United States: State Executions
In Wake of US Supreme Court Decision, Abu-Jamal's Appeal Supporters Mobilize around New Book, Birthday
19 Apr 2009 11:14 GMT
On April 6, the US Supreme Court rejected radical journalist and former Black Panther Mumia Abu-Jamal's appeal for a new guilt-phase trial. The Court has not yet decided whether it will consider the Philadelphia District Attorney's appeal of two lower court rulings that Abu-Jamal deserves a new sentencing hearing if the death penalty is to be re-instated. This means that if the Supreme Court rules in favor of the DA, Abu-Jamal could be executed without a new sentencing hearing.
In response, Abu-Jamal's lead attorney Robert R. Bryan will be filing a "petition for re-hearing" at the US Supreme Court. Emergency meetings have been held in several cities (1, 2) to coordinate grassroots response, and over 3000 people have signed an online petition in an effort coordinated by anti-death penalty activists from Germany. Photo from December 2008 protest in Pittsburgh, PA.
The rejected appeal (technically called a petition for a "writ of certiorari") was based primarily on the US Supreme Court's 1986 "Batson v Kentucky" ruling which stated that a defendant deserves a new trial if it can be shown that the prosecutor used peremptory strikes to remove otherwise qualified jurors simply because of their race. At Abu-Jamal's 1982 trial, prosecutor Joseph McGill used 10 or 11 of his 15 strikes to remove otherwise acceptable black jurors. He was subsequently convicted and sentenced to death in the shooting death of police officer Daniel Faulkner. Listen to Abu-Jamal's own response, interviewed by Noelle Hanrahan of Prison Radio. More Coverage: KBOO Radio, Uprising Radio, and DN! | WBAI | Democracy Now
Abu-Jamal continues to file news dispatches from death row (including John Hope Franklin: The Passing of a Griot and Summitry and Punditry on the G-20 meetings in London), and supporters are working to get the word out about his new book, Jailhouse Lawyers: Prisoners Defending Prisoners v. the USA, published by City Lights Books. Events will be held in the US around April 24, which is Abu-Jamal's birthday. In Philadelphia, two supporters were arrested on April 11 while putting up posters for the book release event — read report from Philly IMC. Events are planned in the following cities: Philadelphia (including a Revolutionary Week of Events) | New York City | Oakland | Los Angeles | Boston | Portland | Seattle & Olympia, WA | Houston | Washington, DC | Baltimore, MD | More Info & Updates from Abu-Jamal-News.Com