By MOBILIZATION FOR MUMIA
Mumia Abu-Jamal will have another hearing in open court on Wed, Jan. 17 at 9 a.m. at the Criminal (in)Justice Center, 1301 Filbert Street, Philadelphia before Common Pleas Court Judge Leon Tucker, courtroom 1108.
In a court case that could eventually lead to Mumia’s freedom, Judge Leon Tucker has ordered the District Attorney’s office to present new testimony in reference to Ronald Castille.
Castille was a Philadelphia DA while Mumia’s direct appeals of his conviction were prepared and argued from 1986 to 1990. As DA, Castille was responsible for oversight of all the legal briefs and arguments presented by the prosecution to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and U.S. Supreme Court to uphold Mumia’s conviction and death sentence.
After election to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in 1994, Castille refused to recuse himself and denied every one of Mumia’s appeals of his post-conviction challenges from 1995-2012. An historic ruling in Williams v. Pennsylvania in 2016 by the U.S. Supreme Court found Castille’s refusal to step aside in another case was unconstitutional. In April 2017, Mumia’s newest appeal based on the Williams verdict came before Tucker’s bench.
Since Mumia’s initial hearing on this appeal, the DA’s office has repeatedly resisted full compliance with numerous orders from Tucker to produce all records related to the case. They claim there is nothing in their files showing Castille’s personal interest or role in Mumia’s case.
Yet documents the DA has produced do show evidence of Castille’s direct role. They include references to a March 1990 memo to Castille and a June 1990 letter from Castille to then-governor Casey related to death penalty cases including Mumia’s. When the DA claimed they could not locate the memo, Tucker ordered them to produce former Deputy DA Gaele McLaughlin Barthold to testify regarding the contents of the memo.
If the court finds for Mumia, his appeals could be reinstated and his criminal conviction thrown open.
CALL ON KRASNER TO DO THE RIGHT THING
Since the initial hearing, Philadelphia elected Larry Krasner to be its District Attorney. This progressive civil rights attorney has just taken over an office that has for decades embodied the racist legacy of Frank Rizzo. As DA, Krasner has the authority to withdraw his office’s objection to Mumia’s appeal, but there is no guarantee this will happen without a continued broad public pressure for him to do the right thing.
In an open letter sent to Krasner to request a meeting prior to the court hearing, Mumia’s supporters stated: “We firmly believe that Mumia Abu-Jamal is innocent and should never have been convicted and sentenced to death for the December 9, 1981 murder of police officer Daniel Faulkner. We believe that Mumia did not receive a fair trial and that his conviction was based on falsified and coerced witness testimony. We believe that the trial and post-conviction judge, Albert Sabo, was a racist. Mumia Abu-Jamal should be freed from prison. We will continue organizing and protesting until Mumia is released from prison and go home.
“But now, you could do the right and just thing and support Mumia Abu-Jamal’s Williams petition, which will reinstate his rights to appeal his conviction.”
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