MUMIA'S LAWYERS MOVE TO DISMISS CHARGES

Jesse Hirsh (jesse@tao.ca)
Fri, 27 Dec 1996 00:51:52 +0000 ()


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---------- Forwarded message ---------- Date: Thu, 26 Dec 1996 17:18:30 -0800 From: Jahfree I Kupendua <nattyreb@ix.netcom.com> To: parcer@igc.apc.org, quixote@igc.apc.org, refuse@calyx.com, spg-l@xs4all.nl, tank@xs4all.nl, pebble@st.rim.or.jp, jahfreei@webcom.com, mumia@village.ios.com, nattyreb@ix.netcom.com Subject: MUMIA'S LAWYERS MOVE TO DISMISS CHARGES

for immediate release: Contact: Pam Africa (215) 476-8812 Thurs., December 26, 1996 Jane Henderson (301) 699-0042 Leona rd Weinglass (212) 807-8646

From: International Concerned Family & Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal P.O. Box 19709, Phila., PA 19143 (215) 476-8812 and Equal Justice USA, A project of the Quixote Center P.O. Box 5206, Hyattsville, MD 20722 (301) 699-0042

MUMIA ABU-JAMAL ASKS PA SUPREME COURT TO DISMISS CHARGES LEADING TO HIS 1982 DEATH SENTENCE

Federal Court Finding Exposes Judicial Misconduct in Philadelphia Courts

PHILADELPHIA -- On December 27, celebrated death row author Mumia Abu-Jamal will ask the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to dismiss the case against him or grant a new trial based on Federal District Court (Western PA) Judge Donetta Ambrose's finding that his Sixth Amendment right to counsel was violated. Ambrose's December 4 ruling came as a result of a civil suit Abu-Jamal had filed in 1995 which revealed that Pennsylvania prison authorities had opened, copied and circulated to state officials -- including current Governor Thomas Ridge -- confidential mail to Jamal from his attorneys in August 1994 and again in June 1995, just days after Ridge had signed Abu-jamal's death warrant After filing papers with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, Abu-Jamal's attorney's will hold an important.............

PRESS CONFERENCE FRIDAY, DECEMBER 27, 11 a.m. at the OFFICE OF THE MAYOR CITY HALL, PHILADELPHIA

Ridge signed Abu-Jamal's death warrant on June 1, 1995, days before he filed a post-conviction relief appeal (PCRA). Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge Albert Sabo, at the urging of the Philadelphia District Attorney, used the pending death warrant to rush forward with a hearing on Abu-jamal's PCRA in July and August 1995. Arguing that Abu-Jamal had improperly delayed filing his appeal until after his death warrant was signed, Sabo blocked the defense from presenting evidence, quashing over 25 witness subpoenas and severely limiting the questioning of the witnesses it did call. In contrast, Judge Ambrose found that Abu-Jamal's delay in filing was a direct result of prison authorities' interception of his legal mail which caused an "unwillingness of counsel and of plaintiff (Jamal) to communicate freely by mail after having been informed that legal mail had been opened by prison officials."

The filing on December 27 marks the first time Abu-Jamal has asked for the dismissal of charges leading to his 1982 conviction and death sentence. This move represents the magnitude of Ambrose's findings and the cumulative judicial and prosecutorial misconduct in the case. Abu-jamal has presented amble evidence that the Philadelphia police intimidated and silenced witnesses who could have exonerated him and coerced others to frame him. Judge Sabo has repeatedly dismissed this evidence and demonstrated such extreme antagonism toward the defense that the mainstream American Lawyer has described him as "oozing partiality towards the prosecution." Citing Sabo's history of bias against Abu-Jamal, as well as his record of sentencing more than twice as many people to death than any other judge in the country, Abu-jamal's attorneys have repeatedly, but unsuccessfully, sought the judge's removal from the appeal.

Sabo denied Abu-Jamal's PCRA request for a new trial in September 1995. An appeal of that decision is now pending before the PA Supreme Court.

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