Mumia Abu-Jamal Faces U.S. Supreme Court as New Book and Fil

Mumia Abu-Jamal Faces U.S. Supreme Court as New Book and Fil

Postby admin » Wed Jun 15, 2016 7:50 am

Mumia Abu-Jamal Faces U.S. Supreme Court as New Book and Film Expose Injustice
by Hans Bennett
(Abu-Jamal-News.com)
Oct 7th, 2008

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On Monday, Oct.6, in a ruling unrelated to death-row journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal's upcoming appeal of the recent Third Circuit decision denying a new guilt-phase trial, the US Supreme Court rejected his Post Conviction Relief Act (PCRA) appeal, which was asking the courts to hear newly discovered testimony from Kenneth Pate and Yvette Williams (read the affidavits here). The appeal had been filed in July, after it was rejected by the PA Supreme Court in Feb, 2008, and in 2005 by Philadelphia Judge Pamela Dembe.

Upset by Monday's news, Dr. Suzanne Ross, Co-Chair of The NYC Free Mumia Coalition argued: "The courts, from Judge Albert Sabo's outrageously biased rulings and court decorum; to Pamela Dembe's ridiculous rulings, including her disregard of the significance of Sabo's infamous 'I'm going to help them fry the Nigger' remark; to the PA Supreme Court's rubber stamping of Sabo's and Dembe's rulings; to Judge William Yohn's refusal to examine the question of innocence, to the Third Circuit's 'topsy turvy' violations of their own precedents in considering the Batson issue so that they could deny Abu-Jamal the trial he is entitled to, have all shown a callous disregard for the life of a man who is obviously innocent, and have done everything in their power to assure that Mumia Abu-Jamal will never see the light of day from other than the twisted prism of a prison. This last decision is yet another outrageous chapter in a 27 year history of a conspiracy to imprison, kill, and silence Mumia Abu-Jamal."

With the court's PCRA rejection, Abu-Jamal's upcoming appeal to the US Supreme Court of the Third Circuit decision (the filing of this appeal is due by Oct. 20 unless a 60 day extension is requested) is now more important than ever, because this is now his last chance for a new guilt-phase trial. Fortunately, this crucial moment for Abu-Jamal coincides with two new media projects that expose injustice in his case that extends well beyond the narrow issues being considered by the courts: the British film In Prison My Whole Life and the book The Framing of Mumia Abu-Jamal, by J. Patrick O'Connor.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1CyKDa_Kp3A

Both projects merit extensive coverage from the mainstream media, and are being utilized as tools by Abu-Jamal's supporters for both education and fighting what they see as a long history of mainstream media bias against Abu-Jamal. Supporters are currently organizing for a major demonstration in Philadelphia on December 6, organized in solidarity with other actions around the world.

The Framing of Mumia Abu-Jamal, by J. Patrick O'Connor

Acclaimed historian Howard Zinn has written that "J. Patrick O’Connor’s new book, The Framing of Mumia Abu-Jamal is based on a meticulous review of 12,000 pages of court transcripts, legal briefs, police records and an exhaustive examination of the constitutional violations perpetrated by America's criminal 'justice' system. His evidence makes a powerful case that Mumia Abu-Jamal should be granted a new trial, and having been cruelly kept on death row for 26 years, he should be immediately freed.”

In Framing, O’Connor criticizes the media, who he says “bought into the prosecution’s story line early on and has never been able to see this case for what it is: a framing of an innocent and peace loving man.” As explained in a recent interview, O'Connor argues that the actual shooter was a man named Kenneth Freeman, who was Billy Cook's business partner and who O'Connor argues was a passenger in Cook's car when it was pulled over by Officer Daniel Faulkner the morning of Dec. 9, 1981. Freeman was mysteriously found dead in a Northeast lot (reportedly naked, gagged, hand-cuffed, and with a drug needle in his arm) the day after the infamous May 13, 1985 police bombing of MOVE, leading O'Connor to conclude that "the timing and modus operandi of the abduction and killing alone suggest an extreme act of police vengeance."

Despite the importance of Framing, and a timely NY Times article that spotlighted the book's release in May, the mainstream media has virtually ignored O'Connor's book. Supporters of Abu-Jamal are fighting back against this media blackout, and on October 3, author J. Patrick O'Connor began a week-long book tour in the SF Bay Area, which followed his tour of New York City and Philadelphia in June. Click here for a compilation of radio shows, interviews with, and articles by & about O'Connor--including this video interview at Philadelphia City Hall on the day of the book's release (WATCH PARTS 1, 2, and 3).

The Sundance Channel Acquires New British Film About Mumia

Scheduled to premiere on The Sundance Channel on December 8, 2008, the new film, titled In Prison My Whole Life has been officially endorsed by Amnesty International, who in 2000 published a major report calling for a new trial. Amnesty UK Director Kate Allen said: "It's shocking that the US justice system has repeatedly failed to address the appalling violation of Mumia Abu-Jamal's fundamental fair trial rights....We hope that the film's viewers will back our call for a fair retrial for Mumia Abu-Jamal--and also support our work opposing the death penalty in the US and around the world."

In Prison character and filmmaker, William Francome was born on the night of Mumia’s 1981 arrest. Responding to the Sundance acquisition, he said: "Mumia's case and the issues surrounding it are still highly important and need to be analyzed...It is so important that a trusted high quality broadcaster like Sundance has taken up the film, putting it at the fingertips of millions of Americans."

On October 10, there is a special press conference, reception, and screening of In Prison at Theatre Pathe Vaise in Lyon, France, featuring the former French First Lady, Madame Daniele Mitterrand, producers Colin Firth & Livia Giuggioli-Firth, Abu-Jamal's lead attorney Robert R. Bryan, representatives of Amnesty International, and a message from Mumia to be read to the audience. In Prison has already been shown at many prestigious film festivals including The Times BFI 51st London Film Festival and Rome's International Film Festival in 2007, The Sundance Film Festival, in January, 2008, and this September at NYC's Urbanworld Film Festival, and at the CR10 prison abolitionist conferencein Oakland, CA.

An October, 2007 interview with Francome, and a September, 2008 interview with co-producer Livia Giuggioli Firth, revealed that In Prison features 1) the first interview ever with Billy Cook, and 2) a presentation of the crime scene photos recently aired on NBC's Today Show, featuring an interview with the photographer Pedro Polakoff, and the German author that recently discovered them, Michael Schiffmann.

Mumia’s brother Billy Cook was at the scene on Dec. 9, 1981, after Officer Faulkner pulled Cook’s VW car over. Interviewed in the film, Cook denies the accusation that he struck Faulkner in the face, from which he allegedly instigated the documented beating by Faulkner. Cook shows In Prison's interviewers the scars from the beating, which are still on his head today. "They arrested me for assaulting him, but I never laid a hand on him. I was only trying to protect myself," says Cook, who also reports that before he was beaten bloody with the police flashlight, Faulkner "was kind of vulgar and nasty. And if I remember correctly he threw a slur in... 'Nigger' get back in the car."

In Prison features the first interview with press photographer Pedro Polakoff, along with German author, Dr. Michael Schiffmann (University of Heidelberg), who discovered Polakoff's photos (never seen by the 1982 jury) and featured them in his new German book Race Against Death, published in Fall, 2006. William Francome argues that the photos "were purposefully ignored by the prosecution and the DA’s Office", because the DA knew that the photographs "could have done their case some damage in court." (For more on the photos, go to Journalists for Mumia's website: Abu-Jamal-News.com)

Appealing The Third Circuit Ruling to The US Supreme Court

On July 22, the Third Circuit Court ruled against Mumia's en banc appeal requesting that the entire court hear his appeal, instead of just the three-judge panel of Thomas Ambro, Anthony Scirica, and Robert Cowen, who previously ruled against a new guilt-phase trial on March 27, 2008. Ruling against three different appeal issues, the court refused to grant either a new guilt-phase trial or a preliminary hearing that could have led to a new guilt-phase trial for Mumia. However, on the issue of racist jury selection, also known as the Batson claim, the three judge panel split 2-1, with Ambro dissenting.

The 1986 Batson v. Kentucky ruling established the right to a new trial if jurors were excluded on the basis of race. At the 1982 trial Prosecutor McGill used 10 of his 15 peremptory strikes to remove otherwise acceptable black jurors, yet the court ruled that there was not even the appearance of discrimination. In his dissenting opinion, Ambro wrote that the denial of a preliminary Batson hearing “goes against the grain of our prior actions…I see no reason why we should not afford Abu-Jamal the courtesy of our precedents.”

Mumia will be filing an appeal of this ruling with the US Supreme Court by the deadline of Oct. 20, unless he applies for a 60 day extension. The District Attorney has the same Oct. 20 deadline to appeal the Third Circuit ruling regarding the 'overturning' of the death sentence, if they choose to do so.

On March 27, the three-judge panel unanimously affirmed Federal District Court Judge William Yohn’s 2001 decision overturning the death sentence. Citing the 1988 Mills v. Maryland precedent, Yohn had ruled that sentencing forms used by jurors and Judge Sabo’s instructions to the jury were potentially confusing, and jurors could have mistakenly believed that they had to unanimously agree on any mitigating circumstances in order to consider them as weighing against a death sentence.

Now, if the DA wants to re-instate the death sentence, the DA must call for a new penalty-phase jury trial where new evidence of Mumia’s innocence can be presented. However, the jury can only choose between a sentence of life in prison without parole or a death sentence.

Or, the DA can appeal this ruling to the US Supreme Court by the deadline of Oct. 20. The DA has not stated whether or not it will: (1) appeal this to the US Supreme Court, or (2) accept the Third Circuit ruling and either request a new sentencing trial or accept life in prison without the chance of parole.

US Supreme Court Rejects Mumia Abu-Jamal's PCRA Appeal

On Monday, October 6 (in a ruling unrelated to the above-mentioned appeal of the 3rd Circuit ruling), the US Supreme Court rejected Mumia’s Post Conviction Relief Act (PCRA) appeal, which was asking the courts to hear newly discovered testimony from Kenneth Pate and Yvette Williams (read the affidavits here). The appeal had been filed in July, after it was rejected by the PA Supreme Court in Feb, 2008, and in 2005 by Philadelphia Judge Pamela Dembe.

Philadelphia journalist Dave Lindorff is the author of Killing Time, an independent investigation into the Abu-Jamal case. Responding on Monday to the US Supreme Court ruling he said: "One of the travesties that is part of American death penalty jurisprudence, and that contributes to the inescapable conclusion that it can never be fair or foolproof, is that the bar for getting a new hearing based upon new evidence is set almost impossibly high. So for example, even though we have in these two affidavits evidence that a key witness at trial to an alleged confession had been pressured or lured into lying on the stand, and that a second alleged eye-witness had been pressured and induced into claiming she was a witness when she actually wasn't one, the US Supreme Court rules that it will not even review the matter or order a lower court to do so. And so it is possible that Mumia Abu-Jamal, a man who could in fact be innocent of murder, will either die or be left to rot in jail for the rest of his life while he could be the victim of police witness tampering and prosecutorial misconduct."

Another Philadelphia journalist was dismayed by Monday's ruling, and hopes it is not an indication of how the court will respond to the upcoming, separate appeal of the 3rd Circuit ruling. Having covered this story since 1981, Temple University professor and Philadelphia Tribune columnist Linn Washington, Jr. argues that "the Williams revelation by itself at least deserves a formal hearing...as does the jury selection discrimination issue. However, state and federal courts continue with the pattern in the Abu-Jamal case of circling the wagons to shut-out any evidence exposing the major flaws of the 1982 trial and that jury's guilty verdict."

Let's take a closer look at these two rejected affidavits that shed light on the broader issue of fabricated evidence used to convict Mumia Abu-Jamal.

KENNETH PATE'S AFFIDAVIT AND THE FAKE 'HOSPITAL CONFESSION

Kenneth Pate is the step-brother of hospital security guard Priscilla Durham, who testified at the 1982 trial to hearing Abu-Jamal confess at the hospital, to shooting Officer Daniel Faulkner. Pate now states in an April 18, 2003 affidavit that Durham confided to him during a telephone conversation "around the end of 1983 or the beginning of 1984" that she had actually lied about hearing the alleged hospital confession.

Pate states that Durham told him on the telephone that "Mumia was all bloody and the police were interfering with his treatment, saying 'let him die.' Priscilla said that the police told her that she was part of the 'brotherhood' of police since she was a security guard and that she had to stick with them and say that she heard Mumia say that he killed the police officer, when they brought Mumia in on a stretcher.''

Even before Pate's affidavit, Durham's account was very suspicious.

The alleged "hospital confession," where Mumia reportedly declared, "I shot the motherf***er and I hope the motherf***er dies," was first officially reported to police over two months later, by hospital guards Priscilla Durham and James LeGrand (Feb. 9, 1982), PO Gary Wakshul (Feb.11), PO Gary Bell (Feb. 25), and PO Thomas M. Bray (March1).

Only two of these five witnesses were called by the DA: Priscilla Durham and Gary Bell (Faulkner's partner and "best friend").

Priscilla Durham and Gary Bell

Durham testified in 1982, and added for the very first time (not reported to the police on Feb. 9), that she had reported the confession to her supervisor the next day, making a hand-written report. Neither her supervisor, nor the alleged handwritten statement were presented in court.

Instead, the DA sent an officer to the hospital, returning with a suspicious typed version. Sabo accepted the unsigned and unauthenticated paper despite both Durham's disavowal (because it was not hand-written), and the defense's protest that authorship and authenticity were unproven.

Gary Bell testified that his two month memory lapse resulted from him being so upset over the death of Faulkner, that he forgot to report it to police.

Gary Wakshul: 'the negro male made no comment.'

Police Officer Gary Wakshul was not a prosecution witness, and on the final day of testimony in 1982, Mumia's lawyer discovered Wakshul's statement from Dec. 9, 1981 (Mumia's supporters cite this late discovery as another example of incompetent representation--to which defense attorney Anthony Jackson testified about at the 1995 PCRA hearings).

After riding with Abu-Jamal to the hospital and guarding him until his treatment, Wakshul reported: "the negro male made no comment."

When the defense immediately sought to call Wakshul as a witness, the DA reported that he was on vacation. On grounds that it was too late in the trial, Sabo denied the defense request to locate him for testimony.

Subsequently, the jury never heard from Wakshul or about his contradictory written report. When an outraged Abu-Jamal protested, Judge Sabo cruelly declared to him: "You and your attorney goofed."

At the 1995 PCRA Hearings, Wakshul testified that both his contradictory Dec. 9 "the negro male made no comment" report and the two month delay were simply bad mistakes. He repeated his earlier February 11, 1982 statement given to the police IAB investigator that he "didn't realize it had any importance until that day." Wakshul also testified to being home for his 1982 vacation—in accordance with explicit instructions to stay in town for the trial so that he could testify if called.

Mysteriously, just days before his PCRA testimony, Wakshul was savagely beaten by undercover police officers in front of a Judge in the Common Pleas Courtroom, where Wakshul worked as a court crier. The two attackers were later suspended without pay, as punishment. With the motive still unexplained, the beating was possibly used to intimidate Wakshul into maintaining his "confession" story at the PCRA hearings.

Regarding the alleged confession, Amnesty International concluded: "The likelihood of two police officers and a security guard forgetting or neglecting to report the confession of a suspect in the killing of another police officer for more than two months strains credulity."

YVETTE WILLIAMS' AFFIDAVIT AND CYNTHIA WHITE'S FALSE TESTIMONY

Yvette Williams' July 8, 2002 affidavit, is just the latest evidence discrediting the prosecution's star witness at the 1982 trial: Cynthia White.

Suspiciously, no official eyewitness even reported seeing White at the scene, and White is the only "witness" to report seeing alleged eyewitness Robert Chobert's taxi cab parked behind PO Faulkner's car.

Amnesty International documents that key DA witnesses Chobert (an arsonist on probation, driving his cab without a license) and White (a prostitute facing multiple charges) "altered their descriptions of what they saw, in ways that supported the prosecution's version of events."

Importantly, Williams' account of 1) White being coerced by police to give false testimony, and 2) Police seeking out even more false testimony, is strongly supported by the testimony of Veronica Jones (at the 1982 trial and the 1996 PCRA) and Pamela Jenkins (at the 1997 PCRA).

The New Affidavit

Yvette Williams declares: "I was in jail with Cynthia White in December of 1981 after Police Officer Daniel Faulkner was shot and killed. Cynthia ['Lucky'] White told me the police were making her lie and say she saw Mr. Jamal shoot Officer Faulkner when she really did not see who did it....Whenever she talked about testifying against Mumia Abu-Jamal, and how the police were making her lie, she was nervous and very excited and I could tell how scared she was from the way she was talking and crying."

Explaining why she is just now coming out with her affidavit, Williams says "I feel like I've almost had a nervous breakdown over keeping quiet about this all these years. I didn't say anything because I was afraid. I was afraid of the police. They're dangerous."

Pamela Jenkins' 1997 PCRA Testimony

At the 1997 PCRA hearing, former prostitute Pamela Jenkins testified that 1) Police tried pressuring her to falsely testify that she saw Abu-Jamal shoot Faulkner, and 2) In late 1981, Cynthia White (who Jenkins knew as a fellow police informant) told Jenkins that she was also being pressured to testify against Mumia, and that she was afraid for her life.

As part of a 1995 federal probe of Philadelphia police corruption, Officers Thomas F. Ryan and John D. Baird were convicted of paying Jenkins to falsely testify that she had bought drugs from a Temple University student named Arthur Colbert. Jenkins' 1995 testimony about Colbert and others she falsely testified against, helped to convict Ryan, Baird, and other officers and to dismiss several dozen drug convictions.

At the 1997 PCRA, Jenkins testified that this same Thomas F. Ryan was one of the officers who attempted to have her lie about Mumia!

The Attempts to Silence Veronica Jones

Veronica Jones (a former prostitute who was working at the scene) first told police that she had seen two men "jogging" away from the scene before police arrived. Then, as a defense witness at the 1982 trial, Jones denied making the statement, but started to describe a pre-trial visit from police, where "They were getting on me telling me I was in the area and I seen Mumia, you know, do it. They were trying to get me to say something that the other girl [Cynthia White] said. I couldn't do that." Jones then explicitly testified that police offered to let her and White "work the area if we tell them" what they wanted to hear regarding Mumia's guilt.

The DA moved to block her account, calling her testimony "absolutely irrelevant." Judge Sabo agreed to block the line of questioning, strike the testimony, and then ordered the jury to disregard Jones' statement.

Later, at the 1996 PCRA, Jones testified that in 1982 she had been coerced by police to recant seeing the two men jogging away, but resisted police pressure to falsely testify that she saw Abu-Jamal shoot Faulkner.

Intimidation of Jones continued at the PCRA. Before she testified, Judge Sabo threatened her with 5-10 yrs imprisonment for admitting perjury. After testifying, he allowed NJ police to handcuff and arrest her for an outstanding arrest warrant on charges of writing a bad check.

Outraged by Jones' treatment, even the normally 'anti-Mumia' Philadelphia Daily News reported that: "Such heavy-handed tactics can only confirm suspicions that the court is incapable of giving Abu-Jamal a fair hearing. Sabo has long since abandoned any pretense of fairness." (Read more about Jones, and watch a new video-interview with her)

Organizing for Dec. 9 and Beyond

German author and co-founder of Journalists for Mumia, Michael Schiffmann responded to Monday's ruling from his home in Heidelberg. Emphasizing that these two affidavits are important enough to merit a PCRA hearing, Schiffmann says "there's just one point I want to stress. Right-wing and FOP commentators will claim that the Williams and Pate affidavits were hearsay anyway. But this isn't true. If someone reports a crime committed by him/herself to me, that's called a statement 'against one's own interest,' and if I report it to the police or testify to it in court, my report or testimony is admissible. Of course, both statements are highly relevant: White and Durham were main pillars of the prosecution. If they admitted to other people that they lied in court, the testimony of these other people should be heard."

"Now we will have to redouble our efforts to ensure that the US Supreme Court grants the petition for writ of certiorari Mumia's lawyer will be filing later this month or in December, if given a 60 day extension," says Schiffmann.

Please visit FreeMumia.com for the latest updates on organizing for December 6, and be sure to download (and print out in your community) our two new info flyers just completed:

1) A condensed legal update based on this article, and 2) A flyer summarizing the key points from The Framing of Mumia Abu-Jamal, and promoting the West Coast Book Tour.

--Hans Bennett is an independent multi-media journalist (insubordination.blogspot.com) and co-founder of Journalists for Mumia (Abu-Jamal-News.com), whose new video series documenting the movement in Philadelphia to free Mumia and all political prisoners is viewable here.

http://Abu-Jamal-News.com
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Re: Mumia Abu-Jamal Faces U.S. Supreme Court as New Book and

Postby admin » Wed Jun 15, 2016 7:52 am

The Affidavits by Kenneth Pate and Yvette Williams
by Free Mumia
October 6, 2008

NOTICE: THIS WORK MAY BE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT

YOU ARE REQUIRED TO READ THE COPYRIGHT NOTICE AT THIS LINK BEFORE YOU READ THE FOLLOWING WORK, THAT IS AVAILABLE SOLELY FOR PRIVATE STUDY, SCHOLARSHIP OR RESEARCH PURSUANT TO 17 U.S.C. SECTION 107 AND 108. IN THE EVENT THAT THE LIBRARY DETERMINES THAT UNLAWFUL COPYING OF THIS WORK HAS OCCURRED, THE LIBRARY HAS THE RIGHT TO BLOCK THE I.P. ADDRESS AT WHICH THE UNLAWFUL COPYING APPEARED TO HAVE OCCURRED. THANK YOU FOR RESPECTING THE RIGHTS OF COPYRIGHT OWNERS.


On Monday, October 6, the US Supreme Court rejected Mumia's PCRA appeal based on the affidavits of Kenneth Pate and Yvette Williams. The appeal had been filed in July, after it was rejected by the PA Supreme Court in Feb, 2008, and in 2005 by Philadelphia judge Pamela Dembe.

Below, here are the affidavits so you can read them for yourself

I. Declaration of Yvette Williams

I, Yvette Williams, declare:

1. If called as a witness in this case I would truthfully and accurately testify to the following from my own personal knowledge.

2. I was in jail with Cynthia White in December of 1981 after Police Officer Daniel Faulkner was shot and killed. Cynthia White told me the police were making her lie and say she saw Mr. Jamal shoot Officer Faulkner when she really did not see who did it. She said she knew Mumia from seeing him drive a cab.

3. I was in jail with Cynthia White and knew she was a prostitute in center city Philadelphia around 13th Street. She used a lot of different names besides "Cynthia White" one of them was "Lucky" which is what I called her. She liked to wear a lot of different wigs. The word on the street was that she was a snitch for the police. Cynthia and I met due to being in jail for not wanting to testify in homicides.

4. In December of 1981, Lucky (Cynthia White) was locked up in "PC" (protective custody) in the "hole" for women, "G" Rear. I was in jail because the cops thought that I knew some-thing about a homicide - I didn't - but they wanted to get information out of me.

5. Our cells were directly across from each other. Sometimes the inmates would use me as a "runner" passing contraband between inmates in the hole and inmates in population, and I would stop and talk with Lucky when I went to her cell. I had been involved in violent crime and was interested in what prostitution was all about so I was asking Lucky about it, considering it as an occupation. She was nervous and frightened and glad to have someone to talk to. She was always crying and sad. She told me she was scared for her life. I asked her, "Scared of who?" she stated, "The guards and vice."

6. When Lucky told me she didn't even see who shot Officer Faulkner, I asked her why she was "lying on that man" (Mumia Abu-Jamal). She told me it was because for the police and vice threatened her life. Additionally, the police were giving her money for tricks. "The way she talked, we were talking "G's" ($1,000.00). She also said she was terrified of what the police would do to her if she didn't say that Mumia shot Officer Faulkner. According to Lucky, the police told her they would consolidate all her cases and send her "up" (Muncy), a women's prison, for a long time if she didn't testify to what they told her to say. Lucky told me she had a lot of open cases and out-of-state warrants and was scared of going to Muncy. She was scared that her pimp "would get pissed off" at all the money he was losing when she was locked up, and off the street. She was afraid that when she got out he would beat her up or kill her.

7. Lucky was worried the police would kill her if she didn't say what they wanted. She was scared of what the MOVE people would do to her after she testified against Mumia, but MOVE never threatened Lucky while incarcerated. She was scared when she told me all of this plus she was crying and shaking. Whenever she talked about testifying against Mumia Abu-Jamal, and how the police were making her lie, she was nervous and very excited and I could tell how scared she was from the way she was talking and crying.

8. Lucky told me that what really happened that night was that she was "on the stroll" (looking for and serving customers) in the area of 13th and Locust when Officer Faulkner got shot, but she definitely did not see who did it. She also told me that she had a drug habit and was high on drugs when it happened. She tried to run away after the shooting, but the cops grabbed her and wouldn't let her go. They took her in the car first and told her that she saw Mumia shoot Officer Faulkner.

9. While Lucky and I were locked up in the "hole", the detectives would come to the jail a lot and get her out to talk to her. When she came back she always had things they wouldn't let us have in there, like cigarettes and candy and even hoagies, syringes and white powders. They would let her out for two (2) hours recreation time during times the women's jail was on lock down for count.

10. I feel like I've almost had a nervous breakdown over keeping quiet about this all these years. I didn't say anything because I was afraid. I was afraid of the police. They're dangerous. They can hurt you and get away with it. I know, I've been trouble with the law and they know me. I'm still afraid of what they could do, but when Mr. Jamal's case was on TV and in "The Daily News," in the middle of December of last year, I couldn't get it out of my mind, I kept thinking that man could die because of all the lies that Lucky told on that witness stand and Mrs. Faulkner would never know the truth.

11. I read in the papers that Mr. Jamal's lawyer was in California, but I didn't have long distance service. When I saw that Mr. Jamal had a lawyer in Philadelphia named J. Michael Farrell, I looked him up in the phone book yellow pages and called his office on December 18 or 19, 2001. I talked to one of Mr. Farrell's assistants and told him I had information about how Cynthia white lied at Mumia's trial. He took my number and told me someone would call me back.

12. Two or three days later, I got a call from Mr. Mike Newman, who told me he was a private investigator for Mumia Abu-Jamal's attorneys. I gave him the same basic information that is in this declaration. He called me back a couple of times with more questions, asking for more details.

13. Before calling attorney Farrell's office on December 18 or 19, 2001, I never had any contact of any kind with any of Mumia Abu-Jamal's attorneys, past or present. Before talking to Mr. Newman, as explained above, I never had any contact with any of the investigators, assistants or other agents of Mumia Abu-Jamal's attorneys. I do not know Mr. Mumia Abu-Jamal. I never met him, spoke to him, or had any contact with him.

14. I have carefully read this declaration before signing it to be sure that it is truthful and accurate. This declaration is made subject to the penalties provided for in Pa. Cons. Stats. Sec. C.S.A. 4904 for unsworn false statements to the authorities. I declare under penalty of perjury under the law of the United states of America that the fore-going declaration is true and correct and was executed by me on 01-28-02, 2002, at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. YVETTE WILLIAMS (signed)

II. Declaration of Kenneth Pate

I, Kenneth Pate, declare:

1. I am related to Priscilla Durham, now known as Priscilla Ahmed, through marriage: My father, Perry Abner, married Priscilla's mother, Dolores Durham, about 20-25 years ago.

2. Sometime around the end of 1983 or the beginning of 1984 I had a telephone conversation with Priscilla Durham in which the subject of Mumia Abu-Jamal came up.

3. I asked Priscilla how she was and she asked me how I was. I was kind of teasing her about her job as a security guard at the hospital, saying "why would a woman need to carry a big old gun like that?"

4. Priscilla began to complain about the way she was treated on the job, about her back hurting, and them "treating her like that" after all she did for them they laid her off.

5. Then Priscilla started talking about Mumia Abu-Jamal. She said that when the police brought him in that night she was working at the hospital. Mumia was all bloody and the police were interfering with his treatment, saying "let him die."

6. Priscilla said that the police told her that she was part of the "brotherhood" of police since she was a security guard and that she had to stick with them and say that she heard Mumia say that he killed the police officer, when they brought Mumia in on a stretcher.

7. I asked Priscilla: "Did you hear him say that?" Priscilla said: "All I heard him say was: 'Get off me, get off me, they're trying to kill me.'"

8. Priscilla also said there was a lot of chaos and confusion going on when the police brought Mumia in and when they were talking to her.

9. I am presently imprisoned at SCI Greene where I have been for about 3 years. At the time of my telephone conversation with Priscilla Durham, described above, I was imprisoned at SCI Graterford.

10. Back in 1982-1984 Priscilla and I had many telephone conversations when I was at SCI Graterford. I would call her house to talk to her or her daughter Sharon. Since then Priscilla and I have written each other many times.

11. Sometime in 1984, after I was transferred to SCI Huntington, I read a newspaper article about the Mumia Abu-Jamal case. It said Priscilla Durham had testified at Mumia's trial that when she was working as a security guard at the hospital she heard Mumia say that he had killed the police officer. When I read this I realized it was a different story from what she had told me.

12. Mumia was also imprisoned at SCI Huntington at that time. I wrote a note to him about Priscilla and gave it to another inmate who was a "tier worker" to pass it on to him.

13. Sometime between December of last year (2002) and February of this year (2003) I was out in the prison yard at the same time Mumia was. I remember that the weather was still cold. We were a couple of cages away from each other. I mentioned to him about the telephone conversation I had with Priscilla back in 1983 or 1984 and that she said she did NOT hear Mumia say anything about killing the police officer. I told him that I thought she was still scared about telling the truth about what happened but maybe she would.

14. My nickname or street name is "Kenny Stax." That is how I am known by Mumia and other inmates.

15. I am willing to take a lie detector test to prove I am telling the truth about my conversation with Priscilla Durham.

This declaration is made subject to the penalties provided for in 18 Pa. Cons. Stats. Sec. 4904 for unsworn false statements to authorities. I declare under penalty of perjury under the laws of the United States of America that this declaration is true and correct and was signed by me on April 18, 2003, at Waynesburg, PA.

KENNETH PATE (signed)
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Re: Mumia Abu-Jamal Faces U.S. Supreme Court as New Book and

Postby admin » Wed Jun 15, 2016 7:53 am

U.S. Supreme Court litigation on behalf of Mumia Abu-Jamal, death row, Pennsylvania
by Robert R. Bryan, lead counsel
September 12, 2008

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Introduction

There has been extensive news attention to the ongoing federal proceedings concerning my client, Mumia Abu-Jamal, on the hotly contested issue of racism in jury selection and the ordering of a new jury trial on the question of life or death. (Abu-Jamal v. Horn, 520 F.3d 272 (3rd Cir. 2008).) The massive issue of racism will be presented to the U.S. Supreme Court later this year. However, few are aware that we have been actively litigating separate issues concerning fraud and the subornation of perjury by the Philadelphia Police Department and the District Attorney of Philadelphia. We are now before the Supreme Court regarding this governmental misconduct which resulted in Mumia being convicted and sentenced to death.

U.S. Supreme Court On July 18, 2008, I filed on behalf of Mumia in the Supreme Court, a Petition for Writ of Certiorari. (Abu-Jamal v. Pennsylvania, U.S. Sup. Ct. No. 08-5456.) This arises from adverse rulings by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas.

The basis of the current litigation is that the prosecution persuaded witnesses to lie in order to obtain a conviction and death judgment against my client. The following are excerpts from what I have presented to the Supreme Court (without case citations and legal argument):

QUESTIONS PRESENTED FOR REVIEW

I.

Whether a new trial is mandated where there is newly discovered evidence establishing that the police (a) persuaded a witness to falsely identify a defendant as having shot a police officer, and (b) induced another to falsely claim she heard him confess, in violation of rights guaranteed by the Fifth, Sixth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution.

II.

Whether a new trial is required where there is newly discovered evidence which establishes that the prosecution used a fabricated confession and false identification testimony in a capital murder trial, in violation of the Fifth, Sixth, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments.

III.

Whether the prosecutorial suppression of exculpatory evidence including the fact that (a) a witness was persuaded to lie that she had witnessed the homicide and (b) another encouraged to manufacture a false confession attributed to Petitioner, contravened Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963) and the right to a fair trial, due process of law, and a fair penalty trial guaranteed by the Fifth, Sixth, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments.

IV.

Whether it is error for a state court to deny a hearing on newly discovered evidence of prosecutorial fraud and innocence, where the new claims involving police-induced false testimony were previously unknown to a petitioner and could not have been ascertained by the exercise of due diligence because of state interference.

. . . .


REASONS FOR GRANTING THE WRIT

. . . .

I. THE NEWLY DISCOVERED EVIDENCE ESTABLISHES THAT THE PROSECUTION MANIPULATED A PURPORTED EYEWITNESS TO FALSELY IDENTIFY PETITIONER AS THE SHOOTER, IN VIOLATION OF THE FIFTH, SIXTH EIGHTH, AND FOURTEENTH AMENDMENTS

Petitioner was deprived of his right to a fair and reliable determination of guilt and penalty, as guaranteed by the Fifth, Sixth, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution because the state's purported eyewitness, Cynthia White, was coaxed and coerced into providing false testimony against him. Her testimony was critical to the prosecution. If the jury had learned that her testimony was the product of threats and favors, there is a reasonable probability that the result of the trial would have been different. . . .

Newly discovered evidence from [Yvette} Williams establishes that White lied by falsely testifying that she observed Petitioner shoot police officer Daniel Faulkner. In fact, she did not see the shooting. White was threatened with imprisonment and in fear of being killed by the police if she did not help them by testifying against Petitioner. As Ms. Williams explained:

6. When [Cynthia White] told me she didn't see who shot Officer Faulkner, I asked her why she was “lying on that man” (Mumia Abu-Jamal). She told me it was because for the police and vice threatened her life. Additionally, the police were giving her money for tricks. “The way she talked, we were talking “G's” ($1,000.00). She also said she was terrified of what the police would do to her if she didn't say that Mumia shot Officer Faulkner. According to Lucky (White), the police told her they would . . . send her “up” . . . for a long time if she didn't testify to what they told her to say. . . .

7. Lucky was worried the police would kill her if she didn’t say what they wanted. . . . She was scared when she told me all of this plus she was crying and shaking. Whenever she talked about testifying against Mumia Abu-Jamal, and how the police were making her lie, she was nervous and very excited and I could tell how scared she was from the way she was talking and crying.

8. Lucky told me that what really happened that night was that she was . . . in the area . . . when Officer Faulkner got shot, but she definitely did not see who did it. She also told me that she had a drug habit and was high on drugs when it happened. She tried to run away after the shooting, but the cops grabbed her and wouldn't let her go. They took her in the car first and told her that she saw Mumia shoot Officer Faulkner.

Declaration of Yvette Williams, Jan. 28, 2002 at 2-3.

The declaration of Ms. Williams does not merely provide direct contradiction of the prosecution's key witness at trial, but it also materially undermines the integrity of the case against Petitioner. The fact that the prosecution witness testified falsely as a result of police inducement taints all of the evidence upon which the prosecution relied at the original trial, and offends the Constitution. Such proof would not only have impeached White’s testimony, but would have created doubt about the motives and trustworthiness of law enforcement personnel involved in this case. . . . The subornation of perjury from White results in the inescapable conclusion that the investigating officers caused other witnesses to lie, and that exculpa­tory and impeachment evidence was suppressed. Evidence that White was coerced into lying would have been far more significance than simply canceling out her testimony, which in and of itself was of major significance. It would raise a host of questions regarding why the police felt the need to fabricate evidence. . . .

II. NEWLY DISCOVERED EVIDENCE DEMONSTRATES THAT PETITIONER WAS FOUND GUILTY AND SENTENCED TO DEATH THROUGH THE USE OF A POLICE FABRICATED CONFESSION IN VIOLATION OF THE FIFTH, SIXTH EIGHTH, AND FOURTEENTH AMENDMENTS

Petitioner was deprived of his right to a fair and reliable determination of guilt and penalty, as guaranteed by the Fifth, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments, because of the state's reliance on a fabricated confession and by its thwart­ing of defense efforts to expose that falsehood. Newly discovered evidence has established that Priscilla Durham, a hospital security guard who testified at trial to hearing Petitioner allegedly confess, has since admitted to concocting the story. Declaration of Kenneth Pate, Apr. 18, 2003. She admitted to Mr. Pate that in fact she never heard Petitioner make any incriminating statements. He recalls:

2. Sometime around the end of 1983 or the beginning of 1984 I had a telephone conversation with Priscilla Durham in which the subject of Mumia Abu-Jamal came up.

. . . .

5. Then Priscilla started talking about Mumia Abu-Jamal. She said that when the police brought him in that night she was working at the hospital. Mumia was all bloody and the police were interfering with his treatment, saying “let him die.”

6. Priscilla said that the police told her that she was part of the “brotherhood” of police since she was a security guard and that she had to stick with them and say that she heard Mumia say that he killed the police officer, when they brought Mumia in on a stretcher.

7. I asked Priscilla: “Did you hear him say that?” Priscilla said: “All I heard him say was “Get off me, get off me, they're trying to kill me.

Declaration of Kenneth Pate, Apr. 18, 2003.

Ms. Durham was the only civilian to claim that Petitioner admitted the shooting. There is a reasonable probability that if the jury was informed that Durham was pressured by police into lying, it certainly would have disregarded the alleged confession. Without proof of a confession, there is a reasonable probability that the verdict would have been different. . . .

Moreover, as in the situation of the fabricated testimony of Cynthia White, disclosure of the pressure placed upon Durham to falsely claim she heard the confession, would likewise create a reasonable probability that the other witnesses and evidence presented would be viewed by the jury with skepticism. In effect disclosure that the police caused both Durham and White to lie, would have brought into question the credibility and legitimacy of the other evidence presented again Petitioner. In that even the prosecution case against Petitioner would have collapsed like a house of cards.

By the prosecution concealing evidence that two of its crucial witnesses lied, Petitioner was deprived of his right to a fair trial and due process of law under the Fifth, Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments. The petition filed on behalf of him in the state court addressed both governmental interference and newly discovered evidence that could not have been discovered through the exercise of due diligence. Both claims allege violations of recognized constitutional rights under Amendments Five, Six, Eight and Fourteen. Both claims allege the prosecutorial suppression of exculpatory material evidence and the presentation of false evidence in contravention of the right to a fair trial and due process of law guaranteed by the Constitution . . .

The newly discovered facts establish that the police as part of the prosecution were involved in obtaining false material testimony against Petitioner at trial. The result compromised not only his fair trial rights, but led to a death judgment that violated the very essence of the Eighth Amendment.

CONCLUSION

The declaration of Yvette Williams discloses that Cynthia White told her that she lied on the stand because she feared reprisals from the police if she refused to do so. The declaration of Kenneth Pate reveals that Priscilla Durham lied in testifying against Petitioner because she was pressured to so by the police. The witnesses’ fears, created by the prosecution through the police, not only explains the false testimony but also why the witnesses did not come forward. The prosecutor in Petitioner’s trial had an absolute obligation to disclose the threats and efforts to suborn perjury. . . . By suppressing exculpatory evidence which included the fact that (a) a witness was persuaded to lie that she had witnessed the homicide, and (b) another was encouraged to manufacture a false confession attributed to Petitioner, contravened the right to a fair trial, due process of law, and a fair penalty trial, guaranteed by the Fifth, Sixth, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments.

On August 21, 2008, the Philadelphia District Attorney filed a brief in opposition to the relief we seek on procedural grounds, that prior counsel failed to raise the issues in a timely manner. Even though the Supreme Court considers only an incredibly small number of cases at this stage, we remain hopeful in view of the prosecution's egregious misconduct.

Later in the year we will be going separately before the Supreme Court concerning the denial of an entirely new trial by the U.S. Court of Appeals for Third Circuit. That court did grant a new jury trial on the question of penalty, life of death. Nonetheless, we are pursing an entirely new trial. The issue of racism in jury selection will be presented, along with the fact that the prosecutor made misrepresentations to the jury in order to obtain a murder conviction against Mumia.

Conclusion I will not rest until Mumia is free. That he remains in prison and on death row is a travesty of justice and an affront to civilized standards. We must all continue to fight for what is right, and not lose hope. Free Mumia.

Yours very truly,

Robert R. Bryan
Law Offices of Robert R. Bryan
2088 Union Street, Suite 4
San Francisco, California 94123-4117
Lead counsel for Mumia Abu-Jamal
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Re: Mumia Abu-Jamal Faces U.S. Supreme Court as New Book and

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Book Asserts Black Reporter Didn’t Kill White Officer in ’81
by Jon Hurdle
Philadelphia
May 2, 2008

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A book published on Thursday asserts that a black radio journalist convicted of murdering a white Philadelphia police officer more than 26 years ago is not guilty of the crime and that it was actually committed by another man who is now deceased.

The book, “The Framing of Mumia Abu-Jamal,” by J. Patrick O’Connor, asserts that Officer Daniel Faulkner died on Dec. 9, 1981, from shots fired by Kenneth Freeman, a business partner of the brother of the convicted man, Mr. Abu-Jamal, who has been on death row for 25 years for a crime he says he did not commit.

The book, published by Chicago Review Press, is the latest to cast doubt on the conviction, which critics have said was tainted by racism, police corruption and judicial bias, turning Mr. Abu-Jamal into a cause célèbre for death penalty opponents.

“Abu-Jamal’s trial was a monumental miscarriage of justice,” Mr. O’Connor writes, “representing an extreme case of prosecutorial abuse and judicial bias.”

The police charged Mr. Abu-Jamal with the murder, the book says, because he had antagonized them as a Black Panther and as a radio reporter.

Hugh Burns, chief of the appeals division in the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, which prosecuted the case in 1982, dismissed the new accusations, saying, “There is zero credible evidence Freeman was involved.”

Mr. Burns also rejected the book’s assertion that two key prosecution witnesses had changed their stories after inducements from prosecutors determined to prove their case.

In March, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Mr. Abu-Jamal’s conviction but said his sentence might be reviewed.
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Re: Mumia Abu-Jamal Faces U.S. Supreme Court as New Book and

Postby admin » Wed Jun 15, 2016 7:54 am

Can the Media Continue to Ignore “The Framing of Mumia Abu-Jamal”?
by Hans Bennett
June 26, 2008

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4J6EYVC5hME#t=228

Despite an important NY Times article written on the day of The Framing of Mumia Abu-Jamal‘s release in May, the mainstream media has virtually ignored this powerful new book which argues in painstaking detail that Abu-Jamal is innocent and that the actual shooter of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner was a man named Kenneth Freeman. The one exception to this media blackout was an article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, by Milan Simonich. Instead of ignoring it like the rest of the mainstream media, Simonich chose to dishonestly present the book, contending that O’Connor “is guilty of writing the sloppiest, most one-sided crime book of the year,” by mixing “recycled conspiracy theories with his own sweeping pronouncements, most devoid of fact.”

To learn more about Framing and the meticulous arguments made by O’Connor, you can watch my video-interview with him at Philadelphia City Hall on the day of the book’s release (PARTS 1, 2, and 3) and read my text-interview with him a few weeks before that, which focused on how exactly the frame-up happened, Kenneth Freeman, the March 27 court ruling, and Frank Rizzo’s legacy. Abu-Jamal-News.com also features an excerpt, a previous interview, O’Connor’s review of “Murdered By Mumia,” and his response to the March 27 ruling.

For irrefutable evidence of mainstream media bias against the world famous death-row journalist considered by many to be a political prisoner, just compare this coverage of Framing to last December’s release of Murdered By Mumia, written by Michael Smerconish and Maureen Faulkner. The attention was massive and almost uniformly absent of any serious questioning of the book’s assertion that Abu-Jamal received a fair trial and that the evidence of his guilt is clear-cut. The Philadelphia Inquirer actually featured three days worth of excerpts from Murdered, but would not even mention any of the criticism of the book from Abu-Jamal’s supporters.

On December 4, two days before the book’s release, Journalists for Mumia organized a press conference to present our side of the story, arguing that Abu-Jamal did not receive a fair trial, and that there is evidence of his innocence that the court needs to consider. Along with a presentation of the newly discovered crime scene photos, our event featured Pam Africa (of The International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal) and local journalists Linn Washington Jr, David Love, and David Lindorff who passionately argued for the legitimacy of the new photos as an important story deserving of media coverage, which they argued was just one more reason that Abu-Jamal needs a new trial. Despite my personal invitation to every Philadelphia media outlet I could find, not one single reporter from the local mainstream media covered our event. The only mainstream coverage came from British journalist Jon Hurdle of Reuters.

Hurdle’s article was the very first mainstream report of the new crime scene photos, and his article was cited the following week on Philadelphia’s NPR show Radio Times, and in an uncharacteristic Philadelphia Weekly article, which challenged Smerconish and Faulkner’s argument that the Abu-Jamal/Faulkner case is “open and shut”. While not cited directly on the controversial Dec. 6 Today Show, by co-host Matt Lauer, Hurdle’s article almost certainly helped persuade the Today Show to air the photos and, therefore, become the first television show to even acknowledge them.

By asking Faulkner and Smerconish challenging questions and accurately representing what Abu-Jamal supporters were saying about the photos, Lauer and the Today Show became the clear exception to the rule. As a result, right-wing media critics went crazy with outrage, and both Faulkner and Smerconish publicly vented their anger at Lauer, particularly for his last question to Faulkner: “Maureen, when you’re ever, when you’re alone, when you’re alone with your thoughts at night, when you even see pictures of the protest like the one we have across the street, does it ever cross your mind that perhaps they’re right? Do you ever allow yourself to consider the fact that perhaps he didn’t do this?”

Following the Today Show, I frantically sent personal emails to all of the same mainstream media folks (both local and national) that I invited to our Dec.4 press conference, and said: “Hey, this story of the crime scene photos is getting even more credibility! Isn’t this news now? Isn’t it only fair to present the opinions of Abu-Jamal’s supporters alongside those of Faulkner and Smerconish?” To top this off, I told the media about the slideshow presentation of the photos I would be giving on Dec. 8, for which I had contracted the use of the photos so that the media could film the event and therefore feature the photos on their news program. Guess what? Not one reporter showed up!

If these December events are not proof enough of the media’s inexcusable bias, just compare this to the abhorrent treatment of The Framing of Mumia Abu-Jamal. Faulkner, Smerconish, and other advocates of Abu-Jamal’s execution constantly say to “read the transcripts” for clear evidence of a fair trial and Abu-Jamal’s guilt. Now, here is a book that is based almost entirely on the court transcripts, but the author argues that these transcripts reveal a frame-up of a factually innocent man! This is not published by a leftist Abu-Jamal support group, but rather by an established publishing house. The most basic notions of journalistic fairness demand that Framing be given equal coverage, so that the public can hear both side of the debate and decide for themselves what they think of this case

This media blackout of Framing is even more scandalous following the May 2 NY Times article by Jon Hurdle, who also wrote the Dec.4 Reuters article. Being recognized in the NY Times should have been an impetus for more coverage by other media outlets, but instead, the mainstream media was uniformly silent until the dishonest May 18 article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, by Milan Simonich. Immediately after reading the article that day, I submitted this “letter to the editor,” but it was not published:

Milan Simonich “is guilty of writing the sloppiest, most one-sided” book review “of the year.” This dishonest review (5/18) gives further credibility to author J. Patrick O’Connor’s allegation of mainstream media bias against death-row journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal.

As detailed in an interview at Abu-Jamal-News.com, O’Connor does not “ignore the prosecution’s side of the story.” He doesn’t interview either the prosecution or defense. Instead, he relies entirely on the court transcripts and a few mainstream news articles to argue that the actual shooter of PO Daniel Faulkner was a man named Kenneth Freeman (who was mysteriously found dead the day after the infamous May 13, 1985 police bombing of MOVE). This transcript-based approach is powerful, because Abu-Jamal’s critics always say to “read the transcripts” for proof of a fair 1982 trial and Abu-Jamal’s guilt.

Simonich writes that O’Connor ignores/downplays Abu-Jamal’s alleged “hospital confession.” Actually, this alleged confession is central to the book’s “frame-up” thesis, because he (like Amnesty International) sees it as an obvious fraud. The “witnesses” allegedly forgot about the confession for over 2 months! While a hospital security guard did testify at the 82 trial that she immediately reported it to her supervisor, the trial was the very first time she mentioned this report, and she actually disavowed the alleged written (and unsigned) report that the prosecution presented in court. Further, her supervisor was never called to testify!

Sounds fishy, huh? This is just one part of the obvious frame-up that O’Connor exposes.

*****
Then, a few days after writing the Post-Gazette, I wrote this letter to the Philadelphia Inquirer, which was also not published:

I am disappointed that The Inquirer has yet to acknowledge the new book The Framing of Mumia Abu-Jamal, by J. Patrick O’Connor. Just released by Chicago Review Press, it has been featured by the NY Times, and at my website, Abu-Jamal-News.com.

Advocates of Abu-Jamal’s execution always say to ‘read the transcripts’ for proof of a fair 1982 trial and Abu-Jamal’s guilt. However, O’Connor cites the trial transcripts to argue that police framed Abu-Jamal, and that the actual shooter of Officer Faulkner was a man named Kenneth Freeman, who was mysteriously found dead in a Northeast lot (reportedly naked, gagged, hand-cuffed, and with a drug needle in his arm) the day after the infamous May 13, 1985 police bombing of MOVE.

When Maureen Faulkner and Michael Smerconish released ‘Murdered by Mumia’ in December, The Inquirer featured three days of book excerpts, and more. In the interest of fairness and balance shouldn’t ‘Framing’ be featured in at least one substantive article?

I do applaud the Inquirer‘s publication of the April 2 editorial by author Dave Lindorff titled “The Mumia Exception” that criticized the March 27 court decision denying Abu-Jamal a new guilt-phase trial. Please extend this same fairness to coverage of Framing.

*****
To recap, when Murdered By Mumia was released in December, the book received major coverage both locally and nationally. Almost uniformly, the coverage was uncritical and the book’s critics were ignored. When The Framing of Mumia Abu-Jamal was released in May, it was virtually ignored. Can the bias be more obvious?

On Monday, J. Patrick O’Connor kicked off his East Coast book tour with an appearance on the Washington DC, Pacifica Radio show Jazz and Justice and a book-signing event at Baruch College in New York City. Tuesday night, he is appearing at The Brecht Forum alongside Pam and Ramona Africa. Wednesday, he comes to Philadelphia for an event organized by Journalists for Mumia. The San Francisco Bay Area is now preparing for a similar tour this Fall.

The question now before us is whether or not the mainstream media can continue their shameful behavior in reporting on the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. A century ago, the journalist and former slave, Frederick Douglass said that “power concedes nothing”. Therefore, it is up to us to confront the mainstream media and demand that they stop ignoring this important new book. When we flexed our power last December, and wrote NBC’s Today Show to ensure fairness, we were rewarded with a stunning victory. Please help today by urging the national media, as well as our local media outlets, to report on this important book.

Hans Bennett is a Philadelphia-based photo-journalist who has been documenting the movement to free Mumia Abu-Jamal and all political prisoners for over five years. Read other articles by Hans, or visit Hans's website.

This article was posted on Thursday, June 26th, 2008 at 5:00am and is filed under Justice.
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