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News :: Human Rights
Mumia Update
24 Jul 2008
After a three-judge panel rejected Mumia's appeal, Mumia asked the whole court to hear the appeal. His request was denied 7/22.
Legal team will now petition the US Supreme Court.
Dear Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal,
Below we include a report by Robert R. Bryan regarding yesterday's
reactionary and racist decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the
Third Circuit to deny Mumia an en banc rehearing of his appeal for a
new trial. In plain language, after a three-judge panel of the same
court rejected Mumia's appeal, Mumia asked the whole court to hear the
appeal. His request was denied.
Mumia's legal team will now petition the U.S. Supreme Court for a writ
of certiorari, that is, a request that the court certify that it will
hear Mumia's appeal. This petition must be filed within 90 days. There
is no legal requirement that the court grant a hearing. The record
indicates that the U.S. Supreme Court denies some 90 percent of all
such petitions in death penalty cases.
It is clear that all important court precedents, from the Third Circuit
to the U.S. Supreme Court, have affirmed in rulings on other cases the
principles in the famous Batson v. Kentucky case wherein the exclusion
of Black jurors without cause is deemed unconstitutional and requires a
new trial. This is a central legal issue in Mumia's case; 11 of 14
Black jurors were excluded through preemptory challenges. But with 26
years of what has now been called "Mumia Law" or better, the "Mumia
Exception" the law is one thing; its application to Mumia's case is
quite another.
We have demonstrated over the past 13 years of Mobilization activity
that Mumia is the victim of a monstrous frame-up orchestrated by the
Philadelphia Police Department, the Office of the District Attorney and
indeed, the entire "criminal justice system." We have long held that
Mumia's freedom rests in our hands, in our capacity to build and
mobilize the mass forces that make it impossible to deny Mumia's
innocence and impossible to keep him in prison.
The battle for Mumia's freedom continues. The Mobilization to Free
Mumia Abu-Jamal is planning an ambitious series of activities in the
weeks and months ahead. These include:
* Appearances by Mobilization speakers on several Bay Area news shows
explaining the court ruling and preparing for future actions.
* Collaboration with the Pam Africa and the International Concerned
Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal on a series of national projects
to heighten awareness of the critical state of this fight for Mumia's
life and freedom.
* Mobilization to Free Mumia participation in the September 27-29, 2008
tenth anniversary Critical Resistance conference at Laney College in
Oakland, California.
* Organization of an eight-day tour of J. Patrick O'Connor, author of
the new book, "The Framing of Mumia Abu-Jamal." Tentative dates,
October 1-8, 2008
Your active support and financial contributions are essential.
*Please make your check payable to:
Mobilization to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal and mail to:
P.O. Box 10328
Oakland, California 94610
*Please see details below for the 8/2 Detroit Rally with Pam & Ramona
Africa and pass on the information.
In solidarity,
Laura Herrera and Jeff Mackler, Co-Directors
Legal Update
Date: July 22, 2008
From: Robert R. Bryan, lead counsel
Subject: Federal ruling regarding Mumia Abu-Jamal, death row,
Pennsylvania [please circulate]
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, Philadelphia Today our
Petition for Rehearing and Rehearing En Banc, submitted on behalf of my
client, Mumia Abu-Jamal, was denied by the U.S. Court of Appeals for
the Third Circuit. Simply put, we did not receive the needed majority
vote from the nine sitting judges; at least five votes for a rehearing
were necessary. However, Justice Thomas L. Ambro continues to urge the
granting of relief on the issue of racism in jury selection. That
position, as detailed in his brilliant dissenting opinion of March 27,
2008, will continue to serve as a beacon of hope as we press on for a
new trial and Mumia's freedom. Judge Ambro said that the "core
guarantee of equal protection, ensuring citizens that their State will
not discriminate on account of race, would be meaningless were we to
approve the exclusion of jurors on the basis of . . . race. . . . I
respectfully dissent." A copy of today's decision is attached.
Reaction Mumia and I had a legal conference this afternoon. He, as I,
was stunned by the federal court's refusal to grant relief since it
flies in the face of established legal precedent in both the U.S. Court
of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court. I am furious because racism
continues to raise its ugly head in this country, and should have no
place in our legal system. The indisputable facts are that the
prosecutor engaged in racism in selecting the jury in this case, and
that bigotry lingers today in Philadelphia. It would be naive not to
realize that this case continues to reek of politics and injustice.
U.S. Supreme Court We will be seeking relief in the Supreme Court. The
Petition for Writ of Certiorari will be filed by October 20, 2008,
unless there is an extension. The racism issue will be presented, along
with the fact that the prosecutor made misrepresentations to the jury
in order to obtain a murder conviction against Mumia.
Conclusion My goal remains a complete reversal of the conviction, even
though the federal court has already granted a new jury trial on the
question of the death penalty. We will not rest until Mumia is free.
Yours very truly,
Robert R. Bryan
Lead counsel for Mumia Abu-Jamal

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24 Jul 2008
One of many sites to get information on the
case to find out how activists are working together and
to make a contribution.
See also: