Executing Justice: An Inside Account of the Case of Mumia

Re: Executing Justice: An Inside Account of the Case of Mumi

Postby admin » Tue Jun 09, 2015 1:28 am


Hightower was hooked up to a polygraph machine about three
hours into the interview and was grilled about his denial of seeing
Mumia brandish a gun. He was never asked a single question about
his observation of seeing someone flee the scene, which was the most
significant detail he provided to law enforcement. It was obvious that
the polygraph examination was not administered for a legitimate in-
vestigatory goal. Of all the crime scene witnesses, only Hightower, a
materially favorable defense witness, was subjected a polygraph test.
This was unusual and suspicious, as the police never asked Cynthia
White, Robert Chobert, Albert Magilton, Michael Scanlan, or any
other prosecution witness to take a polygraph test. The prosecution
could provide no explanation as to why a young college student with
an unblemished record was subjected to a polygraph, and the other
pro-prosecution witnesses-some of whom had criminal recordswere
not. But in view of the other evidence of law enforcement
manipulation of witnesses, a fair inference arises that an effort to intimidate
Hightower was afoot as well.

Hightower left the precinct that night unsure what had just happened.
He comforted himself with the thought that he was not the
only one to be polygraphed and that this was just normal police procedure.
At the 1995 proceedings, the prosecution put on the polygrapher
who testified that Hightower had failed the polygraph. We
brought in a polygrapher of our own from the West Coast, at considerable
expense, but Judge Sabo, prompted by an objection from
the prosecution, would not permit our expert to examine the polygraph

Debbie Kordansky, the woman who refused Jackson's entreaties
over the phone to testify, took the stand at the PCRA hearing in the
afternoon of August 3. Her testimony was not as straightforward as
her initial police interview statement, which on its face indicated that
she had observed someone fleeing the scene. According to Kordansky's
statement, on December 9, 1981, she lived in a hotel at Thirteenth
and Walnut, overlooking the parking lot across the street from the
scene of the shooting. It was that parking lot from which Mumia
emerged before he began his run across Locust Street. That morning
at about 3:45 to 4:00 A.M. she heard gunfire, which prompted her to
look out the window onto the street. She then saw a man runnmg
east on the south side of Locust Street.

At the 1995 hearing, she claimed not to have a complete memory
of the events. We weren't surprised by that claim, however, because
that is what she had told an Internal Affairs investigator in April 1982.
She told that investigator that she had "certain prejudices that affect
my memory against and for police, and black people." Consistent with
what she had told Jackson when he virtually begged for her to cooperate,
Kordansky explained that she had been raped by a black man.
She then said that, based upon "logic" and not memory, she heard
gunshots, heard sirens, and then went to the window. Only at that
point did she see someone run.

The prosecutors seized on this so-called logic-based answer. Grant
hammered the suggestion that her observation of flight was trivial
because she made the observation after the police arrived. This speculation
that she might have seen someone flee after the arrival of the
police simply made no sense, which led me to believe that Grant was
wasting his time with his questioning. What this speculative hypothesis
overlooked is the obvious fact that she reported her observations
of someone fleeing the scene to the police because she thought it
would be helpful to them in their effort to apprehend the shootersomething
she acknowledged as true when she testified. There would
be no reason for Kordansky, a highly reluctant witness in the first
place, to come down from her hotel room, introduce herself to investigators,
and then subject herself to an interview that would ensure
that she would be called later to provide testimony at a trial if what
she saw was as meaningless as seeing someone run after the arrival of
police. On top of that, the police are not in the business of recording
irrelevant information that has no bearing on an investigation. Logic
and common sense indicated that Kordansky felt compelled to report
seeing someone run from the scene because that event was, in her
mind, significant; and it would only have significance if the observed
flight occurred before police arrived.

What about the other two eyewitnesses, Michael Scanlan and Albert
Magilton? These two witnesses appeared to be untainted by law
enforcement manipulation. We certainly didn't have any specific information
indicating that they had been coerced or induced to testifY.
First of all, neither had the vulnerabilities that White, Chobert, and
Jones presented-namely, previous encounters with the law. But more
importantly, these two witnesses did not offer eyewitness accounts
that, upon reflection, seriously advanced the prosecution's case. In fact,
in crucial respects, Scanlan proves to be a very favorable witness for

Scanlan had told detectives in 1982 that Mumia must have been
the driver of the Volkswagen. How did he get that impression? we
wondered. The answer is in the hair-Mumia's hair. Scanlan couldn't
help but notice that Mumia had long, Rowing dreadlocks. He couldn't
have been the shooter, according to Scanlan, because he was "certain"-
a word attributed to him in a police interview report-that
the shooter had an "an Mro hairstyle." Jackson had not developed
this point at the trial, and there appears to be a reason for that, which
amounts to another annoying reminder that nothing in life is ever
simple. Jackson probably didn't want to emphasize Scanlan's description
of the shooter because he had pinned his hopes on the fact that
Robert Chobert, Veronica Jones, and Dessie Hightower would all testify
that the person they saw run from the scene had long dreadlocks.
He probably had no interest in Scanlan's observation that the shooter
had an Mro hairstyle because it contradicted his three "flight" witnesses.

While it is easy to play Monday morning quarterback, I felt angered
by Jackson's apparent tactical judgment. It bespoke his cramped
perspective as to how to mount a defense in this case. Scanlan was an
excellent witness for the prosecution, primarily because he was well
dressed, articulate, engaging, and untainted by even the hint of police
pressure. He also gave the jury the impression that he had an excellent
viewing of the shooting, especially in his description of how Faulkner's
body "jerked" when the shooter fired into his head. An acknowledgment
from a powerful prosecution witness that the shooter had a
hairstyle that had absolutely no resemblance to that of the defendant
on trial is simply too good to pass up. It is the type of evidence that
a trial lawyer revolves an entire cross-examination around. Jackson let
the point slide by, and then ultimately got burned by Chobert's and
Jones's recantations of seeing Right from the crime scene.

The painful irony is that Mumia's dreadlocks symbolized at the
trial his allegiance with MOVE, which was an explanatory point for
why the killing occurred; and yet, those same dreadlocks, through a
skillful cross-examination of Scanlan, could have been a powerful testament
to the fact that he was not the shooter.


We had expended a considerable amount of resources searching for
Cynthia White, without success. Without the ability to put White on
the stand, we had to settle on other ways of undermining her credibility
as a witness. I had naively counted on destroying Cynthia White
as a witness through the testimony of Robert Harkins. The prosecution
team, of which Judge Sabo was a de facto member, sabotaged
that effort. But all was not lost, by any means.

White had thirty-eight prior arrests for prostitution in Philadelphia
and three open cases awaiting trial when she took the stand.
Significantly, those thirty-eight arrests were accumulated over a twentymonth
period, from May 1980 to December 1981; from mid-December
1981 to the start of Mumia's trial, White went arrest free, even though
she admitted to continuing to ply her trade during that six-month
period. That paper trail strongly suggested she was receiving favorable
treatment by the police.

She also had an extensive history of providing false information
to law enforcement, and frequently revised her account over time to
conform to the prosecution's theory. For example, she initially described
the shooter as shorter than five feet eight-Mumia stands six
feet one. She later tried to minimize the significance of this observation
with the claim that she was poor at judging height. She implausibly
insisted that it is possible to view Mumia, who is unquestionably a
tall man, as being "short." She also initially claimed at the preliminary
hearing back in January 1982 that Mumia brandished a gun in his
left hand as he ran toward the officer. She later retracted that point,
evidently because it didn't make sense in view of the fact that Mumia
is right-handed and had a holster on his left side (which would call
for retrieving a gun with the right hand). She oscillated between
saying that the shooter wore a hat and that he had dreadlocks. Finally,
she initially told police with respect to Billy Cook and Officer
Faulkner, "there was no struggle" between the two; she then gradually
developed a graphic account of Cook punching Faulkner in
the face. Each of her revised accounts came about in the wake of an
arrest (the first on December 12, and the last taking place on December
17, after which she went arrest-free for six months), a fact
that White admitted at trial was not coincidental. Indeed, a poster
was displayed in Philadelphia precincts advising that any arrests of
Cynthia White were to be routed to the Homicide Division. She
understood that law enforcement regarded her as a valuable witness,
and she was savvy enough to know how to parlay that importance
to secure benefits for herself.

Veronica Jones, the other prostitute witness who ambushed Jackson
with her recantation when she testified at the 1982 trial, had the
potential to undermine White. She had begun to say, before Judge
Sabo blocked further elaboration on the subject, that she and other
prostitutes were offered the same deal that White was offered: they
could work the streets with impunity if they would inculpate Mumia.
It was difficult to corroborate Jones's truncated but momentous allusion
to police manipulation without Cynthia White, whom we had
feverishly tried to locate. But we were able to acquire evidence that
certainly bolstered Jones's spontaneous remarks at trial. On August 1,
Robert Greer, an investigator who briefly helped Jackson with Mumia's
case until money ran out, testified.

Greer was a classic private investigator-gruff and wizened by over
twenty years of law enforcement experience. He testified that when he
attempted to interview White before the 1982 trial he was unable to
do so because two men, who he surmised from his own law enforcement
experience were plainclothes police officers, were always nearby
in a small red car. In Greer's judgment, and he reported this to Jackson,
White was being shadowed and protected by undercover officers-
an observation bolstered by the documentary record indicating
that White was never arrested by the Philadelphia authorities for the
six-month period leading up to Mumia's trial. This explains why Jackson
had expressed to Judge Ribner that he suspected White was being
manipulated by law enforcement. Jackson understandably was reluc-
tant to elaborate on that point in open court back in 1982 because
he didn't want to tip off McGill that he had an investigator who was
trailing a key prosecution witness.

Furthermore, it turns out that White had been arrested on five
occasions between May 1980 and July 1981 by two police officers,
Richard Herron and Joseph Gioffre, who were later convicted in connection
with the federal probe into Philadelphia police corruption. In
each of those instances, the charges against White were dropped. During
this period, Herron and Gioffre were shaking down prostitutes
and pimps for protection money, and one way they accomplished that
extortion was to make arrests and then, for the right financial arrangement,
see to it that the arrest was not ultimately processed for prosecution.
Jackson's suspicions about White's connection to this police
corruption, it turns, out, was worth exploring.

Another clue to the suspicion that White had some sort of arrangement
with Philadelphia law enforcement rests with an event in
1987. In June of that year, White found herself again incarcerated,
this time on armed robbery charges. She appeared in court for bail,
and the judge noted that he was reluctant to release her because of
her record of "seventeen failures to appear" and "page after page" of
arrests. In a jam, White called Detective Richard Culbreth for help.
Detective Culbreth acted as White's "police escort" at Mumia's trial.
He appeared alongside White at a bail hearing and convinced the
reluctant judge to free her without posting bail. Detective Culbreth
had accomplished this amazing outcome after he informed the judge
in a bench conference of White's involvement in Mumia's trial.

Finally, the most important proof that White's seamless narrative
was a concoction centers on medical evidence. Science is the best way
to refute testimony, because science, so long as it is valid science, rises
above the vagaries of human motivation and behavior. With no money
to retain a pathologist, Jackson was unable to make a point that would
be crucial to attacking White's testimony. The prosecution's trial theory,
based upon White's testimony, was that Jamal was shot by Faulkner
as he (Faulkner) was falling to the ground. A defense pathologist
could have shown that the prosecution's theory, rooted in White's
testimony, was physically impossible.


We retained John Hayes, M.D., an associate city medical examiner
from New York City, to look over the medical records of Mumia's
gunshot injury. He testified at the hearing on August 4. I had previously
encountered Dr. Hayes as a prosecution witness in a New York
City murder case I had tried. I cross-examined him in that case. Len,
appropriately, handled the examination of him now.

According to Dr. Hayes, Mumia had suffered a gunshot wound
in the right chest just below the right nipple, and the bullet traveled
in a straight line, backward and downward through his right lung, his
diaphragm muscle, the right side of the liver, striking the twelfth rib,
and ending up between the twelfth vertebrae of the spine and the first
lumbar vertebrae, on the back, left-hand side. In Dr. Hayes's opinion,
which the prosecution never even attempted to contest, the gunshot
causing Mumia's wound had to have been angled downward toward
his torso (assuming, as the prosecution does, that Mumia was standing
upright when shot).

This downward angling of the gunshot was inconsistent with the
prosecution theory at trial that a standing Mumia was shot by a falling
Officer Faulkner. The prosecution had two avenues of explanation to
undercut the value of Dr. Hayes's testimony: (1) that Faulkner could
have angled the gun in a downward direction with his arm as he was
falling; or (2) reviving the "ricochet and tumble" theory relied upon
by McGill (the bullet ricochet off bone within Mumia's torso and
then tumbled in a downward direction.) Neither passed the laugh test.
The first explanation suggests that Faulkner fired his gun with his arm
configured in an odd position, which is doubtful because that would
probably have been noticed by the prosecution eyewitnesses. The "ricochet
and tumble" theory was simply wrong, as the X rays conclusively
established that the bullet traveled through Mumia's torso without
any deflection. Dr. Hayes testified, without rebuttal, that a ricochet
would have left some physical indication that could be detected in an
X ray.

There was, in short, no realistic way that Faulkner could have shot
Mumia as he was falling-the prosecution's theory of how the shooting
took place was, plain and simple, wrong. McGill had made a
choice to take White over Harkins. With White's account conflicting
with rock-solid scientific evidence, that left Harkins. And his account
could not in any way be reconciled with the theory that Faulkner had
fired his gun after he had been hit in the back with a bullet. Under
Harkins's account, Mumia had to have been shot sometime before the
shooter grabbed Faulkner, spun him around, and then fired into his
back as he struggled to regain his balance. I became convinced over
time that Harkins was a disfavored witness to McGill because he only
deepened the mystery over when, and under what circumstances, Mumia
was shot.


At the end of the day on August 4, a Friday, Len addressed Judge
Sabo on what, in a normal court proceeding, would be just a housekeeping
matter. We were still trying to assemble exhibits from the
original trial and were having some logistical difficulties. Len was asking
that the proceedings resume on Tuesday, thus giving us Monday
to take care of the logistical problems. Judge Sabo refused the request,
noting that "maybe the DA will call some of their witnesses on

Len ruffled what little hair he had on the top of his head, a
mannerism of his that I have come to notice reflected tension. "I know
the court is concerned about the prosecutors, but there are two parties
here," he said bitterly.

Judge Sabo's rancor matched Len's bitterness. "I am concerned
with getting witnesses on that witness stand and testifYing under oath
in this courtroom as to what they know about this case. That's what
I'm interested in. I'm not interested in a lot of hot air. I've had enough
of that. It's hot enough outside."

The judge was right about the weather; it was a grotesquely hot
summer in Philadelphia. Mter court we usually went straight from the
air conditioning of the courtroom to the air conditioning of our hotel,
with brief obligatory stops at daily rallies and media microphones
outside city hall. The stifling heat wasn't conducive to exercising,
which only exacerbated the stress.

"I wish the court wouldn't characterize advocacy as hot air," Len
protested. He then proceeded to rebuke Judge Sabo for acting contrary
to the Canon of Judicial Ethics. "You should conduct yourself as the
canons require," he concluded. 1 gave a slight smile at that, because
Len had told me years earlier that 1 should carry the canons with me
when appearing in court to remind judges not to come down too hard
on young lawyers.

"Don't tell me how to conduct myself," Judge Sabo retorted angrily.
"You are a New York attorney. When you come to Pennsylvania,
you show the proper respect to this court. And 1 am telling you one
more time 1 am not only going to evict you but 1 am going to fine
you a thousand. That's not a threat, that's a promise."

Len, Rachel, and 1 remained concerned about the judge removing
us from the case. We knew that he had the authority to do it, and
we didn't trust the Pennsylvania judicial system to stand in his way.
That is why Rachel bit her lip and apologized after she spent a few
hours in lock-up. Len wisely backed down and allowed the proceedings
to dissolve into the much-anticipated weekend.


Jesse Jackson showed up at the city hall courthouse on Monday,
August 7. He came not only to observe the proceedings but to provide
spiritual comfort to Mumia. The two talked privately. The meeting
prompted discussions in the defense team over the possibility that
Mumia would dispatch a conciliatory message to Maureen Faulkner.
1 was 100 percent in favor of the overture. Rachel was understandably
wary. She felt that it could backfire on us, in part at least because it
could be misconstrued as a tacit admission of guilt. 1 argued that the
message could be drafted to disabuse anyone of that notion, but 1 was
sympathetic with Rachel's cynical outlook toward the media. More-
over, it was unclear how Maureen would react to any direct communication
from Mumia. Mumia wanted to reach out to her, but he
suspected that she would never accept an overture on his part that
contained any suggestion that he did not kill her husband. In the end,
we opted not to reduce anything to writing, and Mumia passed along
a conciliatory oral message to Maureen through Reverend Jackson.

August 7 was a special day for us. With Reverend Jackson in the
audience (coincidence or not, I don't know), Judge Sabo announced
that he was now prepared to act on the stay of execution application.
"We still have the question of the stay of execution here," he unexpectedly
began. "And today is August seventh. The execution date is
August seventeenth. It's getting rather close." Mumia tended to slouch
a little in his chair, which I enjoyed witnessing because it reflected his
confidence in how we were handling the courtroom presentation. He
certainly never slouched in the 1982 trial. I noticed, however, he
quickly came out of his slouch when he realized what Sabo was about
to do. "And at the rate we're going, I don't see when, I don't even
know when we're going to finish," the judge continued. "And then
from here it is an automatic appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme
Court. I am sure they are not going to be able to resolve that issue
before August the seventeenth. And from there you are going into
federal court. And I'm sure no one along that line is going to be able
to make all of these decisions before August the seventeenth of 1995."
It was slow in coming, and it was obviously difficult for the cantankerous
judge to capitulate. "Based on that reason alone, because this
is the first PCRA petition, as I understand it, he is legally permitted
to argue that one all the way up to the highest court in the land,
including the United States Supreme Court. And I can't see that happening
before August the seventeenth of 1995, and for that reason
and that reason alone, I will grant your stay of execution."

The courtroom erupted into applause. Nobody noticed that implicit
in the judge's announcement was an admission on his part that
he had no intention of granting our PCRA petition, even though the
evidence was not all in. After all, he was emphasizing Mumia s right
to appeal. "Calm down," Judge Sabo said, not as a rebuke but as the
beginning of a refutation. "Don't be too happy because that's only for
this one." If anything exposed Judge Sabo's utter bias, his behavior at
that moment did. He didn't want to grant that stay, but it is my guess
he was forced into it by superiors within the Philadelphia justice system.
The international pressure for a stay had become intense, with
letters, faxes, and phone calls swamping the clerk's office from allover
the world. My favorite communiques were from Nelson Mandela and
Archbishop Desmond Tutu. It was gratifying to feel a link to those
two freedom-loving individuals. Judge Sabo couldn't abide the cheering,
not because it disrupted the proceedings but because it signified
that he had succumbed. He told the crowd "Don't be too happy,"
childishly insisting upon having the last word, if only to underscore
that he was not going soft.

The police officers attending the hearings were visibly upset. One
of them told a coterie of reporters, "It makes you wonder, maybe we
should have executed him at Thirteenth and Locust where he executed
Danny Faulkner."

Mumia's public reaction was tepid and impersonal. He told an
interviewer shortly after the announcement, "I am not under an active
death warrant, although I remain under an active death sentence; thus,
I still sojourn in hell." He offered no spontaneous reaction, either
through words or gesture, upon hearing Sabo's announcement. This
man who hadn't let an hour pass without verbally jousting with the
judge during the trial; this man who had spoken eloquently and often
in a vain effort to recapture control over his own case; this man,
throughout the PCRA proceedings thirteen years later, sat completely
silent, infrequently whispering commentary to one of us lawyers. Now
this lover of words and people, this incarcerated soul who hungered
for meaningful human contact, seldom engaged in banter during the
breaks in the proceedings. Long stretches of time alone in a cell clearly
had affected him. His writings had become analytical and distant. He
now tends to absorb events and then transmute them in his mind
into intellectual abstractions. He feels comfortable in the realm of
ideas-a realm that the state of Pennsylvania could not trespass upon
until such time, if it should come to pass, that the liquid in the needle
of death is drained into his veins. So his detached reaction to the stay
of execution, and to all else that occurred in the courtroom, seemingly
flowed from what he had been forced to become as a human being.

Many times I had wanted to grab his shoulders and ask him to
speak of how he was really feeling. "What are you feeling, Mumia?
What do you long for, and what do you regret? Are you still able to
love?" Maybe someday.


We were back in court on Wednesday, August 9, and Judge Sabo
was peeved about the media coverage of his decision to grant the stay.
His first remarks from the bench were directed at our table, accusing
us of misrepresenting the reason why he had granted the stay. Len,
Rachel, and I had, indeed, gloated to the media and the throngs of
supporters that we won that particular showdown with Judge Sabo.
We needed to gloat as an outlet for our frustrations at having to deal
with aggressive prosecutors who had an embittered judge in their hip
pocket. Len in particular cited the "tens of thousands of people around
the world who supported Mumia" as the reason for the stay. It was
important, from an organizational standpoint, to infuse the support
network with a sense that their vigilance was paying off.

In any event, we felt that it was, in fact, true that Judge Sabo was
forced to capitulate. It may have been the result of the powers that
be in the court system that twisted his arm; but someone within the
system felt the heat from the protests. But Judge Sabo didn't want
that suggestion to go unrebutted. "I did not issue the stay because
Jesse Jackson had anything to do with it," he announced to the audience
and the reporters in particular. "Nor did I issue the stay because
of any national or international pressure. I did it because the law
required it to be done."

This was pure nonsense, as we had argued vociferously back on
July 12, and almost daily during the proceedings, that a stay was
legally required, and yet Judge Sabo had repeatedly refused to issue
the stay. "I told you at the very beginning that this little old judge in
this little old courtroom will not buckle under any kind of pressure,
whether it be national or international."


"I know who shot the cop, and I ain't never gonna forget it." With
those words spoken thirteen years before, Chobert played his part in
the prosecution's mission of securing a conviction against their prized
defendant. But Chobert was an ambiguous witness, notwithstanding
his unambiguous identification at trial of Mumia as the killer.

He never had the opportunity to observe Mumia in an upright
position before identifYing him to the police. Mumia was crouched
in a police van, bleeding from the head and chest, when Chobert
peered inside. Had Mumia been able to stand for an on-the-scene
identification, Chobert might not have been so quick to identifY him
as the shooter. He admitted that Mumia didn't fit the physical description
he gave of the shooter. He described the shooter as heavyset,
weighing about 225 pounds-some 55 pounds heavier than Mumia.
This shooter, who Chobert said "ran away," was wearing a light tan
shirt and jeans-colors far more subdued than the bright red and blue
ski jacket worn by Mumia on that fateful night.

Chobert delivered a devastating blow to the defense apart from
his identification testimony. When Jackson asked about his statement
to homicide investigators that the shooter "ran away," Chobert stunningly
renounced the claim. "It was a mistake, just a mistake," he
insisted. Jackson tried to shake Chobert, but that only fortified him.
Jackson went after Chobert from another angle, confronting him
with his criminal record. McGill, however, objected. At a sidebar conference,
Chobert told the judge, "I threw a bomb into a school, a
Molotov [cocktail] ... I got paid for doing it." Chobert was still on
probation for his conviction on this offense and Jackson wanted the
jury to consider it so that they would have the full measure of the
man who they were asked to believe. Judge Sabo sided with McGill
and barred Jackson from doing so.

Jackson completely missed a more fruitful attack. Chobert didn't
only say that the shooter fled, he also gave an account of what he
personally did in the wake of the shooting. He stepped out of his cab
and walked toward the scene of the shooting to see if he could help the
fallen officer. Now, that's odd, I thought. Why would he do that? If,
as he claimed at trial, the shooter remained at the scene, still armed,
wouldn't he be jeopardizing his own life? I thought of Harkins: he
drove off immediately because he feared being shot. Chobert would
never have walked into the line of fire where a cop killer remained
fully armed and capable of killing him. That he walked toward the
sidewalk where the officer lay dead-a fact confirmed by police reports
indicating that arriving cops told him to go back to his cab-powerfully.
confirmed that, in fact, he saw the shooter run away, just as
he claimed to homicide investigators at the scene. Jackson never
caught the absurdity of Chobert's revisionist account at trial.

The new prosecutors attempted to push these facts aside, arguing
that Chobert had no fear of the shooter because he had been shot.
Chobert, however, testified that he was unaware that Mumia had
been shot. Nor could the prosecution say that Chobert felt there was
safety in numbers, as he saw no one else at the crime scene other than
Billy Cook.

We knew that there had to be more to this story. Why would he
walk toward the crime scene when the armed killer was sitting on the
curb? How could he have mistakenly told police that he saw someone
"run away" a distance of some thirty steps eastbound on Locust Street,
which happens to be the approximate distance of an alleyway that
would have been a convenient escape route for the killer? Was it just
a coincidence that Chobert's observation of flight from the crime scene
matched that of other witnesses? There had to be more. We put Chobert
on the stand during the latter part of the 1995 proceedings to find
out if we could bring the full story to light.

We didn't expect Chobert to be a friendly witness. He really had
no reason to be. During the trial in 1982, he had been led to believe
that his life was in danger by testifying. He was put up in a hotel and
provided police protection (two cops who stayed in the room next
door) for a few weeks before his testimony-all for his own safety, he
was told. He had no doubt in his own mind that Mumia was the
killer, notwithstanding what he had reported to the police just minutes
after the shooting.

We knew from the trial transcripts that Chobert was driving a cab
and that he was on probation. We also surmised he had a drinking
problem, because he had two prior DWl convictions. How was it that
he was driving a cab? Wouldn't he have difficulties getting a chauffeur's

Len asked Chobert, "Do you recall if back in 1981 or 1982
whether or not you had a conversation with the district attorney who
was prosecuting this case-Joe McGill-about your driver's license?"

"Yes, I did," Chobert answered.

A conversation between a witness and the prosecutor about how
the witness earns his living? That is certainly worth pursuing. So that
is what Len did.

"Do you recall what he said to you at that time?"

"Well, he said he'll look into it," Chobert explained.

The law is very strict on a prosecutor's obligation to turn over all
information concerning any agreements, formal or informal, between
a witness and the prosecuting authorities. A defense lawyer is entitled
to that information for use in cross-examination, because a jury is
entitled to consider whether such agreements might affect a witness's
testimony. Chobert wasn't giving expansive answers-a reticence
that was in keeping with the way he answered questions at the 1982
trial-and he surely wasn't giving us evidence of a detailed, formal
agreement. But he was giving us more than we had expected going
into these proceedings. We thought we would hit a brick wall with

I slipped Len a note. I figured if McGill said that he'd look into
Chobert's driver's license situation, it must have been Chobert who
initiated the conversation. It only stood to reason, by my calculation,
that this would be true, given that prosecutors are reluctant to extend
favors or benefits to a witness unless absolutely necessary. McGill
surely knew that to do so would require disclosure to the defense,
which would create an avenue of cross-examination. A prosecutor
much prefers a clean witness unburdened by any such favoritism. I
suggested in the note that Len ask Chobert whether he initiated the

"And when he said he'll look into it, that was in response to
something that you had mentioned, was it not?"

Chobert admitted that he had initiated the discussion. "I asked
him if he could help me find out how I could get my license back,"
he replied in his typical laconic style. Chobert went on to explain that
his chauffer's license had been suspended, which meant that he had
been violating his probation by driving illegally. While McGill offered
a carrot-to try to get the license back-it also carried a stick-the
threat to Chobert's probation because of his continuing driving violation.
Thus, Chobert was reaching out to McGill out of economic
and penal necessity: he wanted to continue to earn a living and he
didn't want to go back to jail for violating the terms of his probation.
When McGill stated that he would look into the situation, Chobert
expected that he would be receiving his assistance and his benevolence.

This was the best answer we could get, under the circumstances.
The whole point to this line of questioning was not only that McGill
and Chobert had a secret agreement, but that Chobert's state of mind
was affected by it. Because Chobert raised the subject, it was obviously
something that was important to him. McGill's willingness to help
him could only have created an alliance between the witness and the
prosecution, and the defense should have been told about it.

Because Jackson was kept in the dark about McGill's conversation
with Chobert, so was the jury. Was this the reason Chobert testified
that he was "mistaken" in telling investigators that the shooter "ran
away"? Chobert wasn't about to admit in 1995 that he perjured himself
at the 1982 trial. Instead, he clung to his claim that his trial
testimony was the truth and that his statements in the police reports
were a mistake. But Chobert's revelation at the 1995 hearing put
things in their proper context. It provided a reason-a compelling
reason, a jury might well conclude-for Chobert to slant his testimony
in the prosecution's favor. It reinforced the highly suspicious nature
of Chobert's trial testimony, particularly in regards to his conduct at
the scene immediately after the shooting stopped. The only reasonable
inference that could be drawn from all of the evidence is that Chobert
did see the shooter run, and that shooter was considerably huskier
than Mumia. With the shooter gone from the crime scene, Chobert
felt it was safe enough to approach the wounded officer. He must have
assumed that the arriving officers apprehended the fleeing shooter and
placed him inside the police van. He identified Mumia, in all likelihood,
based upon the assumption that he was the apprehended fleeing
shooter, without having the opportunity to view Mumia's stature and
weight. Nor was he able to see Mumia's brightly-colored ski jacket, as it
had been removed when he was thrown into the van. Had Chobert been
able to see Mumia in a standing position wearing his ski jacket, he probably
would not have identified Mumia as the shooter.

McGill proved himself to be a shrewd prosecutor throughout the
1982 trial. The Chobert revelation exposed him to be ruthless. Mc-
Gill, knowing that evidence undercutting Chobert's credibility existed,
misled the jury by asking rhetorically: "What motivation would Robert
Chobert have to make up a story within thirty-five to forty-five
minutes later?" He brazenly suggested to the jury that Chobert had
come in to testifY without any taint of prosecutorial influence, knowing
full well that he had had a questionable conversation with Chobert
and that Jackson had no way of challenging his argument to the jury.


The "fleeing man" theory that Jackson had tried to develop at trial
rested on a crucial premise-namely, that a third civilian, aside from
Mumia and his brother, was at the scene with Officer Faulkner. The
prosecution's theory of the crime rested on the equally essential premise
that only two people were at the scene with the officer at the time
of the shooting. Mumia's fight to prove his innocence, in large measure,
hinged on our ability to undermine the prosecution's jealously
guarded two-person theory. At the very least, evidence that raised the
possibility that a third person was at the scene would puncture the
image of a reliable open-and-shut case while simultaneously bolstering
the observations of various witnesses that someone fled toward a
nearby alleyway. We learned during the 1995 proceedings that the
prosecution suppressed physical evidence that would have allowed the
defense to do precisely that: undermine the prosecution's two-person

Homicide investigators actually initiated an investigation in
1982-without following through-into the possibility that a third
person was at the crime scene and that this third person fled. On the
night in question, police picked up at least three black males-Cynthia
White's pimp (known on the street as Sweet Sam), Billy Cook's
business associate (a man named Kenneth Freeman), and one Arnold
Howard-for questioning as possible suspects to the shooting. We
put Arnold Howard on the stand on August 9.

Howard, a lanky, wiry, and talkative black man, had known Mumia
since he was a child. "We grew up together in the same neighborhood,"
he explained in his testimony. He was extremely thin, a
consequence of having his stomach surgically reconstructed as a result
of five gunshot wounds he received in 1989. In the predawn hours of
December 9, 1981, more than five law enforcement officers picked
up Howard at his home in connection with the Faulkner shooting
investigation. He was taken to the homicide precinct, known as the
Roundhouse, for interrogation and for placement in a lineup. Additionally,
Howard described how the police "put some kind of powder
on my hands."

"Did the officers tell you why they were checking your hands?"
Len asked.

"Yes, they said by my license being found at the scene of a homicide,
that I was somewhat involved in it," Howard explained.

"Now, besides this test of your hands or whatever was done with
your hands, were you asked to participate in any other kind of process?
"Yes, they put me and a Kenneth Freeman into a lineup."

Freeman worked with Billy Cook in a makeshift business, selling
jewelry, hats, scarves, rolling papers, and other knickknacks from a
self-constructed mobile shack. The two frequently rode together in
Cook's Volkswagen. Howard explained that he had given his driver's
license to Freeman a few days earlier.

Howard kept referring to his driver's license, but what he actually
was referring to was a driver's license application form, which also
served as a temporary driver's permit. There was no dispute that this
document was found in the front pants pocket of Officer Faulkner-a
fact that the prosecution disclosed for the first time at the 1995 hearing.
The problem, of course, was that Jackson was never told about
it back in 1982 when the information could have been put to use for
Mumia's benefit. What was Faulkner doing with Howard's driver's
license? Interestingly, prosecution witness Michael Scanlan testified
that he saw Faulkner examining a document in his hand early in the
encounter between him and Cook. Jackson had let that testimony slide
by as an insignificant detail, understandably, as he had no reason to
know or suspect that this document belonged to a third personthanks
to the prosecution's suppression of that fact.

Howard explained to homicide detectives that he lent the document
to Freeman; they were justifiably dubious. If Howard was in
fact at the scene and somehow involved in the shooting, he wouldn't
be inclined to admit it. The fact of his license being in Faulkner's
possession strongly suggested that he was there.

"Incidentally, Mr. Howard, were you there?" Len was referring to
the crime scene.

"No, sir," Howard said firmly.

"Did you produce proof to the detectives as to your whereabouts
at the time of the occurrence?"

"Yes, I did. A sales receipt from Path mark on Aramingo Avenue"
-a location some distance away from Thirteenth and Locust St.
The sales receipt indicated a time of 4:00 A.M. Howard had an alibi,
and, remarkably, it was good enough to satisfy the homicide investigators.

If it wasn't Howard in the Volkswagen with his own driver's license,
then who was? Ken Freeman was the logical answer, not only
by virtue of Howard's claim that he lent the document to him but
also because Freeman was Cook's business partner. Len probed Howard's
knowledge about Freeman, but the prosecutor, a woman named
Arlene Fisk, who had inexplicably taken over the lead role (Joey Grant,
without explanation, left the prosecution team), blocked the inquiry
with persistent objections. Fisk struck me as extremely bright, and
much more pleasant to deal with than Grant or Burns, both of whom
enjoyed affecting a macho veneer. Her lack of a hard edge, however,
didn't dampen her aggressive advocacy.

Freeman had died on the night that the MOVE house on Osage
Avenue was firebombed. Len asked Howard ifhe knew anything about
the circumstances of his death. "My understanding is he was handcuffed
and shot up and dumped up on Grink's lot on Roosevelt Boulevard,
buck naked," Howard said. In fact, Freeman died under highly
mysterious circumstances. He had been brought to a hospital in a
police vehicle, gagged, bound, and naked. The death certificate indicated
he had died of a heart attack. He was thirty-one with no history
of heart problems.

"He was handcuffed?" Len followed up.


"And shot?"

"No, shot up with drugs."

"And to your knowledge, did Ken Freeman have your license on
the night in question?"

Howard nodded. "Yes, he did."

We were pleased with the information Howard provided. By itself,
the undisputed fact that the deceased officer had within his clothing
a driver's license belonging to a third person is more than just an
interesting fact having a slight bearing on the question of Mumia's
guilt or innocence, as it raises a question about the reliability of the
prosecution's two-person theory. But in view of the remarkable fact
that numerous independent witnesses saw Bight from the scene of the
crime (a fact never considered by the earlier jury), this uncontested
item of physical evidence was tremendously significant. The eyewitness
accounts and the driver's license mutually reinforce the indispensable
message that the jury would have received in a genuinely fair trial
proceeding-namely, that the prosecution's theory that only two
people were at the scene who were in a position to shoot the officer
is too unreliable to justify a conclusion of guilt beyond a reasonable

Most intriguing, Howard's testimony also increased the importance
of Scanlan's observation of the shooter wearing an Afro, since
Freeman sported one.
Site Admin
Posts: 33189
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Executing Justice: An Inside Account of the Case of Mumi

Postby admin » Tue Jun 09, 2015 1:29 am


Ideologies ... have no heart of their own.
They're the whores and angels of our own
striving selves.



We returned to our hotel, a small no-frills Holiday Inn that
was a few short blocks away from the crime scene (I could see
it from my window), feeling good about Howard's testimony. If we
hadn't contacted Arnold Howard, we never would have discovered
that the prosecution had suppressed evidence that Faulkner was in
possession of a driver's license form belonging to a third person. Howard's
testimony compelled the prosecution to concede that this was
so. Additionally, through Howard's testimony, the fleeing man began
to take on an identity-Kenneth Freeman.

As with everything else in the case, the "Freeman" theoty had its
problems. Billy Cook didn't report to the police that his business
partner was with him in the Volkswagen, let alone that he was the
one who shot the officer. Instead, Cook blurted out to the police who
arrived at the crime scene, "I ain't got nothing to do with it." Cook's
instinctive reaction to protect his own interest was, to say the least,
problematic. The prosecutors in the 1995 hearing never shied away
from throwing this particular fact in our faces. It was clear that, to
them, Cook's statement at the crime scene, more than the evidence
that the jury considered at the 1982 trial, pointed to Mumia's guilt.
They goaded us constantly to call Cook as a witness, as did Judge
Sabo. We might very well have obliged, if we could have located him.
We had investigators pounding the pavement looking for him, and at
times they came close to finding him, but always ended up empty-handed.

There was another problem with the "Freeman" theory. Freeman
was outspoken in his accusation that Philadelphia cops were responsible
for butning down the vending stand that Cook and Freeman operateda
business that the two of them established through much diligencefour
days after the Faulkner shooting. A person who had just killed a
cop would have quite an incentive to keep his mouth shut. The circumstances
strongly suggested that angry Philadelphia police officers were
indeed responsible for the fire that destroyed Freeman's and Cook's
treasured business. One officer in the sixth precinct (Faulkner's home
precinct) told a news reporter that the precinct was abuzz over the fire.
"It's entirely possible that certain sick members of this department were
responsible for this fire," this officer said. "The place was filled with
Cheshire grins." Why would Freeman be so brazen in his accusations
against Philly cops if he was a hair's breadth away from being charged
with a capital offense? Rationality would dictate silence; but then again,
why assume Freeman was thinking rationally?

In any event, we didn't-because we couldn't-dwell on the implications
of Howard's testimony for long. We had a major decision
to make before the next day's proceedings began. Part of our investigatory
strategy was to locate every single person who was at the scene
of the crime when the shooting occurred. Our primary source of information
on that score, of course, were the police reports. That's how
we knew to reach out for Arnold Howard. Many lawyers, particularly
those without the financial and human resources to do it, would have
bypassed someope like Howard, because the cryptic police report pertaining
to him created the impression that he was unimportant to the
case. We had the benefit of money, raised through diligent fund raising
efforts, and a core of dedicated volunteers and paid investigators,
which allowed us to dig up witnesses over a decade after the incident
that bound them together. We also had an extreme skepticism
about the good-faith investigative efforts of the Philadelphia police

I was sensitive to the possibility that Mumia's sympathies with
MOVE might have prompted law enforcement to jump to a conclusion
about Mumia's guilt. I even believed that law enforcement was
willing to fabricate evidence to help in the effort to convict a man
they believed to be guilty. Rachel and Jon held more extreme views;
they were convinced-actually, to them, it was sacrilegious to believe
otherwise-that law enforcement knew Mumia was innocent, knew
that the shooter fled the scene, and relished that a conviction and
death sentence would be a terrific coup in the city's war against
MOVE. Their view was an article of faith that grew out of their
ideological zeal. Len, probably motivated by a desire to keep the defense
team intact, kept his views, for the most part, private, which
could be maddening when decisions had to be made and emotions
ran high.

Len and I nevertheless approached the case from a pragmatic
standpoint. Although we all adhered to the view that Mumia was
innocent, Len and I understood that we couldn't expect a judge to
share that view, or even to be sympathetic with it, at the outset of
litigation. We would have to develop a credible case to undermine the
reliability of the jury's verdict-that was the best we could realistically
shoot for. So even if Len and I agreed with Rachel and Jon, I felt that
we couldn't make the "knowing frame-up of an innocent man" theory
the centerpiece to our litigation strategy. It would be asking too much
from a judge.

Our differing views about the core of Mumia's case, as well as the
differences in the role ideology played in our personal and professional
lives, led us to stake out different strategic approaches to litigating the
case. On many occasions, I wondered whether there was enough room
on the defense team for all four of us.


Rachel had unique access to Mumia, and he understandably put
his faith in her. An indefatigable and unrelenting advocate for the
"Free Mumia" cause, she was a key player in bringing Mumia to the
attention of the broader left-wing movements in this country and
throughout Eutope. It was Rachel's standing in the political arena that
gave her stature within the defense team.

Mumia had always placed his faith in radical politics. At his trial,
he stridently advocated the merits of conducting the trial according
to the strategy of John Africa. After his conviction, Mumia put his
future in the hands of MOVE. When municipal authorities, upon
orders from Mayor Wilson Goode, dropped a firebomb on the MOVE
compound at Osage Avenue on May 13, 1985, Mumia's important
papers (including documents from his trial) went up in flames as well.
Mumia's allegiance with MOVE was sincere and heartfelt; but it also
paved the way for word to spread among left-wing organizations that
an innocent man, an ex-Black Panther, was on death row. The first
leftist group to carry the banner was an organization with which
Rachel and Jon were affiliated-the Partisan Defense Committee.

The PDC, in the splintered world of left-wing backbiting, is a
Trotskyist organization. The PDC had taken up advocacy for the
MOVE Nine, imprisoned for what amounted to life terms, in connection
with the Ramp shooting. Ramona Africa, the sole adult survivor
of the 1985 bombing of the MOVE compound on Osage
Avenue, urged the PDC to look into the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal,
stating in a letter that he is "a journalist and activist who is on death
row for his political beliefs."

At small leftist gatherings, and at larger rallies for progressive causes,
the PDC hung banners and distributed leaflets with the bold, if not
unique, slogan, "Free Mumia Now! Abolish the Racist Death Penalty!"
This ardent advocacy for Mumia reminded me of the communists in
the United States who trumpeted the Scottsboro Boys case in the 1930s,
which ultimately led to the landmark Supreme Court ruling mandating
adequate legal representation in capital cases. Mumia the symbol, and
the most charismatic of political prisoners, latched onto the consciousness
of progressive people hungering for a focal point around which to
rally. Cold war dynamics, the nuclear arms race, and apartheid dissipated
in the '90s as anchors for left-wing advocacy. Progressives began
to look within and found that there was much to be angry about in this
country, particularly the spectacular rise of the prison-industrial complex.
The problem, however, is that few prisoners can rivet the attention
of activists and progressive-minded people to spark or revive a movement.
Mumia, however, fit the bill; he had a striking appearance, a poetic
sensibility, a vocal gift, and an impeccable record as a revolutionary
stretching back to the heady days of the Black Panther Party. The POC
was tapping into something big.

The next organization that embraced the cause with a fervent
belief that Mumia was framed was the Quixote Center, a group of
liberation theology Catholics. The Quixote Center, through its subsidiary,
Equal Justice U.S.A., brought Mumia's cause into sharper focus,
and lent it an enhanced credibility that the PDC could never
provide. The case slowly transmogrified from one involving a political
prisoner on death row to a referendum on the fairness of the criminal
justice system itself. Mumia certainly helped in this development, using
his writing skills to disseminate trenchant attacks on American
capitalism and the rise of the prison-industrial complex. He provocatively
averred that he was living in the most rapidly growing public
housing project in the country-a prison. He described the people
who lived there with him, and the people who kept watch over him.
He provided vignettes of life on the "inside" to a public on the "outside"
that has no idea what human beings are capable of doing to
other human beings in the name of law and order. He wrote essays
criticizing the Gulf War, ridiculing the O. J. Simpson trial, supporting
the United Nations's condemnation of our embargo on Cuba, lamenting
the rash of police violence and prison construction, and on
and on. Mumia the cause, almost inevitably, seeped into the rarefied
atmosphere of the literary elites and Hollywood celebrity circles.

Probably the defining moment in the pro-Mumia movement came
when National Public Radio expressed interest in airing on its All
Things Considered program a series of extremely powerful radio commentaries
by Mumia describing, among other things, life on death
row. On the eve of the first broadcast, with the commentaries recorded
on audiotape and after promoting the provocative idea, NPR capitulated
to intense right-wing political pressure and withdrew its commitment
to air the recordings. Then-senator Bob Dole and the
National Fraternal Order of Police threatened NPR where it counts:
in the pocketbook. Dole was quite explicit about it, stating on the
Senate floor that "this episode raises sobering questions, not only for
NPR but for the taxpayer-funded Corporation for Public Broadcasting,
which has oversight authority over NPR and provides much of
its funding." To this day, the All Things Considered recordings are
under lock and key with NPR. NPR's abrupt cancellation of these
radio commentaries, coupled with the manifest power of Mumia's
vocal delivery and sharp insights, caught the attention of many intellectuals
and celebrities.

Throughout the development of the "Mumia" phenomenon, the
PDC remained rigid in its outlook. It was deemed counterrevolutionary,
and thus contemptible, to advocate for a new trial for Mumia.
To even suggest that securing a new trial was a worthy goal, in the
minds of the PDC adherents, was to acquiesce in the bourgeois notion
that the legal system was capable of fairness. It was for this reason that
it was always an uphill battle to get the defense team to focus on the
penalty phase issues. The only justifiable political call was for Mumia's
release: no new trial, no calls for a moratorium on the death penalty,
no advocacy that he was not a genuine candidate for execution. Mumia
must be released, now!-and those holding the reins of power
have to capitulate to this demand of the proletariat. With this sort of
anachronistic rhetoric, had the PDC retained total control over the
blossoming pro-Mumia movement, it would have forever remained a
marginal cause. Fortunately, the extreme rigidity of the PDC is an
anomaly in the progressive community-as I have experienced it. Not
everyone was willing to accept on pure faith that Mumia was innocent;
many, however, were willing to give a sympathetic ear to the
claim that the criminal justice system had not produced a result in
his case that was sufficiently reliable to justifY our trust. Other political
groups, recognizing the need to broaden the base of support, welcomed
such persons into the pro-Mumia fold and lamented the rigidity
of the PDC.

But all of that doesn't diminish the indefatigable efforts of Rachel
Wolkenstein and the PDC; for that, Mumia would always be grateful.
The question was how much would gratitude eclipse judgment.


Leaving aside the differences between me and the PDC contingent
on the defense team, the important fact, in the short run, was that
everyone on the team agreed that, at the least, the city's particular
history with MOVE was an important backdrop to this particular case,
and that law enforcement's intense antipathy toward this organization
probably created a bias in the investigation, as criminal defense lawyers
would put it. That core belief that united the defense team prompted
us to ferret out every person identified in the police reports and learn
for ourselves what they had to say. It paid off with Howard, as we
would otherwise never have learned that the prosecution concealed
evidence that Officer Faulkner had a license in his pocket belonging
to a third person. Would it payoff with other witnesses?

William Singletary, a Philadelphia resident, was in the vicinity of
the shooting at the time Faulkner was killed. A police report in the
case file identified him by name, but expressly stated that he saw
nothing. A less-than-thorough reexamination into the case would have
bypassed Singletary as nothing more than an irrelevant bystander. Singletary
was located and interviewed in 1990-two years before Len
and I became involved in the case. Rachel and her assistants at the
PDC received word that Singletary had information about the shooting.
They tracked him down and on August 31, 1990, brought him
into the office of Mumia's court-appointed appellate lawyer, Marilyn
Gelb, the lawyer who encouraged Anthony Jackson to go to law

In a move that will forever perplex me, Gelb and Rachel submitted
Singletary to questioning under oath before a stenographer. It was, in
my view, a blunder if only because the defense is obligated to turn
such material over to the prosecution in future litigation, thereby relinquishing
one major advantage a defendant enjoys-the element of
surprise. Gelb may have accepted without exercising independent
judgment Rachel's representation that Singletary held the key to Mumia's
exoneration and opted for the stenographic recording to account
for the possibility that Singletary might later, through change of heart
or even death, become unavailable. I say that Gelb may not have
exercised independent judgment because Singletary told a fantastic
tale. Even if his account was true, it was so beyond the pale, no judge
would believe it, thereby rendering his testimony inconsequential at
best; at worst, an embrace of the story would brand us lawyers as
nothing more than a band of kooks.

At the time of the 1982 trial, Singletary was a thirty-one-year-old
Vietnam veteran who managed a family-owned gas station in Philadelphia.
He had no psychiatric history and no criminal record. He
was married with children, living in a modest residence, far from the
world Mumia inhabited as a journalist and political radical. By the
looks of it, he appeared to be a perfectly normal, rational human

When I first met Singletary at his home in 1995, I whispered to
Len that he was built like a football player, with muscular shoulders
melding into an equally muscular neck. Len whispered back that he
had heard that his cousin was Mike Singletary, the onetime all-pro
linebacker for the Chicago Bears.

Len and I sat on a couch and Singletary took a seat in what
appeared to be his favorite chair. He sank deep into it and relaxed.
He then smiled broadly to indicate that he was ready to answer any
question we cared to ask. The room was dimly lit and somewhat
musty, but I thought it best to keep quiet about it, even though it
made note-taking difficult. Because Len and I knew that Rachel had
interviewed him several times over the past several weeks, we were
sensitive to the possibility that he was growing weary of this intrusion
into his life. We asked him to go over his story again, rarely interrupting
him with questions. His demeanor never betrayed impatience
or annoyance at having to repeat his story yet again. His account
mirrored what he had said in the 1990 statement.

In that 1990 statement, Singletary explained that he had unsuccessfully
tried to get into a nightclub on Thirteenth and Locust. He
then began to walk toward the southeast side of Locust and Thirteenth,
which is the corner of the intersection nearest where the shooting
was to take place. When the shooting erupted, he claimed to have
been a mere twelve to fifteen feet away, adjacent to a subway entrance.
He saw the traffic stop and the encounter between Cook and Officer
Faulkner. Singletary claimed to see "a very tall fellow" sitting in the
passenger seat of the Volkswagen; he said that he noticed this passenger
because "it looked funny for a tall guy ... to be sitting in a small
car." This much was helpful, but perplexing, as Kenneth Freeman was
definitely not a "tall fellow," and the initial description of the shooter
given by Cynthia White was that he was shorter than five feet eight.

The incident he was about to describe, however, made my eyes
widen. The officer, Singletary said, "made the driver get up against
the wall, spread-eagle .... " No one had ever suggested that any part
of the traffic-stop encounter took place away from the parked vehicles.
The two had a verbal confrontation, with the officer filling the night
air with obscenities. Then, Singletary said, the following occurred:
"After about maybe two minutes, the tall guy emerged from the Volkswagen
and said, 'Billy, we don't have to take this We are tired
of these fucking racists and so forth and so on They burned a
newstand last night and we just finished fixing it and we turned it
back over. ... We don't have to take this.' So the police officer said:
'Get back in the car.' "

The "tall guy," who wore his hair in dreadlocks and had "raggedy,
unruly hair under his chin," didn't go back to the car. Instead, he
"reached in his right pocket and pulled out a small handgun and shot
the cop in the eye." The shooter then threw the murder weapon
against the right rear tire of the Volkswagen, and ran east on Locust
Street, with the driver (Cook) running behind. As a result of the
gunshot wound to the face, the officer "went right up against the
building and slid down," sitting upright propped up against the wall.
It was at this moment that another man appeared on the scene,
yelling "This is my brother's car, where is my brother?" Singletary
didn't know Mumia by appearance, but knew of him as a prominent
radio journalist. Mumia noticed Singletary and asked him what happened,
to which he said that "the tall guy shot the cop." According
to Singletary, Mumia then moved toward the bleeding officer with
outstretched arms, offering to help. The officer had, moments
earlier, mumbled to Singletary, "Get Maureen" or "Get the children."
As Mumia approached, the officer, with his gun resting on his
upper thigh and the barrel pointing upward at a forty-five-degree
angle, pulled the trigger, then slouched back and "dazed off." Mumia,
hit by a bullet discharged from the officer's gun, stumbled over to
the curb.

The balance of his 1990 statement was devoted to a description
of how detectives forced him to renounce this account and sign a false
statement indicating that he had not seen the shooting. He also described
how they had driven him and his family out of Philadelphia.

Should we call William Singletary? In the hyperrational world of
the law, the answer was self-evident. In the commonsense world that
most people inhabit, the answer was self-evident. In the world of PDC
politics, it was a real question.

No other decision would plague the legal team more than that
question. Len and I struggled over the issue, consulting numerous
other lawyers, discussing it endlessly in late-night conversations over
the phone, visiting with Singletary several times. We agonized not so
much because we suffered delusions that Singletary's account of the
shooting, as opposed to the police misconduct, was plausible-we
knew that it wasn't; we agonized because in a death penalty case, you
discard an exculpatory witness only after thorough exploration of the
pros and cons. Plus, Rachel and Jon insisted that we use him. The
consensus among those whom we consulted was that we shouldn't use
him, for the obvious reason that his eyewitness account was too susceptible
to attack. I hoped that this would persuade Rachel and Jon
to abandon Singletary. My argument was simple: I felt it was a mistake
to commit ourselves to such a preposterous version of events. Why, I
asked, should we allow ourselves to be attacked by the prosecution?
It is far better to go on the attack and maintain the smallest possible
target for the opponent. Rachel and Jon were nonetheless adamant.
As far as they were concerned, Singletary's story exonerates Mumiathat
was enough to merit calling him. As far as I was concerned, using
Singletary was akin to putting up a billboard with a bull's-eye drawn
on It.

In every other case on which I have worked involving a team of
lawyers-and I had worked on several, stretching back to my law
school days with my first mentor, Professor Alan Dershowitz-major
strategic and tactical decisions were not made democratically; nor were
strategic and tactical judgments about which witnesses should be called
delegated to the client. The one or two lawyers who have the most
experience and most knowledge about the matter should have ultimate
say. That, unfortunately, was not how our team operated back in
1995. Len clearly had the most experience in terms of years, but he
had no particular expertise in the complex world of capital punishment
jurisprudence. He relied on me and other specialists to educate him
about the difficulties that would lie ahead in our appeals to the federal
courts. That is one of Len's best attributes-his willingness to listen
and his utter lack of hubris. I felt that Rachel and Jon's views on the
Singletary issue should receive the least weight because they had no
real criminal defense or capital punishment experience (indeed, no
actual trial experience). As an aside, I was rather shocked by Jon's
advocacy, because he made his living in the rigidly logical and nononsense
world of corporate litigation.

But, as I alluded to earlier, there was one area that Rachel in
particular had the upperhand on me and others. She was much more
connected with the left-wing political movement to "free Mumia"
than I was. I have never been a joiner. I was intellectually always
attracted to progressive thought, and I had engaged in activist causes.
But I disdained rigid ideologies. Rachel's deep involvement in "the
movement" -whatever that might mean-meant that she had a
tighter connection to Mumia, who understandably felt that his fight
for freedom could never be disconnected from the political movements
propelling his cause. I certainly agreed with Mumia that the mass leftwing
support was important; but I also believed that he was important
to the left-wing, and that he did not need to be concerned about
losing support. At bottom, I parted company with the notion that
ideology should, in any way, dictate the litigation strategy or tactics
in a death penalty case.

My impression was that Rachel lobbied hard with Mumia in the
hopes of forcing us into calling Singletary. I deeply resented Rachel's
encroachment into an area in which she had no experience, especially
because she used her stature within the PDC to wield influence over
Len. Len sometimes gave the impression that he would allow concerns
over how decisions within the defense team would influence the support
network to affect his legal judgment. On that score, he trusted
both Rachel and Mumia, and that trust trumped my legal analysis.

But, at the core, Len is an astute trial lawyer. He knew that Singletary's
story about the night in question, if presented to a jury, would
be disastrous to the case. He knew that no federal judge down the
road would credit his story about what he had supposedly seen. He
also ultimately agreed with my preeminent concern-namely, that our
credibility as lawyers would suffer if we embraced Singletary, and that
loss of credibility could be the most damaging consequence of all. But
Len couldn't escape the apparent fact-about which I could be
wrong-that Rachel had convinced Mumia to demand that Singletary
take the stand. Len would never veto Mumia. Instead, he came up
with a compromise.


"Okay, now are there any other witnesses you want to call?"Judge
Sabo asked.

"If I may," Len said, "there is one additional witness who is referred
to in the petition which counsel has had now for two months.
And this is a witness who is a person whose recollection of what
happened on the night in question we believe to be not entirely accurate."
Len was speaking slowly, enunciating his words as if each
carried the weight of the entire case. "We believe his recollection today
is not entirely accurate," he reiterated. "We believe his recollection,
which was given in a sworn statement in 1990, was not entirely accurate."
Len said it three times. The repetition reflected his anxiety
over the Singletary issue. Once Len told me that he was definitely
going to call Singletary, at about 1:00 A.M. the night before, we crafted
this approach-distance ourselves from Singletary's purported observations
at the crime scene, in the hopes of preserving our credibility,
while drawing on his testimony that he had been victimized by the
police so as to scare away an exculpatory witness.

Because Singletary had not yet arrived in court, the prosecution
team put on a witness of its own, an Officer Joseph Brown. We had
not expected him to be called as a witness, and I was clueless as to
what he would be testifYing about-a trial lawyer's nightmare. "Len,
you take him," I whispered, indicating I preferred that he crossexamine
him. "I've gotta do Singletary, I can't," he replied. Len is a
good friend, but sometimes he's like a father. If he tells me I have to
cross-examine Officer Brown, then that's what I'll do.

I hate cross-examining any witness without pondering how I
would go about it. I put an enormous amount of time and thought
into a cross-examination. Tome, cross-examination is an art form, an
activity unlike any other, which deserves reverence for its powerful
truth-seeking function. One early twentieth-century legal scholar said
that cross-examination is the greatest device for ferreting out truth
ever devised by humankind. That is true, if it's done skillfully. It is
not an activity one should voluntarily engage in without appropriate
preparation-to do so, in my view, is sacrilegious. But there are times
when a trial lawyer is forced to cross-examine without the benefit of
preparation. In those situations it is best to reduce the task to its most
basic level: what is the story I want to tell with this particular witness?

It turned out that Officer Brown was called for a limited but
important purpose: to impeach Arnold Howard. Howard had said the
day before that he was brought in for questioning and a lineup in the
predawn hours of December 9, 1981, and was detained for several
days. Officer Brown testified that, according to the Roundhouse precinct
logbook, Howard was brought in much later in the day, at
around 12:30 P.M., and he had left about two hours later.

"May I have the logbook, exhibit C-eighteen," I said as I walked
over to the podium to begin the cross-examination. The logbook contained
Howard's signature, signing in and out as Officer Brown had
said. It did contradict Howard's testimony that he was brought into
the precinct early in the morning and was kept under arrest for several
days. If the logbook entry was not undermined in some way, Howard's
testimony would probably be disregarded by future courts reviewing
this case.

My story line was simple: Officer Brown had no personal knowledge
of who Arnold Howard was and his involvement in the case, and
had no knowledge about what happened at the precinct on December
9. Everything he testified about was based solely upon the two entries
in the logbook-Howard's signature signing in, and his signature signing
out two hours later. If, in the process of telling that story through
the cross-examination, I could secure something more helpful, then
that would just be icing on the proverbial cake.

"Do you know, of your own personal knowledge, an individual by
the name of Arnold Howard?"

"No, sir, I do not."

"As you sit here today, of your own personal knowledge, you don't
know when Mr. Howard was brought into the Roundhouse," I declared,
awaiting for his assent.

The officer at first equivocated. "I don't know whether it was-"
I waved my finger at him so that he could see that I was asking about
personal knowledge. "Oh, you're right, of my own personal knowledge,
right," he corrected himself. Cross-examination lesson: never let
the witness tell his story; only tell yours.

I then methodically went through the logbook and pointed out
that virtually all of the civilian witnesses brought in for questioning
in the early morning hours of December 9 had not signed the logbook.
Officer Brown explained that when witnesses are brought in en masse
to be questioned, they don't necessarily enter through the front en-
trance doors. The logbook is a sign-in book only for the front entrance
doors, he clarified. That was the opening I was looking for.

"So if people were brought in earlier in the morning on December
ninth, say between the times of four A.M. and six A.M., and they're
not reflected in this logbook, how would they enter the building?"

Officer Brown explained that they would "walk through the police
Detention Unit, walk through two metal doors after they are opened
by the officer, go to an elevator and take the elevator or the stairs to
whichever floor the unit that they were going to was on." No signingin
of the logbook when a person is brought into the building in this
manner, I emphasized in the questioning.

I returned to the "no personal knowledge" story line, unabashedly
sticking to a simple story. Simple stories are the best kinds to tell in
litigation. "Can you testify today that sometime earlier on December
ninth, 1981, perhaps between the hours of four A.M. and six A.M.,
whether Mr. Howard was brought in in the manner that you just
described, can you tell us that?"

"Not if his name's in this logbook," Officer Brown answered.

I knew he was playing a word game with me-a game police
witnesses are fond of. His logic was that Howard couldn't have entered
through another entrance if he was brought in through the front entrance
door. It was a flawed logic, because the fact that he was brought
around the front entrance at about 12:30 P.M. on December 9 didn't
rule out that he had been brought to the precinct earlier that morning.
After all, he could have been escorted out to grab a bite to eat. Brown
played the word game for several minutes as I kept pressing the same
story line.

Finally, Brown broke down in the duel over words. "In other
words," he asked, "what you are trying to say is that Mr. Howard
may have been brought in with all these other individuals [that had
been brought in through the Detention Unit entrance]?"

"Yes, that's what I am asking you," I replied.

"I cannot give you that of my own personal knowledge, I was not
there." It is a good feeling when a witness parrots your language; it
shows that you have won the psychological battle, because the witness
is now operating on your terrain.

'That is precisely what I am asking," I asserted, confident that I
had reached my goal. "So you can't tell us if Mr. Howard was there
earlier, taken out of the building, and then brought in through the
front entrance at twelve-thirty, can you?"

"No sir, I cannot."

"Precisely," I said, perhaps with a little smugness.


We returned from lunch and there was still no sign of Singletary.
Rachel knew I was still very much against calling him as a witness, so
she refused to talk about his whereabouts in my presence. I suppose
she didn't want me to gloat over the possibility that he wouldn't show.

The prosecution team very much wanted Singletary to appear. In
fact, Arlene Fisk announced immediately in the afternoon session that
the prosecution would do whatever it took to bring him in for our
benefit. Of course, the prosecution wasn't seeking to benefit us at all;
they knew, as I knew, and probably Len as well, that Singletary would
probably in the end help the prosecution more than he would help
the defense. "We offer to the defense immediately, at this moment,"
Fisk told Sabo, "police officers, detectives, cars, persons who could go
to whatever address defense counsel would like, any member of the
defense team can accompany those officers, so that Mr. Singletary can
be brought into the courtroom, placed on the witness stand, and offer
whatever testimony the defense chooses to have that witness offer today."
She then looked over at our table, pausing for a moment, baiting
us. "I make that offer to the court so that there can be no question
about the ability of defense counsel to produce the witness in this

Judge Sabo solicited a response from Len. "Mr. Weinglass?"

"No response is necessary to that," Len replied.

I figured this was an opening for me, a last opportunity to end
what I regarded as a self-destructive maneuver. "Len, what does that
tell you?" 1 said. 1 urged him to change his mind, stating the obvious,
that the prosecution's anxiousness-indeed, their undisguised enthusiasm
for Singletary-clearly showed that calling him was a mistake.
Rachel glared over at me as she engaged in a whispered conversation
with Mumia. "This is madness," 1 grumbled to myself, frustrated and

Singletary eventually arrived, and he did take the stand that afternoon.
But before that, we put on another witness, a medical doctor
named Ian Hood, who testified about inconsequential matters concerning
the autopsy. During Dr. Hood's testimony, Judge Sabo and
Len became embroiled in another verbal spar. Len was using some
autopsy slides in his questioning when Judge Sabo asked to see some
of them.

"These aren't the photos Dr. Hood saw," Len said.

"How do you know what he saw? Give me back the photos," Sabo

"These are not the photos he saw."

"Give me back the photos. Will you please!" Judge Sabo growled.

"I am asking for the photos he bases his testimony on," Len answered.
It was a silly quarrel, but the venomous tone reflected how
the August heat, the constant verbal wrangling, and the intense interest
that the case had generated began wearing everyone down.

"Give me back the photos! They are not your photos!" Sabo

"Let the record show that the court is raising his voice."

"And let the record show that counsel is not doing what 1 tell
him to do. Counselor!"

How this silly dispute started and developed, 1 don't know. 1 was
still stewing over the Singletary decision as this flare-up was taking
place. And then ...

"You are in contempt of court!" It was bound to happen, and
perhaps it was fitting to happen on this particular day. "I am fining
you a thousand dollars because you wouldn't do what 1 wanted you
to do."

Len and the judge continued the verbal warfare. "Let the record
show that the court was shouting and pointing its finger in a threatening
manner to defense counsel."

"Not a threatening manner, a promising manner," Judge Sabo
countered. "Promising. One thousand dollars, Counselor."

It was Len's first contempt citation since the Chicago Seven trial,
where he was hit with a bountiful number of contempt citations,
leading Judge Hoffman to sentence him to a jail term of one year,
seven months, and twenty-eight days. Bill Kunstler, the other lawyer
involved, was sentenced to an even longer term, four years and thirteen
days. Those contempt citations, and the resulting jail sentences, however,
were overturned on appeal. Len later appealed Sabo's contempt
citation to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. He lost, and paid the
fine. But in a final twist, fund-raising efforts to cover the fine netted
more than $3,000. "I must give credit where credit is due," Len sarcastically
told a reporter. "Judge Sabo has become one of our principal


"Good afternoon, Mr. Singletary."

"Good afternoon."

It was after 3:00 P.M., and Singletary, the man of the day, was
finally put on the witness stand. He was dressed casually but smartly.
He didn't seem fazed by the crowds outside carrying huge "Free Mumia"
banners; nor did he pay any mind to the fact that not a seat in
the courtroom was unoccupied. He looked straight at Len, waiting for
the questioning to begin, a flat expression on his beefy face.

Len proceeded slowly, bringing out background details and information
about when he and Len had first met. Judge Sabo didn't like
the sluggish pace of the examination. "Let's get to the heart of the
matter, please."

Len didn't quicken the pace, still lingering on background material.
"Judge, I object," Fisk interjected. "We are here in the pursuit of
justice. Could we please get right to the matter."

Judge Sabo joined in. "Let's get right to the heart of the question,
please, Counselor. I can't be here settling all the social problems of
the world. Let's get to the issue, come on." It was eene, as if the
prosecution and judge knew we on the defense team were deeply
divided over this witness.

Len still lingered, this time asking Singletary about his physical
appearance back in 1981. Fisk again objected. Judge Sabo again
pushed: "Let's get to it!"

Judge Sabo then said something that Len latched onto. "If you
are going to go into other areas besides the manner in which the police
took statements, you should have told the DA." We would have been
delighted to limit Singletary to that issue. The one thing Len and I
did not want was exploration into Singletary's purported observations
of events on Thirteenth and Locust, despite Rachel's desires.

"That is the only area we will broach, and I am glad the court is
limiting the area," Len immediately noted. "Consistent with the
court's ruling, I will ask questions in the limited area of whether or
not Singletary was with the police." And so he did.

Singletary testified to the police misconduct along the lines that
he described in his 1990 statement. He explained that he was taken
to the Roundhouse shortly after 4:00 A.M. on December 9. This much
we knew from a police report that indicated that he was interviewed
by investigators. He claimed that he was interviewed by a black detective
named Green. An Irish detective was also in the room. According
to Singletary, Detective Green took Singletary's hand-written
statement and "ripped it up and threw it in the trash."

"Did you then have occasion to write a second time?" Len probed.
Singletary said that the same thing happened when he wrote out
a second statement. Len was gingerly avoiding inviting any response
from Singletary concerning what he claimed to have seen at the crime
scene. Singletary explained that the detectives wanted him "to write
what they wanted me to write."

"Did Detective Green threaten you in any way?"
Site Admin
Posts: 33189
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Executing Justice: An Inside Account of the Case of Mumi

Postby admin » Tue Jun 09, 2015 1:29 am


Singletary said that he had. "He told me I wouldn't leave, that
they would take me to the elevator and beat me up and that my
business would be destroyed."

Singletary ultimately signed a police report purporting to reflect
that he had not seen anything of consequence. He testified that he
felt "badly" after the police "escorted" him out of the precinct, after
he had signed a false police report. A couple of days later, "four guys
came and said it was a burglary detail and told us to get on the Boor."
Singletary was referring to his place of business, a gas station that he
managed. These "four guys," law enforcement officers, told Singletary,
"This will give you something to remember." This sort of harassment
continued, Singletary said, for several months, leading to his relocation
in North Carolina in August 1982.

Then came the cross-examination.

Arlene Fisk wasted no time in getting to the issue of what Singletary
claimed he saw on Thirteenth and Locust. Len objected,
arguing that the questioning was going outside the scope of the direct
examination. Fisk argued that she should be allowed to delve into it:
"Your Honor, the witness and counsel, both on several occasions during
the direct examination made reference to the fact that this witness
was not telling the police what they wanted to hear. It is clearly permissible
to find out what it is that the police heard and why they
didn't want it." The judge gave her the green light. Our hopes of
limiting the inquiry to what Singletary experienced at the police station
were dashed.

"Tell us what you wrote," Fisk prompted him.

"Word for word?" Singletary asked.

"Word for word, tell us what you wrote."

"Well," Singletary began, "I brought my car, parked my car at the
southwest corner of Thirteenth and Locust. I got out to go over to
the club Whispers. The doors were locked. I came back across the
street. There was a Volkswagen that was going south on Thirteenth
Street. He made a left turn on Locust. Pulled to curb immediately.
There was a police car behind it. The police car pulled behind the
Volkswagen. The driver of the Volkswagen got out. The police officer
got out and immediately started to walk to the wall. And immediately
at that point, the police officer was frisking the driver of the Volkswagen.
There was an occupant in the Volkswagen on the passenger
side who started yelling and screaming, saying a lot of things. He had
a long army, umm, overcoat on. He came from the car, stuck his hand
in his right pocket, pulled a gun. I immediately moved over to the
high-speed line [that is, the subway], the barrier there, and I ducked.
I heard a pop. I ducked, I looked. And the, uhh, when I looked over
I saw the guy again point the gun in the direction of the police officer,
firing into his face. I didn't see the first shot. I only saw the second
shot. And as I saw the second shot, the police officer fell backwards.
This tall guy with dreadlocks looked to his right, looked to his left,
placed the gun in the Volkswagen, started running. The guy who was
driving the Volkswagen then started yelling a name or something and
started chasing this guy.

"I peeped over to see, I peeped over to see if there was anything
I could do for the officer. And I started backing up. There was a, the
guy there said he was a cab driver and asked me what was that sound
he heard. And I said the police officer was just shot, we need to get
him help right away. And as I was talking to him he went towards
the police car to make a call. Just to tell them the police officer was
down and we would need help right away. And I started back to see
the officer, then another gentleman came across the street. He wasn't
as tall as the first guy. He had dreadlocks and he had said, 'This is
my brother's car, where is my brother?' I said I don't know. I said
there was two guys that took off running. I said the tall guy shot the
police officer, he took off running.

"And he said, 'Oh, my God, we don't need this,' and he went
over to the cop, 'Is there anything I could do, anything I could do to
help you?' And he was laying forward, bending forward. And the
police officer's gun, which was in his lap, discharged, striking him
[Mumia] in the chest or someplace. And he screamed, 'I'm shot, I'm
shot.' He staggered against the back of the Volkswagen. And then
there was sirens and everything was becoming chaotic then. It was
just like, you know. That's what I wrote down in the report."

Singletary later added that he saw a helicopter orbit overhead
beaming a searchlight onto the area shortly after the police arrived at
the scene.

Fisk allowed Singletary to tell his story without interruption, be-
cause she knew Singletary would now be an easy target. For his account
to be believed, one would have to say that all four prosecution
eyewitnesses were not simply mistaken, or slanted the details of their
testimony to favor the prosecution, but rather, that their on-the-scene
accounts were nothing more than wholesale concoctions, even on the
seemingly trivial detail of where Officer Faulkner frisked Billy Cook.
Slanting details to favor the prosecution, or even revising bits and
pieces of a story later on as the case moves toward trial, is not only
plausible, it happens all the time. But this notion that White, Chobert,
Scanlan, and Magilton had all conspired to concoct a story at the
crime scene, of course, is a difficult sell. "You can't sell what you
yourself won't buy," I warned Rachel and Jon repeatedly.

Fisk went on to expose inconsistencies in Singletary's account on
the witness stand from that given in 1990, as well as expose other
provable errors in that early account. First, Singletary said that he left
Philadelphia in February 1982, not August, when he gave his sworn
statement in 1990. Second, Singletary, in 1990, said that the passenger
in the Volkswagen uttered some remarks about being "tired of these
FBI racists" and made certain allusions to the burning of a newstand.
In fact, the arson of Cook and Freeman's vending shack occurred four
days after the Faulkner shooting. Third, Singletary had said in the
1990 statement that the officer, at the moment that Mumia offered
to help him, spoke directly to him (Singletary), saying, "Get Maureen
or get the children or something like that." When confronted with
this last point, Singletary reaffirmed that the officer spoke in this fashion,
but this time insisted that the officer was directing the remarks
to Mumia.

When Singletary claimed that the dying officer spoke those words,
Maureen Faulkner, sitting three rows back, put her hand to her
mouth, stunned. This aspect of Singletary's testimony, more than any
other, exposed Singletary to be untruthful; our own expert, Dr. Hayes,
confirmed that Faulkner died instantaneously from the gunshot
wound to the head. It was medically impossible for him to have spoken
a single word, let alone to have clung to consciousness for as long
as he allegedly did. Finally, the 1990 statement makes it clear that the
shooter Singletary described placed the gun on the curb near the Volkswagen,
approximately where Mumia's gun was found.

It was the latter point that upset me the most. I had long argued
that Singletary's story equates the murder weapon with Mumia's gun,
because it just so happens that the discarded weapon Singletary described
was found where the police recovered Mumia's gun. Rachel
dismissed my concerns with the tendentious reply: "The police could
have switched the guns." Anything is possible, but lawyers operate in
a rigidly logical world that puts a premium on proof, not in the world
of ideological fantasizing. Singletary, by my way of thinking, was as
disastrous as I had feared.

Fortunately, the events of that day in the courtroom didn't faze
the supporters; they remained galvanized by the overarching unfairness
of the 1982 trial and the current proceedings. About six thousand
protesters descended on Philadelphia and rallied for Mumia on August
12; nineteen buses came in from New York City alone; other buses
came into town from Baltimore, Chicago, Milwaukee, Providence,
Washington, D.C., Boston, Detroit, Pittsburgh, and Jersey City. Rachel
told the crowd-the largest pro-Mumia rally up to that pointthat
Sabo was trying to intimidate the defense team and that we were
being thwarted in our effort to prove that the Philadelphia police and
the FBI worked hand in hand to frame Mumia. She promised the
supporters that we would continue to attempt to prove a frame-up.
The crowd, of course, cheered wildly.

Maureen, by contrast, expressed to reporters how hurt she was
from Singletary's testimony-not because she regarded it as garbage
but because he lied about her husband's supposed last words. "I knew
Danny couldn't have spoken," she said. "He was dead instantly. What
that man said was a lie, and it was cruel and it hurt."


There was one curious aspect to the "Singletary affair" that infuses
it with ambiguity. The prosecution called to the stand the following
day an officer named Vernon Jones. A highway patrolman who knew
Singletary in 1981, Jones testified that Singletary was, indeed, a man-
ager of a gas station, that there was "nothing unusual" about him that
would indicate a proclivity to fabricate, and that he was not someone
who disliked police. The prosecution called Officer Jones for one reason:
to present a December 17, 1981, police report prepared by the
officer. According to the statement, Singletary approached Officer
Jones at the crime scene to ask, "What happened?" When Jones asked
Singletary if he saw the shooting, Singletary allegedly told him that
he had not. This police report, therefore, purported to refute Singletary's
testimony. The oddity, however, is that the report concerns only
Singletary and was apparently written to discredit in advance the suggestion
that he had witnessed anything of consequence. Why would
there be an entire police report, chock-full of details, devoted to an
irrelevant bystander who had no information to provide law enforcement?
Under cross-examination, Officer Jones could not explain why
he was asked to give a statement that focused on a supposedly irrelevant
bystander. Moreover, Officer Jones could not explain why this
supposedly irrelevant bystander was taken to the Roundhouse to give
a statement, which was a documented fact. Nor was there an explanation
why this supposed irrelevant bystander who had nothing material
to provide law enforcement remained for questioning at the
Roundhouse for nearly five hours, another documented fact. Law
enforcement's efforts to memorialize in such detail the conduct of
Singletary just didn't jibe. In fact, the Vernon Jones police report,
dedicated to the conduct of a supposedly irrelevant bystander, smacked
of a defensive maneuver by law enforcement against the eventuality
that Singletary would someday testify. Had he really provided an exculpatory
account to the police, which was discarded, just as he
claimed? He certainly didn't have a motivation to inject himself into
this case, subject himself to grueling questioning, and even ridicule.
If only Singletary's account of what he observed made sense.


Singletary remains, to this day, an enigma. He is a solidly middleclass
man with a family. He speaks with a steady voice, coupled with
direct and appropriate eye contact. He is well groomed, intelligent,
and genuinely likable. He certainly had no ties to any left-wing causes
or to Mumia; if anything, he appeared to me to be, at the least,
indifferent to radical politics. Even the prosecution acknowledged that
Singletary had no discernible reason to step forward and testify falsely.
Most importantly, he was not someone who suddenly appeared over
a decade later claiming he had information; it is indisputable that he
was at the scene of the crime when the shooting occurred. Yet if what
he said in court was a bold-faced lie, then he is a pathological liar of
the first order.

Singletary was not, by any means, the only person to step forward
with an exculpatory claim that he saw someone other than Mumia
shoot Officer Faulkner. Jackson had told Judge Ribner back in 1982
that he was receiving numerous phone calls from people claiming they
had such information. As is typical in high-profile cases, most communiques
of that sort are from crackpots who want their fifteen
minutes of fame. Without adequate resources, Jackson couldn't winnow
out the gems. We faced similar difficulties. Information from
people who we knew were at the scene, by virtue of police documentation,
received immediate and intense scrutiny. The quandary often
concerned information we received from people who simply came out
of the woodwork over a decade after the fact. The criminal justice
system is rightly skeptical of such witnesses, and I felt that we should
be too.

On August 10, a man named Michael Jones appeared at the Philadelphia
district attorney's office and reported that he saw Billy Cook
shoot Officer Faulkner. Prosecutor Fisk immediately informed us of
Jones, as she was obligated to do under the law. We spoke to Jones
in the hotel restaurant. Once I heard his story, I left the table to take
a nap, leaving him with Rachel and others.

"What's up with this shit? Not another one," I said in frustration
later that evening in a team meeting in Len's room. Salty language
increased the deeper we moved into the hearings.

"Calm down, Dan," Rachel replied. "We're not going to use him."
"Well, that's a fucking relief." I didn't ask why Rachel came to
her conclusion; I was simply relieved by the news. Rachel explained
herself anyway, stating that she had sent him packing because she had
no interest in pursuing a theory involving a scenario with Billy Cook
as the shooter.

Billy Cook, unfortunately, remained in hiding. The word we received
was that he was afraid that he would be killed by the police if
he surfaced to help his brother. As far as I know, we never tried to
convince him otherwise. I understood why the judge and the prosecutors
kept baiting us to call Billy to the stand. Their mission was to
undercut as thoroughly as they could any basis for claiming that an
innocent man was convicted in 1982, and they desperately wanted
our case for innocence to turn on Billy Cook's testimony. Prosecutors
and defense attorneys appreciate that using a family member as a
referendum on a client's innocence is a dangerous proposition. If Billy
testified to exonerate Mumia, the prosecution would legitimately argue,
and any jury would be entitled to agree, that the testimony is
suspect because of their sibling relationship. It is for this reason that
testimony from family members is a weak form of evidence. Calling
Billy to the stand was, therefore, a no-win proposition for us. No
matter how well he performed as a witness, his testimony would be
discounted. But if he performed badly, then it would tarnish the entire
case. The prosecution and Sabo comprehended this reality very well.
A no-win situation for us is a no-lose situation for them. Even if Billy
Cook had been available to testify, calling him in Sabo's courtroom
would probably have been a mistake.


The following day, August 11, the court proceedings were consumed
by the presentation of yet another man who claimed to have
seen the shooting. William Harmon, a fifty-two-year-old career criminal,
emerged from the proverbial woodwork to tell a story that outdid

Harmon, serving time on a drug-selling offense, wrote a letter to his
attorney claiming that he had witnessed the shooting of Officer Faulkner.
Harmon's attorney forwarded a copy of that letter to us and the district
attorney's office. Because Len and I were busy presenting the
evidence in the PCRA proceeding, Rachel took a trip alone to the Mercer
County Prison to visit with Harmon. She spent about four hours
with him on August 3. Rachel, Len, and I discussed Harmon's stoty
over dinner at a nearby I-Hop restaurant. The arguments within the defense
team over Harmon roughly mapped the arguments we had over
Singletary. I advocated simply ignoring the man; Rachel said that we
couldn't afford to do that, although she was less adamant about it than
she was with respect to Singletary. Len agreed with Rachel that we
should keep our options open with Harmon. With that two-to-one
vote, we added Harmon's name to our list of witnesses.

On August 11, Harmon was brought into the courthouse from
Mercer County Prison. Judge Sabo demanded that we put him on
the stand. "No way," I said to Len, in a virtual panic. The thought
of another twilight-zone story-which would make for two in a single
case-horrified me to no end. Len didn't want him on the stand
either, but his "never say never" approach led him to plead with Judge
Sabo for more time. Judge Sabo wasn't buying it. He wanted Harmon
on the stand that day, and he didn't want to give us any more opportunities
to talk with him. Len argued that Harmon's recollection
was stale and that we had to show him some photographs to revive
his memory. Judge Sabo countered that we could show him photographs
while he was on the witness stand. Len insisted that we were
entitled to more time to investigate his story-what was there to investigate,
I thought to myself. Judge Sabo wasn't budging.

I handed Len a note that said, "Strike him from the list, NOW!"
Len was risk averse to a fault; he simply was unwilling to dispense
with a witness unless absolutely necessary. I was risk averse to a fault
as well, but in a converse way: whereas Len never wanted to risk not
calling someone, I never wanted to risk putting someone on the witness
stand unless I felt confident that the witness would not harm
Mumia's case. We were about to learn one irony in life-that risk
aversions carry their own risks. Len glanced at the note and nodded
to me in agreement. He then signaled to the judge that we weren't
inclined to call Harmon "under these conditions."

It was too late.

"I will call him," Judge Sabo retorted. "The court will call him
for you. Anybody could ask him any questions they want. I will call
the witness for you, okay?"

Everyone knew that Judge Sabo's only interest was to embarrass
us. "But it is our record and it is our choice," Len protested, now
desperate to strike Harmon from the witness list.

Judge Sabo seized the moment to take the high road, and it was
disgusting. 'Tm here seeking justice. The truth. And I will put him
on." The more Len protested, the more gleefully Sabo trumpeted his
solicitude for truth and justice.

William Harmon, dark-skinned and gaunt, took the stand as
Judge Sabo's witness, for the sake of "justice" and "truth." He told
the packed courtroom that thirteen years ago Thirteenth and Locust
was "his" corner, the place where he pimped his high-heeled streetwalkers
under the nickname Bippy. In the predawn hours of December
9, Harmon was having "an early breakfast" with a girlfriend, whom
he identified as Tina, at a diner on Thirteenth Street. He noticed
Mumia outside, and, enthused at seeing a local celebrity, went out to
tell him how much Tina and his mother, and "all the women that I
know," loved his radio voice. The encounter was interrupted by a
loud argument coming from Locust Street, a half block southeast of
the diner. It was Faulkner and Cook.

According to Harmon, Mumia abruptly moved toward the scene,
with Harmon following "a few steps behind." Mumia didn't even
make it to the street when a single shot rang out. Harmon saw the
officer fall back against a wall, much in the manner that Singletary
had described, while a dreadlocked man ran eastbound. Mumia moved
toward the officer. "I heard another shot and I saw Mumia fall,"
Harmon testified.

"Did you see Jamal shoot the officer?" Len asked.


"Did you see Jamal get shot?"

"Yes, I did." Harmon's description of how Mumia received his
gunshot wound corresponded with Singletary's-Mumia was hit in
the chest as he approached the wounded officer leaning with his back
against the wall. Harmon's testimony simply reinforced the urgency
of the question that arose from Singletary's testimony: if Mumia was
indeed shot by Faulkner as the wounded officer was in a sitting position
with his back against the wall, why had none of the other
witnesses seen this? To Rachel and Jon, this evidentiary gap proved
Mumia was framed. But, as alluded to earlier, for this frame-up
conspiracy theory to hold, all of the eyewitnesses would have to have
been brought on board within minutes of the shooting, because none
of the initial police reports suggested that any of them had seen
anything remotely akin to what Harmon and Singletary had described.

Harmon's story didn't end there. Seconds after the dreadlocked
shooter fled eastbound, a red two-door Malibu with two men inside
pulled up alongside patrol car 612. A passenger emerged, with
"Johnny Mathis-style hair" and a black leather jacket. This passenger
from the Malibu shot Officer Faulkner in the face from about ten feet
away, then jumped back into the Malibu and sped away.

Prosecutor Fisk didn't need to ask questions, as it was clear that
Harmon wouldn't provide the evidentiary basis for any judge to grant
Mumia a new trial. But I suppose she couldn't resist having a little
bit of courtroom fun. She asked Harmon a series of questions about
why he kept such "vital information" to himself for so long. Harmon
didn't appear to notice, and he certainly didn't take umbrage at, Fisk's
over-the-top sarcasm. Harmon explained that he had promised his
mother not to get involved, but now that his mother was dead, he
had to do what his conscience called upon him to do. "I can sleep
better at night, knowing I came forward," he said proudly. For good
measure, Fisk went through Harmon's rap sheet, which contained
about a dozen convictions stretching back to 1964, ten of which involved
allegations of fraud, forgery, and burglary.

"It was another wild day at the appeals hearing for Mumia Abu-
Jamal," the next day's Philadelphia Inquirer reported. Fortunately for
us, it was patently clear, even to the journalists, that we didn't want
Harmon on the witness stand.

Columnists, however, weren't so discriminating. In one column
printed in the Philadelphia Daily News, we were dubbed the Scheme
Team, a band of lawyers who "learned a few tricks from O. J. Simpson's
Dream Team." The columnist castigated us for presenting "rwo
radically different versions of the crime," and then asked: "So who's
more believable-someone who works as a whore or someone who
leeches off a whore?" Other columns were equally vicious.


Although damaged by Singletary and Harmon, at least we had
distanced ourselves from them in a somewhat feeble effort to have our
cake and eat it too. Pamela Jenkins was another story. She was a
prostitute in the early '80s who also now claimed, for the first time, to
have information about the Faulkner shooting investigation. We embraced
her as an explosive new witness. We took notice of Jenkins
even though she was one of those coming-out-of-the-woodwork-type
witnesses, because she had been used by the Justice Department as a
confidential informant in a federal probe into corruption within the
Philadelphia police department. This meant that Jenkins had been
screened by veteran federal prosecutors and was trusted enough by the
FBI to wear a concealed wire; if she was good enough for the feds,
we reasoned, she was good enough for us. Her story, in skeletal form,
was straightforward.

In December of 1981, Jenkins was a troubled fifteen-year-old high
school student. She claimed that she had had a sexual relationship
with a police officer, Tom Ryan-a relationship to which Ryan admitted,
though he disputed the time frame. During the course of that
relationship, Jenkins provided information to Ryan. On the Saturday
following the shooting, according to Jenkins, Ryan brought her into
police headquarters.

"And did the name Mumia come up?" Len asked.

"Yes," Jenkins whispered in a husky voice.

"And what did the officers say in connection with Mumia?"

"They just told me-well, in other words, they were saying that
it was a shooting and that Mumia had did it. And they was making
slurs across me, trying to make, you know, trying to pressure me into
saying I was somewhere that I wasn't." Jenkins then elaborated that
the officers were trying to compel her to finger Mumia.

Jenkins testified that she withstood the pressure to implicate Mumia.
But that was not our main purpose in calling her. Jenkins also
was a prostitute, and she had befriended Cynthia White. She testified
that White occasionally provided confidential information to police,
and that shortly after the shooting White had confided in her that she
was "scared, in fear for her life from the police." Soon thereafter,
White disappeared.

Then the question that would lead to Jenkins's undoing: "When
did you last see Cynthia White?"

"Umm, around the beginning of this year [1997]," she said, suddenly

"And do you recall where you saw her?"

"Umm, on Thirteenth Street, at Yates house." Yates house was a
local crack-smoking den. Jenkins said that she didn't exchange words
with White on that occasion, because White scurried out "like she
seen a ghost and, umm, she ran out the door and got into Ryan's

Fisk was itching to cross-examine Jenkins. Throughout the entire
direct examination, she was tapping her pen on a legal pad, a twinge
of a smile on her face. When Fisk finished her examination, I knew
we were set up for a devastating rebuttal. Fisk never attacked Jenkins;
instead, she had her underscore the two main points of her direct
examination-namely, that she was in the midst of a relationship with
police officer Tom Ryan in December of 1981 and that she had seen
White just a few months ago. Fisk especially emphasized the latter

"And there is no doubt in your mind that that was Cynthia who
you saw earlier this year, the same Cynthia White that you spoke to
in December 1981?"

"No. There is no doubt," Jenkins assured Fisk.

Fisk called her first rebuttal witness, Det. Raleigh Witcher. After
doing enough trials, a trial lawyer's intuition becomes developed to
the point where he knows when disaster is about to hit. There's some-
thing in the way the adversary calls out the name of the next witness;
the sound of the voice becomes richer, and the enunciation more
emphatic. The adversary grabs the moment and seemingly soaks it in,
like a hiker reaching the top of the mountain looking over the expanse.
Fisk let Jenkins retreat from the witness stand before announcing, with
a limber and emphatic voice, that "the Commonwealth has a witness,
Your Honor." Witcher walked up to the witness stand as Len and I
puzzled over who this man was. Neither of us recalled seeing or hearing
his name in connection with Mumia's case.

Fisk presented Witcher with a computer printout, which he
promptly explained was an FBI printout for a person known as Cynthia
White. It contained various identifYing numbers which, when
cross-referenced, indicated that it was our Cynthia White. The
printout indicated that White was deceased. It didn't establish, however,
when she died.

Fisk presented another courtroom exhibit.

"All right, Detective Witcher, can you tell us what is Commonwealth
Exhibit number four?"

Witcher examined the document through his half-rimmed glasses,
looked up and in a single stroke destroyed Jenkins as a witness. "It is
a certificate of death issued in the state of New Jersey, State Department
of Health. And attached is a report of death, Camden County
Office of the Medical Examiner." The identifying numbers on the
death certificate, including the social security number, left no doubt
that Cynthia White had died on September 2, 1992. It wasn't White
who saw a ghost; it was Jenkins who did.

Officer Ryan, who testified later in the hearing, offered further
rebuttal, but it was anticlimactic. He admitted under my questioning
that he did have a sexual relationship with Jenkins, but stated that it
began after he first arrested her on a truancy charge in June of 1982-
seven months after the shooting. He also admitted that he used Jenkins
as a police informant. He testified, however, that he couldn't
have had a relationship with Jenkins back in December of 1981, and
he certainly couldn't have been involved in any police activity involving
Jenkins at the time of the Faulkner shooting. Why? Because he
wasn't even a police officer then-a fact that the prosecution confirmed
with more official documentation. Moreover, school records
proved that Jenkins wasn't even attending the school where she
claimed that she had met Officer Ryan back in December 1981.


The Jenkins debacle really shook Len and me up. Like all other
self-respecting lawyers, we were highly sensitive to the question of our
credibility. A lawyer who loses credibility is a lawyer who loses effectiveness.
I felt that the defense team took a major hit in the credibility
department with Pamela Jenkins. The only salutary effect from it, I
hoped, would be greater cautiousness in who we would embrace as a
witness in the future. Perhaps, I thought, the embarrassment from it
would actually heal the rift between me and the PDC contingent on
the team inasmuch as we all would now be on the same page when
it came to evaluating strategy.

My hope proved to be naive. In the spring of 1999, over seventeen
years after the killing and nearly four years after the lengthy hearings
before Sabo, Rachel and Jon announced that they had discovered yet
another "explosive new witness." According to them, this new witness
would testifY that he and another unidentified individual received
money from the mob to kill Officer Faulkner. The killing, however,
was not to be a mob hit; rather, the mob was merely some sort of
conduit for a killing which was sought out by high-level officials
within the Philadelphia police department. Although the details were
never fleshed out completely, this new account portrayed Officer
Faulkner as an inside informant for federal authorities investigating
corruption within the department. Exposed as such, Faulkner became
the target of corrupt police officials who feared that he would be their
ultimate undoing. According to this new witness, Faulkner was killed
at the behest of corrupt Philadelphia officers to silence him.

When I heard the story at a defense team meeting at Len's loft,
I bit my lip to avoid another unpleasant argument with Rachel. Actually,
I was enraged, convinced that bona fide lunacy had set in.
When the meeting ended, I stayed behind to speak further with Len,
fearful that we were close to ruining years of work and threatening to
extinguish Mumia's hopes for justice.

"Are you seriously considering this?" I asked. Len was visibly distressed.
He had been aware for a few months that Rachel was working
on bringing this witness around to helping the defense. He agreed
that the story was insane, but Rachel had already lobbied Mumia, as
she had when Singletary was the issue. Concerned that Mumia would
insist upon our presenting this evidence, Len sought out ways to push
this witness onto the trash heap without further rupturing the defense
team. We even had the witness undergo several lie detector tests (with
mixed results, which further complicated the situation). Most frightening,
the story somehow leaked out and was mentioned in a major
attack piece on the pro-Mumia movement published in Vaniry Fair
in August 1999.

But what if Mumia wanted the witness? On the one hand, I felt
that he was absolutely entitled to present him, because it was his life
on the line. On the other hand, a lawyer must protect his client against
his own tendency to destroy himself, especially in a capital case where
desperation might cause a client to opt for an irrational course of
action. But even if Mumia's wishes prevailed, that didn't mean he was
entitled to have a particular lawyer do it for him. I made it clear to
Len that I would not participate in what I regarded as an assisted
suicide. I have to admit, I also wasn't about to embarrass myself by
running with such a patently outrageous story on the most visible
death penalty case in the world. I don't know Len's analysis of the
situation, but he ended up with the same conclusion: if Mumia
wanted the witness, he'd have to get another lawyer to present him.

Rachel and Jon took the same position, but on the flip side: If
we convinced Mumia not to use this witness, then they would leave
the defense team. Jon presented his position exactly as I presented
mine: he too would not stand by and watch a client make a decision
that might result in his death. He accused Len, Steve, and me of
becoming the first death penalty lawyers in history who turned their
back on an exculpatory witness. It was a shallow analysis inasmuch as
it totally ignored the implausibility, if not the absurdity, of the story
that we were rejecting.

Rachel and Jon are no longer on the case. They ceased their involvement
in August of 1999, after Mumia decided that he would not
demand that we use this witness. In retrospect, I feel somewhat
ashamed for even thinking that Mumia would opt to pin his hopes
for a new trial on such an absurd account. An innocent man on death
row might grab at anything to get justice; but I should have had faith
that Mumia would never get that desperate.

Remarkably, as I reflect on this particular episode, it actually deepened
my commitment to this case and heightened my already enormous
respect for my client. It became apparent to me that Mumia is
far too honorable to propagate a lie upon which to build a case for
his freedom.
Site Admin
Posts: 33189
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Executing Justice: An Inside Account of the Case of Mumi

Postby admin » Tue Jun 09, 2015 1:30 am

I didn't realize it [the confession] had any importance
until today.


This is not going to change my testimony!



Confessing to a crime and proclaiming innocence mark the
boundaries of a criminal defendant's response to an accusation.
People are rightly dubious of a suspect's claim of innocence: the '1-
ain't-got-nothing-to-do-with-it' response to an accusation is perceived
as instinctive, a subset of the larger instinct for survival. Conversely,
people tend to be awed by a confession, precisely because it is perceived
as cutting against the grain of that same survival instinct. No
item of evidence is more dispiriting to a criminal defense lawyer than
a confession.

A confession usually signifies defeat. The confessing suspect is telling
the interrogators that he will no longer be the prey, that the
tightness inside his soul has become too intolerable to bear. Confessing
often springs from resignation, and it feels good to confess-in the
same way that taking off a tight pair of shoes feels good.

Mumia's alleged confession was different. It signified victory, not
defeat. Security guard Priscilla Durham testified that it sounded as if
the wounded man on the emergency room floor was boasting, seem-
ingly proud of the fact that he plugged a police officer with a bullet
between the eyes. Prosecutor McGill took it one step further: it went
beyond boasting; it was an acknowledgment that his was an inevitable
act by a revolutionary warrior who viewed the man in the blue uniform
as nothing more than a guardian of a deeply hated system that
defiles the earth and oppresses the poor.

Mumia's alleged confession, therefore, established that the shooting
had nothing to do with whether Officer Faulkner "deserved" to
die, as that had nothing to do with it. Nor was the murder a byproduct
of self-interest, or even of uncontrollable rage. The confession,
in short, was no mere boast but a revelation: the killing was an act of
political will, akin to a soldier's act in wartime.

Jackson never grasped the psychological force this one item of
evidence would have on the larger issues in the trial. McGill, by contrast,
grasped well that the confession was more than a powerful piece
of inculpatory evidence. He saw that it served a deep human need to
imbue a murder with meaning. In most homicide prosecutions, the
reason for a killing that sufficiently satisfies us is self-evident: a store
owner is shot because the killer seeks money; a spouse or girlfriend is
killed because possessive jealousy overpowers self-control; a gang member
bleeds to death on a sidewalk because a murderous rival gang
member knows no other way but violence to resolve disputes. In Mumia's
case, the killing itself provoked confusion and disbelief. Intelligent,
compassionate, and overtly life affirming, Mumia didn't seem
capable of such an act-at least, that is how many family and friends
reacted to the news of Mumia's arrest. But, in McGill's mind, the
confession dispelled the confusion and revealed the killing to be a
manifestation of the belief that "political power grows out of the barrel
of a gun." It was proof positive that law enforcement was right to
crack down on the Black Panther Party, MOVE, and other black
nationalist groups-all of which were tangible threats to the social
order, forces of sociopolitical entropy pulling at a tenuous social fabric
stitched together by a potentially disintegrating thread called Law and
Order. Mumia had given voice, not for the voiceless but for that jungle
about which McGill adumbrated in his closing argument.


Jackson didn't plan his trial strategy around the evidence of the
confession, something that a well-prepared trial lawyer would do. It
was as if he ceded the issue to the prosecution, and therefore pushed
it out of his consciousness. There seems to be no other explanation
for why he did not, as priority number one, subpoena the police
witness, Gary Wakshul, who could have damaged considerably the
prosecution's case. Even the most inexperienced of trial lawyers would
have known enough to ensure that Wakshul would appear as a witness.
He would be, under virtually any circumstances, the highlight of the
defense case. Yet, as Judge Sabo aptly, if not cruelly, put it, Jackson
"goofed" in failing to subpoena Wakshul, and Mumia would have to
pay the price for that mistake.

We didn't make the same mistake; a high priority in the hearings
was to put Wakshul on the witness stand. Although he tried to skirt
the service of a subpoena (calling in sick when he received word that
a process server was looking for him), we slapped one on him in late
July. The task of extracting as much benefit from Wakshul as possible
fell on my shoulders.

The night before Wakshul was to be called to the stand at the
PCRA hearing, I battled my nocturnal nemesis, insomnia. I lay in the
dark of my hotel room with my eyes open, the hum of the air conditioner
sealing out the sounds of traffic from the street below. I thought
to myself that it would be no secret to anyone-particularly Wakshul
himself-that the centerpiece to my questioning would be Wakshul's
December 9, 1981, signed statement that recorded his report to an investigating
detective that he "remained with the suspect the entire time"
and that "the Negro male made no comments." I thought of Anthony
Jackson begging that miserable judge for the opportunity-just a few
minutes, for Christ's sake-to call Wakshul at his home. Spending my
days in Courtroom 253 in the Philadelphia heat, I began to appreciate
deep in my bones the ordeal Jackson had endured. And the more I
thought of what a comfort it was to be litigating Mumia's case with Len,
and having volunteers helping us and supporters cheering us on, the
more I felt for Jackson's loneliness, fighting an impossible war in a
rigged contest, alone and without a friend. How awful he must have felt
when he realized that the "prosecutor" sitting up on the bench wearing
his black judicial robes would not allow him to bring Wakshul in to testify.
Jackson still felt the sting of that injustice, over a decade later. I
drifted to sleep some time around 3:00 A.M., convincing myself that my
goal the next morning would be a modest one: I would simply have
Wakshul reaffirm that he reported to investigators that which was recorded
in his December 9 statement.

I woke up four hours later wanting more. I wanted more, because,
like McGill, I understood that the true meaning of the case turned
on the confession.


I put the December 9 statement on the defense table when I walked
to the center of the courtroom. I wasn't planning on using it for a
while. I had other things to question Wakshul about. I hadn't noticed
Wakshul walking up to the witness stand. He just appeared, waiting
for the questioning to begin. I eyeballed him for a few seconds, letting
the silence of the courtroom rest fully on his shoulders like a crushing
weight. I stood in front of him with nothing in my hands, because I
wanted him to know that I wouldn't be questioning him about the
December 9 report until later. I figured that his anxiety over when
I would club him with it would drain him of energy as the day
wore on.

I asked a series of throwaway questions to establish that he sided
with the prosecution, and he obliged with short answers and wary
glances. It is axiomatic with trial lawyers that points you score with a
hostile witness are far more valuable than points scored with a favorable
witness. It is implicit in questioning a witness who already favors
your side that the answers are a product of preparation between the
witness and the lawyer. That doesn't make the answers untrue; it only
makes them suspect, and therefore less potent. There is, in short, a
direct correlation: the more hostile the witness, the more difficult it
is to secure favorable information, and thus, the more valuable that
information. I wanted it clear that whatever positive evidence we could
extract from Wakshul, it should be given lots of weight.

Aside from extracting a psychological edge, there was another reason
that I set the December 9 statement aside. It is a mistake to rush
into using a document in an examination. It is best to credit a favorable
document with maximum reliability beforehand. The document
itself, aside from the particulars contained within it, must be portrayed
as a treasured scroll. With that in mind, I went into Wakshul's familiarity
with taking suspects into custody. Wakshul admitted to receiving
training in handling suspects and training in recording facts
in police reports that might be significant in a subsequent prosecution.
Wakshul readily agreed that confessions from a suspect rank high
among those things that a police officer should note in a police report.
Wakshul further agreed that thorough, accurate, and complete police
reports are essential ingredients to professional police work. He even
volunteered that the "administration of justice" depends on it.

I gradually moved the subject closer to the matter at hand. "All
of the things that we have been talking about apply even more forcefully
when you have a cop killing, isn't that true?"

Wakshul sensed what I was doing. For the first time in the examination,
he began to hedge. "I suppose," he said.

Suppose? This was Wakshul's first and only involvement in a copkilling
case. It had racked the city of Philadelphia. Media accounts of
the killing, and of the celebrated suspect, permeated the city. If Mumia
had confessed with such disdain for the life of a young police officer,
then all of the hand-wringing in the media over whether Mumia had
committed this crime would have been a farce. Wakshul obviously
understood-how could he not?-that such a confession was exceedingly
significant. There was no "supposing" about it.

I could have launched into an attack at that moment, but it's not
my style to fight with a witness. Gerry Spence, a mentor of mine, is
fond of saying that a good cross-examination is like a well-done bullfight.
No fighting with the bull by the matador, only an elegant dance
that ultimately leads to an artistic kill, one stab at a time-that is the
essence of a great cross-examination. I led Wakshul back in time, to
the predawn hours of December 9, without displaying any aggressiveness
toward him.

"When you got to Jefferson Hospital, what was your assignment?"
The question was important to establish that he was in a position to
hear a confession.

Wakshul was clear. "My assignment was to stay with him until
released. And that's about what I did."

"And you had to guard Mr. Jamal because he was a suspect in a very,
very serious matter." Wakshul stared at me blankly. "Isn't that so?"

"Yes, of course."

At that point in the examination, I opted for a detour, bur it
turned our to be a shortcut. I wanted to know whether Wakshul knew
Officer Bell, Faulkner's partner, who insisted that Mumia had confessed.
He stated that he did, and that he knew him well. "If Officer
Bell had appeared in front of you, you would have recognized him as
Officer Bell, isn't that true?" I asked.

"I would have recognized him, yes."

Had Wakshul seen Bell that night? He claimed that he could not
remember seeing him. That was an interesting point that I had not
expected. It didn't fit the scene as I had envisioned it from Bell's
account at the trial. Bell claimed that Mumia blurted out the confession
when he knelt down to look into the eyes of the person who he
and other officers believed killed his partner. Bell allegedly responded
to Mumia's confession with a threat of his own: "If he dies, you die."
That was Bell's story, and yet, Wakshul couldn't say that Bell was
present. It struck me that if Mumia had shouted a confession at that
moment, Wakshul would have seen Bell kneeling down, staring into
the face of that despicable, unrepentant killer.

Here is where the detour became a shortcut. When Wakshul said
he didn't recall whether Bell was present in the emergency room, I
followed up by asking if he was "mentally alert" that morning. I was
trying to extract as much juice from the lemon as I could: if he was
mentally alert, then the fact that he couldn't recall seeing Bell would
add force to the argument that Bell, in fact, wasn't there to hear the
alleged confession. 1 calculated that my question was a safe one. 1
didn't think that Wakshul would admit to being other than mentally
alert while on duty performing a vitally important job. Wakshul used
my question as an opportunity to stick it to the defense, to make us
sorry for calling him as a witness. He launched into an answer that
he was itching to give. "I was mentally alert when I assisted in getting
Mr. Jamal into the hospital and placing him on the Boor. At that
point there was some discussions, some talk going all around, but I
heard Mr. Jamal say, '1 shot him and I hope the motherfucker dies.' "
1 almost interrupted Wakshul at that point, but 1 could see he wasn't
finished. "1 was stunned at that point. I stumbled back into a little
alcove and started to cry. Covered myself by going outside, closing up
the wagon and getting myself together. I then went back into the
hospital at some period after that. And I have-"

Wakshul paused, as his eyes rolled up toward the ceiling. "I have
very little recollection of anything that happened after that point," he
continued, "except for some snapshots in my mind of seeing Danny
Faulkner's dead feet lying on a gurney." I nodded encouragement to
Wakshul, goading him to continue. "I remember after that being in
the precinct but I have no recollection of anything further that night
until early in the morning, the following morning, when I was leaving
work in my car, running into a cement pole with my car. And at that
point I had more control over myself."

Wakshul was supposed to have been a witness who would establish
that Mumia never confessed; yet he was now saying that he did. Ironically,
1 couldn't have been more pleased.

Wakshul's testimony was a replay of Officer Bell's. Bell had testified
that he, too, became distressed after hearing the confession,
which accounted for his failure to report it immediately. In fact, although
Bell made a log report that night and volunteered a statement
to homicide detectives the following week, he did not report to anyone
for two months that this man who he confronted on the emergency
room floor confessed so brazenly directly in his face. He said nothing
to other officers, to friends, to his family, even to his wife. This highly
significant piece of evidence-evidence that truly eliminates reasonable
doubt of guilt-lodged itself deep in the back of Bell's mind. That is
what Bell said under oath at the trial: "I kept it in the back of my
mind." And his explanation was exactly the same as Wakshul's. Bell
claimed he was too traumatized to report it.

Wakshul was, no doubt, attempting a preemptive strike against
my examination, because he knew that 1 was going to confront him
with his December 9 report. He became impatient, because he probably
thought when he took the stand that 1 was going to make use of
that report early in the examination. Unnerved, he undoubtedly felt
the ax poised above him. Wakshul didn't understand, however, that
his December 9 report was not the ax that would sever his head. It
was just evidentiary leverage for a broader attack on the case. 1 was
very pleased that he became impatient, because now it meant 1 was
in control, and thus in a prime position to expose the absurdity of
what he was saying, which would bolster Mumia's claim that the
confession was an utter fabrication.

1 finally showed Wakshul his December 9 report and 1 marched
him through it. Shortly after being relieved of his duties that morning,
he was interviewed by a detective named Kaminsky. Wakshul admitted
that he wanted to be truthful and thorough in his answers to the
detective and was motivated to help make sure the person responsible
for the killing was punished. He admitted that he had no reason to
withhold important information. He admitted that he signed the December
9 statement at 5:50 A.M. (hence, considerably less than two
hours after the supposed confession). The signed report indicates that
he told Detective Kaminsky that "We [he and his partner] stayed with
the male at Jefferson Hospital until we were released. During this time
the Negro male made no comments."

I let Wakshul reiterate that he was too distraught to tell Detective
Kaminsky about the confession, which he characterized as "shocking,"
"disgusting," "unforgettable," "weighty." 1 asked one of our assistants
to take a colored pen and begin writing down his answers on a large
drafting pad propped up on an easel. I often do this for a jury because
information that is seen as well as heard is far more persuasive. Although
there was no jury here, I have found that writing down a
witness's answer is also a great way to exert control. It is like tightening
a noose on a wild animal; it's a form of imposing dominance upon a
witness. And that is what I was aiming to do now: bring Wakshul

I asked Wakshul if he told Detective Kaminsky what time the
incident occurred. Wakshul indicated that it occurred at about 3:54
A.M. I signaled my assistant to write that down. What about the color
of the automobile driven by the person who had informed Wakshul
and his partner that an officer had been shot? Wakshul told the detective
it was a "dark-colored auto, possibly a Ford, with New York
license plates." Add that to the list, I signaled.

"Not only were you able to describe the complexion of the car,
the possible make of the car, the fact that it bore New York license
plates, and the time that you received a radio call, you were also able
to give some sort of description of the person who informed you that
an officer had been shot. Isn't that true?"

Wakshul looked down at his report: "Yeah, according to this report,
a white male approximately forty-two and well dressed."

For a man who was emotionally wiped out, too overwrought to
report a confession, he had considerable ability to transmit details of
far less importance. But, I thought, perhaps he would try to explain
himself by saying that he was able to remember and report these trivial
details precisely because they triggered no emotional response. I figured
it would be valuable to include on my list the things he remembered
about Faulkner himself, lying dead on the pavement.

"Now, Mr. Wakshul, were you able to help the investigator by
telling the investigator the important detail about the positioning of
Officer Faulkner?" That was surely an upsetting sight.

"I informed the investigator that we saw him lying on the south
side of the street on the pavement."

What about Mumia-did Wakshul report where he was? "The
only thing I stated in this report," Wakshul explained, "is that he was
on the sidewalk at the curb near a dark-colored, or dark-blue-colored
Volkswagen. "

There was one more item for the list. Wakshul had the presence
of mind and emotional control to report to Detective Kaminsky that
Mumia had a press card in his wallet. The sight of Officer Faulkner,
shot through the face, didn't prevent him from remembering that little
tidbit of information.

I suspect that everyone in the courtroom understood the point I
was making. But we on the defense team never expected a fair shot
from Judge Sabo, so I was sensitive to how things would appear in
the transcripts. Because it would be my job to write the briefs when
the courtroom battles were long over, I had a self-interest in ensuring
that the transcripts reflected clearly what was happening in the courtroom.
With that in mind, I pushed Wakshul some more. "Now, for
your benefit and for my benefit, I had my colleague write down some
of these important details that you were able to communicate to investigator
Kaminsky." I walked over to the list and pointed to it.
"When you provided these important details that are listed up here,
these seven categories, you were trying to be helpful, weren't you?" It
was a throwaway question. The answer meant nothing to me. I just
wanted the transcripts to reflect what was going on in the courtroom
and hammer the point that Wakshul was in a position, emotionally
and cognitively, to provide minute and numerous details to an investigator.

But the clincher was getting Wakshul to admit the obvious fact
that a confession would eclipse in importance each of these items on
the list; and indeed, it would override in importance all of the items
taken together. He admitted this was so. Yet, I reminded him, the
very last item in his report, just above his signature, was his statement
that the "Negro male made no comments." There was the urge
to ask him at that moment: How is it that you can now say that you
were too emotionally distraught to report hearing a confession when
you were fully capable of reporting all of these details? I resisted the
urge, because there was even more dirt to dig up with which to bury

It turned out that Wakshul was interviewed again, a week later
on December 16, this time by Detective Thomas, the lead investigator
in the case. During the interview, Wakshul provided Detective Thomas
such details as the color of Jamal's pants and shirt, and information
about a camera Officer Faulkner had in the patrol car. It had
been a week since the alleged confession and the unsettling events at
the scene of the crime. But that passage of time didn't awaken in
Wakshul the need to report hearing a confession. Instead, when Detective
Thomas asked "Is there anything you wish to add to this interview?"
Officer Wakshul responded "Nothing I can think of now."

At that point in the questioning, Wakshul knew he had to do
something. I knew that he couldn't continue with his claim that he
was too distraught to report a confession when it was now evident
that he had reported abundant details to homicide investigators. I
slowed the pace of the questioning, because I wanted to give him time
to reach out for another explanation. I wanted to show, as graphically
as I could, that Wakshul was now willing to perjure himself in claiming
that he heard that confession. I wanted to show that this cop,
when caught in one absurd lie, was willing to search out another
absurd lie, all in the service of the "big lie"-the lie that Mumia

In order to do that, I took another detour in the questioning. I
asked a series of questions about the fact that Mumia had filed a police
brutality complaint. Wakshul acknowledged that there was an Internal
Affairs Bureau investigation devoted to investigating that allegation.
Wakshul and other officers were interviewed by lAB investigators. It
stood to reason that, from the perspective of cops who truly believed
Mumia was a cold-blooded cop killer, the filing of a police brutality
complaint was the height of audacity. I put myself in their shoes, tried
to look at the situation from the cops' perspective. They must have
been outraged, I thought. They had to have wanted to put Mumia in
his place, retaliate in some way.

Of course, Wakshul wasn't stupid enough to admit to all of that.
But my assessment of what probably motivated the fabrication of the
confession led me to explore the IAB investigation. After all, the whole
notion that Jamal confessed-which was undoubtedly a highly relevant
investigative fact-never surfaced until after the IAB investigation
began. But more remarkably, a bevy of homicide investigators dedicated
to assembling compelling evidence against Mumia for the district
attorney's office, failed to glean even a hint that Mumia had confessed
to the killing in a crowded emergency room, filled with over a dozen
to two dozen cops within earshot of it (as Priscilla Durham claimed).
Indeed, the homicide investigators produced precisely the opposite
conclusion: that Mumia had said nothing in the emergency room.
Instead, this highly relevant evidence of guilt suspiciously surfaced
within law enforcement through an Internal Affairs investigation that
had nothing to do with whether Mumia was the shooter.

If Mumia did indeed confess, then the homicide investigators were
unbelievable incompetents. Picture it. These senior investigators gather
evidence flatly contradicting the claim that Mumia confessed. They
were unable to secure a single statement from anyone indicating that
Mumia confessed. They claim never to have tested Mumia's gun for
evidence of recent firing. They claim never to have checked the muzzle
to see if it was still warm or smelled of gunpowder. These investigators,
in short, supposedly had the means to collect physical evidence of
guilt and a damning confession, and they didn't. Was that just incompetence?

The beauty of it all was that Wakshul, the man who affirmatively
stated that Mumia said nothing in the emergency room, couldn't resist
the urge to stick it to him when he was interviewed by an Internal
Affairs investigator on February 11, 1982. It was then that Wakshul,
for the very first time, reported that Mumia had confessed. His account
harmonized with that of his fellow officer, Garry Bell, who also
reported the confession for the first time in mid-February, over two
months after the fact, to IAB investigators. The security officer, Priscilla
Durham (whose application to become a police officer, we learned
in our own investigation, had been rejected in the late 70s) went on
record with her claim about the confession a month after that, in
March, also to IAB investigators. Wakshul's partner, Officer Stephen
Trombetta, never mentioned anything about a confession, even when
asked directly if he heard Mumia say anything.

Why, I finally asked, did he not report the confession until that
moment on February 11, 1982? He couldn't stick to the story about
being too emotionally overwrought-the list on the easel pad graphically
precluded that answer. He took a moment to answer and I
smiled at him. The bull was going to collapse with the final thrust of
the sword.

"I didn't realize it had any importance until that day," he replied.


Caught in the lie that he omitted mention of the confession because
he was too overwrought, Wakshul did precisely, it seems to me, what
all liars do: pursue another lie. The jury should have heard this inane
response, I kept thinking to myself. Early in the examination he admitted
that confessions are extremely important, and they are recorded
in police reports, which must be thorough and accurate "for the administration
of justice," as he aptly put it. Yet, under the stress of the
questioning, he nonetheless reached out for the ridiculous explanation
that he didn't realize that Mumia's confession was important until
February 11, 1982-a date at which he happened to be interviewed
by IAB investigators.

I wondered how a jury would react to Wakshul's testimony. Could
any juror seriously believe that Wakshul had really heard a confession
but didn't know it was important for two months until he was interviewed
by Internal Affairs investigators looking into charges of police
brutality? If that was a lie, then Wakshul's initial report that Mumia
"made no comments" was the truth. And if Wakshul's report that
Mumia "made no comments" was the truth (after all, he was with
Mumia "the entire time," according to that same report), then Bell
and Durham had to have been lying. And if Bell and Durham lied,
then what were the other officers capable of doing to enhance the
investigation? Were they capable of entering into a secret pact with
Cynthia White, giving her carte blanche to earn her living on the
street in exchange for a seamless narrative of an event that the other
witnesses could only provide in bits and pieces? Were they capable of
deep-sixing crime scene test results indicating that Mumia's gun had
not been recently fired and that no lead residue could be found on
Mumia's hands, face, or clothing? Were they capable of surreptitiously
forcing Veronica Jones to recant her initial claim of seeing two people
flee the scene?

These were questions the jurors never had to ask themselves. They
certainly didn't have to grapple with the fundamental question to this
drama: who was good and who was evil? Wakshul's testimony, at the
very least, made that question far more ambiguous than the 1982 trial
proceedings would suggest.


Wakshul's absence from the original trial-he was in Philadelphia
and could have been called, my questioning later revealed-was the
greatest outrage. Veronica Jones's surprise recantation at the trial, leaving
Jackson stunned, ran a close second.

Veronica Jones had always been a mystery. Unlike Cynthia White,
Jones didn't step forward at the crime scene to tell police what she
saw. When police arrived at the scene, Jones retreated from the activity,
preferring never to get involved. She feared Philly cops, and, unlike
the more street-savvy Cynthia White, had no use for them. If it wasn't
for White, Jones might never have been involved in the case. White
dribbled out information the way a zoo keeper doles out sardines to
a hungry sea lion. One of those sardines was the fact that Jones was
standing on Locust Street when the shooting erupted. Clued in to the
possibility of another eyewitness to the shooting, two detectives visited
Jones at her mother's home on December 15, 1981.

Jones's first foray into the case had been a mixed blessing for the
defense. She recanted her original statement to detectives that she
saw two persons run in the wake of gunfire. Yet she spontaneously
blurted out that cops had tried to get her to bolster White's purported
eyewitness account. Both aspects of her testimony stunned Jackson.
Jones's second time on the witness stand, over a decade later, was no
less dramatic.

Our investigation, which continued even after Judge Sabo had
rejected the evidence we presented in 1995, tutned up Veronica Jones
in the early spring of 1996. Armed with the results of that investigation,
we sought, and then obtained, over the vehement protest by
the district attorney's office, permission from the Pennsylvania Supreme
Court to send the case back to Judge Sabo in order to take her

We appeared again in Sabo's courtroom on September 18, 1996,
over a year after the first round of hearings on Mumia's petition for
a new trial. He was not happy to see us again; we felt the same. We
had gone through three weeks of testimony in July and August the
year before, and we had thought we'd seen the last of each other. As
maddening as the old judge could be, I marveled at his feistiness. He
probably clung to life solely to see the jury's verdict against Mumia
carried our. I can't say that he saw us lawyers on the defense team as
evil people. Rather, it is more likely that Sabo saw in us the entirety
of what was wrong with the death penalty in America. Our attitude,
our relentlessness, our insistence on reexamining everything-these
things rendered the justice system a mockery, in his view. What good
is a death penalty when a band of lawyers, supported by misguided
radicals and do-gooders in Hollywood, can thwart the will of the
people and the considered judgment of a jury? To Sabo, the state of
Pennsylvania was entitled to execute justice, and we had no right to
thwart the process. That Len, Rachel, and I were New York lawyers,
supported by people from around the world, rankled him all the more.

We, of course, thought Sabo and the entire Pennsylvania justice
system was looking to "execure" justice, but not in the sense that they
viewed the matter. We had packaged Mumia's case as a visible referendum
on the justice system, and his execution would signify the
killing of justice in America. Entering into Judge Sabo's courtroom
with that attitude, we couldn't help but look upon him with the same
enmity that he did us.

Even with the order from the state's highest court, Judge Sabo
resisted reopening the hearing, adopting the prosecutor's argument
that we first had to prove that we couldn't have located Jones before
or during the 1995 proceedings. The argument was completely nonsensical
and duplicitous inasmuch as we had urged Judge Sabo in 1995
to order the district attorney's office to disclose Jones's address so that
she could have been located back then. Judge Sabo, who was now
throwing up a roadblock to our effort to put Jones on the stand, had
in '95 refused to order that disclosure.

He ordered us back into court on October 1, at which point we
were given the green light to put Jones on the stand. We had had to
go back to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to secure another order
to prod Judge Sabo along. This time the high court was quite blunt,
ordering Judge Sabo to conduct an evidentiary hearing that would
allow for the development of a "full factual record" concerning Veronica

No sooner had Jones taken the oath and sat down in the witness
chair than Judge Sabo interjected: "I have a few questions 1 have to
ask this witness. Have they, as your attorney, advised you, that if you
say something now which is different from what you said at the trial,
you could be charged with perjury?" Jones was visibly nervous. She
looked toward me and Rachel for guidance, because we were the ones
who had forged a relationship with her. Judge Sabo continued: "Did
your attorney tell you how much time you could serve if you are
convicted?" Needless to say, Judge Sabo had never bothered to take
such a concern with any other witness. There was only one purpose
behind the questioning: intimidation.

1 thought, sitting there watching the judge trying to unnerve a
vulnerable witness, that this would end the proceedings. Jones had
told me the night before that she was afraid to testify in a crowded
courtroom filled with reporters and go back over a time in her life
that she deeply regretted. She knew she was going to be attacked; 1
as much as told her so, and 1 did my best to teach her how to stay
calm on the witness stand-stay focused on your breathing, keep your
answers short, ask the prosecutor to repeat the question to control the
pacing, etc. I told her it was okay to be afraid; that I too was afraid,
always afraid when I enter a courtroom with so much at stake. The
question is not whether you are afraid but what you allow your fear
to do to you as a person.

Len was furious at Sabo's blatant intimidation, but, true to form,
he kept his cool to conduct the questioning, and he wisely didn't
waste any time getting into the crux of the matter. "Do you recall in
what respect the testimony that you gave in 1982 was untruthful?"

Jones leaned forward toward the microphone. "I told them that I
didn't see two men leave the, umm, run away, leave the scene."

Len has an avuncular courtroom style, blending a gentle touch
with an understated command of the situation. He spoke softly as he
pressed on in the questioning. "And Miss Jones, in fact, did you see
two people run from the scene?"

That was the key question, and it was a question Jackson had
repeatedly and desperately put to her over fourteen years earlier. He
had expected her to acknowledge that she had seen two people run
from the scene. After all, he had that police report memorializing her
statement to the detectives, which indicated as much. It was a mystery
as to why she absolutely denied seeing flight from the scene back in
1982, and we were now going to unravel it. Jones nodded to Len,
cautious, as if thinking about Judge Sabo's perjury warning. She then
answered simply, "Yes, I did."

Jones had no motive to invent the story of the running men back
on December 15, 1981. Nor did she have the means to concoct a
story of flight that comported with the observations of others in terms
of the location and the direction of that flight, as she had no way of
knowing what others had told police. Jones also had no personal bias
in Mumia's favor. On the contrary, she had been befriended by Officer
Faulkner on two occasions-once saving her from being robbed and
once from being assaulted.

Jones explained that, at the time she testified in 1982, she was in
jail on serious felony robbery and gun charges for which she had been
arrested a few weeks earlier. A few days before she took the stand,
while in jail, Jones received a visit from two detectives. She thought
that she was being visited by her court-appointed lawyers, but quickly
realized her visitors were detectives with an agenda.

Len asked, "Did you have a conversation with them?"

Jones replied, "I did a little talking but I did a lot of listening."
It was in her interest to listen as the detectives talked.

Using the threat of years in prison, and a promise to drop the
charges if she helped the prosecution, the detectives pressed Jones to
identify Mumia as the shooter. The detectives said "they could help
me off those charges if I helped them." The detectives repeatedly
stressed that Jones faced up to ten years in prison and the loss of her
children if she was convicted of the charges. They repeatedly reassured
Jones that her charges would be dropped if she helped the prosecution.
Jones was a young twenty-year-old woman, the mother of three small
children. "It was a big decision to make," Jones explained, "but this
is five or ten years away from my kids."

Jones never pretended to be a model mother. "It was bad enough
the fact that my mother had to watch over them while I was in the
street," Jones stated, genuinely regretful. "But let alone being taken
away from them for all those years. They didn't deserve both." Small
puddles of tears rested in her eyes. She quickly added, "I never missed
a birthday or a holiday." Sitting in a jail cell, she felt trapped. The
detectives then put the terms on the table: "I was to name Mr. Jamal
as the shooter, you know," she said, pointing toward Mumia. "And
if I was to do that, I was supposed to do something like this girl
named Lucky White. They said we made a deal with her and it was
going to work out for her so they could make it work out for me. All
they kept expressing was don't forget five to ten years ... that's a long
time." Jones removed a tissue from her purse and dabbed her eyes.
"They kept expressing that point .... The gun charges were supposed
to be removed if I went with them."

Jones entered Courtroom 253 back in 1982 to testify, unsure what
she would do. In fact, when she was brought to court to testify she
thought she was being taken to a hearing on her own charges. When
she walked into the courtroom she was very surprised to learn that
she was appearing in the Jamal case. As Jones explained, "I was scared
and I didn't know what was going on .... It was a big surprise." In
the courtroom, she saw a crowd of police officers, including the two
detectives who had previously visited her and pressured her in jail.
She couldn't bring herself to point the finger at Mumia as the shooter;
her own internal moral barometer would not allow her to go that far.
But her failure of nerve didn't prevent her from giving the prosecution
half a loaf. "I told them I didn't see two men run away.... I denied
seeing anything." That was a lie, she admitted.

As for Jones's angry claim at the trial that she was "a nickel bag
high," the interviewing detective who took Jones's December 15 statement,
Daniel Bennett, flatly refuted the notion, testifying that Jones
was too lucid to be high. Jones, too, admitted that she was clearheaded
when she gave the December 15 statement.

Inside, Jones was embittered and ashamed. She saw the dismay in
Jackson's face when she lied to him about seeing flight from the crime
scene. She saw him scrambling to resuscitate his failed examination.
Whether it was her natural inclination to protest or her inexpressible
sympathy for a floundering lawyer, Jones spontaneously spoke out
about her first encounter with law enforcement officers in regard to the
Faulkner shooting investigation. She blurted out that cops, in January
or February of 1982, had tried to get her to say what Lucky (aka Cynthia
White) had said. She remembered how Judge Sabo-this same
judge, who didn't seem to change at allover the years-kept her under
wraps when she mentioned this earlier attempted police manipulation.

Len brought her back to that time in January or February 1982.
"When the police mentioned Lucky to you, did they say anything
about your testimony as compared to what Lucky would do?" Jones
explained, as she tried to do back at the original trial, "They just told
me I would be able to work, I wouldn't have to worry about my
charges, I could work the streets."

Len wanted her to be more explicit. "And did they say what you
would have to do in order for you to be able to work?"

"Just name Mr. Jamal as the shooter."

Jones didn't exactly fulfill the terms of the agreement with the
visiting detectives. She didn't implicate Mumia; but then again, she
didn't tell the jury that she saw flight from the crime scene. Apparently,
it was enough for the detectives. Jones never went to prison on
the four serious weapons and robbery charges lodged against her. She
received probation-a virtual slap on the wrist.

Jones's decision to step forward in 1996 was not without its price.
She knew she would have to face stiff cross-examination and her name
and picture would be splashed on the front pages of newspapers and
displayed on television. She knew that her grown children-all three
of whom were now solid citizens and two with families of their ownwould
again be reminded of her past life as a drug-abusing prostitute.
The price was heavy, indeed, and she had wondered why she was
doing this. It would be so much easier, she thought, just to stay out
of this whole mess. But she went ahead and did it: she testified, and
now the prosecutor, Arlene Fisk, was fiddling with some documents,
preparing to hurl questions at her.

But it wouldn't feel like questions. It was more like a steady stream
of aspersions, tiny pointed arrows, whizzing toward her. Yes, I had
sold my body for money; yes, I got high almost every day; yes, I
neglected my kids; yes, I am ashamed. The pointed arrows struck the
same psychic scars, eventually reopening the wounds and unleashing
the pent-up memories and emotions tucked away deep in the caverns
of her consciousness.

Through it all, Jones stayed remarkably focused. Fisk couldn't
shake her from the detailed testimony she had given on direct examination.
But Fisk had one particularly nasty arrow in her quiver,
and she saved it for last. She gave a nod to one of her assistants, who
in turn signaled to the back of the courtroom. I looked back and saw
two uniformed troopers, decked out in calf-high boots, enter the

Fisk picked up the pace of her questioning. "Let me call your
attention specifically to July the fourteenth, 1992. Do you remember
being arrested and charged with attempting to pass a bad check?"

Jones acknowledged that she had been "picked up for a bad check."

Fisk then asked her if she had missed any court dates for that
charge. Jones denied that she had. At that point, the last arrow was
put in the bow. One of the troopers stepped toward the well of the

Len stood up, recognizing what was about to happen. "Your
Honor, I object to this procedure. There is no reason for this. What
is counsel attempting to demonstrate here?"

Fisk was happy to elucidate: "There is an active, open bench warrant
for this witness and she has to be taken into custody with regard
to this."

Arrested right from the witness stand! Jones had not expected this;
neither did we at the defense table. I had never seen such a thing,
either in real life or in the movies. But as shocking an exhibition as
it was, in retrospect, it seemed a fitting culmination to the way Sabo
handled the case, stretching back to 1982. Len appropriately expressed
that point to Judge Sabo: "Well, this is the usual form of intimidation.
It is a continuation-"

Len couldn't complete the sentence because Jones interrupted
him. "This is not going to change my testimony!" she announced,
tears gushing down her face. The shamelessness of the prosecution in
bringing up a stale and trivial unresolved bad-check charge, in which
the New Jersey authorities had never expressed an interest, apparently
emboldened Jones. Her eyes came alive. The timidity that pervaded
her demeanor all morning disappeared. Her drooping shoulders were
now pulled back, giving her a more youthful, infrangible look. It was
as if she now fully appreciated the justness in her decision to step
forward, and that she was actually grateful to bear her cross for the
years of withholding the truth. In a strange way, she seemingly welcomed
the arrest.

Len continued the protest. "I ask the court not to now effect the
ultimate coercion and intimidation of a witness, namely, denying her
freedom and taking her into custody. You could control that and I
ask you not to do this." Judge Sabo shook his head, bemused by the
spectacle. "You have control over the courtroom," Len pointed out.

"I don't have any control over them," Judge Sabo replied, referring
to the New Jersey troopers.

Len quickly noted that this display of force by the district attor-
ney's office explained why Billy Cook remained in hiding, surfacing
for short periods of time and then retreating into some lost world. He
had not arrived at that place where Veronica Jones now was: willing
to pay the price to unburden himself of the truth. If the prosecution
was willing to pull this sort of cheap tactic on Jones, what would they
do to Mumia's brother? Cook probably didn't want to find out.

Jones was handcuffed and whisked away straight from the witness
stand to a jail cell.

Courtroom reporters were outraged by Judge Sabo's conduct. The
Philadelphia Daily News reported: "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."
The drama of good versus evil had traveled a long distance, ending
with Sabo himself, in league with the prosecution team, playing the
Site Admin
Posts: 33189
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Executing Justice: An Inside Account of the Case of Mumi

Postby admin » Tue Jun 09, 2015 1:33 am

Certain questions are put to human beings not
so much that they should answer them but that
they should spend their lives wrestling with



A legal case, I stress throughout this book, is never about "the
law" as most people would instinctively interpret that term.
The law is not simply a system of rules to govern conduct. The law
consists of rules and regulations that structure a network of stories
spawned from human conflicts. Litigation starts with a story told to
a lawyer, which then gets molded into legal categories that define how
the story will be told, evaluated, and then adjudicated within a courtroom.
Some of those stories will be enshrined in published appellate
decisions, and hence achieve the august title of precedent, that blessed
weapon for lawyers brandished in the battle to validate new stories
within our legal institutions. No matter how judges, law professors,
and appellate lawyers may ultimately squeeze out the lifeblood of a
legal case to reduce it to a black-letter rule-to "law"-there is always
a drama lurking inside. "Man is in his actions and practice," the philosopher
Alasdair MacIntyre observes, "essentially a storytelling animal."
We aspire to Truth through the stories we tell. Genuine trial
lawyers know this well.

The case of Mumia Abu-Jamal may never become an important
legal precedent-or it might. But that is unimportant, in my view.
The story of his trial, and of the subsequent courtroom battles, tell us
more about the law than do the legal principles that might emanate
from his case. Such is the case with all great political trials. Few of
the truly great legal battles are remembered within our culture as important
legal precedent. Rarely do lawyers cite the trial of Socrates, of
Jesus, of Galileo, of Scopes, of the Rosenbergs, of the Chicago Seven,
of Sacco and Vanzetti, or other such notable political cases, as precedent
in legal briefs, other than, perhaps, as cultural references. Yet,
more than the multitude of cases printed in law books for lawyers to
mine like precious gold in the service of their clients, such cases expose
dilemmas within our society just as they define our understanding of
justice, of freedom, of community, and of virtually all things that give
life true meaning. Such cases tell us who we are. The story of the case
of Mumia Abu-Jamal lies within this tradition, regardless of one's view
of his guilt or innocence.

In fact, there is no one story of Mumia's case, as there is no one
story that exhausts the interpretive possibilities of any human event.
Life permits a multiplicity of perspectives; and I suppose if a God
exists, God would have the ability to see things from an infinite number
of perspectives-an ability that I take to be the sine qua non of
Truth with a capital T. The fact that, as human beings, we are nowhere
near being capable of comprehending infinite perspectives signifies
how ambiguous life necessarily is and how important humility
is in our effort to achieve more justice in our communal existence.
Perhaps that is what is meant when the great prophets preach that
Love, the ultimate in humble surrendering to life's mysteries, is the

I have tried in this book to explore the prosecution's perspective
in the case, which is to say, it's story line characterizing Mumia as a
cold-blooded cop killer. I then provide the defense's challenge to that
perspective-our counternarrative, if you will. Ironically, the more I
have thought about this case-not from a lawyer's perspective, which
I regard as a deeply impoverished way to look at a problem and at
human conflict generally-the more I marvel at just how much the
hard-line anti-Mumia forces and the hard-line pro-Mumia forces have
in common. It strikes me that both continue to pursue story lines of
good versus evil that are profoundly ideologically driven.

McGill, the one who first gave voice to the hard-line anti-Mumia
perspective, had no interest in learning about Mumia's life to gain
insight into his political and moral beliefs. He simply extracted from
a 1970 newspaper article a Mao quote that was fashionable among
Black Panther members at the time and wove a story around it. Mumia's
affiliation with the Black Panther Party and his attraction to
MOVE symbolized his renunciation of law and order, which is nothing
more than a lazy slogan for preserving the status quo and all of
the values that support it. Whether Mumia killed Officer Faulkner or
not became secondary inasmuch as it was taken as a starting point for
McGill. The trial, from the prosecution's perspective, was not so much
about proving Mumia's guilt as it was about explaining it. McGill's
success in positing a compelling explanation for the killing-leaving
aside whether the explanation was right or wrong-propelled the case
toward its ultimate death verdict. That success still drives the anti-
Mumia rhetoric.

The hard-line pro-Mumia perspective has its own prepackaged
good-versus-evil narrative. I want to be careful to say that the pro-
Mumia side of the debate is much more diverse than its counterpart.
Most people on the pro-Mumia side take an agnostic view of the guiltinnocence
question, or perhaps adopt a strong suspicion that he is
innocent. My discussion for the moment concerns the narrower wing
of the movement that simply accepts as an article of faith that Mumia
is innocent and finds it abominable for anyone to think otherwise.

Under the extremist pro-Mumia perspective, Mumia, an articulate
and passionate revolutionary, can do no wrong. In their view, law
enforcement comprises, by definition, forces of repression that will
stop at nothing to eradicate the budding seeds of change in society.
Neither proposition, in unadulterated form, is defensible. Mumia himself
objects to being sanctified, often reminding us that he, like you
and me, is just a human being. As for law enforcement, historical
evidence powerfully documents the frequent use of the "law" to thwart
people's movements and prevent genuine social change. Indeed, one
need only look to Rizzo's Philadelphia and Hoover's FBI to see that
precise phenomenon. Evidence that we have been able to present in
this case certainly gives substance to the claim that Mumia was a
victim of manipulated and fabricated evidence, and it is no stretch to
say that this victimization was a product of political forces that found
sustenance in Philadelphia's particular climate of racial dissension. But
it would be wrong to dismiss the evidence against Mumia with a glib
reference to racism and police corruption. The bottom line is that the
extreme pro-Mumia forces, like McGill and the extreme anti-Mumia
forces, have propagated claims that deflect attention away from the
genuine controversy that arises from the case.

For example, anti-Mumia forces, to this very day, onen publicly
state that at least five eyewitnesses actually identify Mumia as the
shooter. This claim, as we have seen, is manifestly wrong. Only Cynthia
White and Robert Chobert ever went on record as being able to
make such an identification. Pro-Mumia forces, to this very day, often
assert that definitive proof of Mumia's innocence exists, notably
in the form of a ballistics finding that the fatal bullet was a .44 caliber,
thus excluding Mumia's .38 caliber pistol. Our own ballistics
expert refutes this claim and we have never been able to establish, in
fact, that Faulkner was killed with a non-.38 caliber bullet. Anti-
Mumia forces cling to Cynthia White's account, despite compelling
proof that it is a concoction. They even insist that Robert Harkins
actually supports the prosecution's theory of what happened at Thirteenth
and Locust, when, in fact, it reveals it to be false. They don't
even attempt to reconcile White's account with that of Harkinswith
good reason, because it is plainly impossible. Hard-line pro-
Mumia forces have insisted that William Singletary provides a reliable
account of what actually happened on Thirteenth and Locust, even
though Len and I have gone on record, in oral statements in court
and in court documents, to state exactly the opposite. Regrettably,
even Maureen Faulkner has joined in the demonization effort, claim-
ing that Mumia flashed a smile at her during the 1982 trial when
her husband's bloody shirt was unfurled from the evidence bag.
The court transcripts reveal that Mumia had been banished from
the courtroom when that supposedly occurred. Equally regrettable,
there have been public statements from the extreme pro-Mumia camp
slandering Faulkner as either a corrupt cop involved in prostitutionring
corruption or a "rat" who was killed by the Philadelphia police
department to conceal corruption. It all simply becomes mindboggling.

The upshot to all of this is that both sides enter into the debate
with ideological outlooks that render them susceptible to enunciating,
or at least believing, insupportable (and sometimes outlandish) claims.
Both sides have been able to engineer favorable media coverage for
their respective positions, filled with half-truths and distortions. I wonder
sometimes whether this sort of thing is just unavoidable whenever
heated issues or controversies are debated through slogans and rallies.
I no longer wonder whether either side is well served by it. It is my
hope that it will remind fair-minded people of how important is an
impartial system of justice. The creation of a judicial system ought to
reflect our humble recognition that no one individual or group has a
monopoly on the truth. A process must be in place, with appropriate
checks and balances, that genuinely serves as a forum for disentangling
contested stories. I, for one, much prefer to debate over whether such
a process is in place than to argue in a public forum whether a particular
individual is guilty or innocent. The controversy should center
on whether the judicial process worked in a manner that just and
compassionate people would find acceptable.


After we completed our attack on the prosecution's "open-and-shut
case," Joseph McGill (now in private practice) and leaders of the Fraternal
Order of Police took to the public airwaves to defend the verdict and
death sentence. They insisted that we had done nothing in the 1995
hearings (or since) to undermine the reliability of the 1982 verdict.
Sure, there were discrepancies and inconsistencies, they argued, but they
amounted to nothing more than trivial mistakes and innocuous coincidences
that supporters of Mumia were prone to exaggerate.

Mistakes? Was it simply a mistake

• that Cynthia White described the shooter as "short" -- shorter
than five feet eight whereas Mumia is six feet one inches?
• that White testified that Officer Faulkner was shot in the
back while standing and then "grabbed for something" as
he was falling, while Robert Harkins reported seeing the
shooter, a heavyset man, physically scuffle with the officer
and then shoot him in the back while the officer was on his
hands and knees struggling to regain his balance?
• that Robert Chobert described the shooter to be up to fifty-five
pounds heavier than Mumia and wearing jeans and a
light tan shirt, whereas Mumia was wearing a brightly colored
red-and-blue ski jacket and flowing khaki "Arab" pants,
and claimed that the shooter "ran away" in the direction of
the alleyway?
• that Michael Scanlan (the prosecution's most reliable fact
witness) stated that he was "certain" that the shooter had an
"Afro hairstyle," while Mumia had distinctive dreadlocks
(perhaps his most distinctive physical attribute)?
• that Veronica Jones told investigating detectives that she saw
two men run from the scene?
• that Dessie Hightower also saw someone flee toward the
• that Debbie Kordansky came down from her hotel room to
tell investigators that she saw someone run from the crime
scene in the same direction as described by Chobert, Jones,
and Hightower?
• that, of the fifteen to twenty police officers who were surrounding
Mumia at the time he supposedly shouted out a
confession, none of them, except for Officers Bell and Wakshul,
reported it?
• that Bell and Wakshul neglected to report the confession
for over two months, even when questioned about it?
• that hospital security guard Priscilla Durham, a woman who
wanted to be a cop, never mentioned the confession to law enforcement
until a month after Bell and Wakshul had done so?
• that Wakshul signed a police report within two hours of
that supposed confession containing the statement, "the Negro
male made no comments"?
• that Wakshul's partner, Stephen Trombetta, signed a police
report within an hour of the putative confession stating affirmatively
that Mumia said nothing?

Innocuous coincidences? Was it a coincidence

• that the slain officer had in his front pants pocket a driver's
license application form (usable as a temporary license) that
belonged to a third person?
• that Chobert recanted his assertion to crime scene investigators
that he saw the shooter "run away"?
• that Jones recanted her "flight" statement also?
• that, in a homicide investigation that generated reams of
police reports, not a single one indicated that Mumia confessed
(the reports pointed to the opposite conclusion), and
yet investigators generated a highly detailed report regarding
William Singletary (the man who graphically described police
coercion) solely to establish that he saw nothing?
• that no one within the entire crime scene crew -- which included
the most senior investigators within the Philadelphia
police force -- allegedly ever thought of testing the supposed
murder weapon for recent discharge, or testing Mumia's
hands, face, and body for evidence that he had recently fired
a handgun?

What particularly troubles me, even beyond the sheer number of
so-called mistakes and coincidences that raise questions about the ver-
dict, is McGill's apparent willingness to choose one of two scenarios
based upon nothing more than a calculation of which best enhanced
the chance for a conviction. McGill opted for Cynthia White and
dispensed with Robert Harkins simply because the former provided
an inculpatory account that seemingly explained how Mumia was shot.
White's account, as we have seen, involved Mumia running across the
street, shooting the officer in the back, and then pursuing him as the
officer staggered and fell to the ground. Critical for the prosecution
was White's trial testimony that Officer Faulkner "grabbed for something"
as he was falling. That sliver of information was enough for
McGill to confidently insist that Faulkner shot Mumia as the officer
was falling toward the pavement.

Harkins, by contrast, affirmatively refutes the claim that the
shooter fired into the officer's back while Faulkner was standing.
Rather, the shooter grabbed onto the officer and twirled him around,
causing the officer to fall onto all fours. It was then that the shooter
fired into the officer's back at close range. This particular account fit
the physical evidence, as the ballistics analysis established that the
gunshot to the back was done at very close range, and the autopsy established
that the bullet exited through the throat, knocking off
Faulkner's clip-on tie. Upon being hit in the back, the officer lost his
balance completely and fell to the ground. At that point, just as all
the other witnesses claimed, the shooter then fired several shots at
him. Harkins's detailed account, derived from the most advantageous
vantage point of all the eyewitnesses, simply refutes the notion that
Mumia was shot during the course of an entanglement with Officer

When did Mumia receive that gunshot wound to the chest, if not
at the time suggested by Cynthia White? No doubt Mumia ran to the
scene at a time when Officer Faulkner was having difficulty with Billy
Cook. As Mumia approached, running, the officer may have panicked,
fearing that this black man, with "MOVE-type hair"-and thus, from
Faulkner's probable point of view, with MOVE-type anger-was intent
on interfering in his struggle with the driver. The trajectory of
the bullet is indisputably downward; the likely positioning of Mumia's
torso as he is running toward the scene is slightly bent forward (typical
for a runner). Faulkner fires from a slight elevation above the
street by virtue of being on the cutb. A bullet striking Mumia in the
chest would thus enter and travel through his torso in a downward

Hit first with a bullet, Mumia falls to the ground, before the attention
of any witnesses is drawn to the scene. The actual shooter,
highly likely to be the passenger in the Volkswagen, quickly steps out
and engages the officer in the manner described by Harkins. Scanlan,
having briefly noticed Mumia run across the street but not focusing
on the scene before the first eruption of gunfire, understandably-and
even plausibly-assumes that it was this runner who shot the officer,
unaware that the runner had been felled by a bullet before attention
was drawn to the scene. Significantly, it was Scanlan who candidly
admitted at trial that his observations were stitched together with "assumptions."

The actual shooter, sporting an "Mro hairstyle" (Scanlan), shorter
than five eight (White) and approximately 225 pounds (Chobert) "ran
away," according to Chobert's initial report to police, and confirmed
by several others. Crucially, however, Chobert assumes that the man
who shot the officer was apprehended while fleeing, as he believed
that the man in the police van, Mumia, was the one he saw firing
into Officer Faulkner. Yet it is undisputed that Mumia did not, and
could not, "run away." Moreover, Chobert's own actions at the scene
of the crime confirm that he actually saw the shooter run away, as he
stepped out of his cab and walked toward the felled officer. He certainly
would not have done so if, as he maintained at trial, the actual
assassin remained at the scene, poised to kill others. For Chobert to
be a genuinely favorable prosecution witness, he would have to retract
his claim to seeing the shooter "run away"-which he in fact did at
the trial.

This was the scenario that the jury never considered. It is a scenario
that fit the physical and medical evidence, and is rooted in an
account provided by an eyewitness who was far less malleable and
vulnerable than Cynthia White. No doubt, even with this scenario
presented to it, the jury would still be moved by the fact that Mumia
carried a gun in a holster, and that gun had five empty rounds when
it was found. But circumstantial evidence that cannot fit the physical
and medical facts in a case, and that is undercut by eyewitness testimony,
cannot be a basis for a conviction. More importantly, the question
of whether Mumia actually fired his gun could easily have been
answered, not only by seasoned crime scene investigators but by the
first spate of officers who arrived at the crime scene within a minute
or two of the shooting. Those initial arriving officers, surely experienced
enough to know this, could have felt the small-barreled gun
and smelled it. If it had been fired five times in relatively rapid succession,
it would be warm (if not hot) and the smell of burnt gunpowder
still distinctive. Significantly, none of the officers who arrived
at the scene were willing to step forward and provide that damning

No doubt people may say that all this is conjecture. My answer
is that it is a marshaling of evidence rooted in Harkins's eyewitness
account that McGill chose to ignore for no apparent
reason other than that he just didn't like what this witness said.
My point here, however, is not to convince anyone of Mumia's innocence
but only to raise questions. This or any other scenario
should be robustly challenged in a courtroom. But the point remains:
after a while, the questions and perplexing unresolved issues
in a case suggest that law enforcement and prosecutors were more
interested in making an immediate arrest, and were comfortable
with a particular theory of an event, because it accorded with their
own investigative bias. This is not unusual; it is, in fact, symptomatic
of mistaken arrests and wrongful convictions in our criminal
justice system. At a minimum, any genuinely fair presentation of
evidence would have included Harkins's testimony to amplify the
eyewitness aspect of the case, and that of Wakshul to amplify the
confession aspect.


Several weeks after we completed our evidentiary presentation in the
PCRA hearings, we appeared in Judge Sabo's courtroom for oral argument.
Everyone knew, prosecutors included, that it was a pointless exercise.
Sabo was giving us the opportunity to argue our respective
positions solely to create the impression that we were receiving a full and
fair consideration of our claims. Three days after the arguments, the
judge issued his 154-page decision-a virtual verbatim adoption of the
brief submitted by the prosecutors. Every single claim we raised was denied.
All of the witnesses who provided favorable evidence were deemed
"not credible." Robert Chobert's secret colloquy with Joseph McGill
was incidental because, as Sabo saw it, Chobert's claim at trial disavowing
that he had seen the shooter "run away" did not actually contradict
his pretrial statement to police that he saw the shooter run away. The
absence of Wakshul from the 1982 trial was acrually a blessing for the
defense, he concluded, because his testimony would have further corroborated
the confession claim. The mitigation evidence, the judge ruled,
would not have influenced a Philadelphia jury to impose a sentence other
than death. Use ofMumia's Black Panther Party affiliation and the Mao
quote was appropriate, notwithstanding the Dawson v. Delaware decision.
McGill's jury selection practice of eliminating blacks from the panel
did not indicate that race was a motivating factor. And on and on.

After Sabo's decision was issued, thousands of people (estimated
at four thousand), including the mayor and the police commissioner,
appeared at a three-hour anti-Mumia rally. Maureen Faulkner was the
highlight as the throng cheered her loudly. "Danny and I were very,
very much in love," she told the crowd. "We had our whole lives to
live together. The last moment of his life, he was not looking into
loving eyes. He was looking into the barrel of a gun." Mayor Rendell,
the district attorney at the time of Mumia's trial, told the crowd that
the decision to seek the death penalty against Mumia was an easy call.
"The evidence in this case was overwhelming. The action in this case
dictated the death penalty."

Jesse Jackson, speaking for many who were devastated by Sabo's
decision, stated in a radio program: "The people in Philadelphia cannot
stand idly by and be unaware of the ramifications of this decision.
Because if Mumia Abu-Jamal can be killed in this situation, you've
got to realize you may be next."

In late 1998, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, including Justice
Ronald Castille who was the district attorney advocating that Mumia's
death sentence should be carried out in the 1989 appeal and who
sponsored the McMahon training session, rubber-stamped Judge
Sabo's decision. In the spring of 1999, we petitioned the Supreme
Court, for the third time, to accept Mumia's case for review. In September
of that year, we received notification that, once again, the high
court would not take his case.

The legal team, at that point, boiled down to me and Len. We
were heading for federal court, the venue that we had always viewed
as our only hope to secure Mumia a new trial. It was fitting, in my
view, that the PDC contingent left the team that August, because we
couldn't afford to engage in ideological grandstanding in federal court.
The litigation would be extremely intense. I spent September and the
first half of October drafting our federal Petition for Habeas Corpus
Relief. We filed it, amidst much fanfare and with renewed hope, on
October 15, 1999, in the United States District Court in Philadelphia.
As of this writing, that is where Mumia's case presently sits.

The Great Writ, as habeas corpus is known, empowers a judge to
"inquire into the legitimacy of any form of loss of personal liberty." [1]
Scholars still debate the historical roots of the Great Writ. Judges,
when prompted to show off their scholarly bent, often allude to section
39 of the Magna Carta, which came into being in 1215, as the
historical source. Modern understanding of habeas corpus, as a device
to challenge an unjust conviction, begins with the Habeas Corpus Act
of 1679. The colonists treasured the notion of habeas corpus, so it is
no surprise that Article I, section 9, of the United States Constitution
guaranteed that it would never be suspended "unless when in Cases
of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it." The very
first statute enacted by the First Congress, the Judiciary Act of 1789,
empowered all federal courts to "grant writs of habeas corpus for the
purpose of an inquiry into the cause of commitment." In The Federalist
Papers, Alexander Hamilton warned against any retrenchment on habeas
corpus, arguing it should be "provided for in the most ample manner"
as a bulwark against "arbitrary methods of prosecuting pretended
offenses, and arbitrary punishment upon arbitrary convictions." Although
James Madison didn't remark on habeas corpus (perhaps because
he wasn't a lawyer), and said little on the subject of capital
punishment, he did express skepticism toward a jury's ability to impose
it fairly. He thus told Jefferson, when critiquing one of his legal reforms
for Virginia, that safeguards were needed to ensure that only
the deserving were executed. [2] In 1867, Congress passed the Habeas
Act, which empowered state prisoners to obtain federal review of alleged
violations of federal constitutional rights.

Habeas corpus proved to be a powerful device for justice. Between
40 to 60 percent of all capital cases presented for habeas review in
federal courts before 1996 resulted in an overturning of the death
sentence. States deeply resented this sort of federal intrusion into the
state judicial systems. Plus, federal judges grew weary over the years
of handling wagon-loads of habeas petitions. Mumblings in Congress
could be heard in the late '80s and early '90s about the inordinate
delays in carrying out executions and the clogging of the federal courts
with frivolous habeas corpus petitions by desperate death row inmates.
Reagan appointees on the federal bench began to take their judicial
whacks at the habeas corpus statute.

And then came the Oklahoma City bombing.

Responding to the national outrage over the bombing, Congress
seized the moment and quickly passed a bill severely restricting the
ability of federal judges to grant habeas corpus relief. President Clinton,
a constitutional law instructor at one time but a politician on this
occasion, signed the bill into law on April 24, 1996. By signing the
Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA), President
Clinton "imposed the most rigorous constraints on the constitutional
right to seek Federal review of convictions since Lincoln suspended
the writ of habeas corpus in the Civil War"-so said the New York
Times correspondent Stephen Labaton. President Clinton sought to
assuage the fears of civil rights activists and constitutional scholars thar
the AEDPA eviscerated habeas corpus, announcing that federal judges
retained the authority to review petitions from inmates for federal
constitutional violations. How Mumia's case is handled by a federal judge
will tell us much about the continued vibrancy of the Great Writ.


The support for Mumia has grown over the past few years as his case
enters this most important phase. His face has become the "new face of
the death penalty in the United States," according to a May 21,2000
piece in the Sunday New York Times "Week in Review" section. On
May 7,2000, six thousand people packed the Madison Square Garden
Theater in Manhattan for a teach-in on Mumia's case. Similar events
were held in other cities around the world. A few years ago, Mayor Willie
Brown of San Francisco, backed by the city council, declared one day
in August Mumia Abu-Jamal Day. In a similar vein, the Central District
of Copenhagen (Norrebro), Denmark, and Palermo, Italy, anointed
Mumia an honorary citizen. On October 15, 1999, Representatives
Chaka Fattah and John Conyers, speaking on behalf of the entire thirtyeight-
member Congressional Black Caucus, called for a new trial. "The
only thing we know for sure is that he has not been given due process
and that alone is enough for a new trial," Representative Fattah announced.
The European Parliament and thirty-eight members of the
Japanese Diet have raised deep concerns over Mumia's case.

Some have dismissed the "Free Mumia" clamor as a manifestation
of a new Internet culture. A Brandeis University expert on conspiracy
theory, Jacob Cohen, argues that the "Mumia phenomenon" is rooted
in a "group lie" that flourishes because he is the first so-called political
prisoner in the Internet era. "The culture is more and more tolerant
of these performances-a group lie that they agree to tell in order to
be with one another," he contends. "The Internet is just a nest of
these conspiracies of group myth-making."

On November 24, 1997, Amnesty International's secretary general
Pierre Sane visited Pennsylvania's death row at the State Correctional
Institute in Greene County. He met with Mumia. Sane characterized
Pennsylvania's death penalty as "one of the most racist and unfair in
the United States. Worse than Georgia, worse than Mississippi, worse
than Alabama." He called upon Pennsylvania's governor to "initiate a
full investigation into the racist and unfair application of the death
penalty in the state, and to call for a moratorium on all executions."
A day after Sane's visit, the Philadelphia Bar Association adopted a
resolution calling for a moratorium on executions. Three weeks earlier,
the Pennsylvania Bar Association also called for a moratorium. On
February 10, 2000, the Philadelphia City Council voted for a moratorium
resolution. That same month, Amnesty International issued a
detailed report denouncing Mumia's trial as a travesty of fairness. Governor
Ridge, who has signed over a hundred ninety death warrants,
opposes a moratorium, still insisting that Pennsylvania's death penalty
system has always been fair. To date, there has been no investigation
and no moratorium.


As in all death penalty cases, those siding with the forces who are
pushing for Mumia's execution, at bottom, insist that it will bring
closure to a breach in the social order. McGill's closing argument wove
a classic pro-death penalty narrative that still resonates: a brutal, senseless
killing of a blameless victim; a rupture of that delicate social fabric
stitched together by "law and order"; the onset of fear and anger
rooted in our instinctive aversion to chaos and irrationality; a manipulation
of that fear with an invocation of our culture's particular outlook
on "the jungle" as the nemesis to social order; and the proffer of
a solution-execution.

The narratives for Mumia are more varied and more complex.
Some focus on the trial process, reserving judgment on the issue of
innocence; some feel no need to be squeamish on the guilt-innocence
question, demanding that Mumia should be freed immediately. Some
view the unfairness in Mumia's case as an anomaly in the system;
some say it is symptomatic of the discriminatory and arbitrary nature
of capital punishment. Some liken Mumia to others on death row,
down playing his unique intellectual and vocal gifts; some highlight
those gifts, wrap them up in ideological garb, and argue that he was
framed because he threatened the social order.

Whatever the viewpoint, in a crucial respect, those who advocate
that Mumia deserves a new trial, including those who are convinced
that he is innocent, possess in their narratives a shared foundation
with the anti-Mumia forces: a belief that there has been a breach in
the social order and a call for a rectification of that breach. While the
anti-Mumia forces point to the killing as the breach and an execution
as a healing of that breach, those on the pro-Mumia side point to the
trial itself as the breach and a new trial that comports with due process
as the remedy. Whatever the rhetorical posture, the implicit narrative
goal is the same: imposition of order over chaos. That is why both
sides call for justice and yet want a very different outcome.

Tome, the notion of ambiguity sits silently underneath the debate
over this case and in the debate over the death penalty itself. Progressives
struggling for social change do well to remind themselves
that definitive answers to social problems and dilemmas do not exist.
There is no social system that will fully conquer the vagaries of human
existence. Chaos is never conquered. To believe otherwise is to share
a dangerous premise that lies at the heart of capital punishment, because
the death penalty stands as a testament to our innate reluctance
to accept that life itself is ambiguous. The death penalty exists because
politicians, greedy for votes, offer it to us to palliate our desire for
order and to dampen our fear over chaos. It symbolizes a rejection of
the idea that no one can be defined simply by their best or their worst
acts as human beings.

Imposing the death penalty is the apex of human arrogance. It
suggests we are entitled to pass judgment on another's entitlement to
live when life itself, as precious as it is, is an impenetrable mystery.
Because arrogance and absolutism comfort us, because these attitudes
mask our fears with a fraudulent sense of security, we gravitate toward
them as toward the shiny apple hanging in the Garden of Eden. I like
to think that Nikos Kazantzakis in his book The Last Temptation of
Christ had it right when he portrayed Jesus, himself a victim of capital
punishment and the presumed embodiment of absolute good, struggling
on the cross with his own material desires, afflicted with the
pangs of ambivalence.

The centrality of ambiguity in human affairs is not a recipe for
lethargy or hopelessness. It only signifies that it is the struggle for
justice that matters. If anyone has an excuse to be hopeless and lethargic,
it is a death row inmate. As Mumia writes, the "conditions
of most of America's death rows" consists of this:

[S]olitary confinement, around-the-clock lock-in, no-contact visits,
no prison jobs, no educational programs by which to grow, psychiatric
"treatment" facilities designed only to drug you into a
coma; ladle in hostile, overtly racist prison guards and staff; add
the weight of the falling away of family ties; and you have all
the fixings for a stressful psychic stew designed to deteriorate, to
erode, one's humanity.

Yet, living in this hell, Mumia forges on-even, in an odd way,
thrives. His intellect is as sharp as ever and his soul as intact as any
evolved human being. He struggles still for social justice, raising his
Promethean fist in defiance of Fate. Whatever may happen to Mumia
Abu-Jamal, he will always stand for the proposition that the struggle
for justice matters.
Site Admin
Posts: 33189
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Executing Justice: An Inside Account of the Case of Mumi

Postby admin » Tue Jun 09, 2015 1:34 am






v. Control

It is from Pennsylvania's largest death row at the State Correctional Institute
at Huntingdon, in rural south-central Pennsylvania, that I write. In the Commonwealth
I am but one of 123 persons who await death. [i] I have lived in
this barren domain of death since 1983. For several years now I have been
assigned DC (disciplinary custody) status for daring to abide by my faith,
the teachings of John Africa, and in particular for refusing to cut my hair.
For this I have been denied family phone calls, and on occasion I have been
shackled for refusing to violate my beliefs.

Life here oscillates between the banal and the bizarre.

Unlike other prisoners, death row inmates are not "doing time." Freedom
does not shine at the end of the tunnel. Rather, the end of the tunnel
brings extinction. Thus, for many here there is no hope.

As in any massive, quasi-military organization, reality on the row is regimented
by rule and regulation. As against any regime imposed on human
personality, there is resistance, but far less than one might expect. For the
most part, death row prisoners are the best behaved and least disruptive of
all inmates. It also is true, however, that we have little opportunity to be
otherwise, given that many death units operate on the "22 + 2" system:
twenty-two hours locked in cell, followed by two hours of recreation out of
cell. Outdoor recreation takes place in a cage, ringed with double-edged razor
wire-the "dog pen."

All death rows share a central goal: human storage in an austere world,
in which condemned prisoners are treated as bodies kept alive to be killed.
Pennsylvania's death row regime is one of America's most restrictive, rivaling
the infamous San Quentin death unit for the intensity and duration of restriction.
A few states allow four, six, or even eight hours out of cell, prison
employment, or even access to educational programs. Not so in the Keystone

Here one has little or no psychological life. Here many escape death's
omnipresent specter only by way of common diversions-television, radio,
or sports. TVs are allowed, but not typewriters: one's energies may be expended
freely on entertainment, but a tool essential for one's liberation
through the judicial process is deemed a security risk.

One inmate, more interested in his life than his entertainment, argued
forcefully with prison administrators for permission to buy a nonimpact,
nonmetallic, battery-operated typewriter. Predictably, permission was denied
for security reasons. "Well, what do y'all consider a thirteen-inch piece of
glass?" the prisoner asked, "ain't that a security risk?"

"Where do you think you'll get that from?" the prison official demanded.

"From my TV!"

Request for the typewriter denied.

TV is more than a powerful diversion from a terrible fate. It is a psychic
club used to threaten those who resist the dehumanizing isolation of life on
the row. To be found guilty of an institutional infraction means that one
must relinquish TV.

After months or years of noncontact visits, few phone calls, and ever
decreasing communication with one's family and others, many inmates use
TV as an umbilical cord, a psychological connection to the world they have
lost. They depend on it, in the way that lonely people turn to TV for the
illusion of companionship, and they dread separation from it. For many, loss
of TV is too high a price to pay for any show of resistance.



Imagine living, eating, sleeping, relieving oneself, daydreaming, weeping-
but mostly waiting, in a room about the size of your bathroom.

Now imagine doing all those things-but mostly waiting, for the rest
of your life.

Imagine waiting-waiting-waiting-to die.

I don't have to imagine.

I "live" in one of those rooms, like about 3,000 other men and women
in thirty-eight states across the United States.

It's called "death row."

I call it "hell."

Welcome to "hell."

Each of the states that have death rows have a different system for their
"execution cases," varying from the relatively open to the severely restrictive.

Some states, like California and Texas, allow their execution cases work,
education, and or religious service opportunities, for out of cell time up to
eight hours daily.

Pennsylvania locks its "execution cases" down twenty-three hours a day,
five days a week; twenty-four hours the other two days.

At the risk of quoting Mephistopheles, I repeat:

Welcome to hell.

A hell erected and maintained by human governments, and blessed by
black-robed judges.

A hell that allows you to see your loved ones, but not to touch them.

A hell situated in America's boondocks, hundreds of miles away from
most families.

A white, rural Hell, where most of the caged captives are black and

It is an American way of death.

Contrary to what one might suppose, this hell is the easiest one to enter
in a generally hellish criminal justice system. Why? Because, unlike any other
case, those deemed potential capital cases are severely restricted during the
jury selection phase, as any juror who admits opposition to the death penalty
is immediately removed, leaving only those who are fervent death penalty
supporters in the pool of eligible jurors.

When it was argued that to exclude those who opposed death, and to
include only those who supported death, was fundamentally unfair, as the
latter were more "conviction-prone," the U.S. Supreme Court, in a case titled
Lockhart v. McCree, said such a claim was of no constitutional significance.

Once upon a time, politicians promised jobs and benefits to constituents,
like "a chicken in evety pot," to get elected. It was a surefire vote getter.

No longer. Today the lowest-level politico up to the president uses another
surefire gimmick to guarantee victory:

Death. Promise death, and the election is yours.

Guaranteed. Vraiment.

A "Vote for hell" in the "Land of liberty," with its over 1 million prisoners,
is the ticket to victory.

From death row, this is Mumia Abu-Jamal.


Don't tell me about the valley of the shadow of death. I live there. In south-central
Pennsylvania's Huntingdon County, a hundred-year-old prison
stands, [ii] its gothic towers projecting an air of foreboding, evoking a gloomy
mood of the dark ages. I, and some forty-five other men, spend about rwentyrwo
hours a day in six-by-ten-foot cells. The additional rwo hours may be
spent outdoors in a chain-link-fenced box, ringed by concertina razor wire,
under the gaze of gun turrets.

Welcome to Pennsylvania's death row.

I'm a bit stunned. Several days ago, Pennsylvania's Supreme Court affirmed
my conviction and sentence of death by a vote of four justices, three
did not participate.

As a black journalist who was a Panther way back in my young teens,
I've often studied America's long histoty of legal lynchings of Africans. I
remember a front page of the Black Panther newspaper bearing the quote,
"A black man has no rights that a white man is bound to respect," attributed
to U.S. Supreme Court chief justice Roger B. Taney of the infamous Dred
Scott case, where America's highest court held that "neither Africans, nor
their free descendants, are entitled to the rights of the Constitution." [iii]
Deep, huh?

Perhaps I'm naive, or maybe I'm just stupid, but I really thought the
law would be followed in my case, and the conviction reversed. Really.

Even in the face of the brutal Philadelphia MOVE massacre on May
13, Ramona Africa's frame-up, Eleanor Bumpers, Michael Stewart, Clement
Lloyd, Allan Blanchard, in countless police slaughters of blacks from New
York to Miami, with impunity, my faith remained. Even in the face of this
relentless wave of antiblack state terror, I thought my appeals would be

Even with all I knew, I still harbored a belief in U.S. law, and the
realization that my appeal has been denied is a shocker.

Now, I could intellectually understand that American courts are reservoirs
of racist sentiment and have been historically hostile to black de-
fendants, but a lifetime of propaganda about American "justice" is hard to
shrug off.

I need but look across the nation, where as of October 1986 blacks
constituted some 40 percent of men on death row, or across Pennsylvania,
where as of August 1988,61 out of 113 men-some 50 percent-are black, [iv]
to see the truth, a truth hidden under black robes and promises of equal

Blacks are just 9 percent of Pennsylvania's population, just under 11
percent of America's. [v] As I said, it's hard to shrug off, but maybe we can
try this together. How? Try out this quote I saw in a 1982 law book by a
prominent Philadelphia lawyer named David Kairys: "Law is simply politics
by other means." [vi]

Such a line goes far to explain how courts really function, whether today,
or 130 years ago in the Scott case. It ain't about law, it's about politics by
other means.

Now ain't that the truth.

As time passes, I intend to share with you some truths in this column.
I continue to fight against this unjust sentence and conviction. Perhaps we
can shrug off and shred some of the dangerous myths laid on our minds like
a second skin, such as the "right" to a fair and impartial jury of our peers,
the "right" to represent oneself, the "right" to a fair trial even.

They're not rights.

They're privileges of the powerful and the rich. For the powerless and the
poor, they are chimeras that vanish once one reaches out to claim them as
something real or substantial. Don't expect the big networks or megachains of
"Big Mac" media to tell you. Because of the incestuousness between the media
and government, and big business-which they both serve-they can't .

I can.

Even if I must do so from the valley of the shadow of death, I will.

From death row, this is Mumia Abu-Jamal.

All excerpts from
All Things Censored by Mumia Abu-Jamal
Edited by Noelle Hanrahan
(Seven Stories Press, New York, 2000)



i. This essay was written in 1991. Currently 223 men and women (69.95 percent people of
color) await execution on Pennsylvania's death row.

ii. The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections death row unit at Huntingdon State Prison,
described here by Jamal in the 1980s. On January 13, 1995, Jamal was transferred to the State
Correctional Institute at Greene, a new supermaximum security control unit that now houses
the vast majority of Pennsylvania's death row inmates, and has significantly worse conditions.

iii. Dred Scott v. Sanford, 19 U.S. (How.) 393, 407, 15 L.Ed 691 (1857).

iv. As of September 1, 1999, there are 3,625 men and women on death row in thirty-nine states
and jurisdictions: 43 percent are black. In Pennsylvania, of the 223 men and women on death
row, 62.7 percent are black. Source: Death Penalty Information Center and NAACP Legal
Defense and Education Fund.

v. Census Profile Race and Hispanic Origin, Profile No.2, June 1991, U.S. Census Bureau,
U.S. Department of Commerce, Washington, D.C.

vi. David Kaitys, Legal Reasoning in Politics of Law, (1982) 24: 16-17. Citing M. A. Foley,
"Critical Legal Studies," Dickinson Law Review 91 (Winter 1986): 473.
Site Admin
Posts: 33189
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Executing Justice: An Inside Account of the Case of Mumi

Postby admin » Tue Jun 09, 2015 1:34 am


I engage in all meaningful activity with the thought of writing about it. The
deeper I immersed myself into the extraordinary case of Commonwealth of
Pennsylvania v. Mumia Abu-Jamal, the more I realized that I had to at least
attempt setting out one perspective on the story. Len Weinglass, I, and others
have conducted many interviews over the past eight years, which have provided
much of the material for this book, as did media accounts of the case.
Among those interviewed, Anthony Jackson deserves special mention for his
openness and generosity in providing his own account of the experience of
handling Mumia's case. He did so knowing that his actions would be the
subject of scrutiny, criticism, and even ridicule. I have yet to meet a human
being who approached such a situation with similar equanimity. I would
never have been in the position to write this book if it weren't for Len
Weinglass, a truly fine mentor and friend. I am indebted to Len in ways that
I can never express. Political activist and ardent Mumia supporter Clark
Kissinger has always been generous with his time and his astute insights. I
owe thanks to Gerald Nicosia, a San Francisco writer with whom I have
spent many hours reflecting upon this case. Those discussions have helped
to clarify my own thinking about the events discussed in the book. I also
wish to thank Gerry Spence and other faculty and students at his Trial
Lawyer's College, which I attended as both a student and instructor. Through
my association with Gerry and the college I have gained a deeper appreciation
of the magic associated with representing people in need.

I must add that Mumia Abu-Jamal knew I was writing this book but
never asked that he see it before publication. I kept the manuscript from
him to avoid even the insinuation that he had a hand in it. Mumia is a
client no law school curriculum can prepare a lawyer for. Some have wondered
whether Mumia could have attained the notoriety he has gained as the
cause celebre of death row if he had continued to pursue a journalism career.
I'm convinced that he has an enormous capacity to communicate and would
have been a major player in journalism at this point in his life had the events
of December 9, 1981, not occurred. Bur there is something inscrutable in
Mumia's character that expunges lament or sadness. I'll probably spend a
good part of my life joyously pondering what makes him tick. It is truly a
lawyer of good fortune who has that kind of client.

Although this book was written without any involvement of the vast
support network for Mumia, I would like to acknowledge my appreciation
for the efforts of the many people and organizations who have brought this
case to the attention of all those who would listen. Most notably, I stand in
awe of the tireless efforts of Pam Africa, who for two decades has worked to
support Mumia with single-minded devotion. He may very well have been
executed by now had it not been for her.

My sister, Lisa Williams, read the manuscript with a keen eye and a humane
sensibility. But most important, she was always supportive, even as she
prompted me to do better. My wife, Lisa D'Eufemia Williams, and a fine trial
lawyer for the poor in her own right, has been heroic over the years in giving
me a "room of my own" to work not only on this book but on the case itself.
Her words, "Daddy's working," undoubtedly reverberate constantly in my
young daughter's head.

Finally, I'd like to thank my agent, Noah Lukeman, my editor, Diane
Higgins, her terrific assistant, Nichole Argyres, and my copy editor, Deborah
Site Admin
Posts: 33189
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Executing Justice: An Inside Account of the Case of Mumi

Postby admin » Tue Jun 09, 2015 1:36 am



1. David Garrow, The FBI and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (New York:
Penguin Books, 1981).

2. Ward Churchill and Jim Vander Wall, ed., The COINTELPRO Papers
(Boston: South End Press, 1990).

3. Churchill, p. 123.

4. Manning Marable, Race, Reftrm and Rebellion: The Second Reconstruction
in Black America, 1945-1982 (Mississippi: University of Mississippi
Press, 1984), p. 122.

5. Churchill, p. 125.

6. Ibid., p. 164.

7. James Miller, Democracy Is in the Streets (New York: Simon & Schuster,
1987), p. 307.

8. Churchill, p. 164.

9. Memorandum from FBI headquarters to Chicago and seven other
field offices, dated May 15, 1970, cited in Churchill, p. 159-60.

10. Memorandum from the Special Agent in Charge, New York, to
Hoover, dated August 19, 1970, cited in Churchill, p. 160.

11. Mumia Abu-Jamal, Death Blossoms (Farmington, Pennsylvania: The
Plough Publishing House, 1997), pp. 132-33.

12. John Anderson and Hilaty Hevenor, Burning Down the House (New
York: W. W. Norton & Co., 1978), p. 11.

13. Ibid., p. 14.


1. American Bar Association, Toward a More just and Effective System
of Review in State Death Penalty Cases, 40 Am. U. L. Rev. 1, 79-92

2. Stephen Bright, "Counsel for the Poor: The Death Sentence not
for the Worst Crime but for the Worst Lawyer," in The Death Penalty in
America (ed. Hugo Adam Bedau) (New York: Oxford University Press,
1997), p. 281.


1. Gamble v. Georgia, 357 S.E.2d 792 (Ga. 1987).

2. Ford v. Georgia, 423 S.E.2d 245 (Ga. 1992).

3. Scott v. Alabama, 599 SO.2d 1222 (Ala. Crim. App. 1992).

4. Transcript of Postconviction Rec., pp. 39-56, Jefferson v. Alabama,
CC-8-77 (Chambers County Cir. Ct. 1989).

5. Roundtree v. State, 546 SO.2d 1042 (Fla. 1989).

6. Berger v. United States, 295 U.S. 78, 88 (1935).

7. J.E.B. v. Alabama, 511 U.S. 127, 137 n.8 (1994).


1. Callins v. Collins, 510 U.S. 1141 (1994).

2. Memorandum from Justice A. Scalia to the Conference of the
Justices, U.S. Supreme Court, on file with the Library of Congress.

3. John C. Jeffries, justice Lewis F. Powell, Jr.: A Biography (New York:
Macmillan Library, 1994), p.451.

4. "The Death Penalty in Black and White: Who Lives, Who Dies,
Who Decides," Death Penalty Information Center (June 1998).


1. Margaret Vandiver, "Capital Juror Interviews," in The Machinery of
Death, ed. by Enid Harlow, David Matos, and Jane Rocamora (New York:
AIUSA, 1995), p. 128.


1. "Did Abu-Jamal Want the Jury to Find Him Guilty?" Marc Kaufman,
Philadelphia Inquirer, 11 July 1982, p. 1.

2. Juror interview by defense team.

3. T. Rosenberg, "The Deadliest DA," The New York Times Magazine,
16 July 1995, p. 22.

4. Mumia Abu-Jamal v. Price, 1996 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 8570 (W.O.
Penn. 1996).


1. David Fellman, "Habeas Corpus," in Kermit L. Hall, ed. The Oxford
Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States (New York: Oxford
University Press, 1992), pp. 357-58.

2. Gaillard Hunt, ed., "Observations on the 'Draught of a Constitution
for Virginia,'" in The Writings of James Madison, 1787-1790 (New York:
Prometheus Books, 1992), pp. 284-89.
Site Admin
Posts: 33189
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Executing Justice: An Inside Account of the Case of Mumi

Postby admin » Tue Jun 09, 2015 1:36 am


ABC, xii, 196n
Abraham, Lynne, 30, 78, 202
Africa, Delbert, 47--48
Africa, Jeanerte:
Jamal's post-conviction appeal and, 229
jury verdict and, 177-78
Africa, John (Vincent Leaphart), 46, 48,
communications skills of, 114
Jamal's murder conviction and, 183
Jamal's post-conviction appeal and, 248
Jamal's request for trial assistance of,
100, 114-19, 121, 184-85, 197,
and penalry phase of Jamal's trial, 184-
86, 197
teachings of, 43--44, 74-76, 371
Africa, Ramona, 299, 375
African National Congress, 228
Alabama State Universiry, 88
All Things Censored Oamal), 371-77
All Things Considered, 300-301
American Bar Association, capital cases
and, 64, 68
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU),
American Lawyer, 227
Amherst College, 158
Amnesry International, vii, 366-67
Anderson, John, 46
Anti- Terrorism and Effective Death
Penalry Act (AEDPA), 365-66
Aryan Brotherhood, 207-8
Asata Speaks (Shakur), 158-59
Asner, Ed, xiii, 29-30, 212
Baldus, David, death penalry
jurisprudence, and, 102--4, 107-8
Baldwin, Alec, xiii
Ballard, Ruth, Jamal's post-conviction
appeal and, 231, 233, 236
ballistics evidence, 27-30, 85, 133, 356,
Jamal's post-conviction appeal and, 244-
Bass, Leon, 237
Batson v. Kentucky, 87-88, 90
Bell, Garry:
and death verdict of Jamal, 203
Jamal's alleged confession and, 27, 336-
38, 342--43, 358-59
Benjamin Franklin High School, 41, 237
Bennen, Daniel, 148, 349
Berrigan, Daniel, 210
Berrigan, Philip, 36, 210
Bippy (prostitute), 323
Black, Hugo, 64
Black Liberation Army, 40, 158
Blackmun, Harry A., death penalry and,
Black Nationalist Hate Groups (BNHG),
Black Panther-Black Community News
Service, 39--40
Black Panther Parry (BPP), 36--41, 115-
16, 158, 332
FBI and, 31-33, 36, 39--40
Jamal's membership in, viii, 37--41,
61,76,84, 186, 188-90,206-7,
228, 232, 299-300, 355, 363,
Black Panther Parry (cont.)
police in arresting and humiliating
members of, 36-37
police in killing members of, 191
politics of, 37-38
Blanchard, Allan, 375
Boger, Jack, 103
Bradley, Ed, 236
Brandeis University, 366
Brennan, William, death penalty and,
101, 104
Bright, Stephen, 65
Brown, Joseph, Jamal's post-conviction
appeal and, 308-11
Brown, Willie, 366
Bumpers, Eleanor, 375
Burns, Hugh, Jamal's post-conviction
appeal and, 221-24, 294
California, University of, at Berkeley, 209
Camus, Albert, xix, 73
Capital Juty Project, 180-82, 194
Carmichael, Stokely, 38
Castille, Ronald:
Jamal's Pennsylvania Supreme Court
appeal and, 206
juty selection and, 89
Sabo's decision and, 364
Chapter Communications, 190
Chesimard, Joanne, 158-59
Chicago Eight trial, 115-16, 121
Chicago Seven trial, 116, 226, 354
Weinglass and, 208-9, 223, 313
Chirac, Jacques, 228
Chobert, Robert:
criminal record of, 287, 289-90
Jamal's post-conviction appeal and,
244, 261-64, 267, 272-73, 275-77,
physical appearance of, 16, 19
police statement of, 17-18, 157-58,
287-90, 361
pretrial hearings testimony of, 82
trial testimony of, 16-19, 22, 132-33,
140-41, 157-58, 356, 358-59, 361
Christian Life Movement, see MOVE
City Council, Phila., 367
Clark, Mark, 191
Clinton, Bill, 365-66
Cohen, Jacob, 366
Coletta, Anthony V., 23
trial testimony of, 141-44
Collins, E. Steven, Jamal's post-conviction
appeal and, 231, 233-36
Commonwealth v. Henderson, 92n
Commonwealth v. Weslry Cook, aka
Mumia Abu-Jamal, vii-viii, xiii-xiv,
10-29, 48-49, 65, 111-13, 124-25,
128-34, 140-55, 157-60, 165-66,
169-71, 173,356-64
juty deliberations in, 175
jury selection in, 62, 85-88, 92n, 93-
100, 111-12, 124, 129, 137, 165,
jury verdicts in, 176-79, 183, 193,
196-97, 201-7, 213, 222, 345, 357
penalty phase of, 177-78, 182-97,206-
7, 232, 242-43
Pennsylvania Supreme Court on, 203-
7, 213, 222, 375
post-conviction appeal of, 211-99, 302-
52, 363-64
preliminary hearing of, 54-59, 62-63
pretrial hearings of, 81-82
Congress, U.S., 301
habeas corpus and, 364-65
Jamal's post-conviction appeal and, 227-
Congressional Black Caucus, vii, 366
Conrad, Joseph, 195
Constitution, U.S., 375
habeas corpus and, 364-66
and jury decision making in death
penalty cases, 181
First Amendment to, 206, 207-8
Sixth Amendment to, 75
Eighth Amendment to, 103
Fourteenth Amendment to, 103
Conyers, John, 366
Cook, Billy, 123-25, 360
Faulkner's scuffle with, 10, 13-14, 19-
20, 124-25
injuries of, 20
Jamal's alleged confession and, 25, 169
and Jamal's attempt to give opening
statement, 112
as Jamal's codefendant, 54-57
Jamal's post-conviction appeal and, 272-
73, 278-79, 288, 291-93, 296-97,
304-5, 316-17, 320-21, 323, 352
Jamal's relationship with, 57
juty deliberations and, 175
McGill's opening statement and, 124-
Magilton's testimony and, 21
Scanlan's testimony and, 19-21
White's testimony and, 13-14, 19-20,
Cook, Edith, 38
Jamal's bail hearing and, 59
jury verdier and, 176-77
Cook, Wayne, 38, 123
Corporarion for Public Broadcasring, 301
Correcrions Department, Pa., 214
counterintelligence programs
(COINTELPRO), 31-33, 39-40
Courchain, Edward, 95-97, 120
Culbreth, Richard, 280
Cultural Institute, U.S., 212
Darden, Chrisropher, 223
Darrow, Clarence, 212
Davidson, Joe, Jamal's post-conviction
appeal and, 231, 233, 236
Davis, Angela, xiii
Davis, Ossie, xiii, 212
Davis, Rennie, 115
Dawley, Jennie, 94-95, 119-20, 137,
Dawson, David, 207-8
Dawson v. Delaware, 208, 363
death penalry, death penalry cases, 192-
94, 201-3
arguments for abolition of, 257
habeas corpus and, 365
human arrogance and absolutism in,
inadequate resources and counsel in, 64-
jury decision making in, 179-82, 193-
jury selection in, 92-93, 156, 192, 374
media on, 108
and need for vengeance and cultural
expiation, 131
phases of, 156-57, 179-82
racism and, 101-9, 257, 367
Sabo's record in, viii, 78-80
Supreme Court on, 101-9, 193, 208,
299, 374
Death Penalry Information Center, 80,
Dellinger, David, 115
Dershowitz, Alan, 306
"Did Abu-Jamal Want the Jury ro Find
Him Guilry?" (Kaufman), 197
District Atrorney's Office, Phila., jury
selection training tape of, 83, 88-92,
District Court, U.S., 364
and Jamal's suit against prison officials,
Docrorow, E. L., x
Dole, Bob, 301
Douglass, Frederick, 31
Dred Scott v. Sanford, 103-4, 375
Duquesne University, 79-80
Durham, Priscilla:
Jamal's alleged confession and, 23-27,
331-32, 342-43, 359
Jamal's self-representation demands
and, 26-27
Emerson, Thomas I., 32
Equal Justice U.S.A., 300
European Parliament, 228, 366
Evers, Medgar, 234
Ewalt, George, 175-76
Fairness in Sentencing Act, 106
Fanon, Franz, 38
Farrell, Mike, xiii, 212
Fassnacht, George, 245
Jamal's post-conviction appeal and, 258-
60, 270
Farrah, Chaka, 366
Faulkner, Daniel, 166
background of, 4-5, 8
ballistics evidence and, 27-30
bloody shirt of, 130
Chobert's testimony and, 16-18, 22
Colerra's testimony and, 143-44
Cook's scuffle with, 10, 13-14, 19-20,
funeral of, 7-8
Jackson's closing statement and, 169
Jamal's alleged confession and, 23, 27,
133, 173, 332
and Jamal's attempt ro give opening
statement, 112
Jamal's bail hearing and, 61-62
Jamal's politics and, 188
Jamal's post-conviction appeal and, 237-
38, 244, 258, 260, 263-65, 272-73,
323-25, 327-28, 335-41, 347, 349
Jamal wounded by, 7, 9, 84, 125, 143-
44, 280-82, 305, 316, 323-24, 360-
Jones's testimony and, 147-48, 151
jury deliberations and, 175
jury verdicts and, 178, 203
last day at home of, 129-30
McGill's closing argument and, 171-
Faulkner, Daniel (cont.)
McGill's opening statement and, 124-
Magilton's testimony and, 21
making his sacrifice felt by jury, 128
media on, 83-84, 93
medical evidence and, 28-29
M. Faulkner's testimony and, 129-30
murder of, vii-ix, xi, xiii-xiv, xvi, 3-
10, 14-18, 20, 22-23, 27-30, 42,
49, 54, 61-62, 83-85, 89, 93, 122,
124-26, 128, 130-33, 141, 143,
147,158, 160, 165, 169, 172-75,
218, 237-38, 244, 258, 260, 263-
65, 273, 277, 284-85, 287-88, 292,
302, 305, 316-18, 324, 328, 332,
335-37, 339-41, 355-57, 359, 361
and penalry phase of Jamal's trial, 188,
physical appearance of, 8
Sabo's decision and, 363
Scanlan's testimony and, 19-20, 22
Shoemaker's testimony and, 131-32
White's testimony and, 12-15, 19-20,
22, 57, 63, 360
Faulkner, Joseph, 218
Faulkner, Maureen, xiv, 5, 7, 356-57
courtroom presence of, 128-30
and death verdict of Jamal, 202
Jamal's post-conviction appeal and,
218, 246, 283-84, 305, 317-18
Jamal's preliminary hearing and, 57-58
and murder conviction of Jamal, 176
physical appearance of, 128-29
Sabo's decision and, 363
trial testimony of, 129-31
Faulkner, Tom, 218
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), 35-
BPP and, 31-33, 36, 39-40
Jamal's post-conviction appeal and, 317-
Philadelphia police abuses investigated
by, 63, 325
surveillance of Jamal by, 40
Federalist Papers, The, 365
Fisk, Arlene, Jamal's post-conviction
appeal and, 293-94, 311, 313-17,
320, 324, 326, 350-51
Florida, death penalry jurisprudence in,
Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), vii, x, 3, 7
and death verdict of Jamal, 202
Jamal's bail hearing and, 60
Jamal's post-conviction appeal and, 220
media and, 220, 357-58
NPR threatened by, 301
Sabo's membership in, 220
and strength of case against Jamal, 29
Freeman, Kenneth, 14
Jamal's post-conviction appeal and, 292-
Froines, John, 115
"From an Echo in Darkness, a Step into
Light" Oamal), 371-77
Frost, Robert, 211
Funnan v. Georgia, 257
Galilei, Galileo, 354
Garry, Charles, 115
Garvey, Marcus, 32
Gelb, Marilyn, Jamal's post-conviction
appeal and, 302-3
General Accounting Office (GAO), 106
Georgia, death penalry jurisprudence in,
Gioffre, Joseph, 280
Giordano, Alphonse:
corruption of, 59, 63
Jamal's alleged confession and, 58-59
Glover, Danny, 212
Goddard College, 41
Goldberg, Whoopi, 29-30
Goode, Wilson, 299
Gotrlieb, Brian, 214
Gottlieb, Mark E., 78
Grant, Joey:
author's run-ins with, 246-47, 249
Jamal's post-conviction appeal and,
223, 230, 237-38, 246-50, 252-56,
265-69, 276, 293-94
Green, Detective, 314
Green, William J., III, 7-8
Greer, Robert, Jamal's post-conviction
appeal and, 279-80
Griffin v. Illinois, 64
Gulf War, 300
habeas corpus, 215, 364-66
Hamilton, Alexander, 365
Hamilton, Ken, Jamal's post-conviction
appeals and, 231, 237
Hanrahan, Edward Y., 191
Hanrahan, Noelle, 371, 377
Harkins, Robert, 356, 358, 360-62
criminal record of, 261
Jamal's post-conviction appeal and, 260-
69, 271, 278, 282, 288
Harmon, William:
criminal record of, 324
Jamal's post-conviction appeal and, 321-
Harvard University, 220, 227
Hawkins, Steve, Jamal's post-conviction
appeal and, 211, 215, 243,260, 329-
Hayden, Tom, 33, 115, 208
Hayes, John, Jamal's post-convicrion
appeal and, 281-82, 317
Heart of Darkness (Conrad), 195
Herron, Richard, 280
Hevenor, Hilary, 46
Highrower, Dessie, 358
Jamal's posr-convicrion appeal and, 272-
police sratemenr of, 145, 274-75
polygraph examination of, 274-75
rrial tesrimony of, 141, 144-46, 150,
Hoffman, Abbie, 115, 226
Hoffman, Julius, 115-16, 121,223,226,
Hood, Ian, 312
Hoover, J. Edgar, 32, 356
Horowirz, David, 214
Howard, Arnold, Jamal's posr-convicrion
appeal and, 292-97, 302, 308-11
Human Righrs Watch, 228
Illinois, dearh penalty jurisprudence in,
Inrernarional Commission of Jucisrs, 107
!nrerner, 366
Jackson, Anrhony, 52-56, 58-63, 83,
131, 174-75,302
in anempring ro ger Kordansky ro
resrify, 153-55, 157-58
backup counsel role of, 77-78, 80-81,
Choben's police sraremenr and, 17
Chobert's resrimony and, 16-18
closing argumenr of, 25, 167-70, 173
Colena's resrimony and, 141-44
and conilicrs between Jamal and Sabo,
113, 134, 136-40
ctying of, 248-49
and death verdicr of Jamal, 202
educarion of, 52
finances of, 53, 66-69, 71, 80, 154-
55, 245-46, 249, 252-53, 256, 280,
frusrrarions of, 71
Highrower's resrimony and, 145-46,
Jamal's alleged confession and, 23-25,
141, 157, 161-67, 169, 183-84,
Jamal's bail hearing and, 59-62, 233
Jamal's Pennsylvania Supreme Coucr
appeal and, 206
Jamal's poliries and, 186
Jamal's posr-conviction appeal and, 232-
33, 240-49, 252-56, 262-63, 268,
272, 275-77, 279-80, 287-88, 290-
91, 293
Jamal's preliminaty hearing and, 54-
Jamal's pretrial hearings and, 81-82
Jamal's self-represenrarion demands
and, 26, 75-77, 134, 136-39, 162,
Jones's resrimony and, 146-53, 344,
347, 349
juty deliberarions and, 175
juty selecrion and, 62, 85-88, 93, 95-
97, 99-100, 124, 137
lead counsel role returned ro, 117-18,
120-21, 162
legal experience of, 52-53, 242
and lineup idenrification of Jamal,
McGill's closing argumenr and, 170-
media and, 146, 152, 178
and murder conviction of Jamal, 177-
opening statemenr of, 140
opening statemenr postponed by, 126-
27, 140
and penalty phase of Jamal's trial, 177-
78, 182-86, 191-92, 232, 242-43
physical appearance of, 53
racism and, 85-86, 88
and removal of Dawley from jury, 119-
Sanchez's restimony and, 158-60
Scanlan's restimony and, 19-21
Thomas's testimony and, 145-46
threats againsr family of, 174
rrial preparation of, 9-10, 69-70, 140-
160-62, 166, 168-69, 177, 191-92,
242-45, 248, 253
White's testimony and, 58, 151, 153
Jackson, Jesse, vii, 227, 234
Jackson, Jesse (cont.)
Jamal's post-conviction appeal and, 283-
Sabo's decision and, 364
Jamal, Jamal Abu-, 39
Jamal, Mumia Abu- (Wesley Cook):
alleged confession of, 11, 22-27, 30,
67,169,172-73, 183-84,244,331-
44, 358-59, 362-63
alleged police brutalization of, 6, 54-
55, 132-33, 141-44,341-42
in attempting to give opening
statement, 111-13
attempts to secure execution stay for,
215-16, 222, 224-25, 228,
author's respect for, 330
bail hearing of, 59-62, 233
broadcasting career of, 41-42, 99, 135,
164-65, 233-36, 301, 305, 323
calls for clemency for, 227-28
character witnesses for, 158-60
charisma of, 41, 300
childhood of, 38-39, 236-37
commitment to community of, 234-36
communications skills of, 99, 135,
138, 235, 300, 368
crudeness of, 118
death verdict of, 196-97,201-3,205,
demeanor of, 62, 97, 284
education of, 38-39, 41, 236-37
eyewitness testimony against, 10-22,
29, 62-63, 82, 124-25, 131-34,
166, 169-70, 173, 356, 362
finances of, 42-43
frustrations of, 71-72
gun of, 28-29, 132-34, 145, 157,
244, 258-60, 278, 318, 342, 344,
356, 359, 362
gunshot wound of, viii, 7, 9, 15, 17-
18, 28, 42, 54-55, 84, 125, 132,
141-44, 165-66, 173, 280-82, 287-
88, 305, 316, 323-24, 360-61
honors and awards of, 42, 59, 228,
233, 235, 366
hospitalization of, 6-7, 9, 53-56, 125-
26, 132, 141-42, 166, 183
imprisonment of, vii, ix-xii, xv, 366-
intellect of, xi-xii, xv, 38, 76, 82, 110,
115-16, 164-65, 185, 237, 285-86,
332, 368
journalism career of, viii, 6, 8, 39-44,
jury selection and, 93-95, 97-99, 165
marital difficulties of, 42-43
media on, 30, 42, 83-85, 97, 139,
187-91, 197,203,205-6,217-18,
324, 329, 335, 355
murder conviction of, 176-79, 183,
193, 203-8, 252, 284, 345, 357,
name changed by, 38-39
national and international suppott for,
vii, xi-xii, 212, 216, 218, 226-28,
285-87, 299-302, 305, 307, 318,
328, 345, 366-67
nonviolence of, 234-35
penalty phase statement of, 182-86,
physical appearance of, 18, 21, 27-28,
37, 43, 49, 56-57, 62-63, 84, 94,
99, 110, 132, 138, 142-45, 177,
217, 277-78, 287, 291, 295, 300,
politics of, viii, 8, 37-41, 43-44, 49,
61-62, 70, 74, 76, 83-85, Ill,
116, 123, 132, 134, 142, 160, 165,
173, 179, 185-86, 188-91, 195-97,
206-7, 228, 232, 248, 277-78, 298-
300, 303, 306, 332, 355, 363, 366,
on prison life, 214, 300, 369, 371-77
religious beliefs of, 38, 371-72
and removal of Dawley from juty, 119-
self-representation demands of, 26-27,
75-77, 114-21, 134-40, 162, 165-
66, 183-84, 253, 255
skepticism of, 76
tampering with mail of, 214-15, 229
trial of, see Commonwealth v. Wesley
Cook, aka Mumia Abu-Jamal
warrant for execution of, 213-15, 224,
writings of, x-xii, xv-xvi, 214, 285,
300, 369, 371-77
Jefferson University Hospital:
Jamal's alleged confession at, 23-24,
Jamal's treatment at, 6-7, 9, 23, 27,
132, 183
Jenkins, Pamela, Jamal's post-conviction
appeal and, 325-28
Jesus, 354, 368-69
Jones, Michael, 320-21
Jones, Veronica:
Jamal's post-conviction appeal and, 262-
63, 268, 272-73, 276-77, 279, 318-
media and, 150, 350
physical appearance of, 146-47
police manipulation of, 128, 150-53,
166, 344, 347-50, 359
police statement of, 128, 148-53, I 57-
58, 349, 358
trial testimony of, 128, 141, 146-54,
157-58, 166, 344, 347-50
Judiciary Act, 364-65
juries, jury selection, 85-101,119-20,
163, 165
in death penalty cases, 92-93, 156,
179-82, 192-94,374
deliberations of, 175, 179-82, 193-94
Jamal's post-conviction appeal and, 270-
71, 363
for Jamal's trial, 62, 85-88, 92n, 93-
100, 111-12, 124, 129, 137, 165,
178, 270-71, 363
media and, 93, 95, 97, lOa, III,
M. Faulkner and, 129
Philadelphia District Attorney's Office's
training tape on, 83, 88-92, 364
racism in, 83, 85-93, 100-101, 192,
270-71, 363
Sabo's instructions to, 175-76
Justice Department, U.S.:
on death penalty, 106
Philadelphia Police Department
investigated by, 45, 53, 59, 325, 328
justice on the Cheap: The Philadelphia
Story, 80
Kairys, David, 376
Kaminsky, Detective, Jamal's alleged
confession and, 338--40
Kaufman, Marc, 197
Kazantzakis, Nikos, 368-69
Kentucky, death penalty jurisprudence in,
King, Martin Luther, Jr., 32, 234
Kingdom of Yahweh, 43
Komisaruk, Katya, 209-11
Kordansky, Debbie, 164
blacks disliked by, 154
Jackson's attempts to get her to testifY,
153-55, 157-58
Jamal's post-conviction appeal and, 243-
44, 272-73, 275-76
police statement of, 153, 275-76,
Kubacki, Stanley, 31, 48--49
Kunstler, William, 116, 210, 313
Labaton, Stephen, 366
Larsen, Rolf, 204-6
Last Temptation of Christ, The
(Kazantzakis), 368-69
Law Enforcement Assistance
Administration, 53
Leaphart, Vincent, see Mrica, John
Le Carre, John, 296
Ledewitz, Bruce, 79-80
Leopold, Nathan, 212
Lewis, Claude, 84
life-withom-parole system, 180
Lincoln, Abraham, 365-66
Little Red Book (Mao Tse-tung), 188
Livefrom Death Row Oamal), 214
Lloyd, Clement, 375
Lockhart v. McCree, 374
Loeb, Richard, 212
Los Angeles Times, 79
McCleskey, Warren, 102-5
McCleskey v. Kemp, 101-9
McDermott, James T., 118, 190
McGill, Joseph, 9, 12-20,81,89, 110-
II, 128-33, 221, 355-58, 360, 362
and Mrica's assistance to Jamal, 115-
ballistics evidence and, 28-29
Choberr's testimony and, 16-18, 133
closing argument of, 161, 170-74,
205, 332, 367
Coletta's testimony and, 143--44
and conflicts berween Jamal and Sabo,
113, 122, 135-36, 138, 171-72,
on courtroom fighting, 123-24
demeanor of, 54, 124, 147
Giordano's testimony and, 58-59
and Jackson's attempts to get
Kordansky to testifY, 153-54
Jackson's backup counsel role and, 117
Jackson's closing statement and, 170
Jackson's economic problems and, 68-
Jamal's alleged confession and, 22-25,
27, 58-59, 126, 133, 161-64, 172-
73, 332, 334
McGill, Joseph (cont.)
and Jamal's attempr ro give opening
sraremenr, Ill, 113
Jamal's bail hearing and, 59-62
Jamal's inrelligence and, 110, 115-16,
164-65, 185
Jamal's Pennsylvania Supreme Coucr
appeal and, 205-7
Jamal's poliries and, 111, 186, 188-91,
195, 206-7, 232, 332, 355, 363
Jamal's posr-convicrion appeal and, 230-
264-65, 273, 280-82, 287, 289-91,
Jamal's preliminary hearing and, 54-
Jamal's prerrial hearings and, 82
Jamal's self-represenrarion demands
and, 115-19
Jones's resrimony and, 149-52
jury deliberarions and, 175
jury selecrion and, 85-86, 92n, 93-95,
97-99, 111, 124, 129
jury verdicrs and, 178, 202-3
law and order argumenr of, 194-96
and lineup idenrificarion of Jamal, 63
Magilron's resrimony and, 19
media and, 97, 178, 186-91,202-3,
medical evidence and, 28-29
M. Faulkner's resrimony and, 129-30
opening sraremenr of, 27, 124-26,
131, 140, 170
and penalry phase of Jamal's erial, 177,
182-97, 206-7, 232, 242
physical appearance of, 54, 86
and posrponemenr of Jackson's opening
sraremenr, 127
racism and, 86, 92n, 100
and removal of Dawley from jury, 119-
and Sabo's relarionship with
prosecurors, 78-79, 98
Sanchez's resrimony and, 158-60
Scanlan's resrimony and, 19-21
on srrengrh of case againsr Jamal, 29-
Thomas's resrimony and, 145-46
erial prepararion of, 69-70
Whire's resrimony and, 12-15, 57-58,
63, 144, 360
MacInryre, A1asdair, 353
McMahon, Jack, 89-92, 364
Madison, James, 365
Magilron, A1berr:
Jamal's posr-convicrion appeal and,
264, 275-77, 317
erial resrimony of, 19, 21-22, 133
Magna Carra, 364
Malcolm X, 234
Malcolm X High School, 41, 237
Malmed, Edwin S., 48
Mandela, Nelson, 228, 285
Manfredi, William, 66
Mao Tse-rung, 38, 179, 188, 191, 195,
206, 232, 355, 363
Marley, Bob, 42
Marshall, Thurgood, 257
on dearh penalry, 102, 104
Mason, Mary, 234-35
media, 283
on death penalry, 108
on Faulkner, 83-84, 93
FOP and, 220, 357-58
Jackson and, 146, 152, 178
on Jamal, 30, 42, 83-85, 97, 139, 187-
91, 197,203,205-6,217-18,225-
28, 231-35, 285, 300-301, 324,
329, 335, 355
Jones and, 150, 350
jury selecrion and, 93, 95, 97, 100,
Ill, 120
McGill and, 97, 178, 186-91,202-3,
206, 357-58
MOVE and, 47, 111,203
Sabo and, 79-80, 93, 97, 226-27,
230, 251-52, 286, 313, 352
Weinglass and, 230, 272, 286, 313
see also specific newspapers and radio
medical evidence, 28-29, 85, 361-62
Jamal's posr-convicrion appeal and, 244-
45, 280-82, 312, 317
Mekel, Edward, 58-60
Jamal's bail hearing and, 59-60
Jamal's preliminary hearing and, 56, 58-
Mitterrand, Danielle, 228
Monremuro, Frank J., Jr., 225
Moore, Acel, 233
MOVE, 31, 70-71, 177, 332, 360, 375
Choberr's resrimony and, 16, 18
and death verdict of Jamal, 202-3
ideology of, 43-44, 74
Jamal's associarion wirh, viii, 8, 43-44,
49,61,70,74,76,83-85, Ill, 116,
123, 132, 134, 142, 165, 185, 188,
Jamal's post-conviction appeal and,
78, 298-99, 302
media and, 47, Ill, 203
Philadelphia police assaults on, 46-49,
58, 7~ 132, 139, 173, 294, 299
MOVE Nine trial, 48-49, 70, 76, 118,
139, 205, 299
"Mumia Abu-Jamal, Celebrity Cop
Killer" (Abraham), 30
National African American Leadership
Summit, 227
National Association for the Advancement
of Colored People (NAACP), 32
on death penalty, 102-3
Legal Defense and Education Fund of,
102-3, 211, 376n
National Public Radio (NPR), xii, 300-
Native Son (Wright), 231
Navstar, 209
New Left, 115
Newsweek, 108
Newton, Huey, 31, 38
New York Times, xi, 30, 227, 365-66
New York Times Magazine, 202
Nietzsche, Friedrich, 209
Nix, Robert N. c., Jr., 204-6
Jamal's Pennsylvania Supreme Court
appeal and, 205-6
North Carolina, 181
Ogletree, Charles, 227
Oklahoma City bombing, 365
Omnibus Crime Control bill, 106
O'Neill, Joseph, 47
Osgood, Charles, 236
Partisan Defense Committee (PDC), 211,
pro-Jamal movement of, 299-302,
305, 307, 328
Pennsylvania, University of, 158
Pennsylvania Bat Association, 367
Peters, Nick, 233, 235
Philadelphia, Pa.:
anti-counterculture crusade in, 34-35
death penalty jurisprudence in, 107-8
death verdicts in, 201-3
finances of, 66-67, 69
Jamal's commitment to African-
American community of, 234
Justice Department suit against, 45, 53
police-state governance of, 33-34, 45
pro-Jamal rallies in, 318
prosecutorial misconduct in, 223
racial polarization of, viii, 31, 33--37, 41,
44-45, 47-48, 61, 84-85, 132, 356
targeting political radicalism in, 35-36
Philadelphia Association of Black
Journalists, 42, 59, 235
Philadelphia Bar Association, 367
Philadelphia Bulletin, 84
Philadelphia Daily News, 325
on Jamal, 84, 139, 205-6, 233-34
on Sabo, 226, 352
Philadelphia Inquirer, 324
on courtroom fighting, 123
Jackson and, 152
on Jamal, 42,83-84, 187-91, 197,
203, 235
on jury selection, 100
MOVE and, 47
on Pennsylvania Supreme Court
appeal, 205-6
on Sabo, 79-80, 226-27
on self-representation demands, 139
Philadelphia Magazine, 203
Pigford, Robert, 144-45
Piper, Jonathan:
Jamal's post-conviction appeal and, 211-
politics of, 211, 298-99, 302, 306
Police Department, Phila.:
alleged brutalization of Jamal by, 6, 54-
55, 132-33, 141-44, 341-42
anti-counterculture crusade of, 35
Civil Defense (CD) squad of, 35-36
federal investigation of, 11, 45, 53, 59,
63, 280, 325, 328
Freeman's and Cook's business
destroyed by, 297, 317
Jackson's employment with, 52
Jamal's politics and, 37
MOVE raids of, 46-49, 58, 132, 139,
173, 294, 299
political radicalism targeted by, 35-36
prostitutes' testimonies manipulated by,
11, 128, 150-53, 166,278-80,343-
44, 347-50, 359
racism of, viii, 33-37, 41, 45, 48
Stakeout Unit of, 47-49, 58, 132
Post-Conviction Relief Act (PCRA) ,
Jamal's litigation under, 211-99,
302-52, 363-64
Powell, Lewis, 103, 105
Public Interest Law Center of
Philadelphia (PILCOP), 53
Quixote Center, 300
Racial Justice Act, 105-6, 109
death penalry cases and, 101-9, 257,
in jury selection, 83, 85-93, 100-101,
192, 270-71, 363
Pennsylvania Supreme Court and, 204-
in Philadelphia, viii, 31, 33-37, 41, 44-
45, 47--48, 61, 84-85, 132, 356
Ramp, James J., shooting death of, 47-
49, 62, 132, 299
Reagan, Ronald, 209, 365
Rendell, Ed, 9, 363
Reno, Janet, 227-28
Republican National Committee, 226
Ribner, Paul, 50, 74-75, 83, 118, 162,
190, 320
Jackson's economic problems and, 67-
and Jackson's role as backup counsel,
Jamal's bail hearing and, 60-61
Jamal's post-conviction appeal and,
245, 279
Jamal's preliminary hearing and, 55-56
Jamal's self-representation demands
and, 75-77
jury selection and, 62, 86-87
and lineup identification of Jamal, 63
physical appearance of, 71
racism and, 87
Richardson, David P.:
Jamal's bail hearing and, 61
Jamal's post-conviction appeal and,
231, 233-34, 236-37
Ridge, Thomas, 367
and calls for clemency for Jamal, 227-
Jamal's death warrant and, 213-15,
224, 229
Rizzo, Frank L., 8, 33-35, 53, 58, 89,
anti-counterculture crusade of, 34-35
background of, 33-34
Justice Department suit against, 45,
mayoral campaigns of, 44--45
MOVE assaults and, 47--48
political radicalism targeted by, 35
racism of, 33-37, 44--45, 47--48
Rodriguez, America, 235
Rosenberg, Julius and Ethel, 354
Rubin, Jerry, 115
Rushdie, Salman, 228
Ryan, Tom, Jamal's post-conviction
appeal and, 325-28
Sabo, Albert F., 10, 133-35, 156, 160-
67, 201
on Africa's assistance to Jamal, 114-17,
119, 121
argument for recusal of, 219-20, 222,
capital case record of, viii, 78-80
conflicts between Jamal and, 99-100,
113-23, 134--40, 166-67, 171-72,
190, 197,219
conflicts between Weinglass and, 248-
52, 271, 282-83, 312-13
conflicts between Wolkenstein and,
contempt threats of, 114, 117, 240-
on courtroom fighting, 123-24
decision of, 363-64
demeanor of, 154-55
and Jackson's attempts to get
Kordansky to testify, 154-55
Jackson's backup counsel role and, 80-
Jamal's alleged confession and, 24-25,
161-67, 183, 333-34, 340, 363
and Jamal's attempt to give opening
statement, Ill, 113
Jamal's intelligence and, 110, 116, 164-
Jamal's Pennsylvania Supreme Court
appeal and, 206
Jamal's post-conviction appeal and,
215, 218-32, 238--42, 244, 246--47,
249-54, 260, 263, 265-75, 278-79,
321-23, 328, 340, 345--47, 349,
351-52, 363
Jamal's pretrial hearings and, 82
Jamal's self-representation demands
and, 26-27, 134-39, 165-66, 183-
and Jamal's stay of execution motion,
222, 224, 228, 284-87
Jones's testimony and, 149, 151-52,
jury instructions of, 175-76
jury selection and, 93-94, 96--100, 124
justice defined by, 269
McGill's opening statment and, 126
media and, 79-80, 93, 97, 226--27,
and penalty phase of Jamal's trial, 177,
183-87, 190,242
physical appearance of, 122-23, 137-
and postponement of Jackson's opening
srarement, 127
protests at home of, 225-26
relationship between prosecutors and,
78-79, 98, 152, 163, 219, 225, 227,
230,251-53, 265-66, 275, 278,
282, 287, 314, 321, 334, 352, 363
and removal of Dawley from jury, 119-
and return of Jackson to lead counsel
role, 117, 120-21
temper of, 114, 120
Thomas's testimony and, 146
trial record preserved by, 121, 135,
Sacco, Nicola, 354
St. Hill, Timothy, Jamal's bail hearing
and, 59
Sanchez, Sonya, 158-60
Sane, Pierre, 366--67
Savitt, David, 64, 66, 92
Scalia, Anronin, 105
Scanlan, Michael:
demeanor of, 19-20
Jamal's post-conviction appeal and,
264, 275-78, 293, 295, 317
physical appearance of, 19
police statement of, 21, 277
trial testimony of, 19-22, 133, 358,
Scarfo, Nicodemo, 223
Scopes, John T., 354
Scottsboro Boys case, 64, 299
Seale, Bobby G., Chicago Eight trial and,
Secret Pilgrim, The (Le Carre), 296
Shakur, Asara, 158-59
Sheriffs' Association, 220
Shoemaker, Robert, trial testimony of,
Simpson, O. J., 223, 300, 325
Singletary, Mike, 303
Singletary, William, 356, 359
demeanor of, 319-20
Jamal's post-conviction appeal and, 302-
8, 311-25, 329
police statements of, 314-17, 319
Society of Professional Journalists, 42
Socrates, 354
Sowetan, The, 228
Specter, Arlen, 52
Jamal's post-conviction appeal and, 226--
Spence, Gerry, 187, 335
State Department, U.S., 228
State Judiciary Committee, Pa., 68
Stevens, John Paul, 104
Stewart, Michael, 375
Srreet, Milton, 61, 233
Student Nonviolent Coordinating
Committee (SNCC), 38
Students for a Democratic Society (SDS),
Supreme Court, Del., 207-8
Supreme Court, Ga., 102
Supreme Court, Pa., xiii, 89, 313
Jamal's execution stay and, 224
Jamal's murder conviction appeals to,
203-7, 213, 222, 375
Jamal's post-conviction appeal and, 225-
26, 230, 284, 345-46
on Jamal's self-representation, 118,
on jury selection, 92n
Sabo's decision and, 364
scandals of, 204-5
Supreme Court, U.S., 204
on Dawson, 207-8
on death penalty, 101-9, 193, 208,
299, 374
Jamal's murder conviction appeals to,
206--8, 252, 284, 364
on jury selection, 87-88, 90-92
Sutton, Detective, 266
Sweet Sam, 292
Taney, Roger B., 375
Taylor, Stuart, 227
Teachings of John Africa, The (Africa), 44
Temple University, 41, 52, 158, 236
Thomas, William, 341
trial restimony of, 145-46
Time, 217
Tina (prostitute), 323
Tolstoy, Leo, 353
Trombetta, Stephen, 343, 359
Trotsky, Leon, 211
Tutu, Desmond, 285
United Nations Special Rapporteur on
Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary
Executions, 106-7
Vaniry Fair, 329
Vanzetti, Bartolomeo, 354
Wakshul, Gary:
Jamal's alleged confession and, 161-67,
Jamal's post-conviction appeal and,
244, 333-44, 363
Walker, Alice, xiii, xv, 212
Wallace, George, 37, 40
Wallace, Lydia, 6-7
Jamal's murder conviction and, 176
Jamal's post-conviction appeal and,
231, 233, 236
Wall Street Journal, 233, 236
WDAS, 42
Wecht, Cyril, 205
Weiner, Lee, 115
Weinglass, Leonard, xii, 208-13, 356,
ambassador role of, 216
author's acquaintance with, 209-11
Chicago Seven trial and, 208-9, 223,
conflicts between Sabo and, 248-52,
271, 282-83, 312-13
contempt citations against, 312-13
Jamal's execution stay application and,
Jamal's post-conviction appeal and, 211-
13, 215-17, 219-26, 229-30, 239-
46, 249-54, 260-62, 271-72, 281-
3, 305-8, 311-15, 320-22, 327-30,
333-34, 345, 347-49, 351-52
Komisaruk case and, 210-11
media and, 230, 272, 286, 313
West, Cornel, xii-xvi, 201
Jamal's post-conviction appeal and,
220, 224-25
WHAT, 41, 234
White, Cynthia "Lucky," 147
background of, 12-13
death of, 327
Jackson's closing statement and, 169
Jamal's post-conviction appeal and,
261, 263-65, 272-73, 275-76, 278-
82, 292, 304, 317, 326-27
Jones's testimony and, 150-53
and lineup identification of Jamal,
McGill's opening statement and, 124-
physical appearance of, 12, 19
police manipulation of, 11, 278-80,
343-44, 348-49
police statement of, 17-18,21,148,
152, 278-79
preliminary hearing testimony of, 57-
pretrial hearings testimony of, 82
prostitution arrests of, 278-79
trial testimony of, 11-15, 17-20, 22,
58, 133, 140-41, 143-44, 151-53,
166, 356, 358, 360-62
Williams, Hannah, 221
Witcher, Raleigh, 326-27
Witherspoon v. Illinois, 92-93, 192
Wolkenstein, Rachel:
conflicts between Sabo and, 270-72
Jamal's execution stay application and,
Jamal's post-conviction appeal and, 211-
243, 246, 270-72, 283, 286, 298-
317-18,320-22, 324, 328-30, 345-
media and, 283, 286
politics of, 211-12, 216-17, 229, 246,
298-99, 302, 306-7
Woodworth, George, 102
Wordsworth, William, 38
Wright, Richard, 231
WUHY, 41, 233, 235
Yale Law Journal, xii
Yale University, 32, 208, 211
Yippies, 115
Site Admin
Posts: 33189
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am


Return to Mumia Abu-Jamal

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest