Legal Update - 9 June 2010
Statement by Robert R. Bryan, Mumia's lawyer.
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, Philadelphia, etc.
There are significant developments on various fronts in the coordinated legal campaign to save and free Mumia Abu-Jamal. The complex court proceedings are moving forward at a fast pace. Mumia’s life is on the line.
Court Developments: We are engaged in pivotal litigation in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, Philadelphia. At stake is whether Mumia will be executed or granted a new jury trial on the question of the death penalty. Two years ago we won on that issue, with the federal court finding that the trial judge misled the jury thereby rendering the proceedings constitutionally unfair. Then in January 2010 the U.S. Supreme Court vacated that victorious ruling based upon its decision in another case, and ordered that the case be again reviewed by the Court of Appeals.
The prosecution continues its vengeful obsession to kill my client, regardless of the truth as to what happened at the time of the 1981 police shooting. Its opening brief was filed April 26. Our initial brief will be submitted on July 28. At issue is the death penalty.
We are also awaiting a decision in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on prosecutorial abuses, having completed all briefing in April. The focus is on ballistics.
Petition for President Barack Obama: It is crucial for people to sign the petition for President Barack Obama, Mumia Abu-Jamal and the Global Abolition of the Death Penalty, which was initially in 10 languages (Swahili and Turkish have since been added). This is the only petition approved by Mumia and me, and is a vital part of the legal effort to save his life. Please sign the petition and circulate its link.
Over 22,000 people from around the globe have signed. These include: Bishop Desmond Tutu, South Africa (Nobel Peace Prize); G&uumnl;nter Grass, Germany (Nobel Prize in Literature); Danielle Mitterrand, Paris (former First Lady of France); Fatima Bhutto, Pakistan (writer); Colin Firth (Academy Award Best-Actor nominee), Noam Chomsky, MIT (philosopher and author); Ed Asner (actor); Elliott Gould (actor); Mike Farrell (actor); and Michael Radford (director of the Oscar winning film Il Postino); Robert Meeropol (son of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, executed in 1953); members of the European Parliament; members of the German Bundestag; European Association of Lawyers for Democracy and World Human Rights; Reporters Without Borders, Paris.
European Parliament; Rosa Luxemburg Conference; World Congress Against the Death Penalty; Geneva Human Rights Film Festival: We began the year with a major address to the annual Rosa Luxemburg Conference in Berlin, Germany, sponsored by the newspaper junge Welt. The large auditorium was filled with a standing-room audience. Mumia joined me by telephone. We announced the launching of the online petition, Mumia Abu-Jamal and the Global Abolition of the Death Penalty. On the concluding night of the World Congress Against the Death Penalty in Geneva, Switzerland, February 25, a large audience heard Mumia by telephone. He spoke as a symbolic representative of the over 20,000 men, women and children on death rows around the world. The call came as a surprise, since we thought it had been canceled. Mumia’s comments from inside his death-row cell brought to reality the horror of daily life in which death is a common denominator. During an earlier panel discussion I discussed racism in capital cases around the globe with the case of Mumia as a prime example. A day before the Congress on February 23, I talked at the Geneva Human Rights Film Festival on the power of films in fighting the death penalty and saving Mumia.
In the European Parliament, Brussels, Belgium on March 2, members Søren Søndergaard (Denmark) and Sabine Lösing (Germany) announced the beginning of a worldwide campaign to save Mumia and end executions. They were joined by Sabine Kebir, the noted German author and PEN member, Nicole Bryan, and me. We discussed the online petition which helps not only Mumia, but all the condemned around the globe.
Donations for Mumia's Legal Defense and Online Petition: The complex litigation and investigation that is being pursued on behalf of Mumia is enormously expensive. We are in both the federal and state courts on the issue of the death penalty, prosecutorial wrongdoing, etc. Mumia's life is on the line.
How to Help: For information on how to help, both through donations and signing the Obama petition, please go to Mumia's legal defense website.
Conclusion: Mumia remains on death row under a death judgment. He is in greater danger than at any time since his arrest 28 1/2 years ago. The prosecution is pursuing his execution. I win cases, and will not let them kill my client. He must be free.
Yours very truly,
Law Offices of Robert R. Bryan