by Rachel Wolkenstein
On Dec. 27, 2018, Court of Common Pleas Judge Leon Tucker granted Mumia’s petition for new appeal rights, over the opposition of “progressive DA” Larry Krasner.
This is the first Pennsylvania state court decision in Mumia’s favor since he was arrested on Dec. 9, 1981.
In his decision, Judge Tucker ruled former Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Ronald Castille, who was the district attorney during Mumia’s first appeal of his frame-up conviction and death sentence, “created the appearance of bias and impropriety” in the appeal process when he didn’t recuse himself from participating in Mumia’s appeals.
Judge Tucker relied heavily on Ronald Castille’s public statements bragging that he would be a “law and order” judge, that he was responsible for 45 men on death row, that he had the political and financial support of the Fraternal Order of Police, and new evidence of Castille’s campaign for death warrants for convicted “police killers.” The appearance of bias and lack of “judicial neutrality” exhibited by Castille warranted his recusal.
Judge Tucker’s order throws out the Pennsylvania Supreme Court decisions from 1998-2012 that rubber-stamped Mumia’s racially-biased, politically-motivated murder conviction on frame-up charges of the shooting death of police officer Daniel Faulkner.
Judge Tucker’s decision means that Mumia Abu-Jamal’s post-conviction appeals of his 1982 conviction must be reheard in the Pennsylvania appeals court. In those appeals, Mumia’s lawyers proved that Mumia was framed by police and prosecution, who manufactured evidence of guilt and suppressed the proof of his innocence.
And he was tried by a racist, pro-prosecution trial judge, Albert Sabo, who declared, “I’m gonna help them fry the nigger” and denied Mumia other due process trial rights.
The new appeals ordered by Judge Tucker open the door to Mumia Abu-Jamal’s freedom. Abu-Jamal’s legal claims and supporting evidence warrant a dismissal of the frame-up charges that have kept him imprisoned for 37 years, or, at the very least, a new trial.
The international campaign for Mumia Abu-Jamal’s freedom has launched a new offensive. At the top of its actions is a call for letters and phone calls to DA Larry Krasner demanding he not appeal Judge Tucker’s order granting new appeal rights to Mumia Abu-Jamal.
‘Progressive’ District Attorney Larry Krasner must NOT appeal the order granting appeal rights to Mumia
Tell DA Larry Krasner: Do NOT appeal Judge Tucker’s decision granting Mumia Abu-Jamal new appeal rights!
Send that message to Krasner right away by
- email: DA_Central@phila.gov
- mail: Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner, Three South Penn Square, Corner of Juniper and South Penn Square, Philadelphia, PA 19107-3499
- phone: 215-686-8000
- tweet: @philaDAO
- signing the petition at https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/krasner-do-right-by-mumia?source=direct_link&
Rachel Wolkenstein is a life-long political activist and an attorney for over 40 years defending civil liberties and civil rights. She assisted in building a world-wide campaign for former death row political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal from 1995 to 1999 and remains a legal and public advocate for his freedom. She can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or through her website, www.rachelwolkenstein.net.