published: 7 May 2017
In a major break in a decades-long struggle, Pennsylvania Common Court of Appeals Judge Leon Tucker ordered the release of a trove of documents relating to the unconstitutional involvement of former Pennsylvania District Attorney and Pennsylvania Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronald Castille in the trial of longtime political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal.
This discovery order represents a significant development in the struggle to restore Mumia’s appellate rights and, eventually, to overturn his wrongful conviction in the 1981 shooting of a Philadelphia police officer.
This new court order mandates that, “The Commonwealth must produce any and all documents or records in the possession or control of the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office showing former District Attorney Ronald Castille’s personal involvement in [Mumia’s case], including, but not limited to: memoranda regarding this case during pre-trial, trial, post-trial and direct appeal proceedings; notes of memoranda regarding meetings between former District Attorney Ronald Castille and his staff regarding this case; press releases or other public statements made by former District Attorney Ronald Castille about this case, if any, during and after his tenure as District Attorney of Philadelphia.”
This order is a consequence of the 2016 victory of death-row inmate Terrence Williams in the U.S. Supreme Court case Williams vs. Pennsylvania. This case brought to light ongoing and long term corruption, hypocrisy and unconstitutional violation of due process by the Pennsylvania DA’s office and Ronald Castille in particular, and resulted in a new trial for Williams.