By Johnnie Stevens
Supporters of imprisoned freedom fighter Mumia Abu-Jamal demonstrated on December 28 at Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner’s office. They demanded that Krasner not try to overturn Judge Tucker’s ruling that gives Mumia the right to appeal his 1981 frame-up conviction.
For years, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court turned down appeals from Mumia. Among the judges on that court who did so was Ronald D. Castille, who had been Philadelphia District Attorney when Mumia Abu-Jamal had filed his appeals from death row. What sort of justice is that?
Pam Africa of International Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal declared that “the people’s movement is responsible for this victory.”
“A new appeal opens the door to Mumia’s freedom, after 37 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit,” she said. “The charges should be dismissed and he should be freed!”
Pam Africa raised a call to action for freeing Mumia on a national conference call for Mumia’s supporters December 27. National rallies will be held on January 5 and international rallies on April 20.
Supporters from Mobilization 4 Mumia, the Nation of Islam, Food Not Bombs, American Postal Workers Union, Project Solidarity, Communist Workers League, Uhuru, New York Mumia Coalition and Real Justice joined the International Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal in blocking traffic in front of the district attorney’s office during the evening rush hour on December 28. The chants of “No justice! No peace! Free Mumia!” were heard by thousands.
On December 13, following Judge Tucker’s call to the lawyers in the case for addition information regarding Ron Castille, District Attorney Larry Krasner appeared on WHYY radio showing his own bias.
WHYY host Marty Moss Coane asked Krasner about Mumia Abu-Jamal’s case: “Is your office involved in the case?”
Krasner replied, “To date, we have reported to court multiple times on our searches to date. Our position has been and remains that we do not see evidence of significant involvement by then District Attorney Castille that would disqualify him.”
Mumia’s lawyer Judith Ritter observed that “there are lots of reasons to be concerned about Ronald Castille’s neutrality when he became a state Supreme Court justice.”
Krasner’s statement followed the December 3 hearing in Common Pleas Court before Judge Leon Tucker. Previously suppressed evidence of judicial misconduct by Judge Ronald Castille was supposed to be presented by the district attorney’s office.
On October 29, Tucker postponed his decision on whether Mumia would be granted another chance to appeal. Mumia’s attorneys had argued that his rights has been violated during previous appeals because Castille had refused to recuse himself.
Castille had fought Jamal’s appeals when he was district attorney yet insisted on hearing the Abu-Jamal’s appeals when Castille sat on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
That’s a clear violation of the United States Supreme Court’s Williams v. Pennsylvania ruling, which gave a prisoner on death row the right to appeal when a judge in similar circumstances refused to recuse himself.
Pam Africa had this to say about Judge Tucker, a Black judge who is a Republican party member: “Judge Tucker isn’t doing us no favors. He’s doing his job to the letter. We demand the same of D.A. Krasner.”
Tucker’s ruling for Mumia was a split decision. While ruling that Castille should should have recused himself from Mumia’s case hearing, Tucker rejected arguments by Abu-Jamal’s attorneys based on the US Supreme Court decision on William v. Pennsylvania.
Following Judge Tucker’s ruling, the district attorney’s office has 30 days to file a notice of appeal to the Pennsylvania Superior Court.
Intensify the struggle!
Judge Tucker’s ruling on Mumia follows many people’s victories for prisoners and other workers in 2018.
National prisoner strikes erupted and prisoners demanded to be paid. Voters in Florida restored voting rights for 1.4 million convicted people.
Debbie Africa and Michael Africa of the MOVE 9 were freed after 37 years of being jailed. The right to adequate treatment for Hep-C was won for all Pennsylvania inmates, including Mumia Abu-Jamal.
Even the capitalist U.S. Congress passed a limited criminal justice reform bill that may free a few thousand prisoners.
All these victories spring from a mass workers’ fight against the superstructure of police, prisons and capital that Judge Tucker represents to the letter.
The movement to free Mumia Abu-Jamal participated in many of those struggles. The ruling class is now seeking to refortify their prison house of nations.
The International Family and Friends of Mumia Abu Jamal has called to intensify the campaign to free Mumia. Brick by brick, wall by wall, we will free Mumia Abu-Jamal!
Twitter Storm for Mumia on Friday, January 4, 2019:
Click links below to Tweet
Click to Tweet link #1:
#KrasnerDoRightByMumia @philaDAO Don’t stand in the way of justice. Don’t appeal Judge’s decision allowing ex Panther Abu-Jamal to re-appeal! Judge says re-arguing Mumia’s appeals “would best serve the appearance of justice”
Click to Tweet link #2:
#KrasnerDoRightByMumia @philaDAO Don’t appeal Judge’s decision allowing ex Panther Abu-Jamal to re-appeal. You campaigned on freeing the wrongfully convicted. Mumia’s case Is Philly’s most notorious Wrongful Conviction!