Attorney Bryan is a member of the Calif.ornia and New York bars, served as Chair of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty (Washington, DC), has specialized in death penalty litigation since the return of capital punish in the 1970s, has handled numerous murder cases (including over 100 trials).  Since 1994 he has been the legal commentator for ABC in San Francisco, and has spoken at various universities on human rights abuses and the death penalty, etc.

Attorney Robert R. Bryan’s associate, Jill Culbert, also specializes in death penalty litigation.  She is a native of the Philadelphia area, attended college on academic scholarship at Fordham University, New York, and then went, also on academic scholarship, to the Univ. of San Francisco Law school. She is an honors graduate of both schools.  She was hired by atty Bryan  on the recommendation of a professor who teaches death penalty law. He said she was the top student in his class. In 2001 Jill was at the Human Rights Commission, Geneva, Switzerland, where she lobbied for an international prohibition against the execution of juvenile offenders.

Howard Keylor
For the Labor Action Committee to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal
Post Office Box 16222
Oakland, California 94610

Legal documents, affidavits and other information on Mumia’s case can be found on our web page:


Curriculum Vitae of Attorney Robert R. Bryan

Robert R. Bryan has appeared as lead counsel in numerous murder cases.  Recently he began representing Mumia Abu-Jamal who is on death row in Pennsylvania, and is the attorney for many others under sentences of death.  Robert specializes in death penalty litigation at the trial, appellate and post-conviction levels and is a member of the bars of California, New York, Alabama and the United States Supreme Court, and a Fellow in the American Board of Criminal Lawyers.  He was Chair of the Washington-based National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty (1987-90), Vice-Chair (1991-93), and served 10 years on its Board.

Since 1994 Robert has been the legal commentator for the ABC affiliate in San Francisco (KGO-TV 7).  He has also debated and lectured on the death penalty at various institutions including Harvard, Stanford, U.C. Berkeley, S.M.U., Loyola (Chicago), Loyola (New Orleans), and Texas Southern University.  He has appeared on many television programs, e.g., History Channel, BBC, CNN, ABC, CBS, ABC, 20/20, 48 Hours, CNET, Reuters, NPR.

Robert has written various other articles, e.g., Taking A Stand, Verdict (Jan. 1998); What Price Justice?, Parliamentary Review (England, Oct. 1997); Waco: Inferno of Rights, San Francisco Attorney (S.F. Bar Assoc., Sept., 1993), Death Penalty Trials: The Innocence of Jerry Bigelow and Defense Creativity, Champion (Nat. Assoc. of Crim. Def. Law., Dec. 1993), Death Penalty Trials: Lawyers Need Help, Forum (California Attorneys. for Criminal Justice, May-June, 1989), Champion (Aug., 1988); In Trial By Fury: The Lindbergh Case, San Francisco Examiner (Apr. 3, 1996), he discussed the wrongfulness of the death penalty on the 60th anniversary of the execution of Richard Hauptmann for the Crime of the Century.  A longer version of the article appears in the book, Frontiers of Justice, Volume 1: The Death Penalty (Biddle 1997).  He demonstrated that innocent people are unavoidably put to death in any capital punishment system regardless of precautions to ensure fairness, in The Execution of the Innocent: The Tragedy of the Hauptmann-Lindbergh and Bigelow Cases, 18 N.Y.U. Rev. L. & Soc. Change 831 (1991).

For 15 years Robert represented Anna Hauptmann, who died at the age of 95 in 1994 in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.  She was the widow of Richard Hauptmann, the man executed in 1936 in Trenton, New Jersey, for the kidnap-murder of Charles A. Lindbergh, Jr.  Robert uncovered extensive evidence that the authorities knowingly prosecuted an innocent person and that the Trial of the Century was the greatest fraud in American legal history.  He pursued litigation in New Jersey attempting to officially right the wrong.  His early findings are the subject of The Airman and The Carpenter by Ludovic Kennedy (Viking 1985, Penguin 1986), various other books, documentaries and a movie.  One section of Murders Die by Denis Brian (St.Martin’s Press 1986) has an interview with Robert concerning the Hauptmann case and the death penalty.  Dedicated Defender, Verdict (July 1998) also contains an interview with Robert.  A chapter “The Defender” in the book, A Punishment in Search of a Crime by Ian Gray and Moira Stanley (Avon 1989), describes Robert’s courtroom successes in fighting capital punishment.  His work on four murder cases is featured in Modern Trials by Melvin Belli (West 1982).  Robert has testified as an expert witness regarding the minimum standards of attorney competence in capital cases, and advises other lawyers in death penalty cases.

Other clients of Robert include Larry Layton, the only person ever charged in the Peoples Temple case.  The case arose out of the death of Congressman Leo Ryan and over 900 people in Jonestown, Guyana, at the direction of Rev. Jim Jones.  Robert has defended a large number of clients against whom the death penalty was sought, with the first being an acquittal in the Ammons case in Birmingham, Alabama when he was 26.  He represented on retrial Jerry D. Bigelow, who had been on death row four years before being granted a new trial in People v. Bigelow (1984) 37 Cal. 3d 731.  Even though the evidence included the client’s 10 confessions to an execution-style murder, on May 9, 1988 he was found not guilty.

The activities and memberships of Robert have included:  Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in American Law; Who’s Who of California; Who’s Who in the World; Board. of Directors, National Coalition of Concerned Legal Professionals (2000-present);  Board. of Directors, Lycée Français La Pérouse (1997-98); Board. of Directors and Chair, Northern California Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, San Francisco (1985-1992); N.Y. State Defense Assn.; N.Y. State Assn. of Crim. Def. Law.; Adv. Council, Amer. Indians and the Death Pen. (1985-92); Adv. Bd., Fla. Assn. for Prof. Hyp.; Legal Adv. Bd., Internat. Soc’ty for Prof. Hyp.; Nat. Assn. of Crim. Def. Law.; Crim. Trial Law. Assn.; ACLU; NAACP; Amer. Fed. of TV and Radio Artists; International Churchill Society; National Lawyers Guild; Amnesty International; Chopin Foundation.; Glenn Gould Fdn.


Law Offices of Robert R. Bryan

2088 Union Street, Suite 4

San Francisco, California 94123-4124

415/292-2400; fax 292-4878