In the latest attempt to further deny freedom to Mumia Abu-Jamal, the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office has contemptuously refused to release the files they were ordered to make public by Common Pleas Court Judge Leon Tucker.
April 24, Abu-Jamal’s 63rd birthday, his attorneys presented
an appeal before Judge Tucker asking that the Philadelphia district
attorney’s office release all documents relevant to former DA
Ronald Castille’s involvement in Mumia’s case, which Tucker
ordered just days later, on April 28.
Tucker ruled that the DA’s office must produce and turn over all
records and memos regarding Castille’s involvement in Abu-Jamal’s
case: pre-trial, trial, post-trial, and direct appeal proceedings;
communications between Castille and his staff; and any public
statements Castille made about Mumia’s case during or after his
tenure as district attorney of Philadelphia. These records were to be
handed over to Mumia’s attorneys by May 30.
the DA’s office submitted an intentionally deficient response to
Tucker’s order at the end of the workday on May 30 with a two-page
cover letter denying any “direct involvement” by Castille, and 54
pages of front-page court filings that were already part of the
public record on the case.
offered nothing new, nothing that couldn’t be found by perusing
court records. In other words they are still going to great lengths
to hide the truth.
attorneys have 15 days to challenge the DAs coverup.
case was one of 16 petitions considered by the court on April 24 by
14 prisoners with similar legal issues. All the cases are based on a
June 2016 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Williams v.
Pennsylvania that found it was a violation of a defendant’s
constitutional right to due process when a judge presides over a case
in which they had had prior significant or personal involvement as a
The Williams case
was adjudicated by Castille while he was on the Pennsylvania Supreme
Court even though he had prosecuted the defendant as Philadelphia
District Attorney years earlier.
April 24 court proceeding was based on the post-conviction petition
filed Aug. 7, 2016, by attorneys Judith Ritter and Christina Swarns
charging that his appeal process denied him due process.
Castille was Assistant Philadelphia DA at the time of Abu-Jamal’s
1982 trial and Philadelphia District Attorney when his office opposed
Abu-Jamal’s direct appeals in 1988.
was responsible for producing a jury selection training video for
prosecutors with instructions on how to evade the historic Supreme
Court decision on Batson v. Maryland, against racial bias in
the infamous DATV “Jack McMahon training tape” prosecutors are
told: “Blacks from low-income areas are less likely to convict …
you don’t want these people on your jury.” Castille suppressed
the existence of the tape and his own responsibility for it.
to Philadelphia activist Pam Africa, “If we are not vigilant, the
long history of corruption and suppression of evidence in the
Philadelphia DA’s office could stand in the way of Mumia’s files
from seeing the light of day.”
and cover ups are nothing but business as usual for the Philadelphia
District Attorney’s office, an office that represents the city in
the prosecution of criminal offenses, and is the chief law
enforcement officer and legal officer of the city’s jurisdiction.
the notorious history of that agency, close to 100 human rights
activists and community members seeking justice for Mumia Abu-Jamal
converged on the DA’s office just hours before the May 30 deadline.
an unnecessary and eventually unsuccessful effort by dozens of
heavily armed police to use metal barriers to enclose and limit the
protest, demonstrators held a press conference and rally outside the
DA’s office calling for the release of all the files and demanding
an end to decades of corruption.
information can be found through Mobilization4Mumia on facebook or by