Just like Mumia, I am a radio reporter.
When you find the truth among the sound you record, it is like lightning.
No matter what our bosses told us, we knew that we were going to go get the truth, honor it, and put it on the air.
Mumia once said to me “I would look searchingly at my bosses and say “What? You don’t want me to ask Jimmie Carter and Frank Rizzo the really hard questions? Really….you don’t want the voice of the people that were at the scene, [you know, the black and brown people] on the air?”
When you broadcast lightning someone is going to get exposed.
Lynne Stewart, supporting Mumia.
Our job is to make those broadcasts happen.
Our job is to go where the silence is and uplift the voices of those people.
Mumia and Prison Radio are unwilling to put our microphones down when it matters most.
This work has been brutally hard.
Mumia has been in prison for 37 years, 29 of those years he spent in solitary confinement, 8 of them with no visits or phone calls. For many years he had only one 15-minute phone call per week, one visit a week for an hour, and was allowed only seven books in his cell.
In July of 1992, Jennifer Beach and I went to Huntington State Prison and left with Mumia Abu-Jamal’s voice on our Digital Audio tapes. His voice had been buried and silenced, for over a decade and we brought it back to the airwaves. It was not an easy trip. We had no money. There were long Greyhound rides in 100-degree weather, a cheap motel in Carlisle PA that flooded with sewage, and we had to rent bulky equipment and talk the prison into letting us in. We were young, but we saw a silence where there needed to be a clear voice for the people, for the movement, for truth, and for history. We knew that Mumia’s voice was one of the voices that we needed to bring out into the public discourse.
(c) Jennifer Beach/Prison Radio July 1992 SCI Huntington State Prison, PA.
Twice Mumia was sentenced to death, and in August of 1995 he was 10 days from being executed when the warrant was vacated. He called us with his only phone call from that strip cell, because he knew we would broadcast his voice.
In 2015, when he was rushed to the hospital in renal failure, Johanna Fernandez drove to the nearest hospital and found him. Pam Africa, Razikan Wali, I then slept on the floor of the intensive care waiting room. We would not and could not leave him alone.
As he was recovering, he wrote his latest 500-page book, part of his trilogy, Murder Inc. (published by Prison Radio) in the infirmary when he could barely raise his head up. Other prisoners would bring him information and roll in a TV so he could stay up-to-date. He was there for over a year recovering from the diabetic shock and a coma the prison had allowed him to fall into.
Here is a picture of the cartridge of the type of pen he wrote his first 8 books with.
Yes, we have shared prisoners difficult stories, but we have not always told you about how hard it is to keep Prison Radio up and running.
It took us literally years to pay off that first trip to record Mumia. But we continued the launch of Prison Radio. We did more recordings and placed his commentaries on NPR. Oh, and the work did not get easier.
We don’t know if the 2003, 9-millimeter gunfire that strafed my home, blowing through the walls six inches below and above my head as I slept in my daughter’s lower bed of our bunkbeds, was the result of this work, but we have to wonder. Of course, the police said, “We can’t protect you.”
I have never said this in so many direct words before, because for many years it was too painful, but for 19 years I could not visit Mumia. I was banned from the prison for bringing a single sheet of paper, a printout of Prison Radio’s budget, into the non-contact visiting room. You know where the prisoner and you are separated by a floor to table top glass partiton. Why did the prison care so much that I had held up to the glass a copy of our budget for Mumia to see?
Because when you raise and spend money on winning it is dangerous. They know it and we know it.
During those decades, even though I could not visit in person, we used the phone to record and broadcast Mumia every single week, often twice and three times a week, and recorded — now over 3,000 commentaries with him.
We knew the importance — to everyone — of hearing Mumia directly, of doing the work, day in and day out, to produce his radio commentaries. Prison Radio was a lifeline. Frankly, I could have launched a campaign to get the right to visit, but we were getting the work done. Should I fight for the right to have an instant cup of coffee with him sitting on a hard plastic chair and after genuflecting to the guards? Or do we just keep working swinging for the fences with commentary after commentary. Bridging the space between inside and outside by broadcasting his voice. Another thing Mumia and I share, we love getting tape on the air, breaking news, and rip and read radio. We love to make radio.
When I finally saw him in person again, in December of 2016, he gave me a huge hug (the guy is tall) and said, “Noelle, let’s not wait 19 years to do this again. Ok?” We just laughed and laughed. And talked about the next book to make, the next radio session.
Prison Radio has grown stronger; now we are airing over one hundred correspondents.
Please know that you are a huge part of Prison Radio. It just could not be done without your support. Every single little tiny gift matters. It is like oxygen.
You listen, you read us, you give, and we report, it is that simple.
Each day, we are just one step closer to justice and freedom.
Donate by Midnight Saturday 10-19-19 at Midnight PST.
As a radio reporter I believe that if I hear something that needs to be on the airwaves, I have an obligation to go get it and bring it to you.
Nothing will stop us from bringing those voices to the airwaves. We believe in the First Amendment and defend it.
Prison Radio has been dedicated to bringing these voices to you.
We have not stopped bringing you Mumia’s voice and hundreds of other prisoners’ voices for now 30 years. But we need your help. Please give today. And help us make this happen.
16 October 2019
“Mumia Abu-Jamal Just One Step from Freedom” notes Maureen Faulkner
From the minute Mumia picked up a microphone and a pen at the age of 14, Philadelphia’s notoriously racist police department has been seeking to silence him. Just look at the FBI files- documenting that the Philadelphia PD Civil Disobedience Unit Red Squad trailed him -- and the Police Chief Frank Rizzo targeted him -- feeding his name to the FBI to put him on the “security index." Mumia was literally covering community events and rallies, and writing for the Black Panther Party Paper, all this while he was still in his teens!
During the 1995 PCRA hearings, 13 yrs after Mumia's questionable murder conviction, a Philadelphia police officer was heard by a NY Times reporter outside the courtroom saying “we should have executed him that night.”
Remember: it was Philly cops who shot Mumia. The Philly cops who brutally beat him at the scene, in the police wagon, and on the floor of the Jefferson Hospital emergency room entrance.
Joe McGill, the prosecutor on Mumia’s case, and Ed Rendell, the District Attorney at the time, worked closely with the police to frame and convict Mumia for the Dec. 9th 1981 murder of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner.
In 2020, a new hearing in Philadelphia Common Pleas could be, and should be, free from bias. Everyone knows that Mumia's trial judge in 1981-1982 was s stone cold racist. A current sitting homicide judge on the Common Pleas Court bench has commented that Albert Sabo was "the most racist and sexist judge I have ever met.”
Here is information that has been suppressed and buried for decades and now could be available for the first time during a new trial.
- Did DA Joe McGill pay off witnesses with favors and cash?
- Did McGill allow the cabbie with a suspended license to keep driving? Photos of the crime scene by the Philadelphia Bulletin prove the cab driver's car was literally not at the scene.
- Did Joe McGill illegally remove Black jurors because of their race?
- Did Joe McGill track and fix the outstanding cases of other key witnesses?
- Did the DA’s office for 37 yrs withhold and suppress critical information from Mumia’s criminal defense team?
- Did judge Albert Sabo state “I am going to help them fry the n*****” in front of Judge Richard Klein and court clerk Terry Maurer Carter?
- Did Alfonso Giordano Philadelphia Police Commander-- the highest ranking officer on the scene of officer Faulkner’s murder on Dec. 9th 1981 falsely state that Mumia confessed while he was beating him in the police van? At the time Giordano was under federal scrutiny for running gambling, extortion and payoffs and thus not used as a trial witness. He testified at pretrial hearings but was not "available" at trial. He retired the day after Mumia was found guilty, with full pay. Soon thereafter he pleaded guilty to tax evasion for the bribes taken from illegal gambling in East Division, 29 officers were convicted in just that scandal alone.
Joe McGill, the original trial prosecutor, with Maureen Faulkner, widow of Daniel Faulkner, at the FOP Lodge 5 breakfast event on October 4th 2019. McGill, at a new trial will have to address the longstanding DA policy of illegally striking Black jurors. (see the McMahan Tapes).
A few months ago, I got a chance to speak with Maureen Faulkner. I asked her: "What did she think was going to happen next in Mumia's case?
She replied: "You have to go to Prison Radio's website and listen. Judith Ritter, Mumia's lawyer really thinks they have a chance."
Maureen, paused, and continued. She had to admit:
“We are in a really hard spot. There is not much we can do, the way it is going...We have to fight to keep Mumia in prison as long as possible.”
Finally the tides are turning. Justice is palpable.
While Maureen Faulkner, widow of Daniel Faulkner, is being put forward as the face of the opposition in recent court proceedings, the real players behind the scenes are the Fraternal Order of Police. And they are worried. There is a lot of self-interest on the part of the 6500-member Philadelphia Police Union in toppling Larry Krasner, the popular new DA with an anti-corruption agenda.
Early this fall, in a groundbreaking development, Krasner filed a brief in Superior Court (see sidebar) agreeing that a new evidentiary hearing should be held in Mumia's case by the Philadelphia Common Pleas court. "The Commonwealth does not oppose defendant's motion for a remand to the PCRA court for defedant to present newly-discovered evidence."
This PCRA hearing would evaluate the evidence found in the six previously undisclosed banker boxes from Storage Room 17, that Larry Krasner found after taking office and turned over to the defense. Maureen Faulkner tried to file an objection to the seeking removal of Krasner's office. But just last week, her pro se application to intervention in the Superior Court Appeal was denied. (see sidebar)
10-4-19 FOP breakfast Rally for Maureen, John "Jack" O'Neil, Esq. Staff attorney for the IBEW Electrical Workers Union. He is volunteering to assist Maureen. He also ran against Krassner and placed a distant sixth. Note that the "trades unions" in Philadelphia share with the FOP a notoriously racist history. The motto of both the IBEW and Lodge 5 - could easily be "protect upper middle class white jobs, at the expense of people of color." Note Krasner has identified and gone after a key lynch pin to the problem of mass incarceration: "police overtime" which is fed by the churning of false arrests in poor communities. (see the 39th District scandal, and others).
Fast forward to October of 2019, “Mumia Abu-Jamal is just one step away from Freedom”, Maureen announced at her press conference at the DA's office at 3 Penn Square in Philadelphia.
Things are changing. Grassroots organizing popularly elected a progressive District Attorney Larry Krassner who is willing to hold the police and former district attorneys accountable. It has been 37 years, and we are closer to justice than we have been since the 1995 PCRA hearing. The courts may be slow to follow, but there is no way to go back. We are on the path to freedom.
You have been there, making it happen, each and every single step. Thank you.
We all must remember that the Philadelphia police have been violent and racist and corrupt for decades. They have a lot to lose if Mumia wins -- because when Mumia wins, the forces that support Black dignity and freedom are winning.
Acting Philadelphia Police Chief Christine Coulter
Let us not misunderstand the depth of racism - throughout the police department in Philadelphia. Here is a picture of the brand new (this month) acting Police Chief Christine Coulter. Here she is wearing an LAPD t-shirt mocking the beating of Rodney King. "LAPD "We treat you like a King". She did not resign when this photo surfaced.
John McNesby, the FOP Lodge 5 President, is deeply invested in continuing the brutal power that the Philly police department enjoyed in the past. At the FOP Lodge Five Event in April he tells his brother officers: “Krasner is going after cops instead of keeping this city safe…We have so many officers on the do-not-call list, we could invade Cuba”. This was a riff on the line by former Mayor and Police Chief Frank Rizzo that "We could invade Cuba and win". The “do not call list” includes officers designated by the DA's office as not available to testify at trial because they have been caught by the courts “test-a-lying” or they have been indicted.
The scandals regarding police corruption are splashed across the Philadelphia Inquirer's front page each and every single week. This week another African-American man was exonerated after proving police falsification of evidence. Willie Veasy’s return to his family after 27 years of bondage was the 10th so far this year.
Mumia Abu-Jamal will follow Willie Veasey out of imprisonment. But only because thousands of you have stood by him and committed to this fight for justice. We still have work to do, we still need every one of you to make sure that justice is done and Mumia comes home.
Join all of us. It is time to move this forward towards justice and freedom and bring Mumia home.
Cuando luchamos ganamos!
When we fight, we win!
October 6, 2019
Treating People With Dignity Is the Best Violence Reduction Program
“There is no iron curtain drawn between the Constitution and the prisons of this country.” Wolff v. McDonnell, 418 U.S. 539, 555–56 (1974). Justice White
Pennsylvania Department of Corrections has adopted collective punishment as its brand-new “solution” for problems of violence inside its prisons.
News from inside is that these repressive policies of collective punishment are being rolled out across the state. Under the guise of their new “Violence Reduction Initiative” the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (PA DOC) has begun punishing all inmates “associated” or on the same tier as other inmates if someone gets into a fight or is accused of a violent act. K. Brittian Facility manager at SCI Frackville responded to Bryant Arroyo’s grievance by stating that “Facility Manager/Designee ...utilize lock downs as a response to critical incidents…disorder, a threat to security or an inability to maintain orderly control of inmates”. These reason for denying Bryant’s grievance misses the point, it waves “security” as a red flag to obscure the unconstitutional taking of folks' rights not to be punished for something they did not do. This is not the “some” evidence standard, this is the NO EVIDENCE standard. 1) The sanctions go far beyond reimposing order and locking folks down; and 2) The sanctions are targeted specifically at innocent individuals, and continue far beyond the lockdown -- and escalate. With no due process, no grievance appeals allowed. Mail and visits are rights that involve access to the courts and constitutional protections.
Following any violent incident, any inmate or many inmates (who often have little knowledge of the incident in question) can lose phone calls, basic (necessary) commissary, recreation and yard time, work, and more.
Collective punishment is immoral. It is unconstitutional and dangerous and it does not work. It is a tool in a repressive regime to get compliance. It is inhumane and brutal.
As a fasisct stick in the prison guards’ toolkit, it offers the guards and prison officials unlimited latitude for selective enforcement and the targeting of those prisoners it wants to break.
The policing industry is endorsing this program, which means we will soon see this not just where it’s already started in Washington, Mississippi, and Pennsylvania, but all across the nation—if we don’t respond.
Imagine If someone on Bryant Arroyo’s or Mumia Abu-Jamal’s tier throws a punch, and their whole tier was locked down? Well this happened recently, and ironically the guys who threw the punch were given a semblance of “due process”: they could grieve their 2 days in the hole. But Mumia and Bryant could not. They were not allowed to challenge the “collective punishment” given to the whole block. This threat looms over every person in these prisons, every day.
History has proven that often the targets of prison officials are the jailhouse lawyers, community leaders, and the folks that are outspoken and organized.
Our correspondents are the most vulnerable in the face of these repressive policies. Prison Radio correspondent Bryant Arroyo shares with us what it is like to live in these conditions:
“Every day I’m in a state of impending lockdown. We’re anxious all the time. The mood is very tense and it’s become dangerous for both inmates and staff alike.. ..It’s gotten to the point where if you see a fight might be about to break out, you grab your towel and head to the shower because you don’t know when your next chance will be.”
His room had been turned upside down by guards during the last lockdown, based on a fight he wasn’t even aware of.
As we have come to expect, these same brave men and women in prison are taking the lead in exposing these unconstitutional practices.
In addition to talking to us and organizing inside their tiers, Mumia Abu-Jamal and Bryant Arroyo have both filed inmate grievances. Mumia’s came after he was subjected to a lockdown for events of which he had no knowledge whatsoever: he argued that collective punishment is unconstitutional by its “inherent nature” as a violation of both the 8th and 14th amendments. From the letter: “Collective punishment is anathema to US law, as it is a government process that punishes others who have not participated in the event giving rise to said government action. PA DOC cannot institute a policy based on an unconstitutional theory or practice. Period.”
"The [Eighth] Amendment must draw its meaning from the evolving standards of decency that mark the progress of a maturing society." Chief Justice Earl Warren Trop v. Dulles, 356 U.S. 86 (1958)
“The relief requested is to grant my legitimate grievance by abolishing this dysfunctional, collectively punitive, officially oppressive, unconstitutional policy which directly affected the ‘actually-innocent’ inmates by broadly and arbitrarily/capriciously misapplying the policy to everyone.” —Bryant Arroyo, Prison Radio correspondent at SCI Frackville PA.
This past month after he filed his grievance Bryant Arroyo’s commissary through JPAY was frozen. He could no longer get stamps to send out copies of his research to us and other news organizations and supporters. If you can, we ask you to send him a money gram. MoneyGram has a contract with the PA DOC and he can get funds that way. Bryant Arroyo Inmate number CU1126. PA DOC code 3209. JPAY will also accept money orders for Bryant if made out and sent to JPAY with is name and number on the memo line. JPAY 717 Market St. Ste 423 Lemoyne, PA 17043-1581.
Also, when Prison Radio sent copies of the text of the grievances to other inmates also filing complaints, the prison censors rejected the mail, saying that the Bryant’s grievance was a prisoner’s “personal property” could not be shared. This information needs to be widely distributed so these decisions can be immediately and effectively appealed. We have filed a grievance on the blocking of legal documents being copied and sent to other inmates.
We can and must support folks inside when they are standing up for their rights.
Thank you for joining us.
Mumia Abu‐Jamal is an award-winning journalist and author of twelve books— Live from Death Row (Harper Perennial, 1995), Death Blossoms (Common Notions, 1996), All Things Censored (Seven Stories, 2000), Faith of Our Fathers (Africa World Press, 2003), We Want Freedom (Common Notions, 2004), Jailhouse Lawyers (City Lights, 2009), The Classroom and the Cell (Third World Press, 2011), Writing on the Wall (City Lights, 2015), Have Black Lives Ever Mattered (City Lights 2016) Murder Inc. (2018). For the past 36 years, he has been a resident of the Pennsylvania State Prison System. Twenty-nine of those years were spent in solitary confinement on death row.
Bryant Arroyo works as a jailhouse environmentalist and jailhouse lawyer, fighting for prisoners and guards rights to clean water and air, and working against the corporations and prison administration that care more about the bottom line than human lives.
“For us to propose that people have the capacity for true, inclusive, democratic self-governance is to place ourselves within a worldview and set of values wholly contradictory to the patriarchal worldview that has caused our present earthly and human predicament” (Bryant Arroyo 2018 Yale Environmental Forum, Recorded and published by Prison Radio)
September 30, 2019
Let me for one moment draw back the curtain on Prison Radio.
I want to make sure you know what our day-to-day operations look like. We show up on the front lines and talk and work with prisoners every day. You do the same, both in your community and through us.
Your support, your gifts, are a clap on the back. It is a “keep going, we love you” note. It is fuel, energy, and the knowledge that you are standing right beside us: that we are not alone. There you are Bernie, Dorian, Susan, Larry, and all the other folks we silently thank each and every single day.
Visualize the office of Prison Radio, about 400 square feet of packed-to-the-gills energy: Seth (Stanford Intern), both Jennifers (State College Professors and PR advisors), Noelle (P.I. and Law student and PR director), Keasley (book publisher and PR operations manager), Jonathan (handyman and development manager), Alex (development Intern), Hannah (intern editor), Zephyr (Protools editor), Katrina (web tech), Cosmo (Protools editor), Tommy (musician, sound editor), Jill (webmaster), Miranda (copyeditor) Karen (muralist executive), and Arthur (muralist and sage) all work at keeping it all going. It is like a beehive in the small space - an 8-foot hallway - that we rent from the National Lawyers Guild. We’ve squeezed in four desks and built-in shelves for the books and the CDs. How do we fit everyone? We do it in shifts.
We keep the phone lines open. And we listen to prisoners—recording their messages and broadcasting them out into the world. It requires showing up and tracking dozens of details to make sure these commentaries are radio-ready and broadcast over the airwaves.
We lean on three decades of building software, hardware, and infrastructure. We have a database of 12 thousand names and a website that houses 3 thousand plus radio essays. We produce mailings and action alerts every week. That takes a whole lot of concentration. And we have been doing it for almost thirty years now.
But we just could not do it without your gifts: help, solidarity, and donations.
Every $10 means we can say yes to another phone call.
Every $100 means we can print a postcard.
Every $10K means we can publish a book or keep the software running to run the studio.
A gift of $20K would mean we could update our sorry-ass, old-looking website.
By October 15th we need to raise 23K, we can do it, and we will do it. But we need your help.
We run on fumes, we spend what we raise and never have more than a few dollars in the bank. Our correspondents deserve every action and every penny we use to support them.
We rely on over 2,200 folks who donate an average of $35 a year. Some of you are able to give us more than that, some of you are able to give less. But each gift helps us keep moving towards abolition. We apply for big grants, but our work is always too radical for that kind of support. So we count on you to make it all possible.
We do what we do because it matters. Our correspondents’ lives are changed and our lives are made better- because we listen and amplify and act.
Thank you for joining us. Because Prison Radio is you. Thank you.
P.S. Alice and Staughton inspire us. They have been bringing their wide open hearts to the front lines for decades. They believe that if the violations of our collective humanity, such as imprisonment and solitary confinement, are not challenged, then none of us are free. They have shown us how to step up, wrestle with uncertainties, be bold, grieve when necessary, and fight like hell to bring everyone home. Prison Radio was asked by the Lynds to help document a celebration of their life, on Aug. 3 2019 in Youngstown Ohio. Steelworkers, former prisoners, Quakers, and luminaries showed up. We are working on the tapes now.
Cuando Luchamos Ganamos: When We Fight, We Win
September 22, 2019
Jamil Pirant is requesting to be transferred to Michigan City, (ISP) Indiana State Prison from his current placement at Wabash Valley Correctional Facility. Sentenced to a long prison term as a kid, Jamil has been suffering from medical neglect and retaliation and needs to be closer to his home and family.
In the interest of his health and well-being, he must be transferred immediately. Call, email, and send letters to Michael Osburn, Southern Regional Director for Indiana’s Department of Corrections—ask him to honor Jamil’s civil and human rights and transfer him to Michigan City (ISP) as soon as possible!
Southern Regional Director
Indiana Department of Corrections
302 W. Washington Street, Room E-334
Indianapolis, IN 46204
Write to Jamil directly at:
Jamil Pirant #197138
Wabash Valley Level 3 Facility
6908 S Old US Highway 41
Carlisle, Indiana 47838
Jamil Pirant's proceedings began in juvenile court, as his alleged crimes occurred when he was 15. The state moved them to adult court, where he was charged. Pirant initially accepted a plea deal in adult court that required him to testify at others' trials, but when the time came he refused to testify and motioned to back out of his plea deal. The court denied the motion and sentenced him.
A few years later, he filed a petition for post-conviction relief, arguing that his counsel was ineffective during his proceedings in adult court (especially when he was attempting to withdraw his guilty plea). The court dismissed the petition.
Last year, he filed another petition, arguing that adult court did not have subject matter jurisdiction, because he had ineffective counsel during the waiver process that moved his case from juvenile court to adult court. The court dismissed the petition. Pirant is appealing these rulings.
“My nights are exciting
Ones i dnt mind walking thru
1) despite its darkness &
2) not knowing wats ahead
But the lifting of the sun& entry of a new day
Is worth every part of the moons company
I've become one and at peace wit the process
1) dark b4 dawn
2) strength after training
3) scab after wound &
4) test b4 graduation; no student elevate without confronting a series of exames
We're only strengthen by our struggles.
So embrace the burden u bear...the weight on ur back nd lift.
P.s. new muscle is admired by those that look but respected by those who understand.
-Jamil ibn ja'boo”
For more from Jamil, visit the link below:
September 12, 2019
Game-Changing Evidence Found: A New Trial on the Horizon for MUMIA ABU-JAMAL
Freedom is now in sight. New evidence, recently found and suppressed for decades, could be the key to relief for Mumia Abu-Jamal.
Joe McGill and Ed Rendell, trial prosecutor and DA, respectively, manipulated evidence and framed Mumia Abu-Jamal for first-degree murder in 1982.
Six boxes of undisclosed case files labeled “Mumia Abu-Jamal” were found in a furniture closet last December by new DA Larry Krasner. Here is the exculpatory “Brady” evidence that was inside:
- A letter from awitness demanding his money.
- Memo after memo to and from Joe McGill tracking the open cases of another key witness.
- Handwritten notes on original files, closely tracking the race of jurors.
Now we know that for 37 years the District Attorney’s office actively lied. They scrubbed clean every single document production, during multiple appeals, for years. It is cliché and almost predictable: evidence "lost" in a storage closet for 37 years by evil, absent-minded hoarders.
Make no mistake-- this evidence would have directly challenged the only “witnesses” at trial who identified Mumia Abu-Jamal as the shooter of officer Daniel Faulkner on Dec. 9, 1981.
The testimony of these two witnesses was compromised, something the jury was kept from knowing. One witness had as many as 35 prior convictions and 4-5 open cases. Now we know the DA was monitoring those cases very closely and asking to be advised when they were in court. The other witness to the shooting was driving a cab on a suspended license and was on probation for throwing a Molotov cocktail into a school for pay. The jury never heard this. This information certainly would have challenged prosecutor Joe McGill's statement to the jury that they had nothing to gain from lying. Remember, this is a jury who asked for re-instruction on the charges and were wavering on a finding of 1stDegree Murder. Remember Albert “I am going to help them they fry the nigger” Sabo, was the judge. And Alfonso “I retired with full pay and was indicted” Giordano, a commander, was the highest-ranking officer on the scene that night.
On July 3rd, 1982, this was not an open and shut case. The petition to the Superior Court also raises the reinstated appeal issues from the Castille decision handed down by Judge Tucker. These include claims of improper jury selection (Batson Claims), Ineffective assistance of counsel, and errors of law made by the court in previous appeals.
Every time you see Joe McGill in the courtroom or at an FOP event, or you see Ed Rendell at a party or a campaign event, remember this- they were stepping on the scales of justice from the beginning.
Mumia came within 10 days of being executed because of this misconduct. I was there. I got that call from the strip cell. Mumia had nothing but an orange jumpsuit, a half a sheet of paper and the cartridge of a pen (so he could send another prisoner as a proxy to the law library). Before and after his two death warrants he was held in solitary confinement on death row for decades!
Fast forward to 2017: Common Pleas Court Judge Leon Tucker admonishes the District Attorney to produce all of the requested material from their files. Finally, having no faith in their review, he demands that they deliver all of their files to his chambers. There he found documents revealing the bias of PA Supreme Court Judge Castille that the DA had somehow “missed” - or willfully suppressed. After all of that, in 2018, newly elected DA Larry Krasner comes across six boxes of original trial material labeled “Mumia Abu-Jamal” in a storage closet. A week later they find hundreds of more boxes in that “storage cavern.”
Please know that the road ahead may still be rough. But there is hope.
Freedom is more possible than it has ever been before.
Join us. Join Judith Ritter & Sam Spital, of the NAACP Legal Defense & Education Fund, his criminal defense team. Join Bret Grote of the Abolitionist Law Center and Robert Boyle the legal team on his medical treatment case.
September 5, 2019
Prisoners Making Real Change
We are delighted to announce that Mumia Abu-Jamal has won and gotten his first round of cataract surgery! He still needs the same procedure done on his second eye, but now he can finally see well enough to finish book three of his trilogy, Murder Inc.
Help us publish it!!!
Hullo, Noelle; I hope someone answers the call! *
Now, cataracts: Do you know what cataracts are? Imagine you're wearing a very dark pair of sunglasses; now smear the lenses with thick swabs of Vaseline. That's cataracts--from the inside. But it doesn't end, for there is no pair of glasses to remove.
It's... your eyes. They don't work anymore like they used to.
There's a man here, an "Old Head" who is functionally blind (although he has some vision in one eye). One of his eyes is as blue as a robin's egg, but it's dead. He has no vision in it. Imagine that; a Black man with a blue eye! That's what prison eye care can get you! alla best, maj♪"
* Mumia was speaking of the Prison Radio telephone, but he may as well have been talking about taking action and demanding treatment.
Last June we asked you to support his call for health care to restore his vision—you did—and it worked. Because we all stepped up and followed Mumia’s lead to demand he receive this necessary surgery, he can see now. And that means he can finish the final volume of his trilogy: Murder Incorporated: Perfecting Tyranny.
We are trying to raise the money for this printing and distribution—and we need your help. Will you make a gift today to ensure that prisoners’ voices are heard in the media and that we get this book published?
If you give a gift of $100 or more you will receive a gift of Murder Incorporated, Volume 2: America’s Favorite Pastime by Mumia-Abu Jamal and Stephen Vittoria. A gift of $1,000 or more brings you into the Freedom Circle and earns you a complete set of Mumia’s books.
We have been able to keep going because of our community, our friends and those who care about us. Make no mistake, with each and every act of solidarity, and each gift, together we create the future.
"Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will."
AgitArte mural recognizing the potential of those inside prison.