Wednesday, August 30, 2006

An Open Letter To The "French Delegation" For Mumia

The revolution you dream of is not ours. You don't want to change the world, you want to blow it up.”

(Pic Of Scam Africa with Previous French Delegation)

Here we are just weeks after the 62nd anniversary of the liberation of Paris by American forces and we are thanked by the French via a delegation sent to agitate for a convicted cop-killer and cult apologist.

Of course, the name Mumia Abu-Jamal evokes different emotions depending upon where the name is spoken.

In Philadelphia, the man’s place of birth, the name evokes anger, frustration, and loathing.

In Paris however, this very same name brings forth a surge of sympathy and outrage, not just at the name of the man, but the sense of injustice that surrounds him and pervades his “case”.

Why the disparity?

I used to call myself a “supporter” of Mumia Abu-Jamal. More than that, I had dedicated myself, my talents, and my physicality towards the cause of his freedom. Or at least that is what I thought I was doing.

I had even gone so far as to immigrate, if you will, from my home in Virginia to Philadelphia, in an effort to display my dedication and further a cause that I thought to be undeniably righteous.

My efforts on behalf of Jamal started a decade ago. Unfortunately, they were efforts that were wasted upon a man who deserves not respect, but scorn, not freedom, but continued incarceration, not dedication, but abandonment.

Mumia is no hero. He is not innocent. He is not an advocate for peace, or freedom, or justice.

He is an apologist for a violent and backwards religious cult known as MOVE and he makes no pretense about his dedication to the group.

MOVE, started by an illiterate handyman and a dimestore philosopher, evolved from a cult of ideas, to a cult of personality, to a cult of death.

It is a group that despises gays, denies education to it’s children, “marries” off it’s young girls at 11 or 12 years old to a life of sexual subjugation, and is extreme in it’s authoritarianism. It is a group that claims to exist for the cause of preserving and protecting life, yet the reality of MOVE is that it’s history is awash in blood and wasted potential.

Mumia is a part of all of this and he makes no apology for it. That is, after all, how this gifted and talented journalist ended up driving a taxicab in a sleazy section of Philadelphia at 3:00am back in 1981.

Mumia turned his back on a promising career as a true journalist as well as his family and his children after falling under the spell of MOVE as the 1970's ended.

He idolized MOVE and was a fixture at the trials of it’s members who had themselves murdered a police officer and wounded dozens of other officers and firefighters during a “confrontation” that the cult had “initiated”.

So when he saw his own brother in his own “confrontation” with a police officer, what did a brainwashed and MOVE obsessed Jamal do? He shot the officer down in cold blood and extreme violence. The “voice of the voiceless” as judge, jury, and executioner. A murderer without a doubt.

How dare I utter such a definitive statement you might wonder?

Unlike many of you, I have studied the case from end to end, read all available transcripts, and tried for many years to ignore the truth of the case. But in the end the facts are the facts and while one is certainly entitled to their opinions you are not entitled to your own set of facts. I could not go on forever pretending. I could not go on with the facade.

Mumia shot down Officer Daniel Faulkner and than blew his brains all over the sidewalk. Those are the facts and I am not sorry if you do not like them.

It should trouble you that after all of these years and after so much in the way of funds raised, that the trial transcripts are not available to you in your own language.

It should trouble you that when you make your way across the Atlantic to support Mumia that you stand virtually alone, that when you stand upon the streets of Philadelphia with your “Free Mumia” signs that you are ignored or spat upon. It should trouble you that a city that is 50% African-American and extremely liberal, despises Jamal.

It should trouble you that Pam Africa receives your hard earned funds and does what with them? Do you know or have any idea where all of transatlantic donations go? I do. They go right into MOVE, to serve the interests of the group. They go to keep the leaders of the group living a high class lifestyle while most of the group lives in squalor and subservience. This, again, is the reality.

What is also real is that MOVE as a collective has attempted to silence me wherever possible through whatever means they have available. They and their supporters have made threats against myself. They have closed down whole message boards to keep me from telling the truth about them. And they have spread the most vicious and occasionally humorous lies about me. These were people who claimed to be my family, who claimed to love me, yet at the moment of my dissent, they turn on me with a savage rage.

So here is my challenge to you. I implore you to actually investigate the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. I challenge you to visit the following websites, for they offer an antidote to the poisonous propaganda as espoused by the likes of Pam Africa.

I challenge you to look beyond the propaganda towards reality. The quest for justice is a righteous one, but one that need not involve deceitful cults and their vile apologists.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

As Summer Ends

“...that she had without exception the most stupid, vulgar, empty mind that he had ever encountered. She had not a thought in her head that was not a slogan, and there was no imbecility, absolutely none, that she was not capable of swallowing if the Party handed it to her. “The human sound track” he nicknamed her in his own mind.”

-George Orwell, 1984

(Picture of former MOVE adherent John Gilbride whose murder remains unsolved four years after his death)

The above quote is yet another reminder of the modern inadequacies of the medium of blogging specifically, or writing in general. As someone who writes, I am constantly reminded that the best things to write either about someone, or to someone, have already been written. And written in a way that is sure to illustrate my own lack of talent in this field . I could name a few “human soundtracks” of my own.

Don’t quit my day job, yes I already know, but thanks for reminding me. My day job is not so bad anyway thank you very much!

Still, no matter how bad it seemingly is for me, I can authoritatively say that MOVE has had a pretty bad summer, much worse than mine. For while I was relaxing and re-connecting with distant family in what might be called our ancestral grounds, MOVE was trying to hide the fact that they publicly admitted to the abuse of children. They have also had to cope with the fact that
Mario, one of MOVE’s former devotees had to come out and make clear that he is no longer living in a “MOVE house”. A rather insignificant declaration if it were not for the fact that “not living in a MOVE house” is MOVE speak for not being a part of the Organization yet another defector to the dreaded “system”.

This summer also had surviving members of the MOVE 9 officially giving up on their legal pursuits, instead placing their hopes and focus upon the parole hearings that will occur in 2008. But given the extremely violent nature of the crimes for which they are imprisoned, the violence MOVE has perpetuated in prison, and the cloud of suspicion that lingers over the cult concerning the murder of John Gilbride, it is very unlikely that any of these MOVE members will come out of jail in anything other than a pine box. And for the record, and in case anyone had any doubts in their mind, that is the way I think it should be.

Now, as August ends I am officially old. Thirty years on this planet have I been wrecking havoc. Hard to believe and I think harder still for my mother to stomach, but alas here I am. Aside from a few extra pounds around my mid-section I am doing ok. Or so says the voices in my head.

But onto serious things. September, aside from being the month of the fifth anniversary of the September 11th attacks on the United States it is the fourth anniversary of the murder of John Gilbride. But while justice still eludes this case, the guilty know who they are and they must, by know realize that nobody is going to forget John or what happened to him, or that ultimate responsibility for his death remains squarely with MOVE’s leadership. So while I am confident that justice will hit it’s mark, I am also quietly satisfied that the person or persons who slaughtered a defenseless and innocent human being must go to sleep every night wondering if it will be there last under the free sky. Or perhaps better still, that the realization has set in that by murdering for MOVE’s corrupt leaders that were killing for those that would kill them.

Mario, Gary, do you not think that “Bert” wouldn’t sell your asses down the river Hades to save her own fat posterior? If not you are worse off than anyone could imagine.

To a good summer and a better fall.


New Book Offers Another View on Mumia

There have been a slew of books on Mumia and his case ranging from just medicore to downright silly. Now, after so many years, a counterbalance has arrived. This blog entry is not a book reveiew, as I have not had a chance to have read the whole book, but from what I have read, I can say that it clearly explains the Jamal case while exploring that political exploitation and racial politics that have surrounded it.

Check this book out. You can do so at here

Thursday, August 10, 2006

MOVE and Mario: No Sympathy For The Devil

Call him “Big Moon”. Kevin Hardy, Mario Hardy, just don’t call him Mario Africa.

It seems that little Mario has grown up and become a big boy and has decided to leave the “MOVE house” that he has lived in for the last couple of decades.

Good for him I guess. But one could also assume that he has also left his MOVE wife and children. Not the first time he has abandoned a family, but it is sad to think that his two beautiful kids will be left to be raised by MOVE and indoctrinated into the sects warped and abusive system.

And I suspect that his little message on the Philly IMC has little to do with what the general readers of the site think and much more to do with what the leadership of MOVE thinks.

Mario is a nervous man, and should be given that he was up to his neck in the vicious campaign waged against John Gilbride and his family and threatened Gilbride’s life just days before he was found murdered. The latter incident was reported in the Philadelphia Inquirer.

And now, as he has apparently slithered away from MOVE in at least some respects, he has even more to fear. For if MOVE’s leaders were to presume that their old devotee Mario bore them any ill will, that they would shit misery all over what remains of his little life. As it is, his children will be raised to view him with more than an eye of suspicion and contempt.

For fear is how MOVE operates, why it continues to exist, and why people are afraid to speak out against it. After all, Mario left the “house that John Africa built” for some reason, but don’t expect him to explain why with any degree of honesty any time soon.

It is worth noting, but not worth getting into, the rank hypocrisy of Mario’s missive. Some things are self-explanatory and he indicts himself pretty well on his own.

What Mario wrote that is worthy of a minute of time is his assertion “... that in the proverbial nutshell, you're either with MOVE, or you're with the police...

Well that about sums up MOVE right there I guess. Either you are for the rape of children, the murder of civil servants, the terrorizing of neighborhoods, freeing plainly guilty killers, and endorsing a mythology conjured up by a madman, or you ain’t.

And no, why would anyone expect Mario to engage in any kind of “debate”? People who hold untenable and unreasonable positions usually are fearful of anything that might call into question their grasp on reality. This is especially true of those who adhere to authoritarian principles or who lack a degree of moral clarity. It is also a position often held by frauds who mouth the lies of those that they fear in hopes of self-preservation. As always with MOVE, fear is the abiding factor.

MOVE and Mario have sought to squash discussions of MOVE whenever and wherever possible, including taking the step of pleading with the Philly IMC to ban me from posting. Thankfully, the IMC has principles against this kind of naked censorship and MOVE was refused, but the cult’s attempts to stifle their critics should not go without being mentioned. The above only being a minor example of their antipathy towards free expression or thought.

Mario’s hypocritical and thinly veiled hysterics illustrate well the cracks within MOVE, and moreover, put on display, the kind of pathological state of being of those who remain, either by true allegiance, or fear, in groups like MOVE.

In a way it is pathetic, almost pitiful. But I cannot offer any sympathy for the likes of Mario and what he has allowed himself to be reduced to. This hollow, simpering, coward, a shell of a man, a soul rotted by lies.

He knows what was done to John Gilbride, and who did it, and he knows what kind of torture the Gilbride family has endured after John’s death at the hands of MOVE. So there will be no sympathy for the devil.

For he knows what MOVE is, and what MOVE has done, and yet for the public at least, he offers a romanticized and fallacious view of the sect that nobody, at this point, could possibly believe.

And he does this for purely selfish reasons, of that, one can be sure.

So you go ahead Mario. Keep up the facade. Keep up pretending. Keep on groveling at the alter of hatred and fear that is MOVE.

But remember, there are those of us out there who know the truth about MOVE and we aren’t being quite any longer. And unlike you, we are no longer afraid.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Some Rememberances Of Officer James Ramp

It was on this day in August of 1978 that MOVE members shot down James Ramp and wounded a dozen other police officers and firefighters. Here are some messages of rememberances for him.


We continue on in your memory. Rest in peace, Sir. Semper Fi.

Al Whitney
Yuma County Sheriff's Office, Arizona


I met James Ramp As a 7 year old boy. I was in the Young Marines, an organization that Mr. Ramp heavily participated in along with other fine officers and ex marines like Carmen Marzano of the Phila Bomb Squad, whose son I was good friends with.

I remember feeling the sorrow of that day, along with being in awe of his bravery and selflessness.

At 17 I joined the Corps, and even told Mr. Ramp's story to other members of my platoon at Parris Island when exchanging stories about hereoes.

My father, Jerry Watkins, was a friend of Mr. Ramp's as well. I still think of him to this day, at 40 years old. The world needs more Marines and more Offices like Mr. Ramp.

Semper Fi, Devil Dog

Kevin Watkins



I played on the ballfied named in your honor when I was a child.
I work on your streets in honor of you today. You are a hero. May God comfort and protect your family.

Philadelphia PD


Officer Ramp , you are not forgotten and will never be forgotten. You remain in our prayers and thoughts. God Bless you as you sleep in God's love and His Arms. Thank you for all your hard work dedication and sacrifice in protecting the citizens of Phila. You are a Hero.
Kathi Halligan Phila PA wife and mom of LEO



Let us not forget that MOVE did not start on May 13,1985 but August of 1978 at 33rd & Pearl. While we are continually reminded by MOVE about the "murder" of their followers, I fear the memory of this great man is quickly forgotten. James Ramp is a symbol of what was at that time the Greatest Police Department in the World who held in their ranks fearless men of honor. Rest in Peace James.




I would like anyone who visits this web site to know the unselfish bravery of this man. As police attempted to remove violent "move members" they encountered a burst of gun fire from a automatic rifle. Several firemen and police were hit by gun fire, Jim Ramp immediately postioned himself over the wounded fully exposing himself to mortal gunfire. He was sruck in the neck and fell back onto the sidewalk next to the telephone pole and died immediately. I witnessed this great bravery and I witnessed this great man die. His action was the most unselfish act a human being can give.I have never forgotten and will never forget.

Sergeant Vincent Lowry


Officer Ramp,
On today, the 27th anniversary of your murder, I would like to thank you for your service and sacrifice, not just as a Philadelphia Police Officer but as a U.S. Marine in WWII and Korea as well.

Semper Fi Devil Dog
A former Marine;fellow LEO



May you rest in peace. A hero such as yourself will always be remembered.

Detective Chris McMullin
Bensalem Police Dept.


God bless you for your service to our country and your community. You are a true hero to us all.

St. Louis City Police


Friday, August 04, 2006

MOVE Demo On Saturday

For some reason the following advertisment for the MOVE demonstration did not show up on there website nor the Mumia websites. Perhaps they are trying to keep their activities more of a secret after being confronted by angry crowds during recent demonstrations. Still, I do believe this info to be accurate and that there will be a demo.

This Saturday they will be demonstrating for the release of the eight remaining members of the "MOVE 9", who were convicted of, among other things, the murder of Police Officer James Ramp in 1978. The MOVE members are serving 30-100 year sentences and are elligible for in 2008. I would encourage everyone to drop by and let MOVE know how you feel.


This August 8th marks 28 years since the MOVE 9's illegal imprisonment. Join us in Philly on August 5th at noon on Market Street in between 5th andd 6th st. to demonstrate for their release.

As well as demonstrating on behalf of our family, The MOVE 9, we will also march around to the federal prison at 7th and Arch Sts. to join a demonstration on behalf of Antonio Negron, a Puerto Rican Independista---Ona Move, Ramona Africa

French Activists Re-Name Mumia Street For Daniel Faulkner

The naming of a street after the murderer Jamal apparently did not just stoke the ire of people in the United States. In France, a group made a point of going to the new Jamal street and covering the sign and naming it for Daniel Faulkner. An act of symbolism no doubt, but one that shows that the scam that is the Mumia movement is not wholeheartedly accepted, even in France.

Please visit the website of the group who carried out this act and show your support

They have video of the action and an explination as to why they carried it out.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

More Bad Pro-Jamal Propaganda From Dave Lindorff

(What follows is an article from Jamal apologist Dave Lindorff concerning the latest twist and turns in Jamal’s attempt to evade justice. My response to his distortions of fact are made in italics.)

Abu-Jamal's Appeal Moves into its Final Stage
by Dave Lindorff

The appeal of Mumia Abu-Jamal, the Philadelphia-based African-American journalist who has spent a quarter of a century on Pennsylvania’s death row after being convicted of killing a white Philadelphia police officer, is finally moving into its critical phase, in the federal Court of Appeals.

(At the time of the killing of Officer Faulkner, Jamal was more taxi cab driver and MOVE adherent than journalist.)

Attorney Robert R. Bryan of San Francisco, a veteran capital appeals lawyer who took over Abu-Jamal's defense in 2003, filed a brief on July 20 in the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia, laying out three arguments for overturning Abu-Jamal's murder conviction. The brief also argues for upholding a December 2001 decision by a lower Federal Court that overturned Abu-Jamal's death sentence--a decision that has been appealed to the Third Circuit by the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office.

Bryan lays out three claims, all of which challenge Abu-Jamal’s conviction for the 1981 shooting death of Officer Daniel Faulkner.

(More so, these claims make have to do with supposed procedural errors and allegations of bias as opposed to a direct assault upon the core facts of the prosecutions case. Facts that Jamal’s revolving door of defense attorneys have never been able to sufficiently address as the decades have passed and millions of dollars have been spent.)

First, he makes the indisputable point that prosecutor Joseph McGill, in his summation to the jury at trial, "unconstitutionally diminished the jury's role, misled the jury, undermined the reliability of the guilt-innocence determination, and sabotaged the right to the presumption of innocence and not to be convicted unless proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt" by telling the jury that they didn't need to worry about maybe being wrong about voting "guilty" because the defendant would have "appeal after appeal" and so a guilty verdict "may not be final."

(Here, either Lindorff is either willingly or unwittingly distorting the truth. The quotations from McGill that Lindorff is referencing occurred after Jamal was found guilty thereby nullifying Lindorffs or Attorney Bryan’s assertion of “guilt-innocence determination” diminish the role of the jury. At the point where Prosecutor McGill informed the jury that Jamal would have “appeal after appeal” Jamal had already been found guilty. And, as history has proven, McGill’s assertion has been born out as Jamal has literally had appeal after appeal and is still pursuing them long after the 1982 verdict and sentencing has been handed down.

This fact coupled with the rarified use of the death penalty in Pennsylvania prove McGill’s statements to be far more prescient a few decades ago than do Attorney Bryan’s and journalist Lindorffs’ do today

As Bryan writes in his brief, "By saying [that the jury decision] would not be final and telling the jury that a guilty verdict would be reviewed in `appeal after appeal,' the prosecutor incorrectly advised the jury that their role and responsibility was less than it was." This, he argues, "deprived Mr. Abu-Jamal of his right to trial by jury because unlike the jury guaranteed by the Constitution, his jury was told that they were not the final fact-finders." As he notes, "The presumption of innocence and the requirement of proof beyond a reasonable doubt are grounded upon the idea that doubts should be resolved in favor of the accused and acquittal."

(Again Lindorff follows the pattern of falsehood and wanders into the world of legal subjectivity and interpretation, all the while ignoring the facts of the case which point directly and without hesitation towards Jamal’s guilt. It is also worth pointing out at this point that while many may disagree with Attorney Bryan’s advocacy on behalf of Jamal, that he is doing his job, which is to essentially to spin the facts to the benefit of his client. If you don’t like it than your quarrel is with the adversarial system of justice and not Bryan or other defense attorneys. Lindorff on the other hand is a political animal whose support of Jamal is rooted in his own personal political proclivities and are not based upon an empirical acknowledgment of the facts of the case.)

Abu-Jamal's second line of appeal deals with the claim of racial bias by the prosecutor in the selection of the jury. The US Supreme Court has long established that if a prosecutor purposefully uses peremptory challenges to eliminate from the jury persons of a particular race, that is in itself adequate reason for overturning the conviction. In making the argument that such illegal activity occurred, Bryan shows that of 39 jurors considered by the prosecution, 15 were struck, and that of those 15, at least 10 (and probably 11) were black. Looked at another way, prosecutor McGill struck 71 percent of the blacks he had an opportunity to reject, but just 20 percent of the whites. Bryan writes, "This racial disparity is the type of `pattern' that supports a prima facie case" of race discrimination.

(What Lindorff fails to mention is that Jamal played a role in the placing of every single juror for his trial. To the extent that he himself even struck a black juror. Lindorffs also confidently or deliberately forgets to mention that Prosecutor McGill accepted at least four blacks for the jury, one of which was the aforementioned black juror who was struck by Mumia.Factually speaking, there is of course no way to tell how many of the people on the panel of prospective jurors was black, or how many of them were rejected by Jamal. It is also a fact that African Americans are by percentage are less likely to support capital punishment and are therefore excluded by Pennsylvania law to be jurors on a case that could result in such a penalty. While the ethicacy of this policy is open to debate, the fact remains that in 1982 it was a reality and likely affected the ultimate makeup of the jury that heard Jamal’s case.

What Lindorff also fails to mention is the fact that The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania has twice reviewed the case files in order to establish whether Prosecutor McGill acted with racially discriminatory intent. On both occasions the court sided with the prosecutors.)

Bryan cites a study (improperly rejected as evidence by the federal district court in 2001) of Philadelphia prosecutors' racial jury selection practices between 1981 and 1997. That study, by Prof. David Baldus (which resulted in the overturning of another murder conviction in Pennsylvania), found that during that 17-year period, which included Abu-Jamal's own 1982 trial, prosecutors struck 51 percent of black jurors and only 26 percent of white jurors—a damning record of unconstitutional racial bias. Furthermore, Bryan notes that even after Abu-Jamal's trial, the district attorney's office was using a training tape that taught new prosecutors how to remove blacks from jurors and to avoid getting caught practicing racial discrimination. (The trick, the tape said, was to keep contemporary notes and to write down some non-racial reason for each peremptory strike of a black juror, to be offered as explanation should a Batson challenge ever be brought on appeal.)

(Here Lindorffs merely assumes what he should have to prove, which is precisely why the Baldus study failed to move the court for relief. While the statistic of the Baldus report are compelling to the point they should be studied and followed up on, they are not reason alone to grant Jamal a new trial.

The McMahon training tape Lindorff mentioned is abhorrent as it is candid and if there was something of validity within Bryan’s appeal this would be it. And if it can be proven that jurors on Mumia’s case were stricken during jury selection because of their race than I would be the first to call for a new trial.

Not that I believe that a new trial would do anything but affirm what those who have studied the case already know, and that is Jamal’s clear-cut guilt, but when it comes to infringement of constitutional rights than I believe it best to err on the side of caution.)

Bryan argues that since prosecutor McGill has never been required to offer a non-racial explanation for his apparent race-based jury selection in Abu-Jamal's trial, the Appeals Court should either overturn the conviction or, at a minimum, order an evidentiary hearing in federal court at which the prosecutor, now retired, would have to make a case that his 10 peremptory strikes of black jurors were all for reasons other than race.

Finally, Abu-Jamal and his attorney argue that bias on the part of the trial judge, Albert Sabo, who was overheard saying, after the first day of jury selecting, that he was going to help the prosecution "fry the nigger," denied Abu-Jamal a chance for a fair trial. Bryan notes that Judge Sabo, who oversaw the highest number of death sentences of any judge in the nation (31, all but 2 of them black), had a long record of racial bias. As Bryan writes of the 1995 Post Conviction Relief Act hearing on Abu-Jamal’s case which Sabo also presided over, "The hostility and bias of Judge Sabo could not have been more apparent. Journalists, both local and national, publicized the rank unfairness of the proceedings. The leading paper in Philadelphia observed: `The behavior of the judge was disturbing the first time around—and in hearings last week he did not give the impression to those in the courtroom of fair-mindedness. Instead, he gave the impression, damaging in the extreme, of undue haste and hostility toward the defense’s case.'"

(Now Lindorff raises the issue of the alleged racist utterances of Judge Sabo. Curiously enough this statement did not come to light until after Sabo’s death. Also, there is only one person to have claimed to have heard Sabo’s bigotry, Terri Carter. Mrs. Carter than a court stenographer is now a leftist radical and had been for some years before coming forward with her revelation. The lack of corroboration to the alleged statement coupled with the many years of silence on Carter’s part virtually ensure that no appellate body will allow it to be used as a cause for Jamal to receive a new trial.

What I find personally interesting about Terri Carter and her story is how Jamal’s supporters have embraced her story without question or consideration. This, while being completely dismissive of the three witnesses who claim to have heard Jamal confess. It is this kind of crass arrogance that has stoked the ire of Philadelphians for so many years as the “Free Mumia” movement presses it’s case throughout the world.

I also find it interesting that Lindorff would be so careless as to quote the Philadelphia Inquirer which has long held the editorial position that Mumia is guilty.)

Bryan concedes that under federal habeas statutes, federal courts may not remand cases to state courts for evidentiary hearings. But having demonstrated that Judge Sabo, who acted as the supposedly impartial "fact finder" in the PCRA hearing, was clearly biased, he writes that the appropriate remedy would be for a federal district court to re-examine the original facts presented at trial, and the new evidence presented during the 1995 PCRA directly–as well as evidence and witnesses which Sabo refused to allow--ignoring Sabo's earlier findings of fact.

Should the three-judge appellate court hearing Abu-Jamal's appeal support either of the first two claims of constitutional violations in his original trial, Abu-Jamal could find himself facing a new trial. Alternatively, in the jury bias claim, Abu-Jamal and his attorney have proposed the remedy of a new hearing in federal district court, probably before the same judge, William Yohn, who earlier rejected both claims, but who overturned Abu-Jamal's death sentence.

Judge Yohn had denied Abu-Jamal's claims concerning the prosecutor's "appeal after appeal" summation statement and concerning evidence of Judge Sabo's bias, which meant the Third Circuit Court had no obligation to hear either issue, but the higher court late last year over-ruled Yohn and certified both issues for appeal. It seems clear that at least two of the three judges assigned to Abu-Jamal's appeal case thought that there was some merit to the two additional claims. Yohn also rejected the claim regarding racial bias in jury selection, but did certify it for appeal to the Third Circuit.

Back in 2001, Judge Yohn overturned Abu-Jamal’s death sentence. Yohn's carefully worded explanation for his ruling overturning that conviction explained that Abu-Jamal’s penalty-phase verdict form and instructions, which were provided to the jurors to fill out, were flawed documents that, combined with Judge Sabo's flawed instructions, improperly led jurors to believe that unless all 12 of them agreed on a mitigating circumstance that might argue against a death penalty, they could not consider that circumstance in their deliberations. In fact, unanimity of the jury is only required for aggravating circumstances--those that argue in favor of a death penalty. Mitigating circumstances can be considered by any individual juror--an crucial difference since a death sentence must be reached unanimously. Thus if one juror finds a mitigating circumstance--for example that a defendant is a dedicated father to a young child--that one juror could decide to vote against death. Since the jury form's wording and the instructions from the judge both implied that unanimity was required before a mitigating circumstance could be considered, Judge Yohn held that the sentence was void.

The district attorney has appealed this ruling, hoping to have the death penalty reinstated by the Third Circuit. The DA's office, which for decades, and under several different district attorneys, has been obsessed with getting Abu-Jamal injected with lethal chemicals, makes the nit-picking claim that Abu-Jamal's habeas appeal of his sentence was flawed because it only mentioned the third page of the jury form, not the form in its entirety, so that Judge Yohn should not have considered problems in the whole form--only the third page. Bryan makes short work of this argument--which would have his client executed on a technicality--by noting that the habeas appeal in question specifically refers at least once to the form "in its totality."

(The Philadelphia DA’s office has worked to see that the sentence handed down by Jamal’s jury is carried out, which is their responsibility. This is done because Jamal quite clearly shot down Daniel Faulkner in cold-blood and not because of some kind of “nit picking” animosity.)

Both sides in the case will now have an opportunity to respond to the filings of the other side, meaning that the case is unlikely to go to a hearing until fall at the soonest. In the meantime, thanks to a motion by the district attorney, Abu-Jamal, who has insisted on his innocence in the murder of Officer Faulkner, remains in solitary confinement on death row, despite his death sentence having been lifted five years ago.

(Here it is not so much what Lindorffs says but what he did not say that is important. Jamal has maintained his innocence as far as the charges against him go, but it took him till May of 2001 to actually get around to denying that he shot Officer Faulkner. This denial however, raises more problems for Jamal than it solves.

First of all he fails to make any mention of the handgun he was in possession of the night of the murder, he also fails to mention hearing the shot that wounded him, and perhaps most importantly his re-counting of events runs counter to that of the other eyewitnesses with the single exception being Jamal’s own brother.)

It is worth pointing out that as the Bush administration has been trashing civil liberties and the Constitution, revoking the fundamental Common Law tradition of habeas corpus (the right to bring one’s detention to a court for a ruling on its legality), and the right to a fair trial before an impartial jury of one’s peers, Abu-Jamal’s case has become an increasingly important part of the struggle to defend those rights for all Americans.

(It is worth pointing out that if anything, Jamal’s case shows how the judicial system, despite it’s flaws, is dedicated to preserving individual rights. Lindorff’s oblique reference to the detainees at Guantanamo having something to do with Jamal’s case is absurd at best and a cheap and cynical oversimplification at worst.)

Dave Lindorffs is author of "Killing Time: An Investigation Into the Death Penalty Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal" (Common Courage Press, 2003).


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