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Nov 4, 2018

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Key points regarding Mumia Abu-Jamal’s current legal appeal

Philadelphia journalist and former Black Panther Party member Mumia Abu-Jamal was unjustly convicted and sentenced to death row for the death of a cop in 1982. Through the powerful work of the people’s movement his sentence was changed to life in prison without parole.  Current litigation on winning his freedom is explained below:

* Based on a US Supreme Court decision in Williams v. Pennsylvania,  Mumia’s initial petition was filed with PA Common Pleas Court in 2016.  As Philly DA, Ron Castille sought the death penalty for Williams. As PA Supreme Court Judge Castille refused to recuse himself from hearing William’s appeal, violating his right to due process.

 * Mumia’s appeal petition was first heard by Judge Leon Tucker on April 24, 2017.  In September 2017 Tucker ordered the Philly DA’s office to turn over all the files from Mumia’s case.

 * An initial search of 32 boxes of files uncovered evidence of the existence of a letter from DA Castille to then-Gov. Robert P. Casey requesting he speed-up signing death warrants to “send a message to all police killers.”  

 * Since January 2018 six additional hearings were held under current DA Larry Krasner, who angered many by appointing Castille to his transition team.   Krasner’s office has repeatedly asked for more time to search for Castille’s signed letter, missing from files.  Krasner’s office hired a paralegal to search hundreds of additional boxes and acknowledged more files may be missing.

* In late August 2018, Krasner’s office reported evidence of communication between Castille’s office and former PA Senator Michael Fisher regarding promoting legislation to further restrict appeals of capital convictions.  The evidence was a letter by a Castille ADA responding to Fisher’s request about the status of death row cases, including Mumia’s.  Missing was documentation of whom in Castille’s office Fisher made his request to.

* Yet it was known that on Sept. 23, 1988, DA Castille wrote directly to Fisher urging passage of an amendment to the death penalty law and conveying his fears about the impact of Mills v. Maryland, a U.S. Supreme Court case at that time.  Castille raised concern that “Mills may lead to the vacating of scores of death penalties.”  Abu-Jamal’s appeals not only contained a Mills claim – it became the basis for his eventual sentencing relief.

* Despite Krasner’s office’s failure to find the missing records, there is ample evidence establishing that a reasonable observer could conclude PA Justice Castille harbored disqualifying bias against Abu-Jamal as a person convicted of killing a police officer.

* Having been involved in Abu-Jamal’s post conviction litigation for over 30 years the DA’s office had a duty to preserve all evidence, including that favorable to the defendant. That they failed to do so is grounds for a positive ruling on Abu-Jamal’s appeal based on “adverse inference.”

 * Mumia’s was the most important capital case in Philadelphia history. It lacks credibility for the Krasner’s office to argue that as DA Castille, whose office aggressively fought Mumia’s appeals, was wholly uninvolved.  In 1988, DA Castille received a “Man of the Year” award from the Fraternal Order of Police who has arduously sought Mumia’s death. Mumia’s case also has international following.

 * Castille’s focus on sending a message to “police killers” is clearly both bias against a particular defendant and a class of cases.  It calls into question his ability to impartially hear their appeals.  The PA Supreme Court has held that recusal is required wherever there is substantial doubt as to the jurist’s ability to preside impartially.

The Fraternal Order of Police continue their efforts to intimidate the court to rule against Mumia by packing recent courtroom hearings.   Evicted from court on October 29 after throwing a tantrum, Maureen Faulkner used that incident to gain more press coverage.  The next hearing is scheduled for December 3, 2018 at Criminal Justice Center, 1301 Filbert St, Philadelphia.

Mumia needs everyone to stay vigilant and show up for him as this case continues.  For more information and to get involved contact: Mobilization4Mumia@gmail.com or visit & donate at  www.Mobilization4Mumia.com .

March 08, 2018

SIGN THE PETITION TO FREE MUMIA NOW

at https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/freemumia/

We, the undersigned individual and organizational members of the international community concerned with issues of human rights, call your attention to an egregious example of human rights violations in your respective jurisdictions: the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. Specifically, we call on you both, key officials with the power to determine Abu-Jamal’s fate, to:

1. Assure that all the District Attorney and police files relevant to Abu-Jamal’s case, be released publicly as the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas is reviewing the involvement of retired Supreme Court Justice Ronald Castille in a conflict of interest when he reviewed Abu- Jamal’s case as a PA Supreme Court Justice.

2. Release Abu-Jamal now from his incarceration. That given the mounds of evidence of Abu- Jamal’s innocence and even more evidence of police, prosecutorial, and judicial misconduct, his unjust incarceration, including almost 30 years on death row, his twice near-executions, his prison-induced illness which brought him to the brink of death, and the lack of timely treatment for his hepatitis-C which has left him with a condition, cirrhosis of the liver, which poses a potential threat to his life … we call for the freedom of Mumia Abu-Jamal now.