PHILADELPHIA – Mumia Abu-Jamal's case has reached a critical juncture. On November 9th the Third Circuit appellate court in Philidelphia will convene a hearing to determine whether Mumia Abu-Jamal is to be executed or get life in prison without parole.
Last year, on November 7th 2009, the Black is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations marched on the White House in Washington D.C. shouting Black is Back and demanding, amongst other things, an end to black mass incarceration and freedom for all US political prisoners, prisoners of wars and exiles.
The Black is Back Coalition also demanded freedom for Brother Mumia Abu-Jamal.
For the last 28 years, Mumia has been locked up 23 hours a day, denied contact visits with his family, had his confidential legal mail illegally opened by prison authorities, and put into punitive detention for writing his first of three books while in prison, Live From Death Row.
Mumia is an award-winning Pennsylvania journalist who exposed police violence against African and other oppressed communities and he was also a member of the Black Panther Party. He's been on death row since 1982 due to the fact that he was wrongfully convicted and sentenced for the shooting of a white Philadelphia cop.
The Black is Back Coalition takes note of the fact that the United States is the only country in the Western industrialized world that still uses the death penalty and in the U.S. more than 3,200 people live on death row and the majority of them are non-white.
The coalition also notes that Africans are 12 percent of the U.S. population, but 42 percent of prisoners on death row, and it takes notice of the fact that of the over 18,000 executions that have taken place in U.S. history, only 42 involved a white person being punished for killing a Black person. And according to Amnesty International, more than 20 percent of Black defendants executed since 1976 were convicted by all-white juries.
The Black is Back Coalition opposess the U.S. Death Penalty and the entire US legal system because it is nothing more than a colonial tool that has historically been used to terrorize and oppress African people.
The Black is Back Coalition believes that the US legal system has no legal or moral authority to decide who should live or who should die, and the Coalition calls on all African and oppressed people around the world to stand up in defense of Brother Mumia Abu-Jamal on November 9th.
Free all Political Prisoners!
MOBILIZE NOW FOR MUMIA'S HEARING ON NOVEMBER 9TH IN PHILADELPHIA!
When: Nov 9, 2010 12:00noon
Where: 601 N. and Market St..
Contact: email@example.com, (212)330-8029
If you are in the DC Area please contact us ASAP if you would like to go to Philly for this demonstration. We are considering a carpool, buspool, or van/bus rental depending on the number of commitments.
Link with us at the Black August Planning Organization Facebook page, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
WHY THE NOVEMBER 9, 2010 HEARING ON MUMIA IS SO CRITICAL
The only legal options to be considered at the Third Circuit's November 9 hearing are whether Mumia Abu-Jamal is to be executed or get life in prison without parole. Clearly neither of those two options is acceptable.
To fully grasp the significance of the hearing, one needs to revisit Federal District Court Judge William Yohn, Jr.'s decision of December 18, 2001. In that ruling the judge upheld Mumia's conviction but at the same time threw out his death sentence on the grounds that the verdict form used by the jury for sentencing at his trial violated the U.S. Supreme Court's Mills precedent and therefore entitled Mumia to have his death sentence overturned. Yohn then gave the state 180 days to convene a new jury trial only on the issue of Mumia's penalty, in which the choices would be either death or life in prison without parole. On the other hand, if the state did nothing, Yohn ruled that Mumia would automatically be sentenced to life in prison without parole.
At the time Judge Yohn stayed his ruling on the death sentence while the state appealed his decision to the next higher level of federal court, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. (At the same time Mumia cross-appealed Judge Yohn's decision upholding Mumia's conviction.) Mumia was therefore never removed from Death row and remains there to this day.
On March 27, 2008, the Third Circuit upheld Yohn's decision on the death penalty on a 3-0 vote. Again the decision was stayed while the state appealed to the highest federal level, the Supreme Court. (In the same decision, the Third Circuit rejected Mumia's appeal on the conviction by 2-1 and, as before, Mumia cross-appealed that ruling.)
On January 10, 2010, the Supreme Court ordered the Third Circuit to reconsider its decision on the death sentence in light of its simultaneously-issued ruling unanimously rejecting an appeal from a white-supremacist named Spisak. That man admitted to killing at least two people in Ohio and openly wished to have murdered more. He had appealed his death sentence also as a violation of Mills, but involving a different aspect of it than Mumia's case. The Sixth Circuit, as did the Third Circuit in Mumia's case, ruled that the death sentence should be vacated, but the Supreme Court ruled that the Mills precedent did not apply in Spisak's case, and that therefore execution rather than life in prison was the appropriate penalty. Based on that decision, the Supreme Court immediately applied the same argument to Mumia's case and asked for the Third Circuit to reconsider the issue of execution for Mumia as well.
Thus, the hearing on November 9th is on Mumia's penalty only. The choices before the court are either to sustain Yohn's and its own earlier decisions or to reinstate the death penalty, clearing the way for Mumia's possible quick execution.
If the Third Circuit reaffirms its earlier decision to sentence Mumia to life in prison without parole, the state will most likely appeal to the Supreme Court. (This is exactly what happened with Spisak, after the Sixth Circuit upheld its own earlier ruling which had overturned the man's death sentence.) But in the unlikely event that the state doesn't appeal, it will then have 180 days to implement Judge Yohn's decision.
Of course if the Third Circuit rules against Mumia, he will appeal to the Supreme Court. However, the odds for relief are small, given the increasingly reactionary nature of that court.
Thus, Mumia's legal situation is extremely dangerous. His life truly is on the line, for no matter how the court rules, the only two choices under this legal system are either execution or life in prison without parole and, for the moment, the prosecution, with all its allies and backers, is fighting very hard for execution.
THAT'S WHY WE ARE CALLING FOR ALL THOSE WHO POSSIBLY CAN TO COME OUT TO PHILADELPHIA WITH US ON THE 9TH. WE MUST STAY THE HANDS OF THE EXECUTIONERS AND PRY OPEN THE PRISON GATES FOR MUMIA'S RELEASE. FREE MUMIA! ABOLISH THE RACIST DEATH PENALTY!
FREE ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS!
WE NEED ORGANIZING ON A MASSIVE LEVEL, ALL HANDS PULLING TOGETHER!
Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Coalition
– DARBY TILLIS AND LAWRENCE HAYES, DEATH ROW EXONEREES were present on October 9 and are organizing within the anti-death penalty movement to educate them as to what is really going on with Mumia and to try and get as many exonerees as possible to Philadelphia on NOVEMBER 9, along with DR. SANDY JONES , who also presented at the program.
– THE UNIA HELPED ORGANIZE TO GET PEOPLE THERE
– THE IAC HELPED ORGANIZE TO GET PEOPLE THERE
– THE JERICHO MOVEMENT HELPED ORGANIZE TO GET PEOPLE THERE
– HAKIM FROM CHANNEL LIVE OUT OF NEW YORK IS HELPING ORGANIZE THE HIP HOP GENERATION TO GET ON BOARD
– ORGANIZERS IN FRANCE AND LONDON WERE THERE ON OCTOBER 9TH AND ARE ORGANIZING TO RETURN ON NOVEMBER 9TH
… AND THAT'S JUST TO NAME A FEW, SO EACH AND EVERYBODY CAN DO EVERYTHING THAT THEY CAN DO!
WHAT TO DO:
– CALL-IN ON RADIO STATIONS!
– CALL D.A. SETH WILLIAMS' OFFICE AT 215-686-8000 AND TELL HIM HANDS OFF MUMIA!! – CALL/FAX/E-MAIL THE NEWS MEDIA ABOUT THE NEW EVIDENCE W/THE PICTURES (see http://www.freemumia.com)
PAM AFRICA ADDS: "COME IN AND SPEND THE WEEKEND OF NOVEMBER 9TH AND HELP ORGANIZE TO GET PEOPLE OUT ON NOVEMBER 9 DURING MUMIA'S HEARING, THIS IS CRUCIAL. THESE PEOPLE ARE PLANNING TO COMMIT COLD-BLOODED, PREMEDITATED MURDER. WE ALSO NEED TO GET WITH THE POLITICIANS WHO ARE RUNNING FOR OFFICE, THEY NEED TO TALK ABOUT HOW PHILADELPHIA IS PLANNING TO KILL AN INNOCENT MAN WHO DIDN'T HAVE A FAIR TRIAL."
WE NEED TO KNOW WHAT YOU'RE DOING SO LET US KNOW — WE'LL KEEP PUTTING OUT UPDATES EVERY FEW DAYS. ALSO, IF YOU HAVEN'T BY NOW…
Please download the EXCELLENT Abu-Jamal News Newsletter at http://abu-jamal-news.com/docs/proof.pdf, which includes Mumia – MOVE 9 Parole – Mumia Legal Update nn Washington Jr – Kiilu Nyasha – Safiya Bukhari – Fred Hampton- Educators for Mumia – The Polakoff Photos – Justice on Trial – Mumia writes about Lynne Stewart, Oscar Grant, Marilyn Buck, and more!