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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: East Bay | U.S. | Anti-War | Police State and Prisons | Racial Justice
Free All Political Prisoners forum at Starry Plough (12-3-16)
12-3-16 whistleblowers forum at Starry Plough featured w/ readings from Rachel Wolkenstein's 'Path to Mumia's Freedom' and Williams vs. Pennsylvania, the case that can open his prisons doors...and our many other innocent defenders'.
"A new legal action filed by Mumia Abu-Jamal in the Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas on August 7, 2016 provides a path in the courts to overturn Mumia’s conviction and win his freedom. The legal underpinning is the recent precedent-setting U.S. Supreme Court decision Williams v. Pennsylvania, 136 S.Ct. 1989 (2016), which holds it is a violation of the due process right to an impartial tribunal free of judicial bias if a judge participating in a criminal appeal had “a significant personal involvement as a prosecutor in a critical decision” in a defendant’s case.
Ronald D. Castille was a senior Assistant District Attorney during Mumia’s 1982 trial and the Philadelphia District Attorney during Mumia’s direct appeal of conviction and death sentence. Ronald D. Castille was a Justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court during the entire period of Mumia’s appeals of his post-conviction proceedings from 1995-2008.
Mumia made motions to Justice Castille to recuse himself from his post-conviction appeals to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court from 1996-98 and again in 2002 on grounds of bias and conflict of interest, but Castille refused. Mumia raised Castille’s denial to recuse himself as an appeal issue in the federal courts, but it was ignored.
The District Attorney’s office and Justice Castille did not disclose, or denied or minimized any direct role District Attorney Castille had as a prosecutor in capital prosecutions, including jury selection and other prosecutorial trial conduct and appeal strategy and preparation. As stated in the new filing, “The high profile and political sensitivity of Mr. Abu-Jamal’s case, increases the likelihood that Justice Castille’s minimization of his involvement in the case was not credible.”
Castille’s role as both prosecutor and judge in Mumia’s case, in light of the Williams decision, opens the door to a court decision vacating (overturning and dismissing) all Pennsylvania Supreme Court denials of Mumia’s post-conviction petitions. If this new legal action succeeds Mumia would get “do-overs” to the legal challenges he made to the racist frame-up conviction, for which he has now spent close to 35 years in prison, almost thirty in solitary confinement on death row.
This new legal action can lead to renewed challenges to all the state’s unconstitutional racial, political and class biased procedures and state misconduct that resulted in Mumia’s frame-up conviction before the pro-cop and racist judge Albert Sabo who declared before trial, “I’m going to help them fry the n----r.”
Mumia’s other challenges to his conviction include: Ineffective assistance of trial counsel; The prosecution’s intentional exclusion of African-Americans from his jury; the Prosecution’s summation argument that Mumia would have “appeal after appeal” depriving Mumia of the constitutional standard of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt and the importance of the jury decision in determining guilt and a death sentence; Denying Mumia the right to self-representation and to be in the courtroom during his trial; Police and prosecutorial fabrication of evidence of guilt—false hospital confession, phony ballistics evidence, lying witnesses Cynthia White, Priscilla Durham, Robert Chobert—and suppression of evidence of Mumia’s innocence—Veronica Jones, Dessie Hightower, William Singletary, Ken Freeman, Arnold Howard and the confession of Arnold Beverly.
In other words, Mumia would be able to re-appeal the entirety of his frame-up conviction before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. If the new appeal wins, Mumia will get a new trial, if not dismissal on grounds of gross state misconduct in prosecuting Mumia.
And should a new trial be ordered, the prosecution has no evidence to present against Mumia. The three legs of the case--eyewitnesses, confession and ballistics--have been proven to be manufactured by the police."
at the Peace and Freedom Party benefit at Saturday's 'Suds, Snacks & Socialism' at the Starry Plough, 3101 Shattuck Av. Berkeley...