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The 'Mumia Exception' - Explaining Injustice

By       Message Linn Washington     Permalink
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opednews.com Headlined to H2 2/12/10

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Ridge's office knew when lawyers planned to file that appeal because Pa prison authorities were illegally intercepting mail from Abu-Jamal's lawyers and forwarding copies of that correspondence containing legal strategy to the Governor's office.

That death warrant, violating Abu-Jamal's appeal right, cast a disruptive cloud, allowing Sabo to rush the appeal hearing citing the urgency of that death warrant.

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Shamelessly, the Pa Supreme Court allowed Sabo to handle that appeal hearing despite his bias during the 1982 trial being one of the appeal issues.

The enormous attention given to the "whodunit' aspects underlying Abu-Jamal's conviction easily obscures critical context regarding systemic violations like that legally indefensible interference by then Gov. Ridge who later served as Homeland Security czar for President George W. Bush.

Assertions by Abu-Jamal's opponents that his obvious guilt negates any need for judges to apply fair trial protections and/or employ equal justice principles contradict decades of court rulings -- precedent.

The Pa Supreme Court declared in a 1959 ruling that defendants are entitled "to all the safeguards of a fair trial"even if the evidence of guilt piles as high as Mt. Everest."

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That fair trial right exists irrespective of whether judges or prosecutors are convinced of a defendant's guilt, Pa's highest court stated in that ruling issued when Abu-Jamal was four-years-old.

That 1959 ruling arose from a Philadelphia murder case where the defendant pled guilty. Abu-Jamal has consistently proclaimed his innocence in the fatal shooting of Officer Faulkner before, during and after his trial.

The U.S. Supreme Court first employed "The Mumia Exception" during rulings in the early 1990s granting relief to a white racist prison gang member and a devil worshipper who'd raised the same appeal issue as Abu-Jamal.

Each defendant claimed prosecutors violated their First Amendment free association rights with references to respective prison gang, devil worshipping and BPP memberships.

The Supreme Court faulted prosecutorial references to the then current organizational affiliations of that gang member and devil worshipper while it twice found no fault in prosecutors exploiting Abu-Jamal's past BPP membership.

Equal protection of laws seemingly should have provided an ex-Black Panther with the same Constitutional protections extended to the racist gang member and devil worshipper.

Incredibly "The Mumia Exception" is the least scrutinized aspect of this heavily examined case.

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Jurists never admit employing "The Mumia Exception" because that improper procedure violates their sworn duty to uphold the legal principles of equal justice and adherence to precedent.

Failure to factor the endemic impact of "The Mumia Exception" elevates the credibility of fallacious claims about Abu-Jamal's "open-&-shut' guilt.

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Linn Washington Jr. is a veteran investigative journalist who writes regularly on issues involving the criminal justice system, the news media, race-&-racism, constitutional rights and the Mumia Abu-Jamal case. He is passionate about examining (more...)
 

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The 'Mumia Exception' - Explaining Injustice