Category Archives: Legal Updates

Breaking News: Philly DA’s Office finds file boxes in Abu-Jamal case

Mumia Box

The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office has informed a judge that prosecutors have found six boxes of files in the case of convicted cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal that may be significant to his appeals effort. Or, they could just be copies of existing documents.

In a Jan. 3 letter to Common Pleas Court Judge Leon W. Tucker, Assistant District Attorney Tracey Kavanagh wrote that the boxes were discovered Dec. 28, a day after Tucker ruled that Abu-Jamal can reargue an appeal before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

In his 36-page decision filed Dec. 27, Tucker noted that prosecutors had failed to produce two documents they were obligated to preserve while Abu-Jamal’s appeals were active. The unavailability of the documents could be prejudicial to Abu-Jamal, but the prosecutors’ conduct was not egregious, Tucker said.

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Update: Visit with Mumia, December 31, 2018

Click here for a Word document version of this report

“This must be what it feels like to have a judge deciding my criminal case who hasn’t been paid for by the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP).” – Mumia Abu-Jamal, December 31, 2018

January 2, 2019— I visited Mumia Monday afternoon (December 31) to discuss this incredible legal win— new rights to appeal— which is a huge and critical step on the path to his freedom after 37 years imprisonment, almost thirty in solitary confinement on death row. I also wanted to make sure he had a copy of Judge Leon Tucker’s 37-page decision to read.

Mumia first heard news of the decision on radio, reporting his petition was “denied in part, won in part.” After speaking with Wadiya (Mumia’s wife), he called and was surprised when I read him Judge Tucker’s order that he won new appeal rights! That Judge Tucker denied the Williams argument does not impact the decision and court order granting Mumia the right to re-appeal all the prior post-conviction issues that were denied by Justice Ronald Castille and rest of the PA Supreme Court from 1998-2012.

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Mumia Abu-Jamal Granted New Rights to Appeal!

By Rachel Wolkenstein, December 28, 2018

Click here to read Judge Tucker’s Opinion

Click here for a PDF of Rachel Wolkenstein’s Update

On December 27, 2018, Court of Common Pleas Judge Leon Tucker granted Mumia’s petition for new appeal rights, over the opposition of “progressive DA” Larry Krasner.

This is the first Pennsylvania state court decision in Mumia’s favor since he was arrested on December 9, 1981.

In his decision Judge Tucker ruled former PA Supreme Court Justice Ronald Castille, who was the District Attorney during Mumia’s first appeal of his frame-up conviction and death sentence, “created the appearance of bias and impropriety” in the appeal process when he didn’t recuse himself from participating in Mumia’s appeals. Judge Tucker relied heavily on Ronald Castille’s public statements bragging that he would be a “law and order” judge, that he was responsible for 45 men on death row, that he had the political and financial support of the Fraternal Order of Police, and new evidence of Castille’s campaign for death warrants for convicted “police killers.” The appearance of bias and lack of “judicial neutrality” exhibited by Castille warranted his recusal.

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Tribute to Howard Keylor by Eliot Lee Grossman

Click here for PDF of this document

Because Eliot’s remarks about Howard pertain directly to Howard’s work on behalf of Mumia, we reproduce them here separately from the rest of the tributes to Howard.

Tribute to Howard Keylor by Eliot Lee Grossman, Attorney-at-Law, Academic
Member of the Permanent Seminar for Chicano and Border Studies, National
Institute of Anthropology and History, Mexico City.

I first met Howard Keylor in the San Francisco Bay Area around 1978, after I graduated from law school, was admitted to the California Bar, and started working with the Partisan Defense Committee, a class-struggle legal defense organization politically supported by the Spartacist League (SL) just as the Militant Caucus in Local 10, of which Howard was a founder, was politically supported by the SL. Howard was an inspiring role model for a young “revolutionary” radicalized by the anti-Vietnam War movement and Civil Rights movement of the 1960’s. I deeply respected, and continue to respect, Howard as a truly proletarianized intellectual with many years of political experience in the trade-union movement as a principled oppositionist raising unapologetically the Trotskyist “Transitional Program” from the demand of 30 hours work for 40 hours pay, to ousting the class-collaborationist trade-union “misleaders,” to the call for a Workers Party to fight for a Workers Government.

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