[Pnews] New stage in the struggle to free Mumia Abu Jamal

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Wed Dec 4 10:08:47 EST 2019


https://www.workers.org/2019/12/44717/


  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 
files.

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. /

-- 
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