Yesterday there was a huge development in Mumia’s case.
According to a posting yesterday on the US Supreme Court’s website, the Court has scheduled a conference for this Friday, January 15, to discuss Mumia’s case. Specifically, they are looking at the Philadelphia DA’s request to have Mumia executed without a new sentencing hearing.
The Supreme Court has apparently been waiting for the ruling on the Spisak case, which was also released yesterday. In Spisak, the court ruled to reinstate Spisak’s death sentence, but it is still unclear what impact this ruling will have. The common thread between Mumia and Spisak is the “Mills” precedent, and the Court yesterday ruled that Spisak’s case did not meet the standards of Mills.
This is the link to the Supreme Court posting:
Here is a recent article by Jeff Mackler, explaining the importance of the Spisak case:
This past March, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear Abu-Jamal’s appeal for a new guilt-phase trial, but the Court has yet to rule on whether to hear the appeal made simultaneously by the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office, which seeks to execute Abu-Jamal without granting him a new penalty-phase trial.
In March 2008, the Third Circuit Court affirmed Federal District Court Judge William Yohn’s 2001 decision “overturning” the death sentence. Citing the 1988 Mills v. Maryland precedent, Yohn had ruled that sentencing forms used by jurors and Judge Albert Sabo’s instructions to the jury were potentially confusing, and that therefore jurors could have mistakenly believed that they had to unanimously agree on any mitigating circumstances in order to consider them as weighing against a death sentence.
According to the 2001 ruling, affirmed in 2008, if the DA wants to re-instate the death sentence, the DA must call for a new penalty-phase jury trial. In such a penalty hearing, new evidence of Abu-Jamal’s innocence could be presented, but the jury could only choose between execution and a life sentence without parole.
The DA is appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court against this 2008 affirmation of Yohn’s ruling. If the court rules in the DA’s favor, Abu-Jamal can be executed without benefit of a new sentencing hearing. If the U.S. Supreme Court rules against the DA’s appeal, the DA must either accept the life sentence for Abu-Jamal or call for the new sentencing hearing. Meanwhile, Mumia Abu-Jamal has never left his death row cell.
President Obama against the death penalty and for Mumia Abu-Jamal
please help to spread the petition to President Obama against the death penalty and for Mumia Abu-Jamal:
To: President Barack Obama WE THE UNDERSIGNED petition you to speak out against the death penalty for Mumia Abu-Jamal, and all the men, women and children facing execution around the world. This ultimate form of punishment is unacceptable in a civilized society and undermines human dignity. (U.N. General Assembly, Moratorium on the Use of the Death Penalty, Resolution 62/149, Dec. 18, 2007; reaffirmed, Resolution 63/168, Dec. 18, 2008.)
Mr. Abu-Jamal, a renowned black journalist and author, has been on Pennsylvania’s death row for nearly three decades. Even though you do not have direct control over his fate as a state death-row inmate, we ask that you as a moral leader on the world stage call for a global moratorium on the death penalty in his and all capital cases. Mr. Abu-Jamal has become a global symbol, the “Voice of the Voiceless”, in the struggle against capital punishment and human-rights abuses. There are over 20,000 awaiting execution around the globe, with over 3,000 on death rows in the United States.
The 1982 trial of Mr. Abu-Jamal was tainted by racism, and occurred in Philadelphia which has a history of police corruption and discrimination. Amnesty International, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, “determined that numerous aspects of this case clearly failed to meet international standards safeguarding the fairness of legal proceedings. [T]he interests of justice would best be served by the granting of a new trial to Mumia Abu-Jamal. The trial should fully comply with international standards of justice and should not allow for the reimposition of the death penalty.” (A Life In the Balance – The Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal, at 34, Amnesty Int’l, 2000; www. Amnesty.org/en/library/info/
[Note: This petition is approved by Mumia Abu-Jamal and his lead attorney, Robert R. Bryan, San Francisco (E-mail:MumiaLegalDefense@gmail.com; Website: www.MumiaLegalDefense.org).]
Berliner Bündnis Freiheit für Mumia Abu-Jamal!
[col. writ. 12/24/09]
(c) ’09 Mumia Abu-Jamal
According to a think-piece in a recent edition of Newsweek, President Barack H. Obama is a “post-imperial” leader, who seeks to bring ‘balance’ to foreign affairs, and a kind of disciplined realism to interactions with other nations.
Of the similarities between the dreaded example of Vietnam and Afghanistan, the analogy fails because unlike the fateful Diem brothers, Afghan leader Hamid Karzai was ‘elected’ and has significant support.
The analogy is about as weak as wet toilet tissue.
To say Karzai was elected is to do extreme violence to the term.
A recent piece in the Washington Post describes the Taliban as a virtual “shadow government” throughout much of the country, with dual governors, police chiefs, tax staffs and village governments.
Indeed, the Post reports Taliban control covers “broad swaths of the country, especially Afghanistan’s vast rural areas.” That’s because in many of these districts, the U.S. supported Karzai regime has no presence.
Back to the point — a corrupt, foreign – supported government, which is widely seen as a puppet regime. Sound familiar?
Do we have another Vietnam? Perhaps. The imperial press dutifully followed Pentagon and White House reports, painting Vietnam in rosy colors until the walls came tumbling down. They almost universally praised the Afghanistan and Iraq wars as righteous retribution.
Why should they stop now?
As for ‘post-imperial’, this is a label that is about as ridiculous as post-racial!
To invade countries that did nothing to it; to bomb and kill tens of thousands, to occupy and install puppets sounds pretty imperial to me.
And to add over 30,000 troops to this process means more of the same.
Is this ‘post-imperial?’
–(c) ’09 maj
[Source: Zakaria, Fareed, “The Post-Imperial Presidency”, Newsweek, (12/14/09), pp. 36-40; Witte, Griff, “The Shadow Government’s Clout: In Afghanistan, Taliban Officials offer a concrete alternative:, Washington Post, [Nat’l Wkly. Ed.], Dec.14-20, 2009, p.18]