By Dave Lindorff
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When Larry Krasner, Philadelphia's new purportedly progressive district attorney, took office last January, he vowed to unflinchingly make the office's goal "seeking justice," instead of just seeking convictions, as a string of DAs going back to at least Ed Rendell had done.
Last week, faced with a decision calling for real courage, Krasner flinched.
In the wake of a Dec. 27 decision by Philadelphia Common Pleas Judge Leon Tucker ordering new hearings by the state's supreme court on four appeals by Pennsylvania's most famous prison inmate, journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal, Krasner had two options. He could let Judge Tucker's finding stand that the denial of those appeals had been corrupted by the refusal of a former DA, Ron Castille, who had later become a supreme court judge and who refused to recuse himself. Alternatively, he could challenge Judge Tucker's decision, and argue that it should be overturned.
Krasner, after discussions with his top aids, decided to appeal, meaning no automatic rearguing of Abu-Jamal's four denied Supreme Court appeals.
Krasner's decision itself was corrupted by the his own closeness to Castille, who as DA from 1986-91 oversaw that office's legal battles against Abu-Jamal's appeals of his conviction in the 1981 shooting death of Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner. Krasner had brought invited Castille, who retired from the state's supreme court in 2014, to help with transitioning the DA's office when he first came in, advising the him on staff changes, including which hold-over assistant DAs to fire.
The same Castille who had thought it was perfectly okay to have overseen the legal fight by the Philadelphia DA's office against Abu-Jamal's appeal of his conviction and of his death penalty (the latter finally overturned on constitutional grounds by a federal appeals court in 2011) and then to sit on a review of those appeals as a member of the state supreme court, is turned out to be a trusted advisor to Krasner.
No surprise then that Krasner has now decided to oppose the decision by Judge Tucker which blasted Castille for his failure to recuse himself from the high court's decision on four Post-Conviction Relief Act appeals by Abu-Jamal. In that decision, Judge Tucker wrote"
For the rest of this article by DAVE LINDORFF in ThisCantBeHappening!, the uncompromised, collectively run, six-time Project Censored Award-winning online alternative news site, please go to:https://thiscantbehappening.
Lindorff is author of the critically acclaimed "Killing Time: An Investigation into the Death Penalty Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal" (Common Courage Press, 2004)