October 2003—The courts have once again shown their true face, by denying justice to Mumia Abu-Jamal. In a ruling on October 8th, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court rejected Jamal’s appeal, despite mountains of evidence that shows he was framed for a crime he didn’t commit. For the Court, evidence has no merit if it’s not “timely.” In other words, if you’re a little late getting to court with new evidence to prove your innocence, too bad. You’re dead…because, innocence is no defense!
The US Supreme Court said the same thing in Herrera v Collins in 1993, and an innocent man went to his death. The 1996 Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA), a Republican crime bill signed by Democratic President Bill Clinton, made timeliness official in death row appeals, and effectively killed the right of habeas corpus. So it was no surprise when William H.Yohn cited both Herrara and the AEDPA in denying Mumia’s federal appeal in December 2001. There’s no statute of limitations on murder committed by individuals, but to prove your innocence, you better be on time! (In Mumia’s case, betrayal of earlier counsel caused a delay in presenting key evidence, but the Court still gave thumbs down.)
In the October 8th decision, the Pennsylvania Court also refused to hear new evidence of the racism of the original trial judge, even though this evidence was considered timely! Terri Maurer-Carter, a Certified Court Reporter, states that, at the time of Mumia’s original trial, Judge Albert Sabo, said, with reference to Mumia, “Yeah, and I’m going to help ‘em fry the n****r!” Known as a “prosecutor in robes,” Sabo sent more people to death row than any other sitting US judge, including a disproportionately large number of African-Americans. But for the Court, the issue of racism in the original trial has already been decided, even though Mumia’s first appeal was heard before the very same racist judge!
Because of this outrageous ruling, the threat of death now looms once again over Mumia’s head. Although Judge Yohn overturned his death sentence in 2001, the state is appealing to reinstate it, and this ruling will help. According to Robert Bryan, Mumia’s lawyer for the federal appeal, if things keep going against Mumia, “they could kill him in a year or less” (Flashpoints, KPFA, 20 October 2003).
A brutally honest, antiwar, anti-racist and anti-imperialist journalist, Mumia was framed for a 1981 killing of a cop by corrupt police officers, who were in the process of rubbing out one of their own when Mumia happened on the scene. The prosecutor’s office helped concoct a false “confession” story to convict him. This was in Philadelphia, whose police department was prosecuted by the federal government for corruption, resulting in hundreds of cases being reversed, and top officers going to jail. Mumia’s frame-up, however, is not only unreversed, it extends through Ed Rendell and Tom Ridge to the highest levels of the government and Democratic Party. Thus for many reasons, the state seeks his silence even more than his death.
Killer’s Confession Proves Mumia Didn’t Do It…
But Courts Don’t Want To Hear It!
Here are just some points the courts have overlooked…
- A former mob hit man, Arnold Beverly, confessed! He said that Mumia had nothing to do with the 1981 killing. Beverly passed a lie detector test and is ready and willing to testify, despite having nothing to gain by doing so.
- Beverly says there were a number of police officers present at the scene, which shows that there likely was a police conspiracy to kill Police Officer Faulkner. This is corroborated by other witnesses.
- The physical evidence at the scene proves that at least two gunmen were involved in the shooting, thereby destroying the prosecution theory of the case and significantly confirming Beverly’s confession.
- Both of the prosecution’s original key witnesses have confessed that they did not actually see the shooting! Evidence indicates their trial testimony was the result of police coercion.
- Several witnesses (some of whom never testified) saw Faulkner’s real killers flee the scene.
- Evidence has emerged showing that Mumia’s so-called “confession” was fabricated by the cops
- There is no evidence that Mumia’s gun was used to shoot Police Officer Faulkner–no forensic tests were carried out.
We Need a Mass Movement to Free Mumia!
Labor Action Committee To
Free Mumia Abu-Jamal
Post Office Box 16222
Oakland, California 94610
Telphone: (510) 763-2347