(en)Justice on Trial: Mumia in Sabo's Court 6/26 & 6/30

Lyn and Shawn (linjin@tao.ca)
Tue, 1 Jul 1997 20:34:44 pst


A AA AAAA The A-Infos News Service AA AA AA AA INFOSINFOSINFOS http://www.tao.ca/ainfos/ AAAA AAAA AAAAA AAAAA

Date sent: Tue, 1 Jul 1997 13:13:37 -0700 (PDT) To: (Recipient list suppressed) From: Noelle Hanrahan <radioqc@sirius.com> Subject: Justice on Trial: Mumia in Sabo's Court 6/26 & 6/30

Please Distribute Widely & Forward:

Enclosed is a blow by blow -- gripping review of new revelations of cop and prosecutorial misconduct in Mumia Abu-Jamal's case.

Leonard Weinglass and Mumia's legal team are again in the Court of Common Pleas in Philadelphia before the nortorious judge Albert Sabo. As we near the fifteenth anniversary of Mumia's conviction and his sentence of death (July 2 & 3th), the truth of how Mumia was framed is being revealed.

Pamela Jenkins a key defense witness is documenting the criminal conduct of the Philadelphia police department, and the continuing suppression of crucial evidence, in Mumia's case.

The second day of testimony is especially riveting.

Towards justice and Freedom,

Noelle

P.S. Don't delay - take this opportunity to educate your community!!!!

P.P.S. In order be on the ZAP fax alert and information on The Prison Radio Project's campaigns, send your email address to: radioqc@sirius.com.

Remand Hearing before Judge Sabo, June 26, 1997 (These are condensed notes of the first hour of testimony taken by Clark Kissinger, and are not a complete or exact transcript.)

The hearing began with a lengthy argument between Mumia's counsel and Judge Sabo over which witnesses would be heard. Sabo maintained that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court (PA SC) remand order instructed him to hear only Pamela Jenkins. Defense counsel had subpoenaed a number of collateral witnesses who could testify to various points that Pamela Jenkins was expected to raise. Sabo declared that he would hear only Jenkins. The state's attorney said that the state didn't object to some of the witnesses being heard. Sabo said "I don't care what the state doesn't object to." Sabo kept repeating that if the defense wanted to hear any other witnesses they would have to go back to the state Supreme Court and get a new order.

Len Weinglass argued that the PA SC order was to take testimony "with respect to Pamela Jenkins," which would require hearing other witnesses beside Jenkins. Sabo said: "I don't know what they [PS SC] want. Let them put it in plain English. I will do whatever they want." He said again that he would hear only Jenkins without a new order form the PA SC, and Jenkins was called to the stand.

Since Jenkins was being held in the lock-up, it took a few minutes to get her to the courtroom. During this time Weinglass was allowed to list for the record the other witnesses he had subpoenaed. These included Richard Ryan, Lawrence Brachman, Officer Boston, and "Sarge" (believed to be Louis Mayer) [this list may be incomplete and some names may be spelled wrong]. Then Rachel Wolkenstein renewed the defense team's call for complete disclosure of all evidence held by the state. She itemized some of the Brady material (evidence that should have been turned over under the Brady decision by the US SC) that was withheld and has come to light. This includes the fact that Officer Faulkner had on his person a driver's license or application of Arnold Howard which had been loaned to Kenneth Freeman. She recounted the details of the suspicious death of Kenneth Freeman on the night of the infamous bombing of the MOVE house. And Wolkenstein demanded again that the state produce Cynthia White, stating that White was a police informant and that information was also Brady material.

The state's attorney said that there was no allegation in Pamela Jenkins' affidavit that White was an informant. So Wolkenstein read from the transcript where Jenkins said that she was. Sabo inter-rupted and said again "we are only going to hear Pamela Jenkins today. You go to the Supreme Court if you want something more. Don't waste my time."

Pamela Jenkins was then brought in and sworn in. Without trying to repeat all the questions and an-swers (except where important), Jenkins testified as follows: In 1981 she was 15 years old. She was not at 13th and Locust the night of the shooting. She had met officer Tom Ryan when he arrested her for truancy. She began sleeping with him [ed. note: this is statutory rape] and became a paid po-lice informant. She met with Ryan after the shooting of Faulkner, and went with him to the central district. She talked with Tom and Richard Ryan in an interrogation room. "They wanted me to say that I saw Mumia shoot the officer." They kept pressing her to say that she had been there. Tom Ryan had paid her for information previously. But she refused to lie in this case. She heard from them that other cops named Boston, O'Neal and "Sarge" were present at the shooting.

Pamela Jenkins testified that she had know Cynthia White, also known as "Lucky." Q. Did she have any relationship with the police? A. Yes. Q. What was it? A. Prostitution. Jenkins testified that Lucky was in fear of the police and that she had then disappeared. Later Ryan wanted Jenkins to help find Lucky, and paid her $150 for that.

Pamela Jenkins was shown her previous affidavit, in which she states that the police had gotten Lucky to testify that Mumia was the shooter [ed. note: other witnesses in the case placed Lucky at a spot where she could not have seen the incident]. Jenkins affirmed that her affidavit was truthful.

Then in a very dramatic turn of events, Weinglass asked Jenkins when she last saw Lucky. She an-swered "this year"! She said that she saw her at "Yates House," 1326 13th St. "When she saw me, she looked like she saw a ghost, ran out the door and got into Tom Ryan's truck." Jenkins went on to say that this was in early March of this year. The truck was a red pickup and both Tom and Richard Ryan were in the truck. She saw them drive away with Cynthia. Jenkins was there because she was helping an investigator for the defense named Don to track down Cynthia White. After this hap-pened, she wrote out a statement of what she had seen.

The significance of the this revelation is that it supports the contention of the defense that the police are hiding Cynthia White so she cannot be subpoenaed to testify.

Q. Did Cynthia White have any other relationship with the police in '81? A. Other than tricking? Q. Yes. A. She gave them information.

Again, if Cynthia White was a police informant, this is Brady material that should have been disclosed to the defense at the 82 trial.

At this point Weinglass questioned Pamela Jenkins about why she is in custody. According to the testimony, this is what happened: Jenkins, who has been a federal witness in the current police scandals in Philadelphia, contacted the FBI with information about a stolen painting. They came out to see her, and told if she could help return the painting, there would be no charges against her. She did this, and several month went by, during which time she was public and available, but was not charged with anything. Then on May 30 the PS SC ordered the current hearing before Judge Sabo to hear her testimony. A few days later she was arrested by the Philly police on felony charges of re-ceiving stolen property. She has never before been charged with a felony.

At the police station, Officer Richard Ryan said to her "I see you have graduated to the big league." They had some words ending with Pamela telling him to fuck off. He told her "my name better not come out of your mouth."

Pamela also testified to knowing a friend of Ryan's whose street name was "Peanuts."

With regard to her work for the FBI, Jenkins provided testimony against an officer John Baird as well as Tom Ryan. Jenkins had been paid by Baird to lie at his hearing. This deal was recorded, be-cause the FBI had wired Jenkins for sound. Baird is now serving a 13 year sentence.

She also testified before a federal grand jury in the 39th Precinct scandal. The grand jury voted in-dictments, including against Tom Ryan who was sentenced to only 10 months after he turned state's evidence.

Weinglass tried to question Jenkins about how Baird had hidden her in a motel [to establish how the police hide witnesses], but Sabo would not allow it. Sabo: "Well Baird did it, does that mean the whole police department is corrupt?"

Jenkins was asked if she is currently afraid. She said "only for my kids."

Q. Why? A. Look what they did to me!

This was the end of the direct examination of Pamela Jenkins.FYISecond Day of Remand Hearing before Judge Sabo, June 30, 1997 (These are condensed notes of the testimony taken by Clark Kissinger, and are not a complete or exact transcript.)

Pamela Jenkins' testimony on June 26 was so damaging to the prosecution, that Judge Sabo had to reverse his position of allowing no other witnesses in order to allow the D.A. to call witnesses to rebut Jenkins. Jenkins had testified that a) Cynthia White was alive and well and under the protection of the police, and b) that White had been a police informant before Mumia's trial. This fact was not revealed to the defense at the trial, and is thus the grounds overturning the conviction just as in the case of Geronimo Pratt.

Thus Sabo allowed the D.A. to call rebuttal witnesses to save their case. The D.A. next claimed that Cynthia White was dead, although the best they could do by way of proof was a 1995 N.J. death certificate for a "Cynthia Williams AKA Mildred Saunders." The cause of death was "undetermined" and it was signed by a medical examiner who just happened to have previously work in the Philadelphia Medical Examiners office for 20 years. There were no fingerprints or identification by next or kin.

The second line of attack on Jenkins was an attempt to prove that Jenkins did not meet Officer Tom (who asked her testify against Mumia) until much later than she claimed.

The June 26 ended with Tom Ryan on the stand.

JUNE 30:

The day began with the defense asking the court to enforce their subpoena on the D.A. to produce copies of statements given by Jenkins and Ryan to federal investigators in the Philadelphia police scandal investigation. Assistant D.A. Fisk asserted that the defense was not entitled to these documents and Sabo quashed the subpoena. Throughout the day Sabo denied all defense motions and objections, and granted all of the D.A.'s motions and objections.

Tom Ryan was recalled to the stand. He denied having any discussion with the D.A. before today and met only with a Det. Walsh, where he read Pamela Jenkins affidavit but he said that he and Det. Walsh talked only about their houses and other chit-chat not related to the case. When Ryan was asked about his wearing a Danny Faulkner button in court, Sabo ruled this question out, even though it went directly to the bias of the witness. Sabo also blocked other questions about his bias in the case, and questions about his testimony in the Carter case [a defendant framed by police who was eventually released] and other cases. Sabo: "Come on, counselor, you're wasting my time."

When Len Weinglass tried to review former Officer Ryan's sexual relation with Pamela Jenkins as a 15-year-old school girl, Sabo again jumped in: "I already know about his relation with Pamela Jenkins. He was sleeping with her. So what?" When Len tried to point out that Ryan had before said under oath that he had indeed met Jenkins in 1981 (not 1982 as he was now claiming), Sabo rushed to Ryan's defense saying "People have lapses of memory." Then, alluding to the Cynthia Williams death certificate he said, "But when they come up with specific evidence, well . . ."

Weinglass asked Ryan if he remember giving different sworn statements that he had met Jenkins in 1983 and in 1981. Ryan said no. So Weinglass handed him copies of the sworn statement "to refresh his memory." On the statement in which he said 1983, he claimed that was just "an approximation." With regard to the statement in which he said "five years before 1986," he said that was an error. But Sabo then cut off this line of questioning.

The examination disclosed that Ryan did not become a cop until August of 1981, but prior to that he was a corrections officer with a badge. When the defense brought out that Jane Downer who testified for Ryan as a "character witness" in Ryan's trial was a crack addict and a prostitute, Sabo also cut off this line of questioning. Throughout his testimony, whenever an embarrassing question would be asked, Ryan would look toward Asst. D.A. Fisk, who would then jump up and object, and Sabo would sustain the objection.

When Weinglass pointed out that Ryan has pleaded guilty to a felony, and Jenkins has no felony conviction, Sabo again stopped it. Weinglass said that the court should take this into consideration when evaluating the credibility of conflicting testimony. With a smirk, Sabo said: "Yeah, I'll take it into account."

During the cross examination, Fisk questioned Ryan about when he got rid of his red pick-up truck. (Pamela Jenkins had testified to seeing Cynthia White get into Ryan's pickup truck this year). He said 1994. She asked him about the conversion he had with a private investigator who served him with a subpoena. (He claimed that the P.I. offered him work serving subpoenas, implying that the defense was trying to bribe him with an offer of employment). And she asked him about where he was living on March 7 of this year (the date when Jenkins testified that she saw him with Cynthia White). Ryan said he was living in a half-way house under the terms of his federal sentence, and he could not have been out at night when Jenkings claims to have seen him.

In this questioning, it was obvious that prosecution had discussed this with Ryan in advance. They asked questions that could only be asked with advance information, and they knew what answers to expect.

On re-direct, Weinglass asked Ryan whom he told about the pickup truck. Ryan said Det. Walsh. Ryan was asked whom he had told about the conversation with the P.I. Ryan said Det. Walsh. Ryan was asked whom he had talked to about where he was living on March 7. Ryan said D.A. Fisk.

But earlier, Ryan had testified that he didn't talk to Walsh about his testimony, and that he had not talked to Fisk at all. Fisk then jumped up and said that Ryan had only been asked whether he had talked to her BEFORE today. He had not, but he had talked to her only that morning! [CK: Nice save!]

A retired police officer named Lawrence Boston with then called to the stand. He was a foot patrolman on 13th street in the months before the shooting of Faulkner. Boston had told an investigator for the defense that Cynthia White was indeed still alive and living in a condo in New Jersey. But on the stand, with a crowd of cops in the audience, he now denied having said that.

On the cross examination by Fisk, Boston got his story completely mixed up, and Fisk had to get him to reverse him right in the middle of his testimony: Fisk: Was she [Cynthia White] called Lucky? Boston: Yes. Fisk: Did you know anybody else called Lucky? Boston: No. Fisk: Didn't you also know a male transvestite named Lucky? Boston: Yes. Fisk: So was Cynthia White known to you as Lucky? Boston: No. Fisk: And Cynthia White had no nicknames? Boston: No.

And later: Fisk: Do you know a Mildred Saunders? [name on the NJ death certificate]

Boston: That rings a bell. Fisk: Could she have been Cynthia White? Boston: Yes.

After Fisk "reminded" Boston of the correct answers and got him to change his testimony, Weinglass asked Boston about the regular meetings of 6th District officers to arrange the distribution of vice payoffs. At this, Fisk went ballistic, on her feet waving her arms and screaming that "not all police officers are corrupt!" Weinglass said calmly, let the record show that counsel is shouting. Fisk screamed back, "I'm shouting because I'm pissed off!"

Boston also testified that he was not on the street the night Faulkner was killed, but was home in bed.

The final witness was former Detective Douglas Culbreth. Culbreth was the homicide detective who rushed into court in 1987 when Cynthia White was charged with an armed felony, and told the judge that she was an important witness in a "high profile case." The judge promptly released White on her owned signature. Culbreth admitted that the case he was referring to was the Mumia Abu-Jamal case, but claimed that he was just being a Good Samaritan in helping out Cynthia White [CK: certainly not as a payoff for lying at that trial!]. In the cross examination, Fisk tried to establish that this was to protect White because she had been the object of "hostility" at Mumia's trial five years before.

After this witness, Sabo demanded to know what other witnesses the defense was planning to call. Weinglass listed five witnesses. The first would testify that Jenkins was charged with a felony only after she was scheduled to testify in this hearing [CK: the Witness Persecution Program!].

Second was a surprise new witness, Marcus Canon, who would testify that he was on 13th Street the night of the shooting, and saw two white men lounging around. When the shooting started, both pulled guns and ran toward the scene. At the same time a Black man was running from the scene. The defense contends that there were plain clothes detectives on 13th street that night, whose identities and reports have never been revealed to the defense.

The third witness would be former Asst. D.A. Grant who was part of the prosecution team during the PCRA hearing in 1995. Grant would be questioned on the D.A.'s active efforts to locate Cynthia White that summer (i.e., they knew she was alive).

The last two witnesses would be Larry Johnson and Don Burton, private investigators for the defense. One would testify to showing pictures of Cynthia White in the neighborhoods and being told by people that she had been seen recently. The defense also let it be known that they had heard that Cynthia White was thinking about coming forward with the true story, but wanted to sell it for a good price.

Sabo promptly denied all these witnesses and quashed all the subpoenas. Sabo said that there was no point in hearing all this if Cynthia White was dead, so the only witnesses he wanted to hear were New Jersey state police officials who could testify to her death. In other words, he would only allow witness who would say that Cynthia is dead, and would not allow any witnesses who would say she was alive!

The defense maintained that the document on the death of Cynthia Williams produced by the D.A.'s office was only a part of the whole document (a partial printout). There were no finger prints or identification by next of kin, and the defense didn't want to hear any New Jersey officials unless the full document was produced.

At this point Sabo got up and walked out without declaring the remand hearing officially over. (He had earlier indicated that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court as asked for an immediate response from him on this hearing.)

P.P.S. In order be on the ZAP fax alert and information on The Prison Radio Project's campaigns, send your email address to: radioqc@sirius.com.

****** A-Infos News Service ***** News about and of interest to anarchists

Subscribe -> email MAJORDOMO@TAO.CA with the message SUBSCRIBE A-INFOS Info -> http://www.tao.ca/ainfos/ Reproduce -> please include this section