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General News    H3'ed 4/26/11

3rd Circuit Appeal Ruling Favoring Abu-Jamal Smacks Down US Supreme Court

By Linn Washington, Jr.  Posted by Dave Lindorff (about the submitter)       (Page 3 of 4 pages) Become a premium member to see this article and all articles as one long page. (View How Many People Read This)   2 comments
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That officer's killing had occurred during an investigation into the murder of another Belfast policeman.

Incidentally, the U.S. Congress did not erupt angrily when the City Council of New York City voted to place the name of that fugitive – Joseph Doherty – on the street corner outside the federal detention center then housing him.

In 1988 – six years after Abu-Jamal's conviction – more than 3,000 Philadelphians signed petitions asking federal authorities to grant Doherty special permission to leave his federal detention cell for one day to allow Doherty to serve as Grand Marshall of Philadelphia's St Patrick's Day Parade.

One Philly supporter of suspected convicted cop killer Doherty was the then-President Judge of Philadelphia's trial courts, Edward J. Bradley.

Judge Bradley told a reporter in 1988 that he had no problems as a jurist reconciling his support for a convicted felon because he questioned the "fair treatment" Irish nationals received in English courts.

Judge Bradley's concern about fairness for IRA fighters in English courts is not parallelled by any concern about fairness in Philadelphia courts with regard to the case of former Black Panther Party member Abu-Jamal. Judge Bradley's double standard highlights the gross unfairness of Philadelphia and Pennsylvania state court judges.

Critics who castigate those who contribute to Abu-Jamal's defense fund, especially by Hollywood stars, did not object to fund-raising on behalf of one of the white Los Angeles policemen convicted in federal court for the 1991 beating of Rodney King. That criminal cop was allowed to keep nearly $10-million in sales from his book and from a fund-raising campaign on his behalf – monies generated mainly after that the former police sergeant's imprisonment following a civil rights violation conviction.

One reason the decades-old Abu-Jamal case continues to generate support and rage is Abu-Jamal himself.

A charismatic figure who is articulate, with a level of education and intelligence atypical of the mainly illiterate denizens of death row, Abu-Jamal is able to explain his case, as well as to expose the horrors of the nation's prison system and its death rows.

While on death row Abu-Jamal has written six critically acclaimed books (including one on jailhouse lawyers), produced thousands of commentaries, learned two foreign languages, earned two college degrees, including a masters, and developed a loyal support network comprising millions worldwide.

Even the prosecutor at Abu-Jamal's 1982 trial – Joseph McGill – described him during that trial as the most "intelligent" defendant he'd ever faced.

And another prosecutor, during Abu-Jamal's tainted 1995 appeals hearing, said he didn't think "the shooting of Officer Faulkner is characteristic of this defendant." (Abu-Jamal had no record of violence or criminal acts before his 1981 arrest.)

Supporters applaud Abu-Jamal's defense of the downtrodden, particularly his poignant criticisms of America's prison-industrial complex, that incarcerates more people per capita than any other country on earth.

Abu-Jamal's stance highlighting the deprivations of the have-nots, predated his arrest, and had earned him the title of "Voice of the Voiceless" during his professional broadcast reporting career, which ran from 1975 till his December 1981 arrest.

Abu-Jamal rarely uses his world-wide platform to speak about his own plight, preferring to focus instead on the injustices endured by others.


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Dave Lindorff is a founding member of the collectively-owned, journalist-run online newspaper www.thiscantbehappening.net. He is a columnist for Counterpunch, is author of several recent books ("This Can't Be Happening! Resisting the (more...)
 

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