When Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Lucretia Clemons released an inmate from prison in May 2021, she clearly saw how prosecutors illegally withholding evidence of innocence caused that Philadelphia man to languish in prison for nearly 30-years on a wrongful murder conviction.
As Clemons released Eric Riddick from prison on May 28, 2021, she declared that misconduct by Philadelphia prosecutors against Riddick constituted a “constitutional violation.”
Yet, 96-weeks later, Clemons refused to see gross constitutional violations by Philadelphia prosecutors in the controversial case of Mumia Abu-Jamal, the Philadelphian whose murder conviction 41-years ago is condemned as wrongful by millions around the world.
On March 31, 2023, Judge Clemons issued a ruling on the latest appeal filed by Abu-Jamal where she rejected claims that materials in six boxes on the Abu-Jamal case withheld by prosecutors for 36-years constituted a constitutional violation like the violation she acknowledged in the Riddick case.
This recent ruling by Clemons dismissed the core issue in Abu-Jamal’s appeal: fundamental damage done to Abu-Jamal’s defense by prosecutors who withheld evidence that undermined their for decades. Prosecutors misled judges with claims that they released all information to Abu-Jamal’s lawyers.
The evidence withheld by prosecutors that Judge Clemons refused to fault involved constitutional violations that judges in Pennsylvania (and across America) are duty bound to correct to ensure justice. The introduction (Preamble) to Pennsylvania’s Code of Judicial Conduct states judges serve, “a fundamental role in ensuring the principles of justice.” Clemons’ Abu-Jamal ruling evidenced an abdication of her role to ensure justice.
Sophisticated lawlessness ….