[Pnews] New stage in the struggle to free Mumia Abu Jamal
ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Wed Dec 4 10:08:47 EST 2019
New stage in the struggle to FREE MUMIA!
By Betsey Piette <https://www.workers.org/author/betsey/> posted on
December 3, 2019
Political prisoner and world-renowned journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal and his
supporters are closer than ever to winning his release, 38 years after
he was imprisoned for a crime he did not commit.
The Fraternal Order of Police, former district attorneys and other
political higher-ups who participated in the frameup are now shaking in
their boots because this innocent man may be given a new trial in which
judicial, police and prosecutorial misconduct will be exposed.
In the late 1970s and early 80s, Abu-Jamal was a daily radio reporter
for WHYY and NPR who earned acclaim for his award-winning reporting. As
a reporter who supported the MOVE organization against state repression,
he drew the ire of the Philadelphia FOP and the notoriously racist
Police Commissioner and later Mayor Frank Rizzo.
On Dec. 9, 1981, while driving a cab to supplement his income, Abu-Jamal
happened upon his brother in an altercation with Philadelphia police
officer Daniel Faulkner. Faulkner was killed. Abu-Jamal, who was shot
and severely beaten by police, was charged in Faulkner’s death, even
though witnesses reported seeing another man, most probably the
passenger in Abu-Jamal’s brother’s car, running from the scene.
Imprisoned for nearly four decades, Abu-Jamal has maintained his
innocence. With global support, he successfully won his release from
Pennsylvania’s death row in 2011. In December 2018 he won the right to
appeal his 1982 conviction because of biased judicial oversight by PA
Supreme Court Justice Ronald Castille.
In early January 2019, Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner
reported finding six boxes of previously undisclosed evidence held by
prosecutors in the case and allowed Abu-Jamal’s attorneys to review the
In September 2019 Abu-Jamal’s lawyers filed new appellate briefs,
including a request that the case be returned for a hearing before the
Philadelphia Common Pleas Court based on their finding of concrete
evidence of prosecutorial misconduct by the DA’s office in his 1982 trial.
A Sept. 9 press release from attorneys Judith Ritter and Sam Spital
reads: “This week, Mumia Abu-Jamal filed a brief in PA Superior Court to
support his claim that his 1982 trial was fundamentally unfair in
violation of the Constitution. For example, he argues that the
prosecution failed to disclose evidence as required and discriminated
against African Americans when selecting the jury. And, his lawyer did
not adequately challenge the State’s witnesses.
“Mr. Abu-Jamal also filed a motion containing new evidence of
constitutional violations such as promises by the prosecutor to pay or
give leniency to two witnesses. There is also new evidence of racial
discrimination in jury selection.”
The evidence uncovered in the hidden boxes shows that Joseph McGill, the
prosecutor in Abu-Jamal’s case, paid off witnesses with favors and cash,
while allowing a cab-driver witness with a suspended license to keep
driving. McGill illegally struck down Black jurors and fixed
outstanding cases of key witnesses.
Attorney Ritter contends that the new evidence shows Abu-Jamal’s trial
was “fundamentally unfair and tainted by serious constitutional violations.”
*DA Krasner under attack by FOP*
In April of this year, DA Larry Krasner bowed to massive community
pressure and withdrew his initial opposition to Abu-Jamal’s appeal
moving forward in Pennsylvania’s higher courts. Following the September
filings by Abu-Jamal’s attorneys, Krasner acquiesced to their petition
that the newly uncovered evidence is grounds for the case to be sent
back to Common Pleas Court.
This was the final straw as far as the FOP is concerned. They
immediately launched an attack on Krasner, using Faulkner’s widow,
Maureen Faulkner-Palkovic. On Sept. 18, claiming “victim’s rights,” she
filed a petition to have Krasner replaced by Pennsylvania Attorney
General Josh Shapiro “in criminal actions in which there is an appeal.”
She alleges that the lack of “finality” in this case has caused trauma
for her — completely ignoring the impact on Abu-Jamal’s family.
Faulkner bases her petition largely on unfounded claims that DA Krasner
and attorneys in his office had some connection with Abu-Jamal’s case in
the past. When her petition was dismissed by higher courts, Faulkner and
the FOP tried another ploy.
Faulkner filed a King’s Bench Petition on Nov. 12 with the state’s
higher courts, again requesting Krasner’s removal from the case. In
addition to charging Krasner with conflicts of interest in the Abu-Jamal
case, Faulkner claims that Krasner should have colluded with former
prosecutor McGill to bury the evidence.
The use of the “King’s Bench” application shows the growing desperation
of the FOP team. Their petition would skip past the popularly elected
district attorney and the Common Pleas Court. It would bring the matter
directly to the PA Supreme Court where they hope for more sympathy from
the conservative and classist institution.
*All out Dec. 7 for Mumia!*
**Krasner is expected to submit a response soon to arguments from
Abu-Jamal’s lawyers for a new trial — taking a stand for justice against
FOP intimidation. The current FOP attack on Krasner is part of the
38-year effort to silence Abu-Jamal once and for all.
We who believe in justice will not allow that to happen.
Abu-Jamal’s 38th year of unjust imprisonment will be marked on Dec. 7
with a program titled “Youth Rise Up Against US Empire” in Philadelphia.
The event, to be held at Mastery Charter School-Shoemaker Campus, 5301
Media St., will include a report on all the new developments in his
legal case, while focusing on his trilogy of books on U.S. imperialism.
Speakers and videos will express solidarity with the inspiring mass
protests, many led by youth, taking place all over the globe as they
call out white supremacist oppression and exploitation by U.S. capitalism.
/For more information, visit mobilization4mumia.com. /
Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415
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