Joinders Submitted For Mumia’s Freedom
In 2002, Six Unions Demanded: Let the Evidence of Mumia’s Innocence Be Heard!
Their Amicus Brief Supported Labor’s Principle: An Injury To One Is An Injury To All
Now: Joinders Filed Adding New Signatories to the Union Amicus Brief
Also: Green Party USA Signs Joinder
A Report To the Movement, Feb 05, 2003:
Labor friends of Mumia have now received stamped copies of two joinder filings, indicating that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, after months of foot-dragging and attempted sabotage, has finally acknowledged receipt of documents in which individuals and organizations have added their names to a very compelling amicus (or “friend-of-the-court”) brief proclaiming the innocence of journalist and former Black Panther Mumia Abu-Jamal. The amicus brief–submitted by six unions–and joinders were in support of Jamal’s 2002 appeal, which is still pending before Pennsylvania’s top court.
Filed in August 2002 by six unions, the amicus brief outlines the massive weight of evidence–overlooked or rejected by the courts in 2001 and 2002–which convincingly shows that Mumia Abu-Jamal, “Voice of the Voiceless”, like many other victims of the corrupt criminal justice system, was framed by the cops and prosecutors for a crime he didn’t commit. Starting with the confession of Arnold Beverly, the actual killer in the crime for which Mumia was sent to death row in 1982, the brief reviews the key points and unequivocally states, “The entirety of the evidence conclusively demonstrates that Mumia Abu-Jamal is innocent of the crimes for which he was convicted.”
Written by noted California defense attorney Michael F. Yamamoto, the brief is introduced by statements by each of the six unions–Local 10 (San Francisco) of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU), Golden Gate Branch 24 of the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC); the National Union of Journalists of the United Kingdom (Britain); the International Longshoremen’s Association Local 1422–dock workers of Charleston South Carolina; and two independent unions–“Zahyst” and “Uspih”–representing bottling plant and public workers in the city of Kiev, Ukraine.An Injury To One Is An Injury To All Assembled quickly under the pressure of a deadline by the court, the original list of union signatories to the amicus brief is short, but not unique in the labor movement in supporting Mumia’s case–many unions have done so in varying ways. These six unions responded to the urgent call for action when asked to do so, thereby adding to their other actions in Jamal’s defense. In April 1999 Local 10 of the ILWU spearheaded a West Coast port shutdown, and its members then led a mass march in San Francisco to free Mumia. The British National Union of Journalists has made Mumia an honorary member, noting in their statement that “the NUJ believes that Mumia Abu-Jamal’s continued incarceration now is, in large part, attributable to his journalistic activities.” The statement by the predominantly black dock workers of ILA Local 1422, fresh from a hard-fought victory over perhaps the most racist and union-busting state government in the American South, summed it up best: “Local 1422 knows that an injury to one is an injury to all.” (The complete Amicus Brief, with union statements, is available at www.LaborActionMumia.org, and other Mumia web sites.)
The filing of the appeal and amicus brief was marked last August by a press conference and rally held on the steps of Oakland’s Alameda County Court House, historic site of Black Panther Party rallies. The racist court that “tried” Mumia in 1982–presided over by a judge who said, “yeah, and I’m gonna help ’em fry the n____r”–was compared to the infamous 1857 pro-slavery US Supreme Court finding in the Dred Scott case, which said that the black man “had no rights that the white man was bound to respect.”Court Finally Acknowledges Joinders The joinders are official actions which add the names of organizations and individuals as co-signatories to the already-filed amicus brief of the six unions. Two recent joinder submissions have now been confirmed as “received” by the court (which means they are on the court docket). The first was the 76 individuals who put their names to a multiple-signer joinder at the National Conference on Civil Liberties, Democratic Rights and the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal, held in Berkeley California in November 2002. The conference was sponsored by, among others, the Mobilization to Free Mumia; and the joinder signatures were collected, bound and sent in by the Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal (LAC). The second joinder action was a collection of 99 individual signers gathered over several months, also by the LAC, at events such as an anti-war rally/concert in San Francisco’s Dolores Park last summer, and the Project Censored Awards Ceremony in Fall 2002.
Both of these LAC joinders (175 names total) were sent in mid-December, coupled with motions demanding relief from timeliness requirements (which have been accepted). This was necessary to prevent the court clerk from sending the joinders back as untimely. There is not in fact any timeliness requirement on submitting a joinder to an already-filed amicus brief, but the courts will go to any length to prevent solidarity with Jamal’s case. The clerk also demanded more copies which had to be separately bound and sent.
Faced with attached motions and certificates of service (indicating copies to all parties in the case), the court voted 6-1 to accept two earlier joinder submissions. The prosecution has also been forced to inform the court it will not oppose the filing of joinders by the LAC. This represents a major victory and insures that the court will accept future joinders, so it is more important than ever to send in as many as possible as soon as possible. The court has to read and review each joinder submitted in order to decide whether or not to accept it so persons/organizations submitting them can be confident that they are having an impact on the court.Green Party USA Signs Joinder In the time since these two joinders were submitted last December, numerous others have been received for immediate submission. These include a joinder from the Greens/Green Party USA, which added its name by vote at a recent national leadership gathering. The joinder was signed on behalf of the Greens by Mitchel Cohen of the Brooklyn Greens and New York City anti-spray coalition. New batches of joinders have also come in to the LAC from San Diego California friends of Mumia, from the Cleveland Ohio LAC, and from dedicated individuals around the country. The International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal, Chicago Coalition to Free Mumia and others have also been collecting their own joinders.
Help Collect Joinders For Mumia’s Freedom Signatures, collected on individual joinder forms, can be sent to: Mumia Joinders, PO Box 16222, Oakland CA 94610. The LAC will copy, bind and submit them in batches with the required motion and fee. The joinder form used for this should say “The undersigned authorizes the Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal to act on his/her behalf as necessary to file this Notice of Joinder.” Joinder forms bearing this line, as well as copies of the amicus brief and joinder instructions, can be obtained at: www.LaborActionMumia.org. or by writing to the above address. Please send a donation when requesting or submitting joinders, to help with copying, mailing and filing fee costs.
Unions: It’s Labor’s Fight, Free Mumia! Unions are especially invited to add their names to the six-unions’ amicus brief for Mumia’s freedom. Mumia himself is a union member (National Writers Union), and he honors picket lines. He refused to be interviewed by an ABC-TV news crew in 1998, despite the urgency of his case and the threat of death hanging over him, because the technicians in NABET/CWA were locked out at the time. If you are a union member, get your local exec board to request a presentation on Mumia’s innocence (including the video of Arnold Beverly’s confession), as well as amicus briefs, joinder forms and instructions. There is also an article on Mumia which can be submitted for publication in union news letters and periodicals. Contact the LAC at our web site or address below for details.
Individuals and organizations can also send in their own joinders or batches of joinders (in which case, leave out or paste over the LAC authorization line). If doing this, remember that the submissions need to be sent in with the requisite copies, motion, filing fee of $40, etc. Contact the Joinders campaign with any questions. Or, if you’re reading this on a Mumia web site, look on the site for joinder forms and instructions.
Let’s show the courts, in our thousands, that Mumia must be Free!
Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal. PO Box 16222, Oakland CA 94610.www.LaborActionMumia.org. February 2003. Labor donated