts, and the movement of Mumia’s supporters worldwide has
      called for actions on July 8 to free Mumia.

In Mumia’s case, the very same Ronald Castille was the Philadelphia 
district attorney who argued to uphold Mumia’s frame-up conviction and 
death sentence in 1989 and then, as a Pennsylvania Supreme Court 
justice, denied all Mumia’s post-conviction appeals from 1998-2008.

Last August Mumia filed a post-conviction appeal based on the Williams 
decision. A legal victory in Mumia’s action will reinstate his appeal 
rights to assert his innocence and the wholesale denial of his due 
process trial rights.

On April 28, 2017, Mumia Abu-Jamal won in court against the prosecution 
motion to dismiss Mumia’s new appeal. The judge also ordered the 
District Attorney’s Office to disclose all files and information that 
would support Mumia’s claims that his state appeal process was corrupted 
because Philadelphia District Attorney Ronald Castille was involved in 
prosecuting Mumia’s appeals.

Not surprisingly, the DA’s office did not comply. Only public documents 
from Mumia’s case which have Castille’s name listed as district attorney 
were released. Mumia’s lawyers have demanded “full compliance” with the 
judge’s order. We demand the DA open and release all the prosecution’s 
files on Mumia’s case!

This is a cover-up of the prosecutorial, police and judicial frame-up of 
Mumia. It is inconceivable that Castille as district attorney did not 
make “critical decisions” on Mumia’s appeal given that he was elected to 
that office as a “law-and-order” and pro-death penalty candidate. When 
he ran for Supreme Court justice, he openly bragged that he put 45 men 
on death row. Castille also stated publicly that he was personally 
responsible for all filings made in the U.S. Supreme Court.


      We demand the DA open and release all the prosecution’s files on
      Mumia’s case! This is a cover-up of the prosecutorial, police and
      judicial frame-up of Mumia.

Mumia’s appeals included direct challenges to the practice of racial 
discrimination in jury selection, as well as the prosecution’s arguments 
that told juries they could ignore the responsibility for sentencing 
someone to death, since a defendant had “appeal after appeal.” Mumia 
also challenged the prosecution using his teenaged membership in the 
Black Panther Party to argue that Mumia had a life-long intent to kill a 
police officer. These issues were not only fought in the Pennsylvania 
Supreme Court but brought to the U.S. Supreme Court by Mumia in 1991 
while Castille was the district attorney.

While he was the DA, Castille was faced with responding to the1986 
Batson decision, a U.S. Supreme Court ruling which banned racial 
discrimination in jury selection. Removing Black people from juries in 
criminal cases because of their race had long been a rampant practice in 
Philly, as in most if not all cities in the U.S. Castille looked for a 
way to get around Batson and continue their racist tactics.

The result was a secret videotape used to train prosecutors (the 
so-called “McMahon” videotape), which specifically instructed 
prosecutors on how to disguise their discriminatory tactics and still 
keep Black people off their juries. Castille’s name and title as 
Philadelphia district attorney was prominently featured at the beginning 
of the videotape as produced by DATV, the production company of the DA’s 
office.

In the training tape, Assistant D.A. McMahon instructs prosecutors that 
they need to keep Black people off their juries because they are less 
likely to convict and teaches them numerous ways to conceal the 
discriminatory purpose of their tactics. This training videotape did not 
become public until 1997, 11 years later.


      The result was a secret videotape used to train prosecutors (the
      so-called “McMahon” videotape), which specifically instructed
      prosecutors on how to disguise their discriminatory tactics and
      still keep Black people off their juries.

The relevance of the “McMahon” videotape to Castille’s involvement in 
Mumia’s case is that during Mumia’s direct appeal to the Pennsylvania 
Supreme Court, the DA’s Office argued that Mumia could not prove that 
they had a discriminatory motive when they removed Blacks from his jury. 
But when they made this argument, the DA’s office failed to disclose to 
the court the existence of the “McMahon” videotape, which would have 
proved the discriminatory motive that they denied.

And the “critical decision” to lie (by omission) to the court and 
suppress the existence of the tape had to have been made by Castille as 
the district attorney who oversaw the appeal process, including to the 
U.S. Supreme Court.

As a Pennsylvania Supreme Court Judge, Castille sat in judgment over all 
the appeals of Mumia’s case since 1998, including the issues of his 
direct appeal – jury selection (Batson), jury integrity (appeal after 
appeal), membership in the Black Panther Party, as well as the new 
evidence of coercion of witnesses, of falsified ballistics, the 
confession of Arnold Beverly, who confessed to being the actual killer, 
and the racial bias of the trial and post-conviction hearing judge 
Albert Sabo, who stated, “I’m gonna help them fry the n—-r.”

In 1996 and again in 2002, Mumia’s lawyers demanded that Castille recuse 
himself from hearing the case on account of his earlier role as 
prosecutor over the same case. In each instance, Castille refused to 
recuse himself, stating he had no knowledge of Mumia’s case. Castille 
denied any knowledge of the “McMahon videotape.”

Yet Castille’s alleged “non-involvement” is what the current 
Philadelphia DA now wants us to believe, as their office has refused the 
full “discovery” of evidence of Castille’s collusion (in framing Mumia), 
which was ordered by the Philadelphia court earlier this year! This is 
why we call for action now.

We need to free Mumia now and demand full disclosure of documents in his 
case! The Williams decision could lead to the throwing out of all the 
negative decisions on Mumia’s appeals by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, 
which, in turn, could lead to throwing out his original false 
conviction! But all of Mumia’s scant victories in court, such as the 
reversal of his original death sentence, have depended on the mass 
mobilization of his supporters worldwide.


      We need to free Mumia now and demand full disclosure of documents
      in his case!

Mumia Abu-Jamal is a journalist, a former Black Panther, a MOVE 
supporter and an innocent political prisoner. His freedom from false 
murder charges is long overdue, after 36 years in prison for a crime he 
did not commit. Winning Mumia’s freedom would be a victory against this 
injustice system and pave the way for others, as did his victory to get 
Hep-C treatment, which helps Pennsylvania prisoners as well as other 
thousands nationwide.

Former political prisoners such as Panther Albert Woodfox, 
whistle-blower Chelsea Manning and Puerto Rican nationalist activist 
Oscar Lopez Rivera have recently achieved freedom with the help and 
support of masses of supporters. Now, let us move on.

In 1995 we mobilized in the thousands against the death warrant issued 
by the Pennsylvania governor; and in 1999 longshore workers on the 
entire West Coast of the U.S. shut down all ports to free Mumia. Also in 
1999, Oakland teachers held unauthorized teach-ins in Oakland schools on 
Mumia and the death penalty.


      Winning Mumia’s freedom would be a victory against this injustice
      system and pave the way for others, as did his victory to get
      Hep-C treatment, which helps Pennsylvania prisoners as well as
      other thousands nationwide.

Join us at Oscar Grant Plaza, 14^th and Broadway, Oakland, on Friday, 
July 7, at 4 p.m. We will march to the Alameda County Courthouse with 
flyers to distribute on Mumia’s case.

Solidarity with Mumia and all his worldwide supporters! Free Mumia Now!

/The Labor Action Committee to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal can be reached via 
Chris Kinder at //cskinder44 at gmail.com/ <mailto:cskinder44 at gmail.com>/. /

-- 
Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 
863.9977 www.freedomarchives.org
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