[Pnews] Mumia Update - New Legal Action is a Path to Mumia Abu-Jamal’s Freedom

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Thu Mar 1 13:35:25 EST 2018

/A //l//egal report follows/

This past Monday, February 27th, there was a "status report" in the 
Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas before Judge Leon Tucker which about 
30 or more of us attended.  District Attorney Krasner's Office again 
requested a 90 day postponement for the hearing in which he will offer 
some decision as to how he plans to proceed.  Judge Tucker granted 60 
days and again set a date for a "status report". *The "status report" 
will take place on Tuesday, March 27th, and the hearing on Monday, April 
30th. Once again, the hearing is the critical date.
Politically, we need to immediately adjust to the new dates.  
Fortunately, though the important hearing date is different, now April 
30th, we had been mobilizing people for local actions between March 24th 
and March 27th, and that will continue:
*We are calling on people across the US and around the world to organize 
local actions leading up to March 27th and, again, we are urging as many 
people as can possibly do so to come to Philadelphia on April 30th.*

Equally important, we beg you to please keep us posted about any 
activities you are planning in this period. Please do not feel it has to 
be a million person demonstration to be worth reporting.  A film 
showing, a book party, a letter writing event .... each is a 
contribution.  Please post your activity on freemumia.com 
<http://freemumia.com>. NYC *is planning a demonstration, as  you'll see 
on the website on March 25th, starting at the US Mission to the UN.*
Please contact us at Info Mumia <infomumia at gmail.com>  if you have any 
questions or suggestions.

*I*n the struggle to free Mumia and all our political prisoners, and for 
justice and peace.
Suzanne Ross, for the March/April Offensive to Free Mumia (the Internet 
Collective:  Johnnie Stevens, Joe Piette, Alex, Alex Majumder, John 

  New Legal Action is a Path to Mumia Abu-Jamal’s Freedom, But a
  Re-ignited International Mobilization is Critical for Victory

by Rachel Wolkenstein - February 28, 2018

For over three decades thousands of organizations and hundreds of 
thousands of individuals around the globe have mobilized to save Mumia 
Abu-Jamal from execution, to overturn his conviction, to demand his 
freedom. Without these international mobilizations, crucially including 
the organized labor movement, we would not have saved Mumia from two 
warrants of execution and compelled the state to concede defeat in 
trying to execute him. Mumia is now off death row and out of solitary 
confinement in prison general population.

Mumia remains on “slow death row,” life imprisonment without parole. 
During the past two years an international campaign of call-ins, 
protests at the prison and at the Pa. Department of Corrections (DOC), 
and letters including labor resolutions won medical treatment for his 
hepatitis-C. Medical malfeasance has left Mumia with cirrhosis of the 
liver and the secondary symptoms of his decades-long hepatitis-C, 
including a painful skin condition. Quality medical care in prison is an 

Now, unfolding in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas is the latest 
legal battle for Mumia’s freedom. It is a constitutional challenge to 
his conviction, pursuant to a precedent-setting U.S. Supreme Court case, 
/Williams v. Pennsylvania/ (2016), based on the due process right to an 
impartial appeal process which is violated if a prosecutor who had a 
significant personal involvement is later a judge in the same case.

The prosecutor who aggressively fought and prevailed in getting the 
Pennsylvania Supreme Court to uphold Mumia’s conviction and death 
sentence in 1989 and to prevent the U.S. Supreme Court from considering 
Mumia’s case was District Attorney Ronald D. Castille. Then as a justice 
in the Pa. Supreme Court, Castille participated in the Pa. Supreme 
Court’s deliberations, agreed with the arguments he had made as District 
Attorney (DA), and denied those and numerous new legal challenges made 
in Mumia’s appeals from 1998-2012.

If Mumia wins this court action the Pennsylvania state court appeal 
denials from 1998-2012 upholding his conviction are vacated and appeal 
rights restored; his conviction is open to be reversed in new appeals. 
This is now the legal path to Mumia’s freedom.

All last year the District Attorney’s Office (DAO) insisted documents 
evidencing DA Castille’s personal involvement in Mumia Abu-Jamal’s 
appeal process and death sentence did not exist.

Since January 2, 2018 Mumia’s case and fourteen other similar cases have 
been in the hands of District Attorney Larry Krasner, newly elected on a 
“progressive program.”  Notably, retired Justice Castille was appointed 
to DA Krasner’s post-election advisory board. In court on January 17 and 
again on February 26 Krasner’s DAO continued the stonewalling. The DAO 
requested time for “further investigation” and “to “formulate an office 
policy for their approach to these cases.”

At the conclusion of the court hearing on February 26, 2018 Judge Leon 
Tucker once again ordered the DAO to produce a critical document and 
curtailed the requested time for the next court proceedings. Another 
status report conference is set for March 27, 2017. A full court hearing 
will be April 30, 2018.

In fact, Judge Tucker already has in his hands—released from the DAO 
files—the evidence that District Attorney Castille was pushing to ensure 
that capital cases, including Mumia Abu-Jamal’s, were expedited and that 
death warrants signed by the governor.  This is the proof required under 
/Williams v. Pa/.

April 30, 2018 is set to be decisive point in Mumia’s legal fight for 
his freedom.

An international campaign is being re-ignited to free Mumia. To win this 
legal action and the victory of Mumia’s freedom the activity of the 
recent months must grow and deepen, making it clear that we will not 
rest until Mumia walks out of prison a free man.

The San Francisco Labor Council (SFLC), comprised of 150 unions, with 
more than 100,000 union members and family, unanimously adopted a 
“Resolution to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal” 
on February 12, 2018.  It is powerful support, stating that Mumia’s new 
legal action “is an opening toward Mumia’s freedom that again requires a 
massive campaign of workers’ organizations worldwide.”

The SFLC follows International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) 
Local 10 
and the actions of Doro-Chiba (Japanese Railway Workers Union); the 
International Dockworkers Council, an association of 100,000 dockworkers 
over the world; the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa, the 
largest trade union in South Africa; the Maritime Union of Australia 
(Queensland), UNITE, the largest union in Great Britain with 1.4 million 
members; Oakland Educators Association, United Steelworkers, Local 8751, 
School Bus Drivers Union (Boston) and others in calling for Mumia’s freedom.

The International Offensive to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal 
is underway in coordination with a demonstration in Philadelphia on 
April 30. This follows the outpouring of international solidarity toward 
Mumia shown by over 500 organizations and individuals from every 
continent except Antarctica who responded to the December 9, 2017 
/International Call to Release the District Attorney and Police Files 
Relevant to Mumia Abu-Jamal’s Case and to Free Him/ 
(International Call). Signatories included long-time advocates for 
Mumia—Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Angela Davis, Edward Asner, Danny Glover, 
Dr. Cornel West, Alice Walker, Chris Hedges, and Tariq Ali. The 
International Call was initiated by Mireille Fanon- Mendes-France, 
President, Franz Fanon Foundation and Dr. Suzanne Ross, International 
Spokesperson for International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia 
Abu-Jamal (ICFFMAJ).

Fighting and winning Mumia’s freedom is not the struggle for just one 
man. Using his voice and pen, having written eight books and recorded 
over 3000 commentaries, Mumia Abu-Jamal inspires and educates millions 
around the globe who identify with his fight against “the system” and 
for justice for all humanity.

*/Mumia: “Fighting to Create Revolution/*/”/

In a 1989 interview on death row Mumia stated he is “fighting to create 
revolution in America. Revolution means total change.” Mumia continues 
to be steadfast in his political views. He has not been intimidated into 
silence despite the decades on death row or now serving life 
imprisonment without parole. Mumia continues opposition to the policies 
of the American imperialist state, at home and abroad: the political 
repression, racial oppression and class exploitation, imperialist war 
and colonial depredations.

To the American capitalist state, governed through both the Democratic 
and Republican parties, Mumia represents the specter of black revolt, of 
defiant opposition to their system of racist oppression. All elements of 
the criminal injustice system, with the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) 
in the forefront, colluded to kill this innocent man and have never 
stopped in their attempts to silence him.*

Mumia Abu-Jamal is in his 37^th year of imprisonment, innocent and 
framed for a murder he did not commit and sentenced to death for being a 
former spokesman for the Black Panther Party, a MOVE supporter and a 
radical journalist, known as the “voice of the voiceless.”

No court, not the Pennsylvania state courts nor the federal courts, have 
taken account of the evidence of Mumia’s factual innocence in the 1981 
murder of police officer Daniel Faulkner 
<https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y0GbNwKmHaE>, or the total denial of 
due process at his trial or post-conviction hearings, including that 
Judge Albert Sabo was exposed and admitted that he was biased in favor 
of the prosecution and police, and a racist determined to see Mumia 
convicted and executed. At the time of Mumia’s trial, Judge Sabo 
remarked to another judge, “Yeah, and I’m going to help them fry the n—-r.”

If Mumia’s petition is granted he can re-appeal all the Pa. Supreme 
Court denials from 1998-2012. This could result in a new trial or 
dismissal of the charges based on Mumia’s actual innocence and the 
police, prosecutorial and judicial misconduct that resulted in his 
frame-up conviction and death sentence. A new appeal by Mumia could 
strike down his conviction because of the racial bias of judge Albert 
Sabo who presided over both Mumia’s trial and post-conviction hearings 
from 1995-1997.

*/Ronald D. Castille, Philadelphia District Attorney, then Pa. Supreme 
Court Justice /*

Ronald Castille was elected Philadelphia District Attorney in 1986, 
after years as a senior assistant district attorney under District 
Attorney Edward Rendell during the time of Mumia’s trial. The Fraternal 
Order of Police (FOP) Lodge No. 5 named Castille its “Man of the Year” 
in 1986 and in 1989 supported him for re-election. As DA, Castille 
prosecuted Ramona Africa, the lone adult survivor of the incendiary 
bombing of the MOVE <http://onamove.com/> commune by Philadelphia city 
officials, the police and FBI. Eleven Black people, including 5 children 
were burned alive. This was a racist act of state terror against MOVE. 
Castille convened a grand jury to consider criminal charges against the 
Mayor, chiefs of the police and fire departments, and others. After two 
years, no charges were brought.

To ensure that Mumia’s conviction and death sentence were not reversed 
on appeal, Castille’s prosecutors argued that Pa. Supreme Court and U.S. 
Supreme Court precedents should not apply to Mumia’s case and suppressed 
evidence of the Philadelphia District Attorney’s policy and practice to 
exclude Black people from serving as jurors. That required answering not 
only the arguments made by Mumia’s lawyer, but also the /amici curiae/ 
briefs filed by the ACLU of Philadelphia and the National Conference of 
Black Lawyers.

The March 1989 Pa. Supreme Court denial of Mumia’s appeal that 
rubber-stamped the prosecution arguments was not the end of Castille’s 
involvement. Mumia made motions for re-argument, and filed two petitions 
in the U.S. Supreme Court. Mumia’s supplemental /pro se/ petition to the 
U.S. Supreme Court in May 1990 emphasized the issue of the pattern and 
practices of excluding Black people from serving on a jury. Castille 
assigned his Deputy District Attorney Gayle Barthold McLaughlin to 
oppose Mumia’s petition in the U.S. Supreme Court, substituting her for 
a more junior prosecutor.

In 1994 Ronald Castille won a seat on the Pennsylvania Supreme court as 
a “law and order” candidate, endorsed by 36,000 police officers of the 
FOP. Castille bragged that his office had secured 45 death sentences and 
that he prosecuted some of the city’s most “notorious criminals.”

After Castille was elected as a justice to the Pa. Supreme Court Mumia’s 
lawyers made repeated motions to Castille to recuse himself from 
participating in the appeals to the Pa. Supreme Court because of his 
pro-death penalty, pro-police bias. Castille denied these motions, 
asserting he had no personal knowledge of Mumia’s case and no bias 
against him. Castille made the argument that he was not the only justice 
on the Pa Supreme Court who was elected with the political and financial 
support of the Fraternal Order of Police, but shared that distinction 
with four other justices. In fact it is a norm that elected judges are 
routinely former prosecutors and solicit financial and political support 
from law enforcement.

In /Williams v. Pennsylvania/, for the first time in American judicial 
history the Supreme Court established an “objective test” in criminal 
cases that the “due process right to an impartial tribunal free of 
judicial bias” is violated where the judge previously had “significant 
personal involvement in a critical prosecutorial decision” in the same 
case. Mumia’s new petition is based on the precedent set in /Williams/ 
and was filed on August 7, 2016. Fourteen other men, also prosecuted by 
Castille and who received death sentences, filed “/Williams/” petitions.

In /Williams/ the U.S. Supreme Court deliberately did not rule it is 
automatically a conflict of interest and due process violation if a 
prosecutor in a case became a judge in that same case; or that political 
and financial support from the FOP is evidence of bias. Such a ruling 
would have been an unacceptable strike at the ideological core of the 
U.S. criminal injustice system, the claim the judicial system is neutral 
and fair and that its operational components—police, prosecution and 
courts— are duty bound to act to protect the populace, to seek justice, 
not convictions. The reality is a legal system that protects the 
interests of the capitalist class, defending the profit system against 
the working people, particularly Black people and other minorities, 
immigrants; against any and all perceived opponents of this government’s 

To establish bias, /Williams/ requires evidence that as a prosecutor, 
Castille had significant personal involvement in a critical 
prosecutorial decision in Mumia’s case. And the “proof” of that personal 
involvement is being interpreted as locating a specific document or 
other evidence of Castille’s personal involvement in Mumia’s case. This 
procedure poses an apparent conflict of interest. Prosecutors are tasked 
to produce evidence of judicial misconduct committed by a former 
District Attorney.

*/The FOP, DA Ronald Castille and the early Campaign to Save Mumia’s Life /*

It is inconceivable and ludicrous to suggest District Attorney Castille 
was not personally involved in the oversight and preparation of the 
prosecution’s case against Mumia to the PA Supreme Court and U.S. 
Supreme Court.

Castille could be deemed negligent if he hadn’t done so, since Mumia’s 
case was the high-profile murder conviction for killing a police 
officer; the FBI and Philadelphia police had targeted Mumia for his 
political activity, including opposition to police brutality; and the 
FOP vigorously demanded Mumia’s execution. In addition there is the 
issue of Ronald Castille’s political and financial indebtedness to the 
FOP and his braggadocio about the number of death sentences he secured 
while he was District Attorney.

While DA Castille was defending Mumia’s conviction and death sentence in 
the Pa. Supreme Court and U.S. Supreme Court, a campaign calling to 
“Save Mumia Abu-Jamal! Abolish the Racist Death Penalty!” initiated by 
the Partisan Defense Committee (PDC), was gaining support of trade 
unions, civil rights and civil liberties organizations, death penalty 
abolitionists, elected officials, leftist and other political 
organizations. Mumia’s written commentaries were published in 
Philadelphia and across the U.S.

Letters and petitions demanding “Mumia Abu-Jamal Must Not Die” were 
delivered to Pa Governor Robert Casey, including from former U.S. 
attorney general Ramsey Clark, national publications such as the/Nation/ 
and the /Black Scholar/, and representatives of Amnesty International in 
New York, the National Campaign Against the Death Penalty, the NAACP, 
the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and many others.

Labor Federations internationally, including the Metro Toronto Labour 
Council; the CGT, France’s largest labor federation; the British 
National Union of Railwaymen; the Australian Firemen and Deckhands’ 
Union, national journalists associations; union locals, including AFSCME 
(public sector workers), CWA (communications workers), SEIU (service 
workers), ILA and ILWU (longshore workers), the Amalgamated Transit 
Union, the United Auto Workers, and others supported the campaign.

On November 5, 1988, Mumia’s voice boomed over loudspeakers in 
Independence Mall against the Ku Klux Klan, which had planned a “White 
Pride” rally at the Liberty Bell. Mumia endorsed the mobilization to 
stop the Klan. A publicized demand was made to Governor Casey for Mumia 
to be “specially paroled to speak at the rally.” Over 1000 protesters 
and the hundreds of Philadelphia and federal police surrounding the 
rally site heard Mumia’s recorded message.

In Philadelphia on October 14, 1989, a rally to “Save Mumia Abu-Jamal! 
Abolish the Racist Death Penalty!” was held, co-sponsored by the late 
David Richardson, President, National Black Caucus of State Legislators 
and Pa. State Representative with the PDC. Over two hundred trade 
unionists, educators, prison activists and death penalty abolitionists 
participated. Wadiya Jamal, Mumia’s wife, spoke of the state’s intent 
“to kill Mumia to silence him.” MOVE supporter I Abdul John emphasized 
Mumia’s truthful reporting on MOVE and the consequences for him. Rep. 
Richardson attacked the prosecution as political and stated that Mumia 
is innocent. The event was prominently covered on TV.

A Bastille Day rally was held for Mumia in Philadelphia, July 14, 1990. 
The FOP organized a counter-rally. The head of the Philly FOP, Richard 
Costello, declared that all Mumia’s supporters were part of a “misfit 
terrorist group” who should be put on an “electric couch.” This was big 
news in Philadelphia, covered on TV and in the print media.

The video /From Death Row, This is Mumia Abu-Jamal/ 
<https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KRGFZ1eLJO4> was shown in Philadelphia, 
as it had in other cities around the world, including New York, San 
Francisco, Chicago, Los Angeles, London, Paris, Berlin, Tokyo, Sydney. 
Mumia sets forth his political history, the police murderous violence 
against MOVE <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ri4hKUR_QgQ> and attacks 
his conviction and death sentence. Each of these rallies included trade 
union representatives, spokesmen for other defense cases, civil 
liberties and civil rights organizations, leftist and socialist groups. 
The first pamphlet by Mumia, /Survival is Still a Crime,/ was published 
by Friends and Family of Mumia Abu-Jamal Press in August 1990.

This campaign for Mumia and the FOP counter-attacks were a political 
reality while Castille was prosecuting Mumia’s appeal to the Pa. Supreme 
Court and U.S. Supreme Court. This history adds to the lie that DA 
Castille had no knowledge of Mumia’s case and no reason for personal 
involvement as a prosecutor.

*/Law is Politics by Other Means/*

On March 6, 1989, the Pa. Supreme Court upheld Mumia Abu-Jamal’s 
conviction and death sentence. It adopted DA Castille’s legal arguments 
not to apply recent precedent-setting rulings of the U.S. Supreme Court 
on jury selection and prosecutorial misconduct in jury summations to Mumia.

Just days later Mumia penned “Law is Simply Politics by Other Means.” 
(March 19, 1989)

    Of all peoples, Africans have the least reason to look to America’s
    courts for even a semblance of justice. The record of overt
    injustice echoes down the ages, and the heirs of Justice Taney, of
    Dred Scott infamy, still sit upon courts, proving his dictum, ‘A
    black man has no rights, that a white man is bound to respect,’ has
    continuing relevance to today. The ideal is, of course, that all
    defendants are to be treated equally in American courts. The
    reality, of course, is something else again. ….  This [appeal
    denial] was not a legal decision; it was a political decision. “Law
    is simply politics by other means.”

In deciding against Mumia, the Pa. Supreme court decision did not even 
maintain a pretense of upholding the established law. Rather, the denial 
of legal precedent to Mumia became the new precedent, “Mumia rules,” 
applied to other Pennsylvania cases.

Mumia’s historical reference to /Dred Scott/ is that slavery and its 
legacy is intrinsic to the American state. It took the Civil War to end 
slavery, won by the participation of over 200,000 Black troops. The U.S. 
Civil War remains unfinished, as seen in the post-Reconstruction convict 
leasing and debt peonage, /de jure/ and /de facto/ segregation, the 
oppression of Black people at the bottom of the economy, and mass 
incarceration. Black oppression is the bedrock of American capitalism.

Thirty years later, the legal battles for Mumia freedom continue, each 
an instance of the relevance of /Dred Scott/, an object lesson in the 
class nature of the capitalist state; that class and race bias are 
integral to what is a frame-up system. The injustices of Mumia’s 
prosecution, death sentence and life imprisonment are those meted out 
every day, disparately suffered by Black people.

At the same time the Pa. Supreme Court decision made crystal clear that 
Abu-Jamal’s case is a special case of political persecution, intended to 
be a lesson for any who dare to speak out in opposition to racist 
oppression, bias and other inequities of American capitalism. This 
“special case of political persecution” is shared with other imprisoned 
former Black Panther Party members and Leonard Peltier targeted by the 
FBI’s Counter-Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO) and the MOVE 9. Today, 
Black activists are targeted as “Black Identity Extremists.”

*/Mumia’s Pending Legal Proceedings/*

Mumia’s legal action was filed on August 7, 2016, but the first court 
date was not until April 24, 2017. The DAO opposed Mumia’s action, 
arguing for dismissal and that reinstating Mumia’s appeal rights would 
be “too much justice.” Instead, Judge Tucker issued six discovery orders 
to the DAO, each in response to DAO filings that there are no documents 
related to former Philadelphia District Attorney Ronald Castille’s 
personal involvement in Mumia Abu-Jamal’s appeals from 1986-1991.

The prosecution position that there is no documentary evidence of 
Castille’s involvement is outrageous, but expected; it constitutes a 
cover-up of the continuing frame-up of Mumia Abu-Jamal.

Nonetheless, the DAO released a March 27, 1990 report on the status of 
pending capital cases, including Mumia’s, requested by Castille. Several 
times Judge Tucker ordered the DAO to produce DA Castille’s letter 
requesting that report. The DAO twice answered that it “cannot locate” 
Castille’s instructions.

On November 27, 2017 Judge Tucker ordered a court hearing for January 
17, 2018 for the DAO to “produce former Deputy District Attorney Gayle 
Barthold McLaughlin to present testimony regarding the content of the 
[Castille] documents the DA’s office cannot locate.” (McLaughlin is the 
signatory on the March 27, 1990 memo /and/ the attorney assigned by DA 
Castille to represent the DAO in Mumia’s U.S. Supreme Court 
proceedings.) Judge Tucker threatened sanctions against the DAO, but 
there is no order that Ronald Castille testify, although he is living in 
the Philadelphia area.

Prior to the January 17, 2018 court hearing the /International Call/ 
with signatories was delivered to DA Krasner as well as a letter from 
Pam Africa, ICFFMAJ and Joe Piette of Mobilization 4 Mumia. 
That letter requested they and international representatives meet with 
DA Larry Krasner to discuss the public release of all police and 
prosecution files related to Mumia’s prosecution and obtaining Mumia’s 
freedom. DA Krasner was also told he should immediately withdraw the 
prosecution’s objection to Mumia’s legal action and restore his rights 
to appeal, based on documentary evidence already released by the DAO.

The courtroom on January 17, 2018 was filled to overflow with over 100 
Mumia supporters, including an international delegation of Mireille 
Fanon-Mendes-France and Jacqui Hortaut (LIBERONS MUMIA!). Outside a 
large group of demonstrators demanded “Public Release of All Police and 
Prosecution Files on Mumia Abu-Jamal” and “Free Mumia Now.”

DA Krasner’s new team did not acknowledge Judge Tucker’s standing order 
to the DAO to produce evidence. Instead, based on a meeting with DA 
Krasner, Judge Tucker was asked to give a 60-day continuance for the DAO 
to “formulate an office policy.” Mumia’s attorneys Sam Spital of the 
NAACP Legal Defense Fund and Judith Ritter agreed. Judge Tucker granted 
the 60 days, but required a status report in 30 days, and instructed the 
DAO to provide the information ordered.

On February 26, the process was repeated. The DAO said they still 
couldn’t locate Castille’s instructions to prepare the status report on 
pending 70 capital cases as of March 1990. This time they asked for 90 
days to review the boxes of files of those cases. Judge Tucker instead 
ordered another status report on March 27 and a hearing on April 30. Per 
the request of Mumia’s counsel, the DAO agreed that if there is no new 
documentation from the files, there will be a deposition of former 
Deputy DA McLaughlin.

Not mentioned in court was another document: a June 15, 1990 letter from 
DA Castille to then-governor Robert Casey. This letter urged the 
governor to issue death warrants in 16 Philadelphia capital cases where 
the appeals process was completed. DA Castille’s letter states: /“I urge 
you to send a clear and dramatic message to all police killers that the 
death penalty actually means something.”/

This letter was disclosed by the DAO with the caveat that it does not 
apply to Mumia because he is not specifically named. But Mumia’s appeals 
were still pending in the U.S. Supreme Court, so a death warrant could 
not be requested for him. The “all police killers” was an unmistakable 
reference to Mumia Abu-Jamal.

As Mumia’s attorneys argued to Judge Tucker in an October 19, 2017 
letter: “The [June 15, 1990] letter makes clear that Mr. Castille made a 
policy decision—which would include Mr. Abu-Jamal’s case— to expedite 
litigation in capital cases so they would ‘move forward to their 
ultimate conclusion.’ Indeed, under the Commonwealth’s own reasoning, 
Mr. Castille actively tracked Mr. Abu-Jamal’s case … Those facts, in and 
of themselves, show Mr. Castille’s ‘significant, personal involvement…in 
a critical decision regarding Mr. Abu-Jamal’s case.”

In other words, the March 27, 1990 status report on capital cases and 
Castille’s June 15, 1990 letter to Gov. Casey meet the standard required 
by /Williams /that Justice Castille’s participation as a justice in 
Mumia’s appeals deprived Mumia of a fair and impartial tribunal. Mumia’s 
appeal denials from 1998-2012 should be vacated and his appeal rights 

The International Offensive to Free Mumia is organized to make it clear 
to District Attorney Krasner and Judge Leon Tucker there is an 
international movement that will not stop until Mumia is free.

The District Attorney serves a specific repressive function in the 
criminal injustice system. It cannot be fundamentally changed, any more 
than racist, brutal policing can be ended without overturning the 
entirety of the capitalist injustice system. The progressive aura of 
Larry Krasner, a defense attorney for 30 years, whose campaign promises 
included to help end mass incarceration and to “review past convictions 
and free the wrongfully convicted” and “never to seek a death sentence” 
is already dimmed.

Not surprisingly, Krasner now says, “never say never” on capital 
punishment. When Krasner put Ronald Castille on his post-election 
advisory board it served to quell some opposition from prosecutors and 
the FOP. Castille is a known zealot in favor of executions; he 
excoriated defense attorneys who aggressively represented defendants in 
capital cases. In addition, the /Williams/ Supreme Court decision was 
national news, and Castille publicly disagreed. DA Krasner had to have 
known of the 14 pending /Williams v. Pennsylvania/ cases, including Mumia’s.

No less political pressure, in the form of protest and publicity, should 
be exerted on DA Larry Krasner than was previously directed at district 
attorneys Edward Rendell, Ronald Castille, Lynne Abraham or Seth 
Williams. Rather, precisely because Bernie Sanders-supported Larry 
Krasner is a self-defined “progressive” more demands need to be made on him.

Judge Tucker has repeatedly ordered the DAO to search its files for any 
document evidencing Castille’s personal involvement in Mumia’s case, but 
he has not responded to Mumia’s lawyers’ requests to order the DAO to 
specifically account for its search and to allow a full evidentiary hearing.

There is no basis to assume Judge Tucker will go beyond the 
prosecution’s narrowest interpretation of /Williams/: that evidence of 
Castille’s personal involvement in prosecuting Mumia requires a document 
in which Castille specifically references Mumia Abu-Jamal, his appeal 
and/or his death sentence. And Judge Tucker could accept the DAO’s 
statement that there is no such document, despite the released documents 
decisively demonstrating Castille’s tracking of Mumia’s case to insure 
an execution warrant as soon as possible.

And if that is the case, Judge Tucker has the authority to rule against 
Mumia. And if so, this would not be the first time a court ruled against 
Mumia, carving out an exception or distinguishing element to deny the 
application of a constitutional principle or court precedent.

Judge Tucker has political ambitions of his own. He attempted to get on 
the ballot as the Republican candidate for DA after Larry Krasner won 
the Democratic primary for district attorney. Reportedly Judge Tucker is 
seeking a federal judgeship. How Judge Tucker handles these “Williams’ 
cases,” especially the result in Mumia’s case, is being closely watched.

Additionally, Judge Tucker has his own legal bias in cases challenging 
prosecutorial misconduct as shown in the dismissal of the 
post-conviction petition of Major Tillery 
<https://www.justiceformajortillery.org> without even an evidentiary 
hearing. Judge Tucker struck down witnesses’ recantation of lying 
testimony as “untimely,” blaming Tillery for waiting “too long” to get 
the proof that the police and prosecution coerced the witnesses with 
threats and promised plea deals.

Judge Tucker’s courtroom will be packed and there will be protest 
outside the courthouse for the March 27 status hearing and the April 30, 
2018 evidentiary hearing.

*/For Class-Struggle Defense To Free Mumia/*

The almost 40 years of legal proceedings against Mumia in the state and 
federal courts, aided by the concerted FOP-led propaganda campaign 
against him, have shown again and again there is no way to dodge the 
central truth that Mumia is directly up against a state machine that is 
united in its determination to kill him, to imprison him for life, to 
silence him—for who he is, and what he continues to fight for.

There is pressure that can be brought to bear on the courts, which do 
not sit in judgment and rule in isolation. But it will take 
international mobilization of the masses, centrally labor and its 
allies, minorities, immigrants and youth to turn the tide and win 
Mumia’s freedom.

Organizing on the basis of class struggle, non-sectarian defense is our 
key strategy to win Mumia’s freedom. While utilizing all possible legal 
proceedings and allying with all those who support the cause of Mumia’s 
freedom, class struggle defense recognizes the social force of mass 
mobilization, and most decisively organized labor. In countries and 
cities in the U.S. and around the globe, mass organizations and numbers 
of people are needed for agitation, publicity, organizing protest on a 
national and international scale as well as rallies, community meetings 
and leafleting and petitions to the Pa. Governor and Philadelphia DA, 
from any and all organizations who share in the commitment to free Mumia.

At the same time we need to act on the understanding of the nature of 
the capitalist state, that the courts are not neutral and that there can 
be no illusions in the courts, prosecutors, or capitalist politicians, 
whether they are white or black, Democratic, Republican or Green; but 
place instead our reliance on the power of the working class and its allies.

This is not a rejection of support from elected officials in the U.S. 
including the late Pa. State Rep. David Richardson, congressmen Barbara 
Lee, John Conyers and Ron Dellums, or internationally including Labour 
MP Jeremy Corbyn. Dozens of elected members of parliaments and elected 
bodies around the world have signed on to the International Call, 
including Labour MP John McDonnell, Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, 
members of the European Parliament, 15 Danish Parliament members. 
Elected officials from France, Germany, Britain, South Africa Zimbabwe, 
Tanzania, Senegal, Australia, Haiti, Mexico, Canada, the U.S. and other 
countries added their names and positions.

Class struggle defense is the recognition that the strategy to free 
Mumia lies in the streets and in the actions of the masses.

Historically, in the United States class struggle defense was codified 
in the principled work of the International Labor Defense (ILD), formed 
by the early Communist Party. That work is still honored today in the 
San Francisco longshore union hall in a proudly displayed mural of the 
“Red Angel,” ILD Secretary Elaine Black Yoneda, the only woman on the 
San Francisco 1934 General Strike Committee.

Labor and trade-union organizations are strategic for class-struggle 
defense. That understanding has two components. One is based on the 
social power of the working class—social power that can bring 
production, transport and communications to a halt. Imagine what it 
would mean if the Philadelphia transit workers and sanitation workers, 
postal workers and others went out on strike, fighting not only for job 
security, higher pay, medical and better work conditions but to demand 
Mumia’s freedom.

While on death row Mumia has stood for labor solidarity with workers in 
struggle. He is a proud member of the National Writers Union (UAW). In 
1996, when ABC-TV sent a strike breaking “20/20” crew to interview 
Mumia, during a recent CWA-NABET strike, Mumia said “No,” that he’d 
rather die than cross a picket line. He spoke in support of the 
Liverpool dockers struggle (1997), the striking Charleston, South 
Carolina longshore union (2000), locked out West Coast longshore workers 
of the ILWU (2002), and striking NYC transit workers (2005), and others.

 From the beginning of the fight for Mumia, labor organizations 
internationally have stood up for him with resolutions and signatures on 
petitions. The International Call is signed by over 50 trade unions and 
union leaders from around the globe including from Britain, Spain, 
Portugal, India, Pakistan, Japan, Australia, Argentina, U.S and Canada.

Crucial to winning Mumia’s freedom is turning this support into concrete 
militant labor action, up to and including strike action.

In early January 1999 the Labor Action Committee to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal 
(LAC) <http://www.laboractionmumia.org/>, Oakland, California, was 
formed “dedicated to educating workers about Jamal’s case, and to 
promoting a class-struggle movement, including strikes and other job 
actions wherever possible, to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal!”

Oakland Teachers for Mumia, supported by the LAC, initiated the January 
1999 Oakland Education Association (OEA) high school teach-ins on “The 
Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal and the Death Penalty.” The OEA teach-in which 
took place despite a crescendo in the media against a “convicted cop 
killer” in the wake of a killing of an Oakland cop.

The 1999 one-day action of the ILWU on the West Coast, 
<https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LbQmGjVxPDo> initiated by supporters of 
the LAC, on the basis of “Free Mumia!” and “An Injury To One Is An 
Injury To All” is a concrete example of the labor strike action needed. 
Members of the LAC worked within ILWU Local 10 to win a coast wide vote 
that the ILWU would shut down all West Coast ports on April 24,1999 to 
express their solidarity with Mumia Abu-Jamal. The eight-hour “stop-work 
meetings” approved by the delegates halted all shipping from Bellingham, 
Washington to San Diego, California.

The adopted demands of the ILWU were “Stop the Execution!” and “Free 
Mumia Abu-Jamal!” Although the 1972 ILWU Convention voted to free Angela 
Davis, this was the first time the ILWU shut down all West Coast ports 
in support of a political prisoner.

This powerful labor action helped mobilize 25,000 people in the Free 
Mumia Abu-Jamal demonstration initiated by the Mobilization to Free 
Mumia Abu-Jamal and was led by the 300-strong contingent of members ILWU 
from San Francisco, Sacramento, Los Angeles, Port Hueneme, Seattle, and 
other port cities along the Western seaboard in the streets of San 
Francisco demanding Mumia’s freedom on April 24. Chanting, “An injury to 
one is an injury to all! Free Mumia Abu-Jamal!” the West Coast-based 
ILWU set an historic precedent for the U.S. labor movement and beyond.

Messages of international dockworkers’ solidarity with the ILWU’s action 
in defense of Mumia came from Liverpool, Sweden, Denmark, Cyprus, 
Finland, Japan and from the 100,000 member teachers’ union in Rio de 
Janeiro, Brazil which struck for two hours the day before calling for 
freedom for Mumia.

The latter demand “An injury to one is an injury to all!” speaks to the 
other component of why class struggle defense for Mumia is so important. 
Labor rights go hand in hand with Black rights.  The fight to free Mumia 
Abu-Jamal is part of the need for labor to champion every struggle for 
Black rights and Black freedom. Karl Marx at the time of the Civil War 
said: “Labor cannot emancipate itself in the white skin where in the 
black it is branded.” Poisonous white chauvinism is the tool of the 
American capitalist class, intended to divide workers, cripple immediate 
struggles and the recognition there is a class enemy that needs to be 
defeated in united class-struggle.

Teamsters Joint Council 16 representing some 120,000 Teamsters 
throughout New York City and across Long Island are training to 
challenge federal immigration agents who show up to search their work 
sites. Their statement is: union solidarity first, immigration status 
second. This labor solidarity shows a potential openness to what is needed.

The fight for Mumia’s freedom—and in defense of democratic rights and of 
all the oppressed—is also part of labor’s own fight, a fight that 
requires getting rid of the class-collaborationist trade-union 
leadership that sells out the workers’ interests. By taking up such 
struggles, workers are fighting not just for themselves as workers 
pitted against individual employers, but on behalf of the whole working 
class, which has the power and interest to overturn the rule of capital.

Labor actions, like those in 1999, are needed today and around the 
world, joining the fight to free Mumia with other struggles. This can 
become a reality.

The struggle for Mumia’s freedom requires solidarity and unity with 
those oppressed and exploited across the world. It is of necessity a 
fight back against capitalist repression, oppression and exploitation. 
Mumia’s conviction, death sentence, and now life imprisonment without 
parole embodies all aspects of the legacy of slavery in the criminal 
injustice system—from racist legal lynching to police terror and 
shootings on the streets; the denial of legal rights and frame-up 
prosecutions in the courts; the repression, dehumanization and 
warehousing of men and woman through mass incarceration; and the 
inhumane conditions of imprisonment, solitary confinement, life 
sentences without parole, medical negligence and malfeasance.

We can win Mumia’s freedom with international mass mobilization, with 
labor action and the strategy of class struggle defense. Mumia’s freedom 
and the political struggle to win it, is part of the fight for the 
liberation of us all.



/*Rachel Wolkenstein* is a legal advocate and political activist working 
with Mumia Abu-Jamal for over 30 years. She was co-counsel for Mumia 
during his post-conviction proceedings in front of Judge Albert Sabo 
from 1995-1998. From 1974-2010 she was staff counsel for the Partisan 
Defense Committee. She was chief legal consultant for the 2013 film 
/Manufacturing Guilt. She can be reached at rachelwolkenstein at gmail.com 
<mailto:rachelwolkenstein at gmail.com>

Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 
863.9977 https://freedomarchives.org/
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