Mumia Legal Update
from the office of Attorney Eliot Grossman
Mumia's case remains on appeal in the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. The appeal in the Third Circuit is from Judge Yohn's December 18, 2001 decision in which he overturned the death penalty, but upheld the conviction.
The prosecution appealed overturning of the death penalty; Mumia's attorneys appealed upholding the conviction. That appeal is presently "stayed" (on hold) pending the Pennsylvania Supreme Court's ruling on the state appeal.
The appeal in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court is from Judge Dembe's dismissal of Mumia's Petition for Post-Conviction Relief and/or Writ of Habeas Corpus, previously filed on July 3, 2001.
Mumia's attorneys filed their Opening Brief in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on August 27, 2002, the prosecution filed their Brief thereafter. Mumia's attorneys filed a Reply Brief on October 15, 2002, and also submitted a motion for leave to file a Supplemental Reply Brief.
Mumia's attorneys had filed a motion requesting the Court set a hearing date for oral argument. The Court denied the motion before Mumia's attorneys filed their Reply Briefs. Mumia's attorneys have asked the Court to reconsider that ruling on the basis that the Court should not have ruled on the request for oral argument without first having reviewed all the written briefs. It is unknown when the Court will rule on the motion to reconsider.
Also awaiting a ruling is a motion by Mumia's attorneys to recuse Justice Castille from hearing Mumia's appeal because of his supervisorial responsibility for the "McMahon videotape" when Castille was Philadelphia County District Attorney. The videotape is a training tape for prosecutors on how to exclude African-Americans from juries. The videotape was produced by "D.A.T.V. Productions" and bears the official seal of the City of Philadelphia and the name and title "Ronald D. Castille, District Attorney."
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court had previously denied a motion by Mumia's attorneys to take the deposition of Justice Castille with regard to the videotape, a decision in which Justice Castille did not participate. In their motion Mumia's attorneys point out that Justice Castille had previously participated in denying claims in Mumia's case that during his trial African-American jurors were peremptorily challenged by the prosecutor during jury selection because of their race.
Mumia's attorneys have also requested that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court permit Arnold Beverly, the confessed killer of Police Officer Daniel Faulkner, to appear before them and testify. Beverly's written and videotaped confession, in which he exonerates Mumia of any participation in the shooting of Faulkner, was previously filed with the Pennsylvania
Supreme Court. No ruling has yet been made on this request. The ICFFMAJ should have copies of the briefs filed in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
The most important issue that needs to be gotten across to the public and to the courts is that Mumia is innocent and that the evidence which proves his innocence must be heard.
The amicus brief on behalf of various labor unions by attorney Michael Yamamoto provides an excellent, brief and to the point presentation of this evidence and is a good organizing tool.
A campaign has begun to have individuals and organizations sign Joinder forms to file in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court joining in the Yamamoto amicus brief. The Court has taken the position that these Joinders should have been filed on the same day the amicus brief itself was filed although there is no written court rule which requires this.
The organizations carrying out the Joinder campaign are in the process of submitting motions to the court requesting the filing of the Joinders. Please advise if there are any questions or if you would like further information concerning the present status of Mumia's case.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
ELIOT LEE GROSSMAN, ESQ., (626) 943-1945.
International Concerned Family
and Friends of Mumia Abu Jamal
International Action Center
39 West 14th Street, Room 206
New York, NY 10011
fax: 212 633-2889
phone: 212 633-6646