Oct 23, 2006

Dear Friends:

On October 23, 2006, the Fourth-Step Reply Brief of Appellee and Cross-Appellant, Mumia Abu-Jamal was submitted to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, Philadelphia. 
(Abu-Jamal v. Horn, U.S. Ct. of Appeals Nos. 01-9014, 02-9001.)  It is attached.

Oral argument will likely be scheduled during the coming months.  I will advise when a hearing date is set.

The attached brief is of enormous consequence since it goes to the essence of our client's right to a fair trial, due process of law, and equal protection of the law, guaranteed by the Fifth, Sixth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.  The issues include:

  • Whether Mr. Abu-Jamal was denied the right to due process of law and a fair trial because of the prosecutor’s “appeal-after-appeal” argument which encouraged the jury to disregard the presumption of innocence and reasonable doubt, and err on the side of guilt.
  • Whether the prosecution’s exclusion of African Americans from sitting on the jury violated Mr. Abu-Jamal’s right to due process and equal protection of the law, in contravention of Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79 (1986).
  • Whether Mr. Abu-Jamal was denied due process and equal protection of the law during a post-conviction hearing because of the bias and racism of Judge Albert F. Sabo, who was overheard during the trial commenting that he was “going to help'em fry the n_ _ _ _ _."

That the federal court is hearing issues which concern Mr. Abu-Jamal's right to a fair trial is a great milestone in this struggle for human rights.  This is the first time that any court has made a ruling in nearly a quarter of a century that could lead to a new trial and freedom. Nevertheless, our client remains on Pennsylvania's death row and in great danger.

Mr. Abu-Jamal, the "voice of the voiceless," is a powerful symbol in the international campaign against the death penalty and for political prisoners everywhere. The goal of Professor Judith L. Ritter, associate counsel, and I is to see that the many wrongs which have occurred in this case are righted, and that at the conclusion of a new trial our client is freed.

With best wishes,

Robert R. Bryan
Law Offices of Robert R. Bryan
2088 Union Street, Suite 4, San Francisco, California 94123
Lead counsel for Mumia Abu-Jamal


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