[Pnews] Ruling Keeps Alive Mumia Abu-Jamal's Lawsuit Over Hepatitis Drugs

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Mon Jul 22 10:33:48 EDT 2019


  Ruling Keeps Alive Mumia Abu-Jamal's Lawsuit Over Hepatitis Drugs

July 19, 2019

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A federal appeals court on Friday kept alive a 
lawsuit brought by Mumia Abu-Jamal, who was convicted in the killing a 
Philadelphia police officer in 1981, that alleges his rights were 
violated when he was denied hepatitis C drugs. The 3rd U.S. Circuit 
Court of Appeals upheld a lower-court decision that Corrections 
Department employees were not immune to being sued over their decisions 
regarding Abu-Jamal.

Abu-Jamal, 65, who is serving a life sentence in the Pennsylvania prison 
system, says the initial denial of treating him with two anti-hepatitis 
drugs violated his constitutional right to be free from cruel and 
unusual punishment.

He previously won a court order that required the prison system to 
provide the drugs.

His lawyer, Bret Grote, said Friday that the treatment was successful.

*Mumia Abu-Jamal Gets New Hearing In Death Of Philadelphia Police 
Officer After District Attorney Drops Opposition* 

A Wolf administration spokesman said the newly issued opinion was under 
review and noted the decision did not conclude the litigation.

On Friday, the three-judge federal panel ruled there are sufficient 
grounds at this point to support his claim that he was denied 
appropriate treatment for a nonmedical reason — its high cost.

“Our ruling here should not be read to rule out the possibility that the 
department defendants may, at a future stage of the litigation, be able 
to establish either a lack of medical consensus at relevant points as to 
the appropriate procedures surrounding hepatitis C treatment or that 
there were ‘medical reasons’ for adherence to the protocol,” wrote Judge 
Patty Shwartz.

In November, the Corrections Department announced it was moving to 
settle a separate lawsuit by providing a prescription drug treatment 
regimen for prisoners who suffer from chronic hepatitis C infections.

That deal called for the state to provide direct-acting anti-viral 
drugs, giving priority to those with the most serious conditions. The 
department said last year the average per-patient treatment cost was 
about $20,000.

Abu-Jamal, an inmate at the State Correctional Institute-Mahanoy, is a 
former Black Panther convicted of the slaying of Officer Daniel 
Faulkner, who had just pulled over Abu-Jamal’s brother.

Abu-Jamal spent most of his decades behind bars on death row before his 
sentence was reduced in 2011 to life without parole. He was 
recently granted a new appeals hearing.

He tested positive in 2012 for the hepatitis C antibody, and three years 
later was rushed to a hospital twice in three months, Shwartz wrote. He 
repeatedly asked to be treated with two anti-viral drugs, but a prison 
system committee rejected his request.

Abu-Jamal sued in May 2015, and a federal judge ordered him to be 
treated with the two drugs. The latest appeals court decision concerns a 
lawsuit he filed in 2017 that alleges violation of his 8th Amendment 
protection from cruel and unusual punishment.

A trial date has not been scheduled.

/(©Copyright 2019 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)/

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