Justice is again denied for Mumia Abu-Jamal

Mumia Abu Jamal
Mumia Abu Jamal

source: Workers World
published: 1 November 2021

The Pennsylvania Superior Court on Oct. 26 denied Pennsylvania political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal’s appeals, filed in 2019 following a December 2018 decision by Pennsylvania Common Pleas Court Judge Leon Tucker that awarded Abu-Jamal the right to reopen his Post-Conviction Relief Appeals.

His appellate case, first filed in August 2016 and heard in a courtroom April 24, 2017, was based on the 2016 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, Williams v. Pennsylvania. This case found due process was violated when former Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Ronald Castille participated in the consideration of Terrance Williams’ appeal in a capital post-conviction case.

Abu-Jamal’s attorneys Judith Ritter and Sam Spital argued that Castille was also the district attorney when Abu-Jamal was convicted, and he was a state Supreme Court judge when Mumia initially filed his PCRA appeals.

As Philadelphia District Attorney, Castille approved decisions to seek the death penalty. The SCOTUS ruling established that a petitioner is entitled to relief when a reasonable observer could conclude that a judge harbored disqualifying bias against the petitioner.

Tucker’s decision was based on finding a letter to then-Governor Robert Casey from Castille that showed improper judicial bias. Castille wrote: “I urge you to send a clear and dramatic message to all police killers that the death penalty in Pennsylvania actually means something.”

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