June 10, 2005

Mumia Appeal Denied!

Emergency Call to ACTION


Once again, Mumia Abu-Jamal, an innocent man on Pennsylvania's Death Row for 23 years, is being denied justice because the court system is violating his right to due process, to the consideration of relevant evidence, and to a new and fair trial, if not his immediate release. Judge Pamela Dembe, in the Court of Common Pleas, has hammered another nail into the coffin they're preparing for Mumia by rubberstamping the record of the notorious "Hanging Judge" Albert Sabo.

The whole world denounced Mumia Abu-Jamal's trial and his Post Conviction Relief Appeal (PCRA) held in 1982 and 1995 respectively in the courtroom of Judge Albert Sabo. Legal groups such Amnesty International, the International Association of Democratic Lawyers, the Criminal Justice Institute at Harvard Law School, the National Lawyers Guild, and the National Conference of Black Lawyers detailed the many violations of US and international laws that Sabo committed. World leaders such as Nelson Mandela, then President of South Africa, Bishop Desmond Tutu, French President Jacques Chirac, the Japanese Diet (Japan's legislative body), and the US Congressional Black Caucus denounced the trial and PCRA as being unjust, illegal, and racist. Religious leaders, writers, artists, and other intellectuals from across the globe expressed outrage at the conviction and death sentence imposed on Mumia, and millions petitioned and marched to demand Mumia's freedom or at the very least a new and fair trial.

Now after four years of Mumia's case being before Judge Pamela Dembe , we see a pattern of supporting all of Sabo's rulings, with the only difference being that Dembe's decisions have been made in the absence of Mumia or his supporters in the courtroom. There is a deafening silence from many of those who were so outraged only ten years ago. WE CANNOT REMAIN SILENT WHILE THE RAILROADING OF MUMIA TOWARD EXECUTION OR LIFE IN PRISON CONTINUES. THE ATTEMPT TO KILL MUMIA IS NOT FOR ANY CRIME HE COMMITTED. IT IS FOR HIS UNCOMPROMISING POLITICAL POSITIONS AND HIS ELOQUENCE IN EXPRESSING THEM. Refusing to include evidence pointing to Mumia's innocence in the record prevents the higher courts from reviewing these critical affidavits.

What Judge Dembe has done is deny Mumia his constitutional and human right to a fair judicial process. She has sustained every decision Sabo made and refused to introduce extremely relevant and crucial material pointing to Mumia's innocence. When Mumia's attorneys submitted an affidavit by someone who said that it was he, and not Mumia, who killed Officer Faulkner, and this affidavit supported other witnesses' versions of what happened on the night of December 9, 1981, Judge Dembe dismissed the confession as "untimely". Similarly, she declared affidavits from Mumia and his brother presenting their side of what happened that night as also "untimely". When Mumia and his lawyers fought for Mumia's right to be present at his hearing in August 2001, Judge Dembe allowed prison officials to revoke Mumia's scheduled court appearance in Philadelphia. When Mumia and his lawyers presented an affidavit from a highly credible court stenographer who heard Judge Sabo say in 1982, in the supposed privacy of another courtroom, "Yeah, and I'm going to help 'em fry the nigger", Judge Dembe ruled that that testimony should not be introduced into the record. Unable to argue that it was "untimely", she presented the ridiculous explanation that even if Sabo had actually made the comment the witness alleged he did, it did not prove that his decisions were affected by this expressed intention. Also, she said the issue of Sabo's racism had already been raised earlier and so did not need to be reviewed again. When presented with two new affidavits this year pointing to Mumia's innocence, Dembe cancelled a scheduled hearing to present the evidence and, now on May 27th she has ruled that this evidence is to be excluded from the record, thus preventing a serious consideration of Mumia's innocence in the higher courts.



June 16th will be the last day Mumia can file for "reconsideration" of Dembe's ruling. We must let the courts know that we will not be quiet in the face of this outrageous and continuous process to kill and SILENCE OUR BROTHER MUMIA.

For more information call :

International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal

(215) 476-8812 or Free Mumia Abu Jamal Coalition (NYC) (212) 927-2924

Also, call Judge Frederica A. Massiah-Jackson, Pamela Dembe's supervisor, at (215) 686-2523 to let her know how outraged you are by Judge Dembe's decisions. Tell her you think the evidence of Mumia's innocence must be included in the record! You can even quote from the excerpts below.

"Juries can only be accurate assessors of events if they are given a complete view of the facts - including any differing explanations and interpretations of events … These factors were clearly missing in Abu-Jamal's trial… Amnesty International has determined that numerous aspects of this case clearly failed to meet minimum international standards safeguarding the fairness of legal proceedings … the interests of justice would best be served by the granting of a new trial to Mumia Abu-Jamal"
--From Amnesty International's The Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal: A Life in the Balance

"A grave injustice is about to be committed. We are rushing to execute someone in the face of ample evidence that his constitutional rights have been denied, that he did not receive a fair trial, and most importantly, that he may be innocent…we urge you … to have Judge Sabo recuse himself from this case" and that "he is granted a new trial".
--From the Congressional Black Caucus letter to Attorney General Janet Reno, initiated by Congressman Chaka Fattah, on June 30, 1995.

More info: http://www.mumia.org/freedom.now/