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
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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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