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Report from Mumia's Day in Court by Dave Lindorff
Philly cops get priority courtroom seats:
By Dave Lindorff, May 1, 2018
Mumia's Day in Court!
The question is will Mumia Abu-Jamal be granted a new trial?
Next hearing: Aug. 30th in Judge Leon Tucker's courtroom 11th fl. 1301 Filbert St. Phil PA
In these battles there is truth, there is the spin, and there is the amnesia the police want you to acquire. "I/am going to help them fry the nigger/", spoken by Albert Sabo, Mumia's trial court judge in 1982. Those are the words that the Fraternal Order of Police, our jack boot folks in blue, would like us to forget. They want us to ignore what everyone knows is at every level of the injustice system: invidious racism and corruption.
How could we forget the injustice system that produced Frank Rizzo and Lynne Abraham? We can not forget police officers in open court telling us during Mumia's PCRA hearing in 1995 "we should have executed him that night", quoted in the New York Times.
It is not a legacy, it is our reality. This is what Philadelphia's new DA Larry Krasner has to confront, expose, reform and ultimately abolish.
Remember this is a DA's office that right now has a long list of police officers they can not put on the stand because they are not credible. This is the DA's office that has Judge Ron Castille (the former DA who the U.S. Supreme Court ruled must recuse himself from these types of cases) on its board of advisors.
A Philadelphia common pleas court judge told me "Mumia is the past." Actually he is our future, because if there is no truth and justice there will be no reconciliation. Front, center, and central to Philadelphia's imprisonment binge and racist legacy are the cases of Mumia Abu-Jamal and the MOVE 9. The cops are holding on to these prisoners because their release will reveal and acknowledge the depth of the corruption in their ranks.
(Mumia Abu-Jamal and Keith Cook 3/2018)
We must expect justice and demand that the District Attorney and the Courts take this first step towards freedom by immediately reinstating Mumia Abu-Jamal's appellate rights.
_Report From Courtroom of Judge Tucker 4-30-2018_
"In its failure to recognize that Ronald Castille played an active role in pursuing the execution of Mumia Abu-Jamal the new District Attorney's office headed by Larry Krasner, is failing to do what justice requires. It is continuing the position of his predecessors, to the satisfaction of the Fraternal Order of Police." Bret Grote, Esq. Abolitionist Law Center Legal Director
Yesterday Tracey Kavanaugh, the Assistant District Attorney assigned to Mumia's case appeared before the court. She represented to Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Leon Tucker that the District Attorney's Office has conducted an extensive search and still has been unable to find the missing memo from then-DA Ronald Castille in which he sought updates on the status of every capital case from Philadelphia in early 1990. She also made clear that the new District Attorney for Philadelphia (sworn in January 2018), Larry Krasner, has kept the same position as his predecessor: that former District Attorney Castille did not have personal involvement in a critical decision in Abu-Jamal's case, and that the Philadelphia DA's office lead by Krasner opposes the pending Post Convcition Relief Application (PCRA) seeking reinstatement of Abu-Jamal's appellate rights. If these rights were reinstated he would be granted a hearing on whether there was sufficient cause to issue an order for a new trial on his criminal conviction. Mumia has spent 37 years in prison for the killing of a police officer in Philadelphia in 1981, a crime for which he has maintainted his innocence. He is currently serving a life sentence at SCI Mahanoy in Frackville PA.
Abu-Jamal's counsel, Sam Spital from the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, argued forcefully in court today that Ronald Castille did in fact make a critical decision in the Abu-Jamal case when he advocated to Governor Robert Casey in 1990, that the Governor should expedite the litigation in all capital cases by signing the death warrants at the soonest possible time.
Castille explicitly asked the Governor to do this in the case of Leslie Beasley, who was convicted of killing a police officer, to show to "all police killers that the death penalty means something in Pennsylvania." Mumia was still on direct appeal when Castille made this policy decision to enlist the Governor's support in expediting the litigation by signing of death warrants, meaning that it was the policy of Castille's office to seek the immediate signing of a death warrant upon completion of Abu-Jamal's appeal. We know Castille was actively tracking /every/ capital case in his office, including Abu-Jamal's, and vigorously defending the convictions and sentences and pushing for execution of each capital case defendant, including Abu-Jamal.
Counsel for Abu-Jamal are now permitted to take the deposition of former ADA Gaele Barthold McLaughlin, and will file an amended PCRA by July 9. The DA has been ordered to respond to that filing by August 9. The next hearing in this matter is scheduled for August 30 in Judge Tucker's courtroom in Philadelphia.
Cuando luchamos ganamos, When We Fight, We Win
Mumias heutiger Gerichtstag: Mumia Abu-Jamal's appeals hearing continued until August
Hier folgen erste Presselinks aus den USA von Mumias heutiger Gerichtsanhörung - die Anhörungsphase ist bis auf den 30. August 2018 ausgedehnt worden. Es ist also noch nicht entschieden, ob er endlich ein neues Berufungsverfahren bekommt. Weitere Infos folgen.
New articles on Mumia Abu-Jamal
Mumia Update - Here's What Happened in CourtDeutsche Übersetzung...
New Hearing in Mumia's Case set for 3/27/2018
Judge orders New District Attorney to address his request to "find out what happened to the missing Memo by taking action," including a suggestion that they might depose the former ADA to get the answers." He noted that he would require a status conference on 2/26/18, to hear details of their efforts. "I do not want to have another hearing in two months, and be in the same place. These questions need to be answered."
Mumia Abu-Jamal, represented by Sam Spital of the NAACP and Judith Ritter, Professor at Widner, was in court in Philadelphia challenging his criminal conviction. Common Pleas Court judge Leon Tucker opened court with a query to the DA about his order that the prosecution produce testimony regarding a missing letter by former DA Ron Castille. This evidence, or evidence of a similar nature, could be a key to Mumia's criminal defense appeals being reinstated.
In the courtroom were Mumia's attorneys, Bret Grote and Robert Boyle, who represent Mumia in "Abu-Jamal v. Wetzel", as well as Ramona Africa, Claude Guillaumaud-Pujol, Jacky Hortaut of the Collectif Francais "Liberons Mumia", Mirrelle Fanon Mendes-France from the Franz Fanon Foundation, and over 100 others.
As many of you know, in January a new District Attorney Larry Krasner was sworn in. Representing his office, Tracey Cavanaugh (Interim Supervisor of the PCRA Unit) and Nancy Winkelman (Interim Supervisor of the Law Department) asked the Judge for a continuance, in order to allow the new DA and staff to review the 18 outstanding "Williams' cases" of which Mumia's is one. They also asked for time because they are seeking to "formulate an office policy for their approach to these cases". Certainly, a new approach would be welcome, given the intransigence of the previous office under now imprisoned former DA Seth Williams.
The U.S. Supreme Court precedent in William v. PA (2016) reversed the imposition of Terrence William's death sentence because former DA Ron Castille failed to recuse himself when he was sitting on the PA Supreme Court.
The order addressing the missing memo has a history. Judge Leon Tucker ordered the DA to turn over any evidence of former PA Supreme Court Justice Ron Castille's "personal involvement" in Mumia Abu-Jamal's criminal appeals when he was District Attorney or an Assistant District Attorney. When they could not "find" any documents, Judge Tucker ordered that they deliver to his office the entire file of 31 boxes. Judge Tucker found a reference to a specific letter written by Castille, which the DA states now that they have lost. This action follows in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court admonishing the PA courts in the Williams case, for not recognizing that a judge must recuse themselves on cases they themselves actively prosecuted.
The parsing of concepts and words for the court revolve around "personal involvement". Was former DA and former PA Supreme Court Chief Justice Ron Castille a key shot caller on Mumia's case; was he "personally involved"? We know he personally signed years of briefs and appeals against Mumia. We know that this was the most high profile case in the office. And we know that information already released has Castille advocating to the then Governor Casey that the death penalty should be quickly imposed, especially for murders involving police officers as victims.
The question is simply, did District Attorney Ron Castille actively involve himself in decisions regarding Mumia's case? And did he, as a PA Supreme Court Justice, review those very same decisions? And if so, was he professionally required to recuse himself, or could he remain unbiased regarding those decisions? Some courts have even stated that any appearance of bias requires recusal.
At stake is the reinstatement of over a decade of Mumia Abu-Jamal's appeals. This action could lead to an order granting a new trial. The legal path to freedom starts right here in the Common Pleas court chamber of Judge Leon Tucker.
Cuando luchamos ganamos! When we fight, we win!
To give by check:
Press Release - Dec 8, 2017 - Philadelphia (Presseerklärung)
PRESS CONTACTS: Joe Piette 610-931-2615; Gabe Bryant gabrielBryant.email@example.com mailto:gabrielBryant.firstname.lastname@example.org
"Have Black Lives Ever Mattered" is the name of Mumia Abu-Jamal's latest book but it is also the theme of events this weekend highlighting the struggle of prisoners in the US, including political prisoners such as Abu-Jamal.
First is a Teach-In on Friday, Dec 8, 6 - 9 pm at the historic Church of the Advocate, 1801 W. Diamond St in North Philadelphia.
On Saturday morning, Dec. 9, a crowd will gather near the notorious Rizzo statue at 1401 JFK beginning at 11am where a rally and march will demand that Pennsylvania "Stop the Murder of Mumia Abu-Jamal."
Friday evening panels and speakers include:
Mumia's Case: Now and Going Forward:
International and Immigrant Solidarity:
Saturday's Forum includes
Actions for Abu-Jamal are also taking place in several countries this weekend.
Members of the international community concerned with human rights, including Angela Davis and Danny Glover, are also signing on to a letter initiated by the Frantz Fanon Foundation in France directed to Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf and Philadelphia DA-elect Larry Krasner. The letter calls for compliance with recent court orders that the DA's office release all files relevant to Abu-Jamal's case. It further calls for Abu-Jamal's release from incarceration, citing mounds of evidence of his innocence and police, prosecutorial, and judicial misconduct. The letter also voices concern over the lack of timely treatment by prison health officials of his hepatitis C, which has left him with cirrhosis of the liver, posing a potential threat to his life.
PACK THE COURTHOUSE FOR MUMIA!
Judge Tucker has ordered an evidentiary hearing for Wednesday, January 17, 2018, 8:00 - 11:00 AM at Philadelphia Municipal Courthouse. Tucker has ordered the DA's office to show cause why it should not locate and produce Gayle McLaughlin Bartholdi, Esq., to present testimony regarding the content of the documents the DA's office says it cannot locate in reference to her memorandum to Ronald D. Castille on March 27, 1990.
Ronald Castille is a former Philadelphia District Attorney who became a PA Supreme Court judge. He refused to recuse himself when Mumia's case went to the PA Supreme Court despite having been the DA during Mumia's prior appeal.
The Supreme Court has since ruled that behavior unconstitutional in a different case where Castille did the same thing.
The people's movement forced the government to take Abu-Jamal off death row in 2011, but his freedom was not won – the state re-sentenced Mumia to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.
When he came down with hepatitis C, the people fought for and won hep C treatment, but now he suffers from cirrhosis of the liver and he continues to suffer pain and severe itching from a skin ailment.
As with thousands of other prisoners, life without parole is still a death sentence, especially when decent health care is denied for people behind bars.
Sponsors include: International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal; International Action Center; Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Coalition (NYC); Campaign to Bring Mumia Home; Educators for Mumia Abu-Jamal; Mobilization to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal, Food Not Bombs - Solidarity
Freedom for Mumia - Freedom for All!
December 9, 2017, will already be the 36th anniversary of the arrest and incarceration of the former Black Panther and African American journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal. The struggle for his freedom also stands for 36 years of struggle against racist police violence, political repression, the death penalty, and mass incarceration in the United States. At the core of the struggle for Mumia's freedom is the struggle to overcome a slavery that has never really ended and exercises its modern form in the guise of the prison industry of the country. Much was achieved in the years that have passed: We could avert for good the execution of Mumia's death sentence. It turned out to be possible to attain medical treatment for Hepatitis C for Mumia and hundreds of other prisoners in the State of Pennsylvania. Currently, Mumia and the movement are fighting for the reconsideration of the deeply flawed trial that led to his false conviction in 1982. At present, one special focus in these efforts is on files of the District Attorney's Office that the prosecution illegally refuses to hand over to the defense.
MUMIA - You Will Never Walk Alone!
Free Mumia Now! Stop the DA Office's Cover-up!
July 7, 2017 - Rally & March for Mumia in Philadelphia, PA, USA
July 7: MARCH & RALLY! 12 noon at the DA’s office across from City Hall
Keep the pressure on! The people forced the courts to take Mumia off death row!
THIS FIGHT COULD WIN HIS FREEDOM!
First Assistant District Attorney Kathleen Martin at 001 - 215-686-8000 with this message:
Mobilization4Mumia@gmail.com , 001 - 215-724-1618; in New York, 001 - 212-330-8029
Urgent Press Release on Mumia Abu-Jamal
Joe Piette: 610-931-2615
Mumia's Treatment Expected, But *_Not Yet_* Delivered
Delayed Hep C Treatment Leads to Death
On March 31, 2017, Mumia Abu-Jamal received a cruel mix of bad and good news from a prison doctor. The doctor shared the results of his recent lab test, which showed clear signs of cirrhosis, an irreversible scarring of the liver caused by his untreated Hep C. The doctor also informed Mumia that he would be treated with the Hep C cure within a week
The impending victory was bittersweet. Mumia shared his feelings with those he called that morning. His rare expression of emotion was also captured in an interview interview... that evening in which he stated: "My first reaction was really shock, anger, disbelief. If I had been treated in 2015, if I had been treated in 2012 when they say they first diagnosed it, I wouldn't be this far advanced. ...For a lot of guys and a lot of gals inside the Pennsylvania prisons, I think it is a step forward and a great day, but I assure you I don't feel that way right now."
The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections' apparent concession to treat Mumia with the Hep C curewas achieved through an agonizing two-year battle waged in the streets and through two court suits. However, Mumia has *_not yet been treated_* and will not be without our vigilance and continued protests.
If he is treated immediately, Mumia can expect to return to good health; but patients who have developed cirrhosis are more susceptible to developing liver cancer in the future and have to be monitored for the rest of their lives.
In the face of Mumia's battle for humane medical treatment, the PA DOC had adopted a retaliatory posture and accelerated its efforts to silence and kill Mumia by delaying treatment. Because of the failure to treat his Hep C, over the last two years, Mumia fell into a diabetic coma, experienced severe brain swelling, and suffered a painful skin condition that disfigured his body. In the last year, he and others in the prison have been forced to bathe in and drink water that is often visibly contaminated - "black and turbid," as Mumia put it.
Many of Mumia's supporters around the world believed that Mumia received treatment back in early January 2017 because a federal judge rdered the DOC to provide it. But a stubborn and stonewalling PA DOC refused to comply with the ruling. The judge ordered Mumia's immediate treatment citing the unconstitutionality of the PA DOC's Hep C treatment protocol. The judge denounced the DOC, whose protocol "deliberately delays" treatment with the standard Hep C cure until the prisoner experiences bleeding of the throat, among other deadly symptoms. The decision cited eight amendment rights violations prohibiting cruel and usual punishment.
The ongoing foot dragging by the PA DOC was confirmed this week. On the same day that the prison doctor delivered the news to Mumia, PA DOC attorneys filed a scandalous motion in court. They asked the judge to dismiss Mumia's legal health suit on the basis that the DOC had decided to treat Mumia under the guidelines of pre-existing HEP C treatment protocol —the same protocol that the judge previously declared "unconstitutional."
These arguments demonstrate the DOC's attempt to undermine the legal implications of Mumia's legal suit and the DOC's own misconduct. When Mumia is finally administered the cure, his treatment will establish precedent for the treatment of thousands of PA prisoners with Hep C, as well as people on the outside who can't afford the medication. Mumia's battle has exposed the deadly crisis of medical care in the prisons and the barbarism of the U.S. for-profit health care system that charges 90K for the Hep C cure.
As history shows, a judge's ruling does not ensure its implementation, especially when it challenges ruling interests. For this reason, we are asking you to take action and demand immediate Hep C treatment for Mumia, for the more than 700,000 prisoners with Hep C across the country and the millions suffering with the untreated, deadly disease outside the prison walls in our neighborhoods.
This moment has also created an opportunity to uphold Mumia's innocence and fight for his freedom. On Monday, April 24, 2017, the day of Mumia's birthday, his attorneys will challenge his conviction in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. We are calling on you to join us at the courthouse and in the streets.
On April 24, his conviction attorneys, Judith Ritter and Christina Swarns (NAACP Legal Defense Fund), will take advantage of the recent Supreme Court ruling in /Williams v. Commonwealth/ to show how judicial and prosecutorial bias in all of Mumia's state appeals have kept him behind bars. This important Supreme Court ruling determined that a judge cannot fairly adjudicate an appeal of a case for which he/she has previously had a personal role in a significant prosecutorial decision.
In Mumia's case, Judge Ronald Castile, the same judge under scrutiny in /Williams v. Commonwealth/, also was the elected Philadelphia District Attorney responsible for the arguments made to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in 1988 to uphold Mumia's trial conviction and death sentence. Castille had also been a high-level assistant DA during Mumia's trial. After he was elected to the PA Supreme Court in 1994, he was involved in deliberating and denying all of Mumia's state appeals against the decisions of "hanging judge" Albert Sabo and Pamela Dembe who upheld Mumia's death sentence and denied him a new trial during multiple appeals between 1998-2007. These judges denied a new trial despite Mumia's innocence, that evidence of his guilt was manufactured by the police and prosecution and that he had been denied virtually every due process right and protection owed under the U.S. constitution.
During the appellate filing, Mumia's attorneys asked Judge Castille to recuse himself because of this bias, citing also the judge's close relationship with the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), which lobbied for Mumia's conviction.The FOP funded Castille's bid for the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and honored him as "Man of the Year." In response to Mumia's attorneys, Justice Castille responded stridently that he would not step aside,noting that he should not be singled out because five of the seven judges of that Pennsylvania Supreme Court were also supported by the FOP. It is no surprise that the court did not find one single error in the original court proceedings and thus upheld hisdeath sentence and denied Mumia the right to a new trial.
We demand the immediate release of Mumia!
We are calling on you to do two things
Signers in solidarity,