Saturday, January 23, 2010

Massive Jamal Protest Ties Up Small Section Of Sidewalk

On January 20th,a massive protest by supporters of convicted cop-killer, Mumia Abu-Jamal tied up a small section of sidewalk in Center City Philadelphia. The tremendous outpouring of support for the "voice of the voiceless" had some thirty participants. Nearly half of those were MOVE children who were pulled away from their study of quantum physics and bioengineering at Drexel University,in order to attend. Demonstrators effectively halted pedestrian traffic for over five minutes on half a section of sidewalk while people walking by were subjected to a completely unintelligible tirade that made Pat Robertson sound completely sane and rational.

For their part, the District Attorney's office was shocked and terrified at the huge turn-out. It was reported that District Attorney Seth Williams was huddled in a small supply closet in the basement of his office while the demonstration was going on. His staff had to reassure him that the hundreds of Philadelphia Police Officers protecting the building would be enough to prevent it from being overwhelmed by Jamal's spirited defenders before he would even consider coming out.

The U.S. Supreme Court justices who ruled against Jamal were similarly overwhelmed by the veritable army of warriors demanding "Free Mumia"! Said justice Alito, "I haven't seen a protest of this intensity and magnitude since Chicago in '68!"

Upon reading the colorful and grammatically correct signs held by the protester, one elderly Philadelphian said "I never knew that Theo Hugstable from the Cosby Show even was in prison."

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Supreme Court Rules Against Jamal

(From AP Press)

WASHINGTON - January 19, 2010 -- The Supreme Court on Tuesday threw out a court ruling that invalidated a former Black Panther's death sentence for killing a Philadelphia police officer in 1981.

The move was the latest twist in Mumia Abu-Jamal's racially tinged case that has drawn international attention.

The justices ordered the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia to take another look at Abu-Jamal's claim that the jury weighing his punishment was given flawed instructions.

The high court acted on Pennsylvania's appeal of the 3rd Circuit ruling following a decision last week in a capital case from Ohio that turned on a similar issue. The 3rd Circuit could order a federal trial court to consider Abu-Jamal's case anew, including other claims he has raised that have yet to be decided.

A Philadelphia jury convicted Abu-Jamal of killing white Philadelphia police Officer Daniel Faulkner in 1981 after the patrolman pulled over Abu-Jamal's brother in an overnight traffic stop.

Prosecutors say Faulkner, 25, managed to shoot Abu-Jamal during the confrontation. A wounded Abu-Jamal, his own gun lying nearby, was still at the scene when police arrived, and authorities consider the evidence against him overwhelming.

Since Abu-Jamal's 1982 conviction, activists in the United States and Europe have rallied in support of his claims that he was the victim of a racist justice system. Abu-Jamal has kept his case in the spotlight through books and radio broadcasts.

The appeals court upheld Abu-Jamal's conviction but held his death sentence invalid. The Supreme Court earlier rejected Abu-Jamal's appeal of his conviction.

The issue over the instructions relates to whether jurors understood how to weigh mitigating circumstances that might have kept Abu-Jamal off death row. Under the law, jurors did not have to agree unanimously on a mitigating circumstance.

"The verdict form together with the jury instructions were misleading as to whether unanimity was required in consideration of mitigating circumstances," the appeals court wrote.

But last week, the Supreme Court reversed a similar ruling by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati. That case dealt with Frank Spisak, a neo-Nazi who killed three people in 1982.

The case is Beard v. Abu-Jamal, 08-652.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Supreme Court To Rule on Jamal Case On Tuesday

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court is expected on Tuesday to issue its latest decision on the fate of Mumia Abu-Jamal, arguably America's most famous death-row inmate, convicted of slaying a Philadelphia policeman, a crime he denies committing.

The court is due to rule on an appeal by the Philadelphia district attorney who is seeking to have Abu-Jamal executed and bring an end to a decades-long legal saga the inmate, a former journalist, wrote about while in prison.

Abu-Jamal, now 55, was convicted in 1982 of killing officer Daniel Faulkner on December 9, 1981. He has become an international cause celebre for the anti-death penalty movement whose supporters argue strenuously he did not receive a fair trial.

His backers say he was framed by police, that prosecution witnesses were coerced into false testimony and that ballistics evidence shows Abu-Jamal did not shoot Faulkner but that the murder was committed by another man who fled the scene.

Supporters also claim that Abu-Jamal, who is black, was the victim of a racist and notoriously pro-prosecution trial judge, the now-deceased Albert Sabo, who was overheard to say, "Yeah, and I'm going to help them fry the nigger," according to an affidavit by a court stenographer.

Faulkner's widow, Maureen, and Philadelphia's Fraternal Order of Police oppose any clemency for Abu-Jamal, arguing his conviction has been upheld repeatedly by numerous courts, including the Supreme Court, over three decades.

They note that bullet fragments taken from Faulkner's body match the ammunition from the gun carried by Abu-Jamal who was earning his living as a taxi driver at the time of the killing.

If the Supreme Court rules in his favor, Abu-Jamal would get a new jury trial on the sentencing, but not his conviction.

But a defeat is likely to send the case back to an appeals court, whose ruling would be based on a new Supreme Court decision on jury instructions in another case, said his attorney, Robert R. Bryan.

Abu-Jamal has been in solitary confinement on death row since the conviction, and has been held since 1995 in a western Pennsylvania prison where he has written books and contributed to international journals and radio shows.

Outside the United States, Abu-Jamal's backers include the human rights group Amnesty International, which in 2000 called for a new trial, arguing his conviction and sentence followed "contradictory and incomplete evidence" in a trial that failed to meet minimum international standards of justice.

(Editing by Philip Barbara)

Hit Counter
Online Schools