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Indybay Feature
Thu Feb 21 2008 (Updated 02/28/08)
PA Supreme Court rejects Mumia Abu-Jamal’s PCRA appeal
Supporters of Mumia Abu-Jamal Say Ruling is Unjust
On Tuesday, February 19th, in a ruling unrelated to the pending US Third Circuit Court decision, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court rejected death row journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal’s appeal of a 2005 ruling by Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge Pamela Dembe, which denied Abu-Jamal’s Post Conviction Relief Act (PCRA) petition, on grounds that it was not "timely." Mumia Abu-Jamal was convicted—many believe falsely—of killing Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner, and his trial was riddled with improprieties.

This recent PCRA petition was based on affidavits by two witnesses who did not testify at the original 1982 trial: Yvette Williams and Kenneth Pate. Yvette Williams states that key prosecution witness Cynthia White told her that she had been coerced by police into giving false testimony against Abu-Jamal. Other defense witnesses have given similar accounts of Cynthia White’s coerced testimony. As Amnesty International has documented, White’s alleged eye-witness account was altered, as each subsequent account given to police further served to support the prosecution scenario used to convict Abu-Jamal. Kenneth Pate says that prosecution witness Priscilla Durham confided to him that she had lied in court when she stated that she heard Abu-Jamal confess at the hospital. Even before Pate’s affidavit, Durham’s account was seen as very suspicious. The alleged “hospital confession,” where Abu-Jamal reportedly declared, “I shot the motherf***er and I hope the motherf***er dies,” was first officially reported to police over two months later, by hospital guards Priscilla Durham and James LeGrand and others. Only 2 of these five witnesses were called by the DA: Gary Bell (Faulkner's partner and “best friend”) and Priscilla Durham.

Many are concerned that recently discovered crime scene photos have been largely ignored by the corporate media, while the media has already reported on this rejection by the state Supreme Court. Mumia's case is rapidly approaching its end, as an appeal for a new trial is pending. A decision is imminent, and emergency demonstrations in response to the outcome have already been scheduled. Robert R. Bryan, Mumia's attorney, said, "If the federal decision is favorable, then the Pennsylvania Supreme Court judgment will be moot. Otherwise, I plan to seek relief in the U.S. Supreme Court. I will not rest until Mumia is free. "

Report with responses to the court's decision | PDC press release on PCRA denial | PDC: Fact Sheet Presents Evidence of Mumia Abu-Jamal’s Innocence | Indybay's recent coverage of Mumia Abu-Jamal | Journalists for Mumia Abu-Jamal | NYC Coalition to Free Mumia | San Francisco Mobilization to Free Mumia | Educators for Mumia | Mumia’s Radio Essays | PDC's links to legal affadavits and declarations | About "Murdered by Mumia"
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