Thursday, May 31, 2007

Mumia Culpa

(My published letter to the "Philadelphia City Paper")

Dave Lindorff's editorial advancing the notion of a lack of "fairness" in Mumia's case is emblematic of the kind of infinite regression that grips the movement to free the convicted and unrepentant cop-killer [News, "Verdict Nullification?" May 24, 2007].

Some years ago, when I was myself an avid proponent of Jamal, there was no doubt in the minds of supporters that Mumia was innocent. After all, HBO had produced a documentary that shot Mumia into the mainstream and a well-funded and media-savvy legal team had spun a web of deception that had convinced thousands around the world that Jamal was a totally innocent victim of a racist, borderline police state, dedicated to snuffing out the so-called "voice of the voiceless."
But as years went by, and the whole ugly facade began to fall apart as the true facts of the case became more clear, the movement started to suffer the inevitable diminishing returns of a faux cause. And as the movement went into a state of retreat, so to did the arguments employed by it, now to the point where Jamal apologists such as Lindorff have to resort to questionable statistics and the race card in place of any kind of rational explanation as to how Officer Faulkner ended up dead on the street with a bullet from Jamal's gun in his skull.
By diverting the focus of attention upon allegations of procedural missteps and the almost meaningless concept of a "fair trial," people like Lindorff can keep from having to answer the pertinent question, the one that haunts this case and leaves most people with knowledge of the case to conclude that justice was done when Jamal was convicted back in 1982. The question, of course, is: If Jamal did not shoot Officer Faulkner, how did he end up feet away from Faulkner, his gun laying beside him with all rounds fired, a bullet from Faulkner's gun lodged in him, with numerous eyewitnesses fingering him as shooter?

Tony Allen

Sunday, May 27, 2007

"New" Witness In Jamal Case Speaks

by Tony Allen

As if the quarter century saga of the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal could get any stranger, enter the story of Pedro Polakoff.

In 1981, Polakoff was a photographer who was just doing his job when he made his way to the scene of Officer Faulkner’s murder in the early hours of a cold December morning.

Today, the pictures he took are central components of the latest propaganda campaign waged by Jamal supporters, chief amongst them is Michael Schiffmann, whose book "Race Against Death. Mumia Abu-Jamal: a Black Revolutionary in White America," contends that Jamal was the victim of a racist frame-up. It is not a new argument, but the pictures used to make the point are new to most people.

Schiffman says that he saw the photos on the internet and made contact with Polakoff. What he does not say is that he first saw them on my website.

Having seen the pictures and the spin Schiffman puts on them, I wanted to talk to the man who was behind the camera way back in 1981.

Thankfully, Mr. Polakoff was generous enough to speak at length with me about his pictures, his interpretation of them, what he knew about that area of Philadelphia at the time, and what he saw and heard during the early morning hours of December 9th, 1981.

There are a couple of things that jumped out at me right away as I spoke with Pedro. The first of which is how adamant he is about his story. The second thing that stood out is just how much Pedro’s story deviates not only from that of the prosecution, but also from the various stories spun by Jamal’s revolving door of defense attorneys over the years.

With that said, I still think Pedro’s story is one worth hearing and writing about. As someone who was at the scene of the crime just minutes after it occurred, his observations should not be dismissed out of hand and deserve to be explored.

Let me get a few things out of the way. Pedro has no discernible political agenda that he wants to espouse. He says he supports the police, but later on in the interview says that he "never had faith in the police of Philadelphia", that he has clear doubts as to the veracity of the judicial system, but has no problem with the death penalty.

Oh, and for two hundred dollars you can look at his pictures of the crime scene.

Until he met Michael Schiffman he believed justice had been served in Faulkner’s case. That is because he believed that Mumia Abu-Jamal was the passenger in Billy Cook’s Volkswagen.
According to Pedro, all of the people he spoke to that night, police included, believed the shooter had been in the passenger seat of Billy Cook’s pulled over car. He claims to have been told by a number of witnesses that Faulkner was shot by the passenger, who had rolled down the window of the passenger side of the VW bug and shot Faulkner in the head, and than rolled out of the car, onto the concrete and than took off running towards the subway. According to these same witnesses, there was another man who was seen crouched in a corner prior to the shooting.

Billy Cook, it was said, never got out of the car until the police removed him and according to Pedro, nobody was talking about Mumia running towards the scene, much less shooting Officer Faulkner, nor was there any mention, according to Pedro, of Jamal being shot.

Pedro arrived at the crime scene around 15 minutes after the shooting, before even the police investigators. He described the situation he observed upon his arrival as a "mess". The scene itself, he claims was compromised before and after it was cordoned off, as various individuals poked around the scene and moved evidence, including Officer Faulkner’s car which was moved by Officers a few feet down the street. Pedro himself, reportedly almost stepped in a pool of blood and told me that "nothing was secured at the scene".

At the scene, Pedro was given complete access to take pictures at the scene, with the police officers asking only that he not take pictures of the deceased Officer Faulkner out of respect, a request that Pedro honored. Aside from that request, he went about his buisness without being hindered in any way from doing his job, and was able to speak freely with the people on the scene, including the Police. One of whom told the photographer that there was a cab driver across the street who had seen the shooting and had identified the shooter.

At some point Pedro became aware of a fracas going on in the police wagon that was parked on the street. He said he heard screaming from the van, but could not discern if anything was being said. Pedro remembers being told that the "guy who shot the cop" was in the van putting up a fight and that the cops were "beating the shit out him". Something that at the time Pedro had no problem with as he had no sympathy for cop-killers. A few minutes later Pedro saw the police van drive off, in no particular hurry, with no lights or sirens blazing.

According to Pedro, 13th and Locust was familiar territory for him. He also makes the claim that it was, along with being a stomping ground for prostitutes, also a known haunt of the Philadelphia mob. He recounted to me seeing one prominent member of Philadelphia’s organized crime community talking it up with a Police Captain at the scene of the crime and he told me that it was well known that the Mob ran a club on that street.

Pedro bristles at the notion that there was damage done to the concrete by shots fired by Jamal. He says that there were no "divots" made in the concrete and when I told him that police investigators did, in fact, make note of such divots, he responded firmly that this was "bullshit". A response from Pedro that I would hear repeatedly as I re-counted trial transcripts to him during our conversation. He also firmly rejects the police contention of bullet strikes at 1234 Locust Street. He says there was no broken glass or any evidence at all of there being any bullet damage done to that door way as police had claimed back in 1982.

In fact, not only is Pedro dismissive of that aspect of the prosecution’s case, but he is dismissive of the ballistics evidence in general. He tells me that it would have been "impossible" for the "Plus P" bullet to have been removed from Faulkner’s skull because of how destructive that kind of bullet is. I ask him how he thinks this fact could have been lost on Jamal’s own ballistics expert and I am told by Pedro that he "hasn’t read much about the case", nor has he read the trial transcripts. But since he has been involved with Michael Schiffman and sold the German author access to his photos, along with producers of a documentary in production about Jamal, Pedro has become certain that Mumia is the victim of an injustice. One that he believes could be mob related.

Schiffman, makes much of the fact that Pedro went on at least two occasions to the District Attorney’s Office with his crime scene photos and was subsequently turned away. What I was surprised to find out was that Pedro had attempted to contact Jamal’s current attorney, Robert Bryan and that Bryan has not returned his calls.

One would think that with all of this hype about "explosive new evidence of how the police framed Mumia", that Bryan would at least have taken an affidavit from Pedro in order to preserve his testimony in legal form, but this has not been the case.

For me, it was interesting to speak with someone who was actually at the scene of the crime that has caused so much controversy and debate over the last quarter of a century. But as I go back through my notes of my conversation with Pedro Polakoff and than compare his perspective with the trial testimony I am left with more questions than answers.

His take on the situation, while certainly favorable for Jamal, also runs counter to much of what has been said in defense of Jamal through the years. Just one example of this is in the affidavits of both Billy Cook and Mumia. If Polakoff is correct, than either Mumia or his brother made erroneous statements in their affidavits as to the events of that awful night. And that is just one example of about a hundred that I could cite.

I am certain about one thing though, and that is the "Mumia wars" will go on for many years to come, this latest episode with the crime scene photos just being the latest chapter of a tragedy that does not seem to have an ending. Those who believe that Jamal was framed will continue to believe this and those who think Jamal a vile cop-killer will continue to push for his execution.

The truth, I am convinced is lodged in the mind of Mumia. It is a truth that we will likely never hear escape his lips.

Friday, May 25, 2007


by Micheal Smerconish

Danny Faulkner has had a good friend in the D.A.'s office. As a matter of fact, he's had three: Ed Rendell, Ron Castille and Lynne Abraham.

It was on Rendell's watch that Faulkner was slain 25 years ago. Rendell picked Joe McGill, a top-notch seasoned prosecutor, to try the case. McGill brought home a conviction and death sentence.

Castille followed Rendell. A highly decorated Vietnam vet, Castille could be counted on to support the memory of the slain Philly cop. Next came "tough cookie" Abraham, selected to replace "Ronzo" when he quit to run for mayor. She was elected to a full term in 1993, and been re-elected ever since.

To Abraham, the case has never been just another appeal. As the cop-killer has drawn Hollywood and international support, her office has never wavered.

She has assigned top-shelf assistants to protect McGill's verdict, as evident last week in federal court when Hugh Burns ably represented the people in the latest appeal.

Burns was impressive. But sitting two seats away from Maureen Faulkner amid the haggling over legal minutia, I started getting nervous thinking about the post-Abraham era. She says this is her last term, so the last chapter of the Mumia saga may occur on someone else's watch.
Look how long it's already taken. The murder was in 1981, the trial in 1982. In 1989, the conviction and sentence were upheld by the state Supreme Court.

Now, Abu-Jamal has turned his attention to the federal courts, where he's seeking habeas corpus relief. In 2001, federal Judge William H. Yohn upheld the conviction and rejected all but one of the 29 defense arguments. Abu-Jamal's conviction stands, but his death sentence has been overturned. Both sides are appealing.

It took six years for that trial- level opinion to get argued in the Court of Appeals here, and although history suggests it will take the three judges months before they render a decision, nothing in this case is routine. It's possible that it could take longer, and then, most certainly, one side will request that the entire appellate court hear the case.

Regardless of whether the full Third Circuit hears the case, one or both sides will surely appeal to the Supreme Court. That, too, will cause further delay.

And if, when every appeal has been exhausted, Yohn's decision stands, Abu-Jamal's conviction will remain, but the commonwealth will have to decide whether to hold a retrial for sentencing, or accept life in prison.

The practical effect of a sentencing-only trial is to have to re-try the entire case. Lynne Abraham's successor may face the critical decision of whether Abu-Jamal should live or die. For that reason, the Abu-Jamal case should be question No. 1 for any successor to Abraham.
One likely candidate accepted my invitation to weigh in. City Inspector General Seth Williams is the ex-assistant D.A. who challenged Abraham in 2005 and lost.

He was ready for my inquiry.

"Yes, I have thought about the murder of Officer Faulkner, the trial and appeals process often. I would speak with Mrs. Faulkner and see what her thoughts were because I am mindful of the stress that decades of appeals may cause. But I have a fixed opinion regarding the events of that night, and I agree with the jury's decision based on the law and facts applicable at that time."
Williams correctly notes that in the quarter-century of orchestrated denials on his behalf, Abu-Jamal has never accounted for his conduct on Dec. 9, 1981.

"I appreciate the defendant's right invoke his Fifth Amendment privileges, but . . . if he had testified to what most likely occurred, he would most likely be out on parole now.

"He came upon the scene, and his brother was in some form of a struggle with Officer Faulkner. Mumia shot Officer Faulkner in the back. Faulkner turned around shot Mumia and then Mumia shot Officer Faulkner in the head."

"Reasonable people may disagree on the morality, unjust administration and/or deterrent value of capital punishment. I think we should strive for a society without the death penalty. We definitely have too many aggravators. Nonetheless, absent Mumia or his brother testifying to show some form of self-defense, the jury's verdict was correct with the evidence presented and the settled law provided by Judge Sabo."

Williams' perspective is based, in part, on his own observation. "I went to his [post-conviction] hearings to listen for myself."

And so Mr. Williams has set the bar for 2009. *

Listen to Michael Smerconish weekdays 5:30-9 a.m. on the Big Talker, 1210/AM. Read him Sundays in the Inquirer. Contact him via the Web at

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Next Chapter In The Mumia Racket

There is a new website out profaning the internet with more pro-Jamal blather. The two responsible parties for this cyber-excrement are a bloated, dope-smoking, wanna-be anarchist, and an overly confident and factually deficient German who apparently has internalized, but not mastered the art of Nazi propaganda. In a Orwellian twist, the duo have constructed a site called the "Abu-Jamal News" and it is cliched as it is funny.

These two consider themselves "journalists", but I find them more comedic than journalistic. There are too few moments when I can do this kind of work and push out a laugh, but these two clowns have provided me with more than a few over the last couple of years.

Michael Schiffman, wrote a book on Mumia that has apparently blitzkrieged it’s way across the fatherland. And now Schiffman wants to inflict his brand of macabre humor/revisonist histrionics on the rest of us.

I truly wished I had the ability to get Schiffman’s screed published over here, so that people who have access to the transcripts of the case, and are not fed cherry-picked excerpts, can eviscerate this trash that one too many trees died to help create. Than we can send Schiffman back to his own screwed up country and he can goose-step around Munich with his little Mumia sign and carry his cup to collect Deutsche marks for his murdering hero.
The other "journalist" in this dynamic duo, is Hans Bennet. Bennett is a gross apologist for all things MOVE and Mumia, and was up to his round tummy in the hideous campaign to malign John Gilbride. I have pointed out his overt lies on this blog on a number of occasions before and will enjoy doing so again.

Now, on their website, these two journalists of the Mumiac beat are claiming to have "explosive new evidence" that show through pictures from the crime scene, evidence, proof that Mumia was framed. A pretty heady boast to be sure and one that should not be taken easily, but in the world of Mumia, facts are as loose and fast as the sex workers of 13th and Locust.

To take it point by point:

It is argued that the Officer holding the weapon is doing so in a way that would have destroyed finger-print evidence and that this same Officer perjured himself during the 1982 trial when he claimed that he never touched the metal pieces in order not to destroy fingerprint evidence. But what are the facts?

What jumps out at me first is that the Officer is holding the gun by the grip, which being 1981 was very likely made out of wood. And more than just likely, it was testified to at court that Jamal’s weapon had a wooden handgrip.

The Officer in question, Officer Forbes was holding both Jamal’s gun and Faulkner’s by the handgrips in his left hand which would be consistent with his training. For if you are to hold a weapon with a wooden grip, the only plausible place to hold it is the grip as it is the only non-metal place on the weapon.

Jamal’s gun was not able to provide fingerprint evidence as they had been smudged. Something that was known to Jamal’s 1982 jury.

Next, in a stretch that is even incredible even for Jamal supporters, Schiff and Hans make a statement as fact that the testimony of Cynthia White, Michael Scanlan, and Chobert were coerced and that the events they described never happened. Quite a statement of hubris given the fact that court after court has decided that the events did happen and did so as described by the witnesses that Schiff and Bennet want to disparage. For what these witnesses had to say I would encourage everyone to read their testimony at Do that, and than weigh them against the arrogant declaration of fact made by the factually challenged "Jamal journalists". You will see that Schiff/Bennett are assuming what they should have to proof and are doing a bad job at it considering the availability of the transcripts.

It is also alleged that the police "manipulated evidence" by "moving" Officer Faulkner’s hat around the crime scene and the photos they present seem to back this point up. The problem with this however is that Faulkner’s hat is brought up in the trial transcripts, but not in the context of it’s location on the scene, but in Maureen Faulkner’s testimony. She held the hat as she explained that it was her husbands.

Now if it can be proven that police "planted" the hat in order to prop up their case or for emotional effect for the trial, than I would be very quick to cite this as evidence as malfeasance on their part, but I haven’t seen evidence of this to this point.

The most obscene aspect of the Schiff/Bennet propaganda is their assertion that "several" shots were allegedly fired by Jamal at Faulkner while Faulkner was on the ground. They than go onto say that this couldn’t have happened because no "traces" of the bullet strikes are visible on the sidewalk.

There are some serious problems with this line of reasoning. The first of which being that it was not possible for Jamal to have fired "several" shots at anyone. His weapon, that he bought, and had a license for, but not to carry concealed, was a 5 shot revolver. This makes the notion of him firing "several times" impossible and laughable.

According to witness testimony, Jamal shot twice at Faulkner’s back, striking the Officer once. Leaving him with three bullets. After being shot by Jamal, Faulkner swung around and apparently was able to get off one shot that struck Jamal. Faulkner goes down and his weapon slides away from him and he is now at the mercy of Jamal (the bullet removed from Jamal was conclusively linked to Faulkner’s gun). Jamal shows none. Despite Jamal’s purported disdain for the death penalty, he must have put his moral convictions on hold when he stood over Faulkner and shot downward towards Faulkner who was, according to witnesses, was writhing on the ground in an attempt to avoid being shot. One of those bullets struck the Officer between the eyes causing Faulkner’s whole body to jerk, killing him instantly. Jamal than stumbled a few feet, dropped his weapon, and slumped down. He is out of ammo, but this does not stop him from reaching for his gun at the approach of police Officers just a few seconds later.

Now, there are no close up shots of the cement on the Schiff/Bennett website that could show any damage done by the bullets fired. That Jamal’s acolytes now want to contrive an issue by arguing that the lack of damage done by the three remaining bullets (one of which remained in Faulkner’s body) to the cement is nothing more than sadism as offered by masochists.

Unfortunately for the Schiff/Bennet scam, at trial the police investigator did a fair job accounting for the bullets fired that night. We know that Faulkner got off one round that struck Jamal. And we also know that one of the five rounds fired from Jamal’s gun was removed from Faulkner’s skull. According to testimony another bullet was taken from the front door leading into 1234 Locust Street. And there was some conjecture in court over what appeared to be bullet holes in the door on 1234 Locust accounted for more than one bullet. The police investigator could not give a definitive answer due to the amount of bullet fragmentation and the jury knew all of this.
Moreover, there was testimony to the effect that there was damage to the concrete that was noted by the police investigators, that none is visible on the photos as offered by Schiff and Bennet means nothing in the whole scheme of things.

It does, however, demonstrate just how desperate Jamal supporters are to conjure up "new, explosive" evidence in a pathetic attempt to mitigate the tremendous amount of physical evidence that points to Jamal’s guilt.

In another example of unjustified arrogance, the dynamic duo claim that "none" of the witnesses saw Cynthia White at the scene. Well, nobody saw Arnold Beverly at the scene either, and we, to this day are told that he shot Officer Faulkner.

But is the claim about Cynthia White by Schiffman the truth?

First of all, it is of the utmost importance for Jamal supporters to assault White’s testimony as she provided some of the best of all the eyewitness testimony and an immediate identification of Jamal as the shooter, but even if nobody had noticed the prostitute it really made no difference.
She really wasn’t in anybody’s field of view and was behind Chobert. One person, interestingly enough did claim to see Mrs. White in the area that evening, William Singletary, one of Jamal’s more "interesting" witnesses.

It is curious to note that Singletary is the only one to have brought up White’s not being able to see the shooting from where he says he she was located. It is also interesting because all witnesses, both defense and prosecution can agree that Arnold Beverly was nowhere to be seen.
So let us assume that White was not at the scene of the crime. You still have the other three eyewitnesses, Jamal’s confession, the damning ballistics evidence, and on and on ad-nauseam.

Remove White and I argue that Jamal’s guilt is still as clear as day.

Now the most fantastic of all claims on this new site is that witness Chobert was not actually there on the night of the killing. The support for this claim being that his car is not visible on the photos presented on their site. This is not only absurdity in it’s most extreme form, but just shows further the intellectual bankruptcy of the pro-Mumia fanatics.

But let us indulge Schiffman/Bennett’s deranged fantasy for a moment and assume that Chobert was not at the scene, despite the fact that he spoke to people at the scene and most convincingly, that Jamal himself seemed to know exactly who Chobert was back in 1982 as this exchange makes clear

"Mumia-...And you saw me in the back of the wagon, didn’t you?

Chobert- Yes, I did.

Mumia-What made you certain it was the same man?

Chobert-Because I saw you buddy. I saw you shoot him. (the "him" in this case is referring to Officer Faulkner)."

Now, none of Jamal’s witnesses have ever attempted to refute the fact that Chobert’s was at the scene, nor does Jamal or his attorneys. In actuality, he was a very prominent witness at the scene as he identified Jamal and gave his statement. To believe that he was a non-entity on the scene that night is to believe in a conspiracy that not only involved the police, prosecutors, but also Jamal and his own witnesses and attorney who have never challenged Chobert’s presence at the scene. To believe Schiffman and Bennet’s outlandish and cynical, conspiratorial propaganda is to embrace madness.

In order to "prove" that Chobert was not on the scene the Schiffman/Bennett duo contend that the photos on their site show that Chobert’s cab was not on the scene when the pictures were taken. They fail however to mention the fact that just after the police arrived at the scene they had Chobert move his car, as demonstrated by the following testimony:

"Q. By the time that the Police arrived and told you to move back to your car, was there any other civilians on the sidewalk other than the man you said who ran ten feet and Mr. Jamal who you said ran ten feet? Where there any other civilians, I mean non-police people, on that sidewalk?

A. I didn't see none."

The police arrived at the scene roughly a minute after the shooting. The photographer that came on the scene arrived 10-15 minutes after the police and after Chobert would have already moved his cab.

Only two attention mongering, wannabe "journalists," have such a deprivation in character that they would try and muddy these waters even more with their half-baked conspiracy theories with no real evidence to back them up.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Whats Billy Got To Do With It?

It was pointed out that Mumia's brother recently attended the long-awaited hearing before the Third Circuit Judges.

Unfortunatly, it wasn't the brother who matters.

William "I ain't got nothing to do with it" Cook was a no-show at yet another Jamal court hearing.

While he was at Jamal's 1982 trial long enough to get himself put in jail for contempt of court after he and another of Jamal's brothers created a ruckus in the courtroom, he has not been in court room with his brother since.

The only legal document we have from Billy Cook is a clumsily written and contradictory affadavit that makes anyone dumber for reading it, as it offers nothing in the way of helping to unravel the tragic events of Dec, 9 1981.

In the affadavit, Cook swears that he was inside his car when Mumia raced across the street, while Mumia claimed that Cook was out of the car staggering and "screaming". Moreover, in Cook's affadavit (William not Wesley), he claims that he never laid a hand on Faulkner who was trying to arrest him.

This, despite the fact that he was convicted of assaulting Faulkner. This conviction was reversed in 1983, when he voluntarily plead guilty to punching Faulkner in the face in exchange for a non-jail sentence.

Who was lying? Mumia or Billy?

Who knows? Probably both.

What we can say with some certainty is that Billy Cook knows much more than he has said in his affadavit. We can also say with some certainty that Cook was nearest to the shooting and that his self-serving statement to police practically implicates his brother in the killing.

That he stays silent and out of public view speaks volumes.

We have all heard that Billy Cook has stayed on the down low because he is "afraid".

And there probably is some truth in that.

It is very likely that he fears coming to grips with the terrible reality that his own brother blew somebody's brains out right in front of him. He has to know that if he takes the stand and lies that he will only further damage his brother's case and on the other hand he knows that if he tells the truth that he will ensure his brother never breaths the free air.

I have a brother and if I knew he had spent a quarter of a century locked up for a crime that he did not commit, that I can say without hesitation that no force would stop me from getting the word out...

Thursday, May 17, 2007

The Mumia Fraud In And Out Of Court

On Thursday, Mumia’s attorney Robert Bryan was making a valiant, if not a probably futile attempt, to get his 53 year old, cop killing client sprung from prison.

He certainly did his best with what he had to offer, but consider this exchange between attorney Bryan and one of the three judges tasked with presiding over the hearing, and ultimately helping to decide Jamal’s fate as reported by ABC News:

"... the judges suggested they needed to know the racial makeup of the approximately 150-person jury pool before they could determine whether the selection had been biased.
No such record exists. "We're a day late and a dollar short with that issue, unfortunately," Bryan said."

That was likely the understatement of the day. Mumia is about 25 years short, but thanks to un-informed or deeply cynical "activists", Jamal still has a few bucks to shell out in order to keep his creaking legal machine moving for just a little bit longer.

After so many years of legal losses, Jamal has just about run out of cards to play, but on Thursday his attorney played the only one that never will run out of steam and will always get attention. It is of course, as Don Imus could tell you, the race card. And not only did Bryan pull it out, but he ran around with it and threw it in the face of anyone who would take the time to listen.

It is a pitiable attempt to convince the judiciary that because racism exists that Mumia should be free. Even if Ed Rendell and prosecutor McGill along with Judge Sabo, were all card carrying members of the Ku-Klux-Klan, the fact that Mumia blew Daniel Faulkner’s brains out does not go away.

Should bigotry erase the crime of murder? Should the allegation of procedural error in a criminal case that involves a cold-blooded killing mean that the killer walks? If you answer yes to either question than I urge you to think of what it would be like to have someone you love snatched away and brutally murdered. And than think of that same killer walking free because somebody in the process did not care for the color of the skin of said murderer. What would be the greatest injustice?

And with all of that said, Jamal’s defense has yet to prove to any legal body that Jamal’s race was a detriment to his receiving a "fair" trial.

Moreover, even with all of their lies and a quarter of a century of propaganda, they have also failed to convince the people of Philadelphia, a city whose populace is nearly 50% African-American.

And as if we need more examples of the lies of Jamal’s supporters I recently caught the administrator of the website of the chief "Free Mumia" organization, The International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia, the group that is run by Pam Africa and is based in Philadelphia. It is a group with a sordid history and one that has shown no regard for truth, integrity, and worst of all serves as a kind of front-group for MOVE.

On May 16th Fatirah Ali, who runs the Mumia site had this to say on the message board of Philadelphia radio station WURD:

"Ballistics reports prove that the gun found on Mumia Abu-Jamal, a .38 caliber weapon,(which he was licensed to carry), was not the gun that killed Officer Faulkner. He had been shot with a .44."

When I confronted Fatirah with the actual facts about the gun that killed Faulkner, she backpedaled and attempted to cover the first lie with yet another lie, this one nearly as absurd as the first:

"That Mumia's gun was a .38 and Faulkner was shot with a .44 has been debated and the reports were that he was shot with the .44. Later, it was said that 'maybe' he could have been shot by a .38"

Of course there is no debate about the caliber of the gun in question, but don’t take my word for it.

In Dan William's pro-Jamal book "Executing Justice" Williams writes that:

"At first blush, it appeared that there had been a finding that the fatal bullet was a .44 caliber, which would have ruled out Mumia's .38 caliber pistol, and therefore would have exonerated him...The wrinkle, however, is that our own ballistics expert concluded that the fatal bullet was, indeed, a .38. caliber. That fact has not deterred many to proclaim, erroneously, that Officer Faulkner was killed by a .44 caliber bullet."

It would be important to point out that this fact has been known since 1995, when, at Jamal’s PCRA hearing Jamal’s own ballistics expert was forced to concede that the bullet in question, was in fact a .38 caliber, and not a .44 caliber, as Jamal’s legal team and supporters had been claiming in their propaganda.

Which brings me to my point. That one of the most prominent and supposedly knowledgeable members of the Jamal cabal could so shamelessly peddle falsehoods, and do so without pause, make it clear that truth is not a priority for these people.

And while Attorney Bryan had his line of argumentation more polished and sophisticated than did Fatirah, it emanates from the same gutter of intellectual dishonesty.

As usual the tactics of Jamal’s supporters are the tactics of obfuscation and diversion.

There is nothing that they won’t say to keep from having to answer a very simple and direct question. The question is if Mumia Abu-Jamal didn't kill the cop, than please tell everyone, what he was doing at 3:51 AM on Dec. 9, 1981, sitting on the curb near the murder victim, with an empty should holster under his arm, the dead cop's bullet in his chest, and with his own five shot 38 next to his feet, with all five cartridges fired.?

Mumia's Case Before Federal Court

By Emilie Lounsberry

A federal appeals court heard conflicting legal arguments this morning on whether Philadelphia's most notorious death-row inmate received a fair trial in 1982 when he was convicted of killing police officer Daniel Faulkner.

The court proceeding marks a turning point in the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal, a former radio reporter and Black Panther who has been trying to escape the death penalty for 25 years.
If the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit upholds the death sentence, Abu-Jamal would be more at risk of execution than at any point in the last 25 years.

While hundreds gathered in support of Abu-Jamal outside the federal courthouse in Center City, the legal argument inside focused squarely on the law as a three-judge panel of the Third Circuit extensively questioned lawyers on both sides about whether the prosecutor in the 1982 trial intentionally excluded blacks from the jury.

The court is not expected to rule on the matter for several months.

Abu-Jamal, now 53, was found guilty and sentenced to death in July 1982 by a predominantly white Philadelphia jury. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court upheld his conviction in 1989 and also refused to grant him relief on his second appeal to that court.

And when his case moved to federal court, U.S. District Judge William H. Yohn Jr. rejected 28 of the 29 legal points raised by the defense.

But Yohn did rule in favor of Abu-Jamal in deciding that the jury may have mistakenly believed it had to agree unanimously on any "mitigating" circumstance that might have persuaded jurors to decide on life imprisonment rather than death.

Therefore, Yohn said, Abu-Jamal should be sentenced to life, instead of death, or get a new hearing only on the question of whether his sentence should be death or life.

After the two-hour proceeding, people on both sides of the controversial case said they thought the judges were well-prepared and fair to both prosecutors and lawyers for Abu-Jamal.

"They were informed. They asked very important questions. I think they seemed impartial," said Francis Goldin, Abu-Jamal's literary agent.

Maureen Faulkner, the widow of Faulkner, said that she, too, thought the judges were fair. "I have to trust that the federal courts will look at what's presented to them to . . . make a fair decision," said Faulkner, who traveled from California for the hearing.

The Third Circuit will now review Yohn's reasoning and consider whether there was racial bias during jury selection, and whether Abu-Jamal's constitutional rights were violated by the prosecutor's closing argument and by the alleged bias of the trial judge, Albert Sabo, during post-conviction review.

The Third Circuit could:

- Reverse Yohn and uphold the death sentence.

- Uphold Yohn and order a new sentencing hearing.

- Grant a new trial.

- Send the case back to Yohn for a hearing.

Should the court uphold the death sentence, Abu-Jamal would be more at risk of execution. Even so, he could attempt to persuade the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case, or try to go back again to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, where he still has one petition pending.
The three judges hearing the case are Chief Judge Anthony J. Scirica, who was appointed by President Reagan, and Judges Thomas L. Ambro, appointed by President Clinton, and Robert E. Cowen, appointed by Reagan.

Contact staff writer Emilie Lounsberry at 215-854-4828 or

Monday, May 14, 2007

The Mumia Circus Comes To Town

(My favorite Mumia supporter at work)

Yet another hearing is fast approaching in what appears to be another twist in the seemingly endless travels of Mumia’s case up and down the judiciary.

Oral arguments are scheduled on Thursday, May 17, 2007. Counsel will be allotted 30 minutes oral argument time for each side, pursuant to Rule 12(6) of the Rules of this Circuit. Court will convene at 9:30 a.m. in The Ceremonial Courtroom (1st Floor, U.S. Courthouse, 6th & Market Sts.)

There is no need for me to attempt to make some kind of legal update here, as author John Hayden has already done so recently on this blog, and did so with much more precision and clarity than could I ever attempt to.

So, instead of that, I will instead focus on the impending spectacle that will, like Jamal events in the past, further demonstrate just how creepy and superficial those who still support Mumia are.

A complete list of "stars" who will be attending the festivities has not yet been released by the Jamal fan club, but we do know that former Congresswomen Cynthia McKinney will be in attendance, as will actorvist Danny Glover.

I know I am impressed.

A disgraced wash-up, with an anti-Semite for a father teaming up with an aging actor desperate for attention. It almost sounds like filming for the next installment of "Lethal Weapon" could start at the steps a Philadelphia courthouse.

We should be so lucky.

One should also expect the usual band of racial hucksters, wannabe anarchists, and an army of aging Marxists decrying the "capitalist system" while they shamelessly peddle their newspapers, all of which invariably have the word "worker" somewhere in their title.

There will also be the Farrakhan devotees and the "Black Power" types who are rather impatiently waiting for the second coming of Huey Newton.

We should not forget either that Pam Africa and whatever MOVE cultists that she can recruit to come with her will also be in attendance. And we all know that the highlight of the day will be when the balding Mrs. Africa will stumble up on stage sporting her signature "I just left my crack-house for the first time in a week" look, and than proceed to scream the word "motherfucker" in as many ways and variations as humanly possible.

Oh, how I do not miss those days.

Thankfully, unlike in the 90's when thousands of people would descend on Philadelphia to scream for freedom for Mumia, there will likely only be a few hundred "dead-enders", the Jamal movement long ago reaching it’s point of diminishing returns. This fact along with the sturdy realization that much of Philadelphia has pretty much had it with the scam that is the Jamal movement, allows me to sleep easy at night.

That said, I would be remiss not to point out that the Faulkner family is being subjected to the opening of old wounds by people whose interest lay not in justice, but in the pursuance of a political ideology. This vulgar deification of the man that they know killed Officer Faulkner must represent atrocity on top of heartbreak.

It is rather shameful that Daniel Faulkner’s name will make appearances throughout this latest episode of absurdity only as a back-drop to the worship of Jamal. For Mumia loyalists Faulkner is more a prop than a human being. He is, depending upon who you talk to and when, either a decent cop who was about to lay down the hammer on a gang of corrupt Officers, or he was a racist, violent, maniac who got what was coming to him. It is as if he is just a name to be placed in whatever conspiracy theory is fashionable at the time. There seems to be no acceptance that this was a man who had dreams, hopes, aspirations, or value as a person.

It seems impossible for Mumia supporters to accept the fact that Faulkner was a human being who was doing a difficult job, in a difficult place, and who was murdered by a man who let his rage, or psychosis, or cult addiction, get the better of him. It is as if having Faulkner dead is not enough.

For Jamal supporters to be satisfied, he must be killed in various situations, under sorted circumstances again and again for the pleasure of Mr. Jamal and his revolving door of legal advisors.

I recall very clearly when I was with MOVE the mocking derision hurled at the Faulkner family in general, and Maureen Faulkner in particular. It was said often around MOVE that Danny Faulkner was a wife-beater and a whore-monger and that on the night Maureen was told of his death that she closed the blinds and celebrated.

As cruel and unabashedly tasteless is MOVE’s sense of entertainment, they have also cashed in on the whole "Free Mumia" phenomena with similar gusto. They will no doubt be attempting to squeeze any bit of cash that they can during this week’s hearings while pimping the idea that Jamal’s life is in so much danger, without mentioning that the only people executed in PA have been those who have abandoned their appeals.

Whatever one thinks of the death penalty, it is pretty obvious that Mumia is much more likely to die of a heart attack than he is to meet his end at the hands of an executioner.

To see some of his deluded supporters at work check out the following:

EMAJ EDUCATORS FOR MUMIA ABU-JAMAL 12 Years Educating and Organizing for Abu-Jamal and Justice Contacts: Professor Mark Taylor, Princeton Theological Seminary, 845 893-5721, at; Prof. Johanna Fernandez (Carnegie Mellon),; Tameka L. Cage, (Bucknell Univ), . Institutions for identification purposes only.


May 16 Teach-In on Eve of Key Arguments in Courthouse on May 17
Princeton, NJ. May 11, 2007. Key scholars from Pennsylvania and around the country will meet in Philadelphia on Wednesday night, May 16, to conduct a Teach-In on the controversial case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. Abu-Jamal was convicted in 1982 for the shooting death of Philadelphia police officer, Daniel Faulkner, in a trial so controversial that public outcries for Abu-Jamal’s new trial, and even release, have become ever more frequent in human rights communities. Amnesty International wrote that "justice would be best served by a new trial."

One of the Teach-In organizers, Mark Taylor of Princeton, said, "It is important that the U.S. Third Circuit Court will be hearing, on May 17, three of Mumia’s claims about his denial of due process in the original trial." Another organizer of the Teach-In, Johanna Fernandez of Carnegie Mellon University, added, "In his case, the pillars that guarantee a fair trial were terribly broken: The presiding judge was openly racist, and Abu-Jamal was convicted without hard evidence."

Present at the Teach-In will be German literature professor, Michael Schiffman of the University of Heidelberg, who has published information on photos taken early at the crime scene, potentially exculpatory for Abu-Jamal, which were not used by police and prosecutors at the original trial. Also present will be Kathleen Cleaver (law professor, Emory University), Linn Washington (journalism, Temple University), Joy James (Africana Studies, Williams College), Tameka L. Cage (English, Bucknell University, and on EMAJ council) and Dave Lindorff (independent journalist).

**** DREXEL UNIVERSITY ** Matheson Hall, Rm. 109 (Patton Auditorium)*** 32nd & Market Streets. West Philadelphia, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

A pivotal hearing on case of Abu-Jamal

Emilie Lounsberry Inquirer Staff Writer

On July 3, 1982, a Philadelphia jury took just four hours to sentence Mumia Abu-Jamal to death for murdering Police Officer Daniel Faulkner.

Nearly a quarter-century later, Abu-Jamal has remained alive through a series of appeals. His bid to escape the death penalty is now at a critical stage.

The case will be argued this week in the region's federal appeals court, and if Abu-Jamal loses, Philadelphia's most controversial death-row inmate will be in imminent peril of lethal injection.
"He realizes that death is just a few doors away," said his attorney, Robert R. Bryan, a San Francisco lawyer who specializes in death-penalty appeals.

On Thursday, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Philadelphia will hear legal argument on whether the death sentence should be upheld, or whether Abu-Jamal should get a new trial or a new sentencing hearing.

Bryan said that Abu-Jamal, now 53 and known as "Pops" to younger inmates, realizes that his life is on the line. "He and I are very realistic about what's at stake," said Bryan.

The Philadelphia District Attorney's Office declined to comment on Thursday's proceeding. In voluminous court papers, prosecutors contend that Abu-Jamal had a fair trial, and that he should be executed.

Abu-Jamal is one of 225 inmates awaiting execution in Pennsylvania, which has the fourth-largest death row in the nation behind California, Florida and Texas. More than half of the death-row inmates are from Philadelphia.

Since Pennsylvania reinstated the death penalty in 1978, three prisoners have been executed; they gave up their appeals and asked to die.

The Third Circuit, which handles appeals over federal cases in Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey and the Virgin Islands, moves cautiously on death-penalty cases.

A number of other death-row appeals are pending in the court.

Though a decision in the Abu-Jamal case is not expected for months, the two-hour proceeding this week promises to refocus national and international attention on one of the city's most notorious cases.

Bryan said that lawyers and lawmakers from France and Germany are planning to attend the proceeding at the U.S. Courthouse at Sixth and Market Streets.

Abu-Jamal, a former radio reporter then driving a cab, was convicted in 1982 of the shooting death of Faulkner, who had just pulled over Abu-Jamal's brother near 13th and Locust Streets in the early-morning hours of Dec. 9, 1981.

Abu-Jamal ran from a parking lot across the street. Faulkner was shot and killed, and Abu-Jamal was wounded in an exchange of gunfire.

Prosecutors contended that Abu-Jamal fired the shots that killed Faulkner; Abu-Jamal contended that another man killed Faulkner and then fled the scene.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court upheld his conviction and sentence in 1989 and also rejected subsequent appeals.

In 2001, after the case proceeded into federal court, U.S. District Judge William H. Yohn Jr. upheld the conviction and rejected all but one of the 29 legal points raised by the defense.
Yohn overturned the death sentence, ruling that the jury may have mistakenly believed it had to agree unanimously on any "mitigating" circumstance - a factor that might have caused the jury to opt for life.

As a result, Yohn said that Abu-Jamal should be sentenced to life in prison or get a new hearing only on the question of whether he should get death or life.

The District Attorney's Office appealed Yohn's decision to vacate the death sentence; Abu-Jamal and his lawyers have appealed, contending that Yohn also should have granted a new trial on the question of guilt.

The Third Circuit panel will now review Yohn's decision.

The court also will consider whether there was racial bias during jury selection and whether Abu-Jamal's constitutional rights were violated by the prosecutor's closing argument and by the alleged bias of the trial judge, Albert Sabo, during post-conviction review.

Bryan said the case boils down to the fundamental right to a fair trial, and that he believes there is plenty of reason for the Third Circuit to order a new trial.

He said that if the Third Circuit reverses Yohn and upholds the death penalty, that would result in a "fast-track to the death chamber" for Abu-Jamal.

He said the Third Circuit also could:

Uphold Yohn and order a new sentencing hearing.

Grant a new trial.

Send the case back to Yohn for a hearing.

Abu-Jamal also has a petition pending in the state Supreme Court. If the death sentence is upheld, he still could try to persuade the state Supreme Court to review the case again, or ask the U.S. Supreme Court to hear an appeal. But the nation's highest court considers only a select number of cases each year, and once a death-row defendant is in a federal appeals court, that is generally considered one of the final stops in the long appellate route of capital cases.

Abu-Jamal has long been a lightning rod in the debate about capital punishment in America. While law-enforcement officials have despised him for killing one of their own, entertainment figures, academics and anti-death-penalty activists have rallied on his behalf.

From prison, Abu-Jamal has become a prolific writer who speaks out about his view of injustices on a range of issues.

But at his trial, Abu-Jamal came across as angry and arrogant. He insulted the jury and referred to Sabo as "a hangman." And when jurors announced the sentence in a hushed courtroom, Abu-Jamal glared at them.

Center City lawyer Joseph J. McGill, who prosecuted the case, said last week that the Abu-Jamal of 1982 was an angry defendant who tried to mount a 1970s style defense of police persecution. Abu-Jamal was repeatedly removed from the courtroom because of his behavior,

McGill said, and the atmosphere was tense.

"It was like a circus, and he wanted to be the ringmaster," McGill said of Abu-Jamal.

McGill said that it will be interesting to see what the Third Circuit decides - and that he plans to be there on Thursday.

"I wouldn't miss it for the world," he said.

Contact staff writer Emilie Lounsberry at 215-854-4828 or

Friday, May 11, 2007

May 13th Remembered...Minus The Revisions

(MOVE's Carnage 1985)

I must of course, show my lack of ability with regard to gift giving and attempt to find something reasonably adequate to give my mother in honor of the day named for her and all mothers. It is an act that I always find frustrating given the way that my mother has stood by me throughout the years. How you reward that kind of un-conditional love in the form of a material offering is completely impossible.

It is also that time of year when the MOVE victimization racket kicks into high gear and we are exhorted to "Remember May 13th", mostly by those whose understanding of the events of that date are incomplete at best, and are cynical repetitions of known lies at worst.
With that said, I do think it appropriate to "Remember May 13th", but not in the way that the acolytes of MOVE would have people to.

What is worthy of remembrance is not Ramona Africa’s bitter complaints about police malfeasance given her role in the disaster that befell the people of Osage Avenue in May of 1985. For, if she possessed any semblance of moral scruples or intellectual honesty, she would have long since admitted the fact that she and her fellow MOVE members used children first as human shields, and later as human sacrifices in their stupid and suicidal "confrontation" with the "system".

It was a fight that MOVE did all that it could to instigate. The blood of the children who died that day are on the hands of John Africa and those who followed his suicidal impulses. Today, there are those who would bring new meaning to the term cognitive dissonance by attempting to cast the MOVE members on Osage Avenue as innocent victims of some racist conspiracy to kill them.

With that said, I do not intend to make light of, or deflect responsibility for, the actions of the City of Philadelphia in their handling of the 1985 crisis that MOVE created. They botched it in every possible way imaginable. From the Mayor on down there was a complete lack of judgement, creativity, and lastly accountability on the part of the city government. Without question, the children in that house were, and should have been treated as the hostages that they clearly were. Instead they were regarded as "enemy combatants", to use today’s nomenclature. For that fact alone I hold to the view that Ramona Africa was not the only person who should have inhabited a prison cell for their role in the events of that day.

Authoritarian cults can be expected to act violently, without regard for life, theirs or others, and display a complete lack of responsibility to their vision, and for their actions. Our elected officials on the other hand, should be more than a few steps above that, but on that day they were not, and I go further to argue that with regards to MOVE that the city has still not risen to the occasion.

It is a matter of fact that almost nobody who looks at the MOVE crisis finds the city’s actions to be above reproach, but there has evolved a kind of cottage industry of revisionist minded activists who have either bought into or have contributed to the myth of MOVE heroism on that day. This is not particularly surprising given MOVE members post ‘85 existence has largely revolved around the advancement of the marketing of martyrdom for monetary and egotistical gain. Ramona Africa and other MOVE members have circled the globe running this victimization scam on anyone who will listen (and more importantly, pay to hear it.)

Having sat through Ramona’s propaganda/victim routine on more occasions than I would care to admit, and I have always gotten the sense that the people that hear it tend to give her the benefit of the doubt. Who, after all, would by so callous and morally bereft to exploit the death of children for personal gain? Apparently she would, because that is what she does, and what she will likely continue to do so until the power of truth forces her from her pulpit of deceit for good.
Now, it is disturbingly ironic that many of those who are writing in defense of MOVE’s actions in 1985 are white. Ironic, because in a real sense the celebration of MOVE is the celebration of the destruction of the lives of dozens of African-Americans whose homes and dreams were demolished thanks to the destruction that MOVE . Disturbing, because the charred and burned to dead children were also African-American, their lives squandered on the foul altar of John Africa’s madness. Black human sacrifices that are apparently acceptable to MOVE’s white apologists.

Would the reaction be the same if say, MOVE was a predominantly white group, who enforced a policy of child-rape, illiteracy, preached violence, and exploited race in it’s rhetoric, and than forced a deadly confrontation with police? We all know the answer to that question.

So I too urge people to remember the events of May 13th 1985. I advocate people to take the time to read the terror that MOVE members wrought upon their working-class, African-American, neighbors. Try and understand the terror of having your neighborhood quite literally taken hostage, the stench, the infestation of bugs, rats, etc...Having your children subjected to bullhorn amplified, profanity laden harangues, that would go on for hours at a time.

Think of the wasted lives of the dead children of MOVE members (I will not again refer to these kids as MOVE members as they could not be members of MOVE any more than they could be Republicans or Democrats). What good did these deaths serve? What purpose? Was anything solved as a result of this bloodletting?

The ostensible goal of John Africa’s assault on the "system" was to gain the freedom of the "MOVE 9". Thankfully, they are still comfortable guests of the Pennsylvania DOC, where if there is any justice they will reside until their deaths. So one can argue that the lives of the children on Osage Avenue were wasted on a hopeless, pointless, and indefensible cause.

This fact speaks volumes to the nihilism of MOVE itself, the reality being that it’s very existence currently revolves around a kind of self-preservation and aggrandizement that is purposeless and impotent with regards to the problems that currently face our world.

For if MOVE ever had anything to offer, we would have gotten something from it by know. But while they have preached peace, they have wrought violence, while they claim reverence for life, their history is written in the blood of innocents, they claim a monopoly on truth, yet upon close examination one un-covers a group that is built upon one lie after another. The myth of MOVE’s innocence on Osage Avenue just being one of many.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Why I Write

"Violent, Irrational, Intolerant, allied to racism and tribalism and bigotry, invested in ignorance and hostile to free inquiry, contemptuous of women and coercive towards children: organized religion ought to have a great deal on it’s conscience"

-Christopher Hitchens,

-"God Is Not Great"

It is not hard for me to understand why so few people are inclined to write and or speak out about MOVE. Who, after all, wants to put up with being subjected with pitiless and absurd ad-hominem attacks while expressing an opinion that the cult finds objectionable? If the said commentary is one that is more directly on target, than one can expect more than just the average name-calling and silly personal attacks.

If you are too much on target, MOVE members/supporters will attempt to ruin your life and the lives of those you love.

If the physical demands on the group’s collective conscience become too much or you cross the cult’s leader, than your life is in certain danger (see John Gilbride)

Of course, with the risk of sounding like Dr. Phil, it can be said that such rhetorical attacks take on only the life and importance to which you attach to them. Take myself for example, I have developed quite a thick skin over the last couple of years and can say unequivocally that silly ad-hominem barbs need to be more than above average to cause me to loose some winks of sleep.

That is not to say that you walk away from any authoritarian cult un-scarred.

You don’t.

Your post-sect life is no cake walk, and anyone who tells you otherwise is peddling falsity.
That said, it is always better to be a servant of truth than a servant of MOVE’s brand of rank hypocrisy and nihilism, regardless of the short-term angst that separation from the cult will likely cause. Call it growing pains.

I have seen a variety of post-MOVE lives lived. Some bounce right into another cult with the enthusiasm of a deranged fool, while still others in rejection of MOVE’s "ethics" take the counter life-style to excess and meander close to the self-destruction that led them to MOVE in the first place.

But at the end of the day, difficulties aside, most people end up on the proper course of action.
You grow up (most of us anyways), and take responsibility for your actions and guard yourself against the kind of mythological aphorisms as espoused by the likes of MOVE members.

Again, this is not always the case. Some people find themselves addicted to the cult-mentality to the point that they believe that they cannot function without an authoritarian enterprise to enable their most basic human functions. A falsehood to be sure, but one that apparently holds a powerful appeal.

This is the most extreme and depressing aspects of post-MOVE life, but one that according to cult-experts that I have spoken to, is more frequent than you might believe. A sad outcome indeed, but one cannot be overlooked if one seeks to be intellectually honest with regards to the abandonment of MOVE.

The life of a cult-junkie.

So, to those who might be considering an extrication from the pointlessness of MOVE, I could only do my best to argue a rigorous process of "de-programming" from the sect for lack of a better term.

For it is well established that those who leave an authoritarian cult do so in a state of mental paralysis. Once you surrender the ability to make choices for yourself, you retard your mental growth. The longer your term of surrender, the more damage to the psyche is done.

And for those who are raised in such an environment, the course is that much more perilous, painful, and full of rejection of those to whom you believed were your family.

All of this gets to the point as to why I continue to write this blog. As I told reporter Monica Yant Kinney, this blog is an extension of my view of injustice, so to it is also a response to the sometimes overwhelming fight against religious extremism and intolerance that has been placed at the forefront of our collective fight for survival.

Nowadays, it is hard to find anyone, regardless of political proclivity who will not admit that our physical environmental decay, coupled with the rise of religious extremism (and it’s covert enabler, religious moderation) that provide the most daunting of challenges to humanity.

There is a war that pre-dates MOVE and will exist long after MOVE has made it’s way into the garbage bin to which it belongs. I consider this blog to be my humble contribution towards the proper side of this conflict. To be sure, after the necessity for this website has been reached, I will continue to write on these very pressing issues.

I have seen the pain, up close and personal, that those who KNOW that God is on their side has wrought upon the innocent and those whose vision of the divine differs from that of their own.

Because I have seen with my own eyes the damage done I will write on.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

The Wrong Are Always Wrong

(Pic of MOVE member protesting John Gilbride)

by Tony Allen

"There are no jokes. Truth is the funniest joke of all."
-Muhammad Ali

I must be certainly lurking in the area of gross redundancy by pointing out the fact that MOVE’s support network has gone completely sideways with regards to all powers of mental reasoning.

That is of course, if you assume that there was a time when such faculties such existed within that sordid realm. I, of course, know that the remnants of MOVE are not exactly the members of a brain-trust. Nor are they committed to any semblance of truth.

Yet more evidence of the obvious appeared on the Mumia website within the last couple of days.
It came in the form of a "response" to the recent article by Monica Yant Kinney pertaining to this blog and me as one of it’s writers.

The author of said "response", was at least not stupid enough to actually sign their statement, this likely being evidence that they are aware of civil actions that can be taken against those who commit libel.

It was alleged that my work is born out of a result of some back room deal made with authorities to keep me out of jail because I was arrested for some kind of drug charge. No proof is given of my purported corruption as if non is needed. And I can write and say and with full honesty deny that I have ever been arrested for anything to do with drugs, and I challenge anyone to provide proof otherwise.

As to the other charges leveled against me, I only ask that people read my work and come to their own conclusion as to my intentions and alleged bigotry.

And to my "impotence".

If my work is so inconsequential than why is there such a deliberate and malicious attempt to disparage my character with cheap and un-substantiated smears?

I must, however, thank the author of the nearly hysterical rant as he/she has brought up John Gilbride and his death.

The issue of John’s visitation with his son is brought up and done so out of context in an attempt to discredit Monica’s article. It is a fact that John was murdered right before he was to have his first un-supervised visitation with his son. The writer brings up two previous instances where John was to see his son and instead was off "gambling" or otherwise ducking his parental duties. Again, no proof is given, as if the words of the anonymous MOVE supporter is good enough.

If one peruses this blog, or goes to my other website, they can discover the truth about John and the circumstances of his death. The circumstance that lead many to believe that the responsibility for his killing belong with someone at MOVE Headquarters. (For the record, I have no doubts.)

It is an undisputed fact that MOVE waged a veritable war against John and his family prior to his death.

It is also a fact that the courts saw fit to give John un-supervised visitation with his son. It is also a fact that his ex-wife, and MOVE members told anyone who would listen that they would never allow such a visitation to occur. Alberta Africa claimed that such a visitation was a violation of her "beliefs". Hardly a believable utterance from a woman who has broken just about every edict John Africa laid down for the Organization in the early 1970's.

It is also a fact that on Sept. 3, Alberta withdrew Zack from a private school, and 10 days after that John Gilbride went her to her home with two Cherry Hill police officers for his first four-hour court ordered visitation. Alberta and John’s son were not there. John was met at the door by Mary Africa who lives in Philadelphia and not at the Cherry Hill home.

Again, on Sept 20th, John was supposed to have yet another visitation with his son, but was advised by police to stay away after MOVE supporters made a well-publicized caravan to demonstrate at the Cherry Hill home and at the Cherry Hill municipal building. He did go to Las Vegas, but whether he gambled or not I don’t know and neither does the MOVE supporter who wrote the nonsensical retort to Monica’s article.

And the idea that John was killed as a result of his alleged Las Vegas gambling binge reeks of the usual MOVE bullshit.

Seventeen days prior to John’s death he was in a Camden County Courtroom claiming that MOVE threatened his life.

On Sept 27th John was shot dead in his car. Police did not report any attempted robbery or any other evidence that the crime was one committed out of financial motivation. He was only hours away from another scheduled visit with his son. He had been told by MOVE that such a visitation would not occur. He was in a Camden County Courtroom testifying that than MOVE member, Mario Africa, had threatened his life.

It is also a fact that Alberta was at the end of her legal rope and was starting to loose control of the situation she had been obsessing over for years.

At that time I was in MOVE.

It is important to know that there were no plans that I was aware of to further demonstrate against John’s impending visitation.

When I heard that John was murdered I knew why we had not been prepped for another protest.

Somebody had something more declarative and final in mind.

"Terrorists" indeed.

Mumia Abu-Jamal's Federal Appeal

(Special to the Anti-MOVE Blog)


Author: Mumia Abu Jamal - The Patron
Saint of American Cop Killers

The appeal papers were filed by Mumia Abu Jamal's attorney and the Philadelphia DA's Office several months ago.

After considerable delay the intermediate federal court, the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia, has finally scheduled the appeal for oral argument on Thursday, May 17th at 9:30 AM.

Oral argument is limited to 60 minutes for each side.

The court will hear from Philadelphia ADA Hugh Burns (head of the Appeals Unit) on the prosecution's appeal from a portion of federal District Court Judge William Yohn's Dec. 18, 2001 decision.

It vacated or nullified the unanimous verdict or sentence of death reached by the racially mixed jury (two (2) Blacks, ten (10) non Blacks) on Saturday, July 3, 1982 in Courtroom #253 in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas.

When the appeal is decided in a written opinion and order sometime later this year, the convicted cop killer will, subject to possible review and possible changes by the U S Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., either:

A) Be granted a new jury trial; or
B) Be granted a hearing before a Judge on his 1995 petition for a new trial; or
C) Be sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole: or
D) Be sentenced to death;
E) Be given a new penalty trial before a jury.

Death Sentence Issue

The central legal issue to be decided by the federal Judges after the oral argument is whether or not Judge Yohn's use of a 1988 United States Supreme Court case-law principle (Mills v. Maryland (1988) 486 US 367) was correct, i.e., properly applied in declaring that the typed 1982 Penalty Verdict Sheet, coupled with the trial Judge's oral instructions to the jury on "mitigating circumstances," violated the federal constitution.

A subtext of that issue is whether or not it was proper for Judge Yohn to have retroactively applied that 1988 U S Supreme Court principle to a 1982 capital murder trial when it's obvious that neither the trial Judge, the prosecutor, nor the defense attorney could possibly have been aware of the unknown future High Court decision.

Thus, all three were completely unable to correct any real or imagined "constitutional" defect in the Penalty Verdict Sheet (or in the trial court's oral instruction to the racially mixed jury).
The latter unanimously decided that one "aggravating circumstance" (murdering a policeman in the line of duty) was not outweighed by one "mitigating circumstance" (Abu Jamal's lack of a substantial criminal conviction record)

Cross Appeal of Convicted Cop Killer

In the 1999-2001 federal habeas corpus proceeding the case was decided on the legal papers of the respective parties.

There was no evidentiary hearing.

No one testified before Judge Yohn for or against Mumia Abu Jamal's claims in his petition.
The convicted cop killer completely struck out on all of his claims of legal error in the trial court, the new trial hearing court, and the state appeals court, except he won on his claim that the third page of the typed Penalty Verdict Sheet, violated his 8th amendment and 14th amendment constitutional rights to due process of law and equal protection of the law.

On May 17th the federal appeals court (which usually consists of three (3) appointed (i.e., non elected Judges) will also hear the cross appeal of the remorseless murderer from portions of the same December 18, 2001 lower federal court decision which did several things:

A) Alleged Racial Discrimination - Ruled that the habeas corpus petitioner and his lawyers had failed to demonstrate a prima facie case of racial discrimination by the state's prosecutor, ADA Joseph McGill, in the prosecutor's use of 10 peremptory challenges of venire persons (potential jurors) who, like the defendant, were members of the same distinct racial group, i.e., Black, or African American.

Prima facie means at first glance, or on its first appearance.

Prima facie evidence is proof or evidence that's sufficient - if not rebutted by contrary evidence to prove a party's allegation.

In the federal habeas corpus case (Mumia Abu Jamal, Petitioner, v. Martin Horn (Abu Jamal's jailor) & the Phila. DA's Office, Respondents) the convicted cop killer and his various lawyers have alleged that they've established a prima facie case of racial discrimination by the 1982 prosecutor during the jury selection process.

That process resulted in the selection of four (4) qualified Blacks by the prosecutor, one (1) of whom was peremptorily eliminated as a juror by Abu Jamal himself.

Thus, three (3), not four (4), genuinely qualified Blacks were initially sworn in as fact finders, or jurors.

The term "qualified," in the context of a capital murder prosecution, means that each of the prospective Black jurors appeared to the prosecutor to be not only fair and impartial, with no bias for either side, but also appeared to have no moral, religious, philosophical, or ethical reservation about imposing the death penalty if the prosecutor proved to each person beyond a reasonable doubt that Mumia Abu Jamal was guilty of 1st degree murder of 25 year old policeman Danny Faulkner.

If Abu Jamal wins on the Batson (racial discrimination) issue, one of two things will follow.
The 3rd Circuit panel can either nullify the Friday, July 2, 1982 unanimous verdict of the racially mixed jury - "guilty of 1st degree murder" - and send the case back to the state court (the Phila. Court of Common Pleas) for a brand new jury trial.

Or, the court can order federal Judge Yohn to hold an evidentiary hearing in the federal District Court to determine whether or not the transcript of the early June 1982 jury selection proceeding (the voir dire examination of the jury) contains any evidence that some, or any, of the prosecutor's 10 peremptory challenges indicates unconstitutional racial discrimination on the part of the prosecution.

In 1989 a state appellate court, the Pa. Supreme Court, already ruled unanimously (i.e., without a single Judge filing a dissenting opinion) that:

"We have examined the prosecutor's questions and comments
during voir dire, along with those of the Appellant (Abu Jamal)
and his counsel (African American defense attorney Anthony
Jackson), and find not a trace of support for an inference that
the use of peremptories was racially motivated.
(Commonwealth of Pa. v. Mumia Abu Jamal, a/k/a Wesley
Cook (1989) 555 A.2d 846, at 850)"

In 1998 the same state court - with somewhat different personnel examining the same 1982 trial record - made the exact same ruling. (See: Mumia Abu Jamal-The Patron Saint of American Cop Killers (2006 Edit.) p. 594 in Chapter 16 - "2nd State Appeal Defeat.")

During the period of October 1999 - December 2001 federal Judge Yohn examined the same 1982 transcript of the voir dire examination of the jury (i.e., the Q. & A. between ADA Joseph McGill and the ten (10) African American prospective jurors who were eliminated with peremptory challenges).

The federal District Court Judge found no evidence whatsoever of racial discrimination by the prosecutor in his exercise of peremptory challenges against the 10 Blacks eliminated from serving on the Black defendant's capital murder jury. He ruled that the convicted cop killer had failed to demonstrate a prima facie case of unconstitutional discrimination.
He affirmed both state court decisions by ruling that:

Petitioner (Abu Jamal) points to no improper statement or question by the prosecutor during jury selection. (See: Mumia Abu Jamal-The Patron Saint of American Cop Killers (2006 Edit) at p. 610 in Chapter 17 - "Death Penalty Vacated!! Federal Habeas Corpus Proceeding.")
AND B) "Appeal after appeal" - Ruled that the 1982 ADA did not violate the accused's murderer's constitutional rights during his summation at the end of the 14 day capital murder trial.
The Pa. Supreme Court had already made the exact same ruling in 1989 and again in 1998.
The issue to be determined by the 3rd Circuit is whether the 1982 prosecutor's argument in summation violated the defendant's constitutional rights to due process of law under the 5th, 6th, and 14th amendments of the federal constitution, and thereby requires a new trial.
In his summation in response to an argument previously made to the jury by attorney Jackson, former ADA Joseph McGill argued to the jury that:
If you would find the defendant guilty, of course there would be appeal after appeal, and perhaps there could be a reversal of the case, or whatever, so that may not
be final.
Abu Jamal's San Francisco lawyer, Robert Byran, a death penalty specialist with an impressive resume in such cases, claims that this statement deprived Mumia Abu Jamal of the constitutional right of Due Process of Law because it undermined the jury's obligation or burden to find the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable before it could vote guilty as charged of 1st degree murder.
If the remorseless cop killer wins on this issue, the case will not go back to the lower federal court (the District Court).
It will go back to the state court - the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas - for a new trial.
Abu Jamal will most likely remain in jail pending the new trial.
However, there's an outside chance that the cop killer will be released on bail on the ground that he's spent the last 24 years in prison due to a supposedly unconstitutional guilty verdict.
If the prosecution loses on this Batson issue, the DA's Office will seek to have the U S Supreme Court review the 3rd Circuit's ruling.
For several technical reasons, coupled with the fact that the state (Commonwealth of Pa. represented by the Phila. DA's Office) won in the trial court, won in the new trial hearing court, won in the Pa. Supreme Court (twice) and won (except on the death penalty issue) in the federal District Court, there's a substantial chance that the prosecutor's application for a writ of certiorari to review the 3rd Circuit's ruling will be granted.
Then, if the writ is granted to the DA's Office, a majority of the nine (9) justices on the High Court will have the last word in this absurdly long drawn out capital murder case.
Conversely, if Mumia Abu Jamal loses on this "appeal after appeal" issue (or on the Batson racial discrimination claim, or on the racial bias of the trial Judge issue) Abu Jamal will file his 4th petition for a writ of certiorari to review the ruling of the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals, the adverse rulings of the 2001 federal District Court, and the adverse rulings of the 1989 and 1998 Pa. Supreme Court.
The convicted cop killer lost all of his previous U S Supreme Court petitions for review.
The odds are against the radio journalist if he tries again, but no one knows how the High Court will rule if the remorseless cop killer files another petition for a writ of certiorari.
AND C) Trial Judge's racism - The federal District Court denied Abu Jamal's habeas corpus claim that he should be granted a new evidentiary hearing on the claims set forth in his June 1995 New Trial Petition (i.e., his Post Conviction Relief Act Petition).
The issue to be determined by the three Judge panel on the 3rd Circuit is whether the 1995 denial of Abu Jamal's petition for a new trial by Judge Albert Sabo should be nullified on the ground of racial and other bias by the hearing Judge, the same Judge who presided over the trial, the same one whom Abu Jamal threatened to kill at the May 25, 1983 formal imposition by the Judge of the racially mixed jury's July 3, 1982 death sentence.
If the Death-Row prisoner wins on that issue, the case will be remanded or sent back to the state trial court for a new hearing by a Judge sitting without a jury.
The DA's Office will petition the U S Supreme Court for writ of certiorari to review that possible ruling.
If Abu Jamal loses on that significant constitutional issue he'll file still another petition for a writ of certiorari with the same court.
The "Fry The Nigger" Issue
The convicted cop killer and his San Francisco lawyer, Robert R. Bryan, claim that the 1982 trial Judge made the following egregiously racist and hopelessly biased remark in a robing room in the courthouse sometime in June of 1982 before the jury selection process began.
I'm going to help them fry the nigger.
"Fry," of course refers to the state's electric chair (which, subsequent to 1982, was later eliminated by the state legislature and replaced by a lethal injection chamber).
"Them," of course, refers to the "racist" cops and the "racist" Philadelphia DA's Office, who, according to Abu Jamal and his loyal supporters in the "Free Mumia! Free All Political Prisoners!" crusade, "framed-up and railroaded" the cab driving radio journalist on December 9, 1981.
Judge Albert Sabo, before he died several years ago, categorically denied that he ever uttered those explosive words.
Plus, due to a ruling by Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge Pamela Dembe (which denied another one of Abu Jamal's truth-challenged "I'm innocent" new trial petitions), there never was an evidentiary hearing on the factual issue created by a Caucasian court steno's written and sworn allegation and the Judge's oral denial.
The court steno never testified before Judge Dembe as Abu Jamal's witness.
The stenographer's credibility and reliability were never tested by a skilled cross examiner - especially one who didn't believe her.
Thus, today, a quarter of a century after the outrageously biased remark was supposedly made in the house of justice, no one knows for certain whether:
A) the woman actually heard what she swears on paper (in an affidavit) that she heard, or
B) she imagined that she'd heard it; or
C) like some of Abu Jamal's truth-challenged witnesses at his July-August 1995
disastrously unsuccessful new trial hearing, she simply made it up to help the
self styled "political prisoner" break his appointment with the executioner.
However, one thing is certain - certain beyond a reasonable doubt - and perhaps even certain beyond any doubt whatsoever.
The female court stenographer never mentioned anything about the trial Judge's racially explosive remark until about nineteen (19) years after she claims to have heard it.
June 1982 Delay
Jury selection in the capital murder case (Commonwealth v. Mumia Abu jamal, a/k/a Wesley Cook) began about six (6) court days before the trial was supposed to commence on Thursday morning June 17, 1982.
In June of 1982 the female court stenographer was part of the system of criminal justice in Philadelphia.
She worked on a daily basis in the courthouse.
She knew the name of the trial Judge's superior - the Administrative Judge who'd assigned the highly publicized capital murder case to Judge Albert Sabo.
She never reported the alleged anti defendant, anti Black incident to Judge Sabo's superior during the six (6) days when the jury selection process took place in the building where she worked.
If she had, and even if the Administrative Judge didn't believe her, nevertheless he most probably would have removed Judge Sabo to prevent the appearance of impropriety.
The professional stenographer had the ability - and the opportunity - to report the alleged blatantly racist incident to someone - anyone - from the time she claims she heard it, until jury selection, with Judge Sabo presiding, began in the second week in June of 1982.
During that period, and during the six (6) days of jury selection the stenographer never reported the alleged racist incident to the Judge she was assigned to work for, to his law clerk, or to the accused murderer's lawyer, Anthony Jackson, (whose law office was minutes away from where she worked in the courthouse, and who was present in the courthouse, her daily workplace, for the six (6) days of jury selection in Room #253).
The stenographer never reported the alleged grossly racist and biased event to any member of the defendant's supportive family -his mother, his sister, or his two (2) brothers, who like Abu Jamal, were present in Room #253 for all or part of the jury selection process.
Indeed, she never reported the outrageous incident to anyone in the city of Philadelphia.
Additional 14 Day Delay
From Thursday, June 17, 1982 (when testimony was scheduled to begin) through the last day of the guilt phase of the trial, Friday, June 3, 1982, the court stenographer never reported the alleged incident to anyone, including, but not limited to journalists from two (2) mainstream daily newspapers, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and the Daily News.
Inquirer reporter Marc Kaufmann covered the trial (and the one day penalty trial) on a daily basis.
She never told him about it.
Both newspapers were - and still are -anti death-penalty in their editorial pages.
Both had regularly published extraordinarily negative articles about "them," i.e., the "racist" cops whom Judge Sabo supposedly said he was going to help "fry the nigger."
On Friday afternoon, July 3, 1982, the court stenographer was working in the courthouse where the most important criminal trial of the year was taking place.
In the late afternoon the entire building almost rocked when the foreman of the racially mixed jury - two (2) Blacks, ten (10) non Blacks - announced that the local African American radio journalist had been found guilty of 1st degree murder of a police officer Danny Faulkner and possession of the instrument of the crime, his own five (5) shot 38 that was found at the crime scene, about 15 seconds after the killing, within Abu Jamal's reach, with all five cartridges fired.
The jury's verdict was all over the local TV and radio news that night.
The guilty verdict was page one news the following day in the two local papers.
The blazing headline on the front page of the Philadelphia Inquirer on the following day, Saturday, July 3, 1982, was:
Underneath the headline and a photo of the newly convicted murderer were some words that the Inquirer's reporter - and everyone in the courtroom had heard - after Abu Jamal heard the jury's verdict of guilty:
This System is finished.
The Philadelphia print and electronic media also reported to the public - and the stenographer - that a penalty trial for the newly convicted murderer was going to take place at 9:30 AM that day, Saturday, July 3, 1982.
All reported that the ADA, Joseph McGill, was going to ask the racially mixed jury to sentence Abu Jamal to death - not life in prison.
In June and July of 1982 the court stenographer was a part of "This System" when she claimed she'd heard the outrageously prejudiced remark about five (5) weeks before the jury's guilty verdict.
The stenographer was still a member of The System when the 1st degree murder verdict was announced in court and later reported in the free press, on radio, and on TV.
At both times she had an obligation as an American citizen, as a decent human being, and most importantly as a paid member of the criminal justice system to report Judge Sabo's alleged egregious misconduct to someone in authority - or to the media - a remark that, if true, and if she had heard it, would have been a flagrant violation of the Judge's oath of office and the Code of Judicial Ethics which demands lack of bias, objectivity, impartiality, and integrity, from trial Judges.
The afternoon or evening of the verdict, or at the very latest on the day of the penalty trial, Saturday, July 3, 1982, the Philadelphia stenographer knew that a 28 year old human being was in jeopardy of being sentenced to death in the electric chair.
She knew that the Judge who would preside over the penalty trial was none other that the jurist whom she now claims was a vicious racist who was going to, in her words:
Help them (i.e., the prosecutor and the police) fry the nigger.
Yet, she never told anyone about the alleged racially biased incident during the entire month of June of 1982 or on Friday July 2nd, or on Saturday July 3rd.
She didn't report the alleged incident to the penalty trial Judge's superior, to the Judge in whose courtroom she regularly worked, to any reporter at the Daily News or the Inquirer, to Abu Jamal's family or friends, or to the Afican-American lawyer for the 28 year old newly convicted murderer whose fate was going to be decided on Saturday, July 3, 1982.
Is it any wonder that many - if not most - folks familiar with this case find it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to believe her now, 25 years after the supposed event?
Additional Delay
From July 3, 1982 to May 25, 1983 the convicted murderer's trial counsel, Anthony Jackson, was preparing a motion or application to Judge Sabo to vacate or set aside the jury's verdict of "guilty," and the jury's verdict of "death."
Abu Jamal continued to remain behind bars.
As the jurist who presided over the 14 day jury trial and the one day penalty trial, Judge Albert Sabo was the only person in The System who had the power to either grant the convicted murderer's motion to vacate or deny it.
The woman employed and paid by "This System" never reported the pre-trial remark to anyone in or out of The System during that lengthy time period.
If the racist June 1982 pre-trial event had actually occurred as she described it, the court steno had over nine (9) months to think about it, and to decide what to do about the alleged judicial misconduct.
After all, a man's life was at stake.
Nevertheless, she never reported the alleged pre-trial remark to anyone during that lengthy time period.
If she'd reported it to Judge Sabo's superior in the judicial system, and even if the Administrative Judge didn't believe her, it's virtually certain that he would have removed Judge Sabo from the scheduled May 25, 1983 court proceeding.
It's virtually certain that he would have appointed some other Judge to eliminate the appearance of impropriety in this capital murder case wherein a Black citizen was en route to Pa.'s Death-Row and the electric chair for having murdered a Caucasian cop who was trying to arrest Abu Jamal's younger brother for assaulting him.
On May 25, 1983 Judge Sabo listened to both lawyers' arguments.
Then he summarily denied Abu Jamal's motion to set aside both verdicts.
He promptly carried out the racially mixed jury's unanimous "death" verdict by directing the appropriate person in a Pa. prison to put Mumia Abu Jamal to death in the electric chair.
Abu Jamal and some of the remorseless murderer's loyal supporters in the local MOVE cult promptly threatened to kill the Judge, and the radio journalist shouted to the Judge - in the presence of his dignified mother and his loyal sister:
Fuck you Judge!
Fuck you!
Abu Jamal was taken to a local prison where he awaited the preparation of his 1st appeal to the highest court in the state of Pa.
An appeals specialist, Ms. Marilyn Gelb, was assigned by The System to prepare Abu Jamal's appeal.
Additional Delay - 1983-1989

It took from May 25, 1983 to early March of 1989 - five (5) years and nine (9) months - for Abu Jamal's appeal to be prepared by the lawyer, "heard" (on briefs from both sides) by the court, and then determined.

During that period attorney Gelb's law office wasn't far from the courthouse where the court steno worked.

The court stenographer never communicated the alleged pre-trial statement of the trial Judge to appellate attorney Gelb.

She never reported it to the NAACP, or to the National Association of Black Journalists, or to the Black lawyers association that filed a brief on behalf of the former president of the Philadelphia chapter of the NABJ.

She never reported the alleged pre-trial event to anyone in authority in the judicial system, or to anyone at the two local newspapers, or radio stations, or TV stations.

In March of 1989 all of the Judges of the Pa. Supreme Court joined in a decision that upheld all of the evidentiary rulings of the allegedly racist trial Judge and then denied Abu Jamal's appeal.
Abu Jamal remained on Death-Row.

Additional Delay - 1989 -1995

The court steno never said a word to anyone about the trial Judge's alleged pre-trial racist remark for more than five and a ½ years - from March of 1989 through September of 1995.
On June 1, 1995 Abu Jamal's Manhattan based lawyers, Leonard Weinglass, Daniel R. Williams, and Rachel Wolkenstein, filed a lengthy petition for a new trial.

It was based on over two (2) dozen claims of constitutional error committed by the trial Judge and the prosecutor at the June 1982 jury trial, the penalty trial, and, most importantly, during the jury selection process.

Naturally the post conviction proceeding was reported in the free press.

Shortly after the Post Conviction Relief Act Petition was publicized in the media, the Republican Pa. Governor, Tom Ridge, announced that he'd signed a death warrant to be carried out in August of 1995.

This received additional widespread publicity.

The new trial hearing began in July of 1995.

Guess who was the Philadelphia jurist assigned to be the sole fact finder at the July-August new trial hearing?

You guessed it.

None other than the supposedly racist white haired Judge who'd presided over the Death-Row prisoner's 14 day capital murder trial, and the one day penalty trial, and the pre-trial jury selection process.

It was the same black-robed person whom Abu Jamal had insulted during the June-July 1982 trial as an "executioner," a "hangman," and a "black-robed conspirator," and whom Abu Jamal had threatened to kill in open court in front of his own family on May 25, 1983.

It was the Judge whom the author of five books presently refers to in his writings as a "certified maniac."

Guess who didn't alert a single person in the city of Philadelphia, in the state of Pennsylvania, in the entire United States of America, or on the planet earth, that Judge Albert Sabo had boasted in the halls of justice in June of 1982 that he was going to "help them (the prosecutor and the police) fry the nigger?"

The same court stenographer.

The lass never said a word about the alleged June 1982 egregiously racist incident prior to, or during the entire July-August 1995 hearing which was covered in many instances on the front pages of the two local papers, and reported occasionally on Philadelphia radio and TV.
In July-August 1995 the supposedly racist Judge, sitting without a jury (as prescribed by, heard witnesses from both sides.

Judge Sabo had the sole power to determine who was telling the truth and who wasn't.

He - not a jury of 12 non lawyers - was the sole decider of the facts.

He, and only he, had the legal authority to decide whether any of Abu Jamal's "Mumia's innocent!" witnesses were credible, and if so, whether or not their testimony required him to set side the 1982 guilty verdict and order a new trial.

He and only he had the sole power to decide all of the legal issues raised in the new trial petition, especially the Batson, or racial discrimination claim.

Of course the most significant constitutionally based issue during the hearing was Abu Jamal's claim that the 1982 ADA's use of ten (10) peremptory challenges to eliminate "qualified Blacks" was racially discriminatory under the 1986 U S Supreme Court doctrine of Batson v. Ky.

In 1995 Judge Sabo had been called out of a well earned retirement and appointed by his superior, the Administrative Judge, to preside over the hearing on Abu Jamal's allegations in his lengthy June 1, 1995 new trial petition.

The hearing itself started in July of 1995.

If prior to that time the court steno had done the right thing, you may safely bet your rent money - or the mortgage payment - that the head of the Philadelphia judiciary would never have appointed Judge Albert Sabo to preside as the sole fact finder.

Not in a million years.

You may safely assume that a Caucasian Judge accused of saying he was going to "help them fry the nigger" would not have been pulled out of retirement to become the sole decider of the race based Batson claim by the Black new trial petitioner, if the court stenographer had reported in 1995 what she later claimed in 1999 that she'd heard in 1982.

The July-August 1995 fact finding Judge heard all of the convicted cop killer's witnesses and all of the Black journalist's Batson arguments, and subsequently filed a written order and decision on September 15, 1995.

He made about 150 findings of fact.

All were adverse to the Black new trial petitioner.

Judge Sabo ruled that the racial discrimination or Batson claim was without merit.
He dismissed Abu Jamal's petition for a new trial.

This important event was also front page news in the city where the stenographer was employed in The System.

It was reported on TV and radio.

The court steno never said a word to anyone about the alleged grossly anti defendant, egregiously racist pre-trial remark by the hearing Judge either at the time the decision was publicized, shortly thereafter, or more importantly, prior to or during the two month evidentiary hearing.

Additional Delay - 1995- 1998

The remorseless murderer's lawyers promptly filed a Notice of Appeal to the Pa. Supreme Court.

The legal beagles then researched, prepared, and filed their legal briefs in support of Abu Jamal's demand that most, if not all, of the fact findings of Judge Sabo in his 9/15/95 decision be set aside as either biased or erroneous.

They demanded that a new Post Conviction Relief Act hearing be granted before a different fact finding Judge.

For about two (2) years, from September 1995 to sometime in 1997 (when the appeal papers were submitted to the Pa. Supreme Court by both sides), the court steno never said a word to anyone about Judge Sabo's alleged 1982 judicial misconduct to Abu Jamal's appellate counsel (Leonard Weinglass and Daniel R. Williams).

She never said a word about it to anyone else - including the seven (7) Judges of the Pa. Supreme Court - while the Death-Row prisoner's lawyers were preparing legal grounds to set aside Judge Sabo's 9/15/95 order denying a new trial.

The Pa. Supreme Court Judges never had the opportunity to decided whether or not Abu Jamal should be granted a new trial or a new PCRA hearing based on Judge Sabo's alleged misconduct because they were never informed that the blatantly racist pre-trial event had occurred.
Abu Jamal's 2nd state appeal was denied in late October of 1998.

Abu Jamal's 1982 1st degree murder conviction was upheld - unanimously,
Ditto the jury's death sentence.

That meant that absent a review proceeding (a "certiorari" proceeding) in the U S Supreme Court (which was never granted) the then 43 year old Death-Row prisoner was well on his way to a one way stroll into Pa.'s death chamber in Rockford prison in Centre County, Pa.
The adverse 1998 Pa. Supreme Court decision was prominently reported by the free press.
The court stenographer said nothing about to anyone.

1999 - Hallelujah! She Talks!

In 1999, the year that Abu Jamal filed his federal habeas corpus petition with the District Court in Philadelphia, the court steno suddenly remembered and speedily revealed a significant event she claimed that she'd observed about nineteen (19) years previously.
Her brief affidavit is published on the remorseless cop killer's Web sites:; & millions4mumia;& free

In 1999 her written and sworn to statement containing the alleged egregiously racist "fry the nigger" claim was announced by Abu Jamal's newest in a long line of "Free Mumia! Free All Political Prisoners!" legal beagles.

It was made the basis of still another unsuccessful petition for a new trial to the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas.

Judge Pamela Dembe, who was assigned to determine this 2nd PCRA petition, gave the claim short shrift, and dismissed the petition.

The court steno never testified before Judge Dembe as Abu Jamal's witness.

She was never cross examined by a prosecutor familiar with the 1982 trial testimony and the 1995 new trial hearing testimony.

Thus, Judge Dembe's decision, although well reasoned and based on solid state law precedent, never assessed the court steno's credibility or her reliability.

The decision never assessed the court stenographer's reason, or her excuse - if any - for her nineteen (19) year delay in reporting an extremely significant event, the alleged grossly racist and blatantly biased judicial misconduct of a trial Judge impacting the life and liberty of a human being about to be tried in his courtroom in 1982 for capital murder.

Let us - you and me - do so.


Let's assume solely for the sake of argument that prior to the jury selection process in June of 1982 a Caucasian Judge assigned to a capital murder trial for a Black defendant, proudly boasted to a Caucasian court steno who didn't work for him in his courtroom, that:

I'm going to help them fry the nigger.

Let's assume further that he also made several other blatantly injudicious, pro prosecution, pro conviction, and pro execution remarks like this:

I'm going to help the DA's Office and the police railroad this bum into a jury verdict of guilty of
1st degree murder.

I'm going to give an instruction to the jury at the end of the trial that will guarantee to the Philadelphia police and to the DA's Office that the jury will never convict this bum of the lesser crimes of 3rd degree murder or voluntary manslaughter.

I'm going to give the jury an instruction that will steer the jury to convict this bum of the top count in the indictment - 1st degree murder, a crime punishable by death.

Let's assume that the supposedly racist Judge also proclaimed:

After I help the DA's Office and the cops fry this bum, I'm going to go to the place of his execution and ask the warden for permission to personally pull the switch.

Let's assume further that the allegedly racist trial Judge also boasted to the June 1982 court stenographer that:

On every occasion I have to rule on an evidentiary question I'm going to rule in favor of the prosecutor, ADA McGill.

On every occasion that this bum's Black lawyer makes an objection to what ADA McGill is doing, I'm going to overrule the defense lawyer's objection and rule in favor of the prosecutor.

Let's further assume further that Judge Sabo bragged to the stenographer that:

When it comes to allowing prosecution witnesses to testify against this bum, whether the Pa. Supreme Court or the US Supreme Court cases permit me to do so, I'm going to allow that prosecution witness to take the stand and help the absolutely wonderful DA's Office and our valiant Philadelphia police to fry this bum.

Let's assume further that Judge Sabo told the 1982 court stenographer that:

After I help the prosecution and the police convict this bum of capital murder and I preside over his penalty trial, when the defendant's Black lawyer gets to his summation, I'm going to strictly confine him within the boundaries of the rules governing oral argument.

If attorney Jackson tries to argue to the jury anything whatsoever other than mitigating circumstances, with or without an objection by ADA McGill, I'm going to immediately cut attorney Jackson off.

I'm going to threaten to hold Abu Jamal's lawyer in contempt. I'm going to threaten to report his contemptuous conduct to the Bar Association. I'm going to recommend that attorney Jackson's license to practice law be suspended or revoked.

In short, I'm not only going to railroad this Black defendant into Pennsylvania's electric chair, I'm going to rid the city of Philadelphia of his Black lawyer.

Now let's examine the trial record.

Let's see how the allegedly racist trial Judge treated 28 year old Mumia Abu Jamal during his 14 day jury trial, and during his one day penalty trial.

Or, if you wish, go directly to the primary source.

Peruse for yourself the entire transcript.

Decide for yourself whether or not the late Judge Albert Sabo demonstrated any anti defendant, anti Black bias during the proceedings.

The entire transcript is available to everyone on:

The Reality - The Trial Record

No 1. Hospital Confession Witness - During the trial an immensely important issue for the jurors to decide was whether or not Mumia Abu Jamal had made an extremely damaging oral confession or boast outside the entrance to the ER area of Thomas Jefferson Hospital about half an hour after the murder of Officer Faulkner.

The lawyer with the burden of proof, ADA Joseph McGill, was trying, through the testimony of an African American hospital employee, Ms. Priscilla Durham, to convince the jury that the wounded new ER surgery patient had bragged to this female security guard near the entrance door to the ER area that:

I shot the motha fuckah, and I hope the motha fuckah dies!

After this "earwitness" to Abu Jamal's boast or confession testified on direct examination, her credibility was challenged during cross examination by attorney Jackson.

The ADA wanted to bolster or support this crucial witness's testimony by having another hospital employee testify that he'd heard Mumia Abu Jamal make the same arrogant boast in the same area of the hospital.

ADA McGill asked the Judge to allow him to place that "earwitness", another Jefferson Hospital security guard, Mr. James Le Grand, on the stand and tell the fact finders what he'd heard Abu Jamal say.

Over McGill's strenuous objection, the supposedly racist trial Judge - for reasons I've never understood - refused to permit the prosecutor to allow Mr. Le Grand to take the stand.

Judge Sabo refused to allow Mr. LeGrand to tell the two (2) Blacks and the ten (10) non Blacks on the jury what he'd heard at about 4:20 AM, December 9, 1981 at Jefferson Hospital.

That was a judicial ruling which certainly wasn't calculated to, or intended to help the prosecutor "fry the nigger."

No. 2 - Sanction For Trial Obstructionist - Abu Jamal intentionally obstructed the murder trial for two (2) entire court days (Thurs 6/17/82 and Fri 6/18/02).

He deliberately prevented ADA McGill from making his mandatory opening statement to the jury, he kept the impatient jurors twiddling their thumbs in the jury room, he prevented the murdered cop's widow from testifying, he prevented Swat Team police from telling the jurors how they'd observed Abu Jamal at the crime scene, sitting on the curb next to his murder victim, about 15 seconds after the last shot was fired outside 1234 Locust St. in downtown Philadelphia.

On those two days, and on the approximately thirteen (13) other occasions during the trial, when Abu Jamal contemptuously misbehaved in the courtroom, the trial Judge had two options under Pa. Supreme Court and U S Supreme Court rules.

He could opt to remove the trial obstructionist from the jury's presence until he promised to behave, or he could opt to have the sheriff put a gag in his mouth and chain him to the defense table in front of the jurors.

The supposedly racist trial Judge who was supposedly trying to help the ADA and the police send Abu Jamal to the electric chair, opted for the less severe discipline.

On all of these trial obstructing occasions Judge Sabo merely ordered the sheriff to remove the obstructionist from disrupting the trial until he promised to behave.

If Judge Sabo had employed the harsher, and legally authorized discipline, it would have irreparably prejudiced the accused murderer.

The sight of a dread-locked, male, Black, capital case defendant being chained to a table with a gag in his mouth would inevitably have caused the jurors - or at least some of them - to believe that the accused murderer was a wild and dangerous person, thereby making it easier, and perhaps even imperative, for the jurors to remove him from society by finding him guilty.

Judge Sabo, in the exercise of a sound discretion, and as an experienced capital case trial Judge, wisely opted for a different sanction for the stubborn radio journalist who insulted him during the trial as a "hangman," a "black-robed conspirator," and an "executioner," and later threatened to kill him at the formal sentencing proceeding on May 25, 1983.

No. 3 - Objections - The "racist" Judge sustained over 50% of the defense attorney's objections.
Plus, on several occasions when ADA McGill objected to attorney Jackson's questions, the impartial trial Judge overruled the prosecutor's objection, and then allowed the defense lawyer to proceed with his interrogation of a witness.

Granting defense counsel's objections to the prosecutor's questions, and sustaining the defense lawyer's objections to the prosecutor's questions, was a hell of a way for a trial Judge to help the prosecutor and the police "fry the nigger."

No. 4 - Summation Leeway - During the summation of the defense attorney at the one day penalty trial of Saturday, July 3, 1982, there were, strictly speaking, only two issues for the jurors to decide.

1st: Were there any mitigating circumstances ("mitigators").
2nd: Did the mitigating circumstances outweigh the sole aggravating circumstance (murdering a peace officer during the performance of his duty).

Strictly speaking, Abu Jamal's African American lawyer should only have been permitted by the "racist" Judge to argue to the jurors that one, or two, or three mitigating circumstances existed, and that these mitigators weren't outweighed by the fact that the cab driving radio journalist had shot and killed Officer Danny Faulkner while he was performing his duty .

Judge Sabo didn't hold attorney Jackson to that standard on Saturday, July 3, 1983.

The "racist" trial Judge gave the zealous defense lawyer incredible leeway in his emotional, tear-filled plea to the jury to spare his fellow Black's life and vote for life imprisonment as opposed to voting for the death penalty.

Judge Sabo allowed attorney Jackson to argue that if a juror voted for death, that juror would be "condoning 1st degree murder."

Judge Sabo allowed the defense lawyer to argue that the death penalty only existed in primitive countries like Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan.

The "racist" Judge who was supposedly trying to help ADA McGill "fry the nigger" allowed the defense attorney to get away with this argument against the death penalty:

Although we still have the death penalty or provisions for the death penalty in Pennsylvania, will you one day wonder if in fact in the United States Supreme Court says, well, for whatever reasons, the provisions of the death penalty as it is administered constitutes cruel and unusual treatment? Is it going to be constitutional? Isn't that why one day something can be legal and constitutional, and the very next day it's not? So you are being asked at this moment to decide whether or not it is all right to kill Mr. Jamal.

ADA McGILL: Objection!

Judge Sabo allowed the Black defendant's lawyer to get away with arguing to the jury that they shouldn't vote for the death penalty for his male Black client because historically the "death penalty has been imposed on certain classes of people: poor people, Black people, and men."

He let the lawyer get away with arguing:

Do you want to add to that statistic?

None of the above arguments had anything whatsoever to do with "mitigating circumstances."

Yet, in spite of the Judge's supposed pro prosecution, pro police, anti Abu Jamal, racially bigoted mind set, Judge Albert Sabo allowed attorney Jackson to make arguments that were clearly outside the strict parameters of the three statutory mitigating circumstances that might induce a juror to vote for life imprisonment in lieu of "death."

No. 5 - Charge To The Jury - Most significantly, despite absolutely no evidence whatsoever upon which a 3rd degree murder verdict could rationally be based, the "racist" trial Judge gave the jury an instruction that they might find the accused murderer guilty of mere 3rd degree murder rather than 1st degree murder.

In 1982 3rd degree murder under Pa. law was an unjustifiable, premeditated killing where the defendant intended to "merely to inflict bodily harm" to his/her crime victim, and "not to take human life, and yet as a result of the injury death results."

Mumia Abu Jamal didn't testify. He didn't have the guts.

He knew the prosecutor would chew him up and spit him out on cross examination if he swore that he didn't shoot and kill Officer Faulkner with the 5 shot 38 he'd purchased in his own name on June 27, 1979 - the one found by Officers Shoemaker and Forbes near the murder victim, and right next to Abu Jamal, with all five bullets fired.

The fact finders never heard Abu Jamal claim that he was merely trying to cause bodily harm to his human target and not to take the cop's life when he fired a bullet directly into the forehead of his wounded and helpless victim.

The uncontested evidence at the trial was that the gun owner had placed the muzzle of his five (5) shot 38 close to the face of Officer Faulkner, and fired one shot directly into a vital part of his body -his brain - killing him instantly.

No rational juror could have believed that Abu Jamal intended to cause mere "physical harm" to Officer Faulkner when he shot the wounded and helpless cop in the forehead.

But the law required Judge Sabo to instruct the jury on this lesser included offense of 3rd degree murder, and that's what's the "racist" trial Judge did.

Judge Sabo thereby gave the racially mixed jury the opportunity to avoid convicting the radio journalist of a crime involving the death penalty by convicting him of a lesser crime involving mere prison time.

This was certainly not the way to help the prosecutor and the police "fry" Abu Jamal.
In 1982 voluntary manslaughter was an intentional and unjustifiable killing of a human being without malice, express or implied, "but under the immediate influence of a sudden and intense passion resulting from serious provocation by the person killed."

Neither Abu Jamal nor his brother, William Cook, testified.

There was no evidence adduced by the defense that Abu Jamal experienced a sudden and intense passion as a result of seeing his uniformed murder victim interacting with William Cook.
The only testimony the fact finders heard was that motorist Michael Scanlan saw William Cook punch the uniform cop in the face, and that the assaulted officer retaliated by striking Cook two times, "three at most," in the shoulder upper arm area with either a flashlight or a billy club.
In other words, what the defendant saw was a motor vehicle operator commit a criminal assault upon a uniformed traffic cop who, after being unlawfully punched in the face, used a minimal amount of retaliatory force upon a non vital part of his assailant's body.

Scanlan testified - without contradiction - that he saw Officer Faulkner’s's police cruiser pull over a VW, that the cop and the VW got out of their cars, talked, and then went up to the curb outside 1234 Locust St. Officer Faulkner tried to put handcuffs on William Cook as he was "spread-eagle in front of the Volkswagen."

Then the eyewitness to a street execution observed the following:

While he was spread eagle he swung around and struck the officer in the face with his fist. The officer reacted, trying to subdue the gentleman, and during this time another man came running out from a parking lot across the street towards the officer and the gentleman in front of the police car. I saw a hand come up like this (gesturing) and I heard a gun shot. There was another gunshot when the man got to the policeman, and the gentleman he had been talking to.
And then the officer fell down on the sidewalk and the man walked over and was standing at his feet and shot him twice. I saw two flashes. It could have been two or three. I remember seeing two flashes. I could see that the one hit the officer in the face because his body
jerked. His whole body jerked.

When Scanlan saw the VW driver assault Officer Faulkner with a closed fist:

It sent him backwards, he flinched, his face was thrown to one side.

In response the murder victim:

Pulled out a flashlight or billy club, and reacted by trying to subdue the man, by striking him above the shoulders. This lawful reaction by a crime victim, a uniformed peace officer acting in the performance of his duty, did not constitute a serious provocation lowering Abu Jamal's criminal culpability under Pa. law from 1st degree murder to mere voluntary manslaughter.
However, despite no evidence upon which a voluntary manslaughter verdict could rationally be based, the "racist" trial Judge gave the jurors an instruction that they might find the accused guilty of voluntary manslaughter (punishable by a maximum of 10 years) rather than 1st degree murder (punishable by death in the electric chair).


All of the above may be checked out and verified by simply perusing the trial and penalty trial transcript.

Again, it's available to the public at:

Based on these five (5) record-based examples of the late Judge Albert Sabo's conduct of the 1982 capital murder trial and the one day penalty trial, is it any wonder that almost no one outside the fanatical, blind to reality, "Free Mumia! Free All Political Prisoners!" crusade believes that the 1982 murder trial Judge attempted to help the Philadelphia police and the DA's Office "fry" Abu Jamal during the 1982 capital murder trial?


The author of the most authoritative and comprehensive book on the remorseless cop killer, Mumia Abu Jamal - The Patron Saint of American Cop Killer, writes from the perspective of a former state prosecutor, a former criminal trial lawyer, a former criminal appeals specialist (rape, robbery, drugs, arson, murder, etc), the former co editor of Gilbert's Criminal Law & Procedure (a desk reference book for trial Judges), and a free lance journalist.

The 2006 edition is available at "" and "barnes&"

An updated version that will include a chapter on the prospective decision of the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals will be published later this year.

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