source: Workers World
published: 11 January 2022
Attorneys for imprisoned journalist and veteran Black Panther Mumia Abu-Jamal filed a petition Jan. 4 for a Post-Conviction Relief Appeal (PCRA), based on evidence found in six case file boxes they were first able to review in January 2019. The boxes were discovered in a remote storage room in the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office in late December 2018.
The uncovered evidence reveals a pattern of prosecutorial misconduct and abuse of authority, including bribery of the state’s two key witnesses — a violation of Brady v. Maryland, and racist exclusion in jury selection — a violation of the landmark Supreme Court ruling Batson v. Kentucky.
Abu-Jamal was arrested and charged with the murder of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner on Dec. 9, 1981. The prosecution’s star witness during Abu-Jamal’s 1982 trial was taxicab driver Robert Chobert, on probation for arson and driving with a suspended chauffeur’s license.
Chobert claimed he pulled up behind Faulkner’s police car and witnessed the killing. Pictures of the crime scene taken by press photographer Pedro Polakoff, 10 minutes after the shooting, showed an empty space where Chobert alleged he parked his cab.
Coerced state witnesses
Testifying again in Abu-Jamal’s initial 1995 PCRA hearing, Chobert admitted he was offered a deal by the District Attorney to reinstate his suspended license. A key piece of evidence found in the boxes shows he was offered more.”