As of January 11, 2010 United States political prisoner Mumia
Abu-Jamal is the closest to death he has ever been. In 1981, Mr.
Abu-Jamal, a former Black Panther as a teenager and a noted radio
journalist, was shot by police, arrested and then charged with
allegedly killing a Pennsylvania police officer. He was convicted
after a flawed trial and sentenced to death by a jury from which the
prosecution had systematically excluded Black people. The judge,
notorious for sentencing people to death in great numbers, gave
instructions to the jury that have been found to be invalid and
incorrect. Although the courts have refused to allow new evidence
demonstrating Mumia’s innocence and disproving Police allegations
against him, he won an appeal which set aside his and
required a new sentencing phase trial hearing.
The is now set to rule on an appeal by Pennsylvania
prosecutors of that lower court ruling. They will either reinstate his
death sentence, or uphold the lower court in granting him a new
sentencing trial. If the death penalty verdict is upheld, could be dead within 48 hours. For up to date information
concerning the ruling visit www.breakthechains.info.
In Los Angeles, a group called Mumia: Alive and Free! is working
towards getting Mumia Abu-Jamal a new sentencing trial. However, it is
our ultimate goal to have this innocent man be free.
We call for a massive gathering outside of the Downtown Los Angeles
Federal Building, 200 N. Los Angeles St. (corner Temple) at 5:00 pm,
the day after the Supreme Court ruling. We urge cities throughout the
country and the world to act in solidarity for Mumia in any way
Please distribute flyers far and wide. Encourage everyone you know to
do something to spread the word about Mumia’s case, no matter what
they can do. Sign the petition to save his life
outlets. Initiate public rallies. Engage students, neighbors and
co-workers in your area or members of your faith group. If we do not
act, every single one of us will share responsibility for his death.
Since Mumia Abu-Jamal was sentenced to death, his life has been in the
lethal grip of the United States government. Becoming a symbol of
resistance to injustice for political movements throughout the world,
the human aspects of Mumia Abu-Jamal’s mortality may have been taken
for granted. Many of us have grown up with his case ever present in
the political dialogues, media and music. However, due to his 27 year
stay on death row, the case has seemingly disappeared from the minds
of a once outraged public. The death sentence still hanging over his
head has not been taken seriously. We must shift our thinking and
return the sense of urgency once attributed to his case. We can not
trust that the very same legal system which trumped up murder charges
against an innocent man because of his political affiliations and the
color of his skin, will preserve his life.
We must treat every day as though it is Mumia Abu-Jamal’s very last.
He is in there for us, and we are out here for him. What will you do
to save his life?
What: Mass gathering in solidarity with Mumia Abu-Jamal
When: The day after the Supreme Court ruling is delivered, 5 PM!
Where: , 200 N. Los Angeles St.
(Corner Temple St.)
Why: Bring Mumia’s case to the headlines again, demand a new criminal
and sentencing trial, say NO to the state murder of an innocent man.
http://www.emajonline.com/ Educators for Mumia Abu-Jamal
http://abu-jamal-news.com/ Journalists for Mumia Abu-Jamal
http://www.freemumia.org/ Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Coalition, NYC
http://www.onamove.com/mumia/ John Africa's MOVE organization
Alert! New Threat To Mumia's Life!
Supreme Court Set To Announce A Decision
On the State Appeal To Reinstate Mumia's Death Sentence
17 January 2010
Mumia Abu-Jamal, an innocent man on death row and the world's best-known political prisoner, now faces an immediate new threat to his life from the US Supreme Court. The Court ruled last year on Mumia's appeal, by summarily refusing to even consider a reversal of his unjust 1982 murder conviction in a blatantly racist court. And last week, the Supreme Court discussed a cross-appeal by the State of Pennsylvania to reinstate Mumia's death sentence, which had been put on hold by a federal court in 2001. A ruling could be announced as early as Tuesday this week.
It would be an illusion to expect good news. Supporters should stay tuned, and be prepared to participate in actions to free Mumia!
The Vendetta Against Mumia
In making it's flat-out rejection of Mumia's appeal (which it did without making any statement), the Supreme Court had to knowingly violate its own precedent in the 1986 Batson v Kentucky decision. This ruling famously said that purging a jury on the basis of race was unconstitutional. In Mumia's case, at least 10 black jurors were excluded for reasons not applied to their white counterparts. Under Batson, such violations require that the conviction be thrown out!
But this was Mumia Abu-Jamal, the falsely accused "cop killer." And while evidence of his innocence has always been available, along with evidence of the corruption of the cops who framed him, Mumia is the object of a world-wide vendetta led by the Fraternal Order of Police and numerous pundits and politicians. So an exception was made.
The Spisak Case
Meanwhile, the 2001 federal district court decision (besides upholding Mumia's conviction) said that Mumia's death sentence resulted from improper instructions to the jury. The trial judge's instructions to the jury on sentencing had said that a decision had to be unanimous, even on mitigating factors that could result in a sentence of life in prison, instead of death. This violated another Supreme Court precedent, Mills v Maryland, which held that such mitigating factors required only a simple majority.
After tossing out Mumia's appeal in 2009, the Court took it's time on the State's cross-appeal, because another case, Smith v Spisak, dealt with the same issue of jury instructions in sentencing. Frank Spisak is a neo-Nazi who made racist statements in court, wore a Hitler mustache, and confessed to three hate-crime murders in Ohio. The two cases could hardly be more different, yet appeals courts threw out death sentences in both on the basis of the Mills decision. But now, on January 12th, the Supreme Court has reinstated Spisak's death sentence. The decision on Mumia followed shortly thereafter, and the implications are clear. The Spisak decision could open the door to what the cops, courts and ruling class generally want to do most: legally murder Mumia!
The Supreme Court said Mills didn't apply to Spisak for various reasons (that don't seem to apply to Mumia), but the legal ins and outs aren't the point. The point is that the entire legal system is at the service not of the law, but of power in society.
As Mumia Abu-Jamal said in a recent interview, "[Spisak's] case differs from mine substantially, not just in terms of facts, but also in terms of law. But the law is the tool of those in power, so how they use it doesn't depend on the law; it depends on power."
(-Free Speech Radio News, 15 January 2010).
The Question of Innocence!
As an award-winning radical journalist, former Black Panther, and critic of police brutality and malfeasance, Mumia Abu-Jamal is considered an enemy of the state. As such, legal decisions have systematically gone against him, regardless of the law. Batson is only one example of this "Mumia exception."
Manufacturing false confessions, planting evidence, corrupting "witnesses" to say they saw what they didn't see--all of these "illegal" tricks were used against Mumia. The real evidence points to Mumia's innocence, including another man who confessed, witnesses who said Mumia didn't shoot anybody but who were never called to testify, and photos of the crime scene that show that police lied. But very little of this has ever been heard in court.
Rather than follow the "law," the criminal justice system follows a simple rule: "If we want to get you, we will." The US Supreme Court (Herrera v Collins), and the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (signed by Bill Clinton in 1996), have effectively said: innocence is no defense!
The Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal has never thought that calling for a new trial, or appealing to the US Justice Department to right the wrongs that they helped create, were anything more than distractions, getting in the way of a mass, working-class movement to free Mumia.
Mumia is a class-war prisoner, and it will take a class struggle to free him: that was position of longshore workers in the International Longshore and Warehouse
Union (ILWU) when they shut down all the ports on the West Coast in 1999, and headed the march in San Francisco, to free Mumia. Oakland teachers, and teachers in Rio de Janeiro Brazil also took work actions to support Mumia. Only this kind of working-class action, combined with mass mobilizations, can defeat a determined frame-up by cops, courts and politicians. Mumia Abu-Jamal is now in imminent danger of a new execution order, so the need for action is urgent. For workers action to free Mumia!
Stay in touch for demonstration details this week.
Visit our newly-rebuilt and updated web site for background information on Mumia's innocence. See the "What You Can Do Now" page: www.laboractionmumia.org
- The Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal
PO Box 16222 Oakland CA 94610