Supreme Court lets Mumia Abu-Jamal’s conviction stand
April 6, 2009 by emmarosenthal
There will be a book release/birthday party for
Mumia and to free all political prisoners on
Saturday, April 25, 5-7 pm at the Southern
California Library for Social Studies, 6120 S
Vermont, L.A. We must continue to mobilize for
Mumia and all political prisoners, and against
the death penalty. We will be showing "In Prison
All My Life" a new British documentary about
Mumia, will have copies of the book for sale,
will be signing birthday cards to send to Mumia
and planning further action. Updates on other
political prisoners including the SF8, Puerto Rican POWs, etc.
From: MUMIA ABU-JAMAL <email@example.com>
Subject: !*Supreme Court lets Mumia Abu-Jamal's Conviction Stand
Date: Mon, 6 Apr 2009 13:40:06 -0400
via: Sis. Fatirah
According to this article just released, the US
Supreme Court announced that they will not give
further consideration to Mumia's appeal for a new
guilt-phase trial (in legalese, they won't grant
his "Petition for a Writ of Certiorari")
However, it also says that the US Supreme Court
may still consider the DA's appeal to re-instate
the death penalty without a new sentencing hearing!
This is another terribly dark day for justice in this country!
Supreme Court lets Mumia Abu-Jamal's conviction stand
By Bill Mears
CNN Supreme Court Producer
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Supreme Court has let
stand the conviction of former Black Panther
Mumia Abu-Jamal, who was sent to death row for
gunning down a Philadelphia police officer 28 years ago.
He contends blacks were unfairly excluded from
the jury, and has been an outspoken activist from behind bars.
The justices made their announcement Monday.
A separate appeal over whether Abu-Jamal deserves
a new sentencing hearing has not been taken up by the high court.
Prosecutors are appealing a federal appeals court
ruling in Abu-Jamal's favor last year on the
sentencing issue. The case has attracted
international attention amid charges of
prosecutorial misconduct and the inmate's outspoken personality.
Abu-Jamal, a former radio reporter and cab driver
has been a divisive figure, with many prominent
supporters arguing that racism pervaded his
trial. Others countered Abu-Jamal is using his
skin color to escape responsibility for his
actions. They say he has divided the community
for years with his provocative writing and activism.
He was convicted for the December 9, 1981, murder
of Officer Daniel Faulkner, 25, in Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania. Faulkner had pulled over
Abu-Jamal's brother in a late-night traffic stop.
Witnesses said Abu-Jamal, who was nearby, ran
over and shot the policeman in the back and in the head.
Abu-Jamal, once known as Wesley Cook, was also
wounded in the encounter and later confessed to
the killing, according to other witnesses testimony.
Abu-Jamal is black and the police officer was white.
Incarcerated for nearly three decades, Abu-Jamal
has been an active critic of the criminal justice system.
On a Web site created by friends to promote the
release this month of his new book, the
prisoner-turned-author writes about his fight.
"This is the story of law learned, not in the
ivory towers of multi-billion dollar endowed
universities but in the bowels of the slave-ship,
in the hidden, dank dungeons of America."
His chief defense attorney, Robert Bryan, had
urged the justices to grant a new criminal trial,
but the high court offered no explanation for its refusal to intervene.
"The central issue in this case is racism in jury
selection," Bryan wrote to supporters last month.
Ten whites and two blacks made up the original
jury panel that sentenced Abu-Jamal to death.
A three-judge panel of the 3rd Circuit U.S. Court
of Appeals a year ago kept the murder conviction
in place, but ordered a new capital sentencing
hearing. That court ultimately concluded the jury
was improperly instructed on how to weigh
"mitigating factors" offered by the defense that
might have kept Abu-Jamal off death row.
Pennsylvania law at the time said jurors did not
have to unanimously agree on a mitigating
circumstance, such as the fact that Abu-Jamal had no prior criminal record.
Months before that ruling, oral arguments on the
issue were contentious. Faulkner's widow and
Abu-Jamal's brother attended, and demonstrations
on both sides were held outside the courtroom in downtown Philadelphia.
Many prominent groups and individuals, including
singer Harry Belafonte, the NAACP and the
European Parliament, are cited on his Web site as
supporters. Prosecutors have insisted Abu-Jamal
pay the price for his crimes, and have
aggressively resisted efforts to take him of death row for Faulkner's murder.
"This assassination has been made a circus by
those people in the world and this city who
believe falsely that Mumia Abu-Jamal is some kind
of a folk hero," said Philadelphia District
Attorney Lynne Abraham last year, when the
federal appeals court upheld the conviction. "He
is nothing short of an assassin."
WE'VE GOT TO KEEP MOVING FORWARD, TO BUILD THIS
MOVEMENT LARGER THAN EVER, TALK ABOUT MUMIA'S
CASE, CONTACT THE ICFFMAJ TO HELP DO WORK ON
MUMIA'S BEHALF, HOST A BOOK PARTY, HELP
FUNDRAISE, HELP WITH PHONE CALLS, DO P.E. AROUND
MUMIA'S CASE, DON'T JUST WEAR THE T-SHIRT OR
SPORT HIS PIX ON YOUR WEB PAGE, THERE IS A JOB
FOR EVERYONE TO DO, ORGANIZE, ORGANIZE, ORGANIZE!! -- Sis. Marpessa
The Power of Truth is Final -- Free Mumia!
Audio of most of Mumia's essays are at: http://www.prisonradio.org