Death Row Prisoner Wins Major Court Victory
By Robert R. Bryan
Today [December 6, 2005] the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit issued the most important decision affecting my client, Mumia Abu-Jamal, since the lower federal court ruling in December 2001. An order was issued this morning that the court will accept for review the following issues, all of which are of enormous constitutional significance and go to the very essence of Mumia’s right to a fair trial due process of law, and equal protection of the law under the Fifth, Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution:
Claim 14: Whether appellant was denied his constitutional rights due to the prosecution’s trial summation.
Claim 16: Whether the Commonwealth’s use of peremptory challenges at trial violated appellant’s constitutional rights under Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79 (1986).
Claim 29: Whether appellant was denied due process during post-conviction proceedings as a result of alleged judicial bias.
Claim 16 concerns the prosecutorial use of racism in jury selection. The record establishes beyond question that racism is a major thread that has run through this case since Mumia’s 1981 arrest, and continues to today. Claim 14 relates to the guilt phase. It includes the prosecutor’s argument that if convicted Mumia would have “appeal after appeal.” That comment effectively lessened the burden of the jurors, and turned the concept of reasonable doubt and presumption of innocence on its head.
Claim 29 is about the bias and incredible racism of Judge Albert Sabo, the trial judge. Unfortunately, it is limited to his conduct at the 1995 evidentiary (PCRA) hearing, rather than his monstrous behavior at trial. This restriction is because all of the prior attorneys mistakenly did not attack Sabo’s misconduct at trial, an unfortunate oversight and mistake
The court has also issued a briefing schedule. The case is now on the fast track, as I have been predicting. The opening briefs are due to be filed by January 17, 2006.
Please post this e-mail and the attached Order on your web sites, and circulate it.
Today we achieved a great victory in the campaign to win a new trial and the eventual freedom of Mumia.
Your support, and activism, is badly needed and appreciated.
With best wishes,
Robert R. Bryan
For more information contact:
The Mobilization to Free Mumia Abu Jamal
298 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94103