By Dave Lindorff
The organization Roots Action has delivered asigned by 6700 people from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, across the country and around the world, to Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner, demanding that Mumia Abu-Jamal be allowed to re-argue his original appeal of his conviction to the state’s highest court.
The petition, which can still have names added, states:
Dear District Attorney Krasner:
As you know, respected human rights groups like Amnesty International have criticized the 1982 trial that convicted Mumia Abu-Jamal – as well as the corrupted appeals process that followed. Amnesty pointed to racial bias at the trial and “possible political influences that may have prevented him from receiving an impartial and fair hearing.” Since that tainted trial, Mr. Abu-Jamal has spent roughly 37 years in prison, much of it on death row in solitary confinement.
After [Pennsylvania Common Pleas] Judge Leon Tucker recently granted Mr. Abu-Jamal the right of appeal based on the appearance of bias in the appeals process, we were dismayed to hear you have decided to challenge Judge Tucker’s decision, apparently over concern that it might open the way for appeals by other less prominent convicted prisoners.
We urge you to drop your appeal of Judge Tucker’s ruling – and we ask you: Given the racial, judicial and political biases that have tarnished Mr. Abu-Jamal’s case from day one, isn’t nearly four decades behind bars more than enough?
Here’s the back story. In 1982 Abu-Jamal was tried and convicted by a panel of 9 white and three black jurors of the 1981 murder of white Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner. The trial at the time, under the notoriously pro-prosecution Judge Albert Sabo, was widely condemned as a travesty of justice, with the judge siding with the prosecution at every turn, even refusing to delay the trial in order to hear crucial testimony from a defense witness, a police officer whose written report the night of the hospital contradicted the testimony of police who had claimed Abu-Jamal had “shouted out” a confession in the hospital emergency room.
A few years later, as Abu-Jamal’s legal team was appealing his conviction and his death sentence, it was the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office that was responsible for fighting that appeal. The DA at that point was Ronald Castille, a Republican prosecutor who ran for election on a tough law-and-order platform of supporting the death penalty and who for four years oversaw that high-profile legal battle by his office’s appellate team.
The legal issue now is that after leaving the DA’s office after one term, Castille was appointed to a seat on the bench of Pennsylvania’s highest court, eventually rising to the position of Chief Justice before retiring in 2014…
For this rest of this article by DAVE LINDORFF, in ThisCantBeHappening!, the uncompromised, collectively run, six-time Project Censored Award-winning online alternative news, please go to:https://thiscantbehappening.net/6700-name-petition-delivered-to-philly-da-krasner-calling-for-fair-appeal-for-mumia/
Lindorff is author of the critically acclaimed(Common Courage Press, 2003), the only book about this case written by a journalist not allied with advocates on either side.