Political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal granted the right of appeal by Philadelphia judge
According to an interview conducted by Eddie Conway, a former Black Panther who was incarcerated after being wrongfully convicted in 1975 but is now free, for The Real News, Judge Leon Tucker has just ruled that Mumia Abu-Jamal can re-argue his case and appeal in front of the Philadelphia Supreme Court. Tucker based his decision on the fact that at the time of Abu-Jamal’s conviction, one of Philadelphia’s chief justices, Ronald D. Castile, should have recused himself because he was the District Attorney when Abu-Jamal was appealing his case for the first time.
According to Tucker, because a judge served as the prosecutor in the case, that is an automatic indication of bias as well as a due process violation, and a violation of Abu-Jamal’s constitutional right to a fair trial.
In the conversation between Conway and Anthony Monterio, an ex-African American studies professor at Temple University, the two discuss how the recent election of a DA who is not financially or otherwise beholden to the police may have had something to do with this turnaround. They also note the consistent organizing by Black activists.
“The white establishment held onto the DA’s office. And it was with the election of Larry Krasner–and he was elected, we cannot say this enough, by the votes of the black community,” Monterio pointed out. “Because they were at least two other candidates running who were backed by the FOP. And the black community put Larry Krasner in office. And for that reason, for the first time in maybe the history of the DA’s office, certainly for the last 65 years if not 100 years, the DA’s office was taken out of the hands of the police and of the corrupt judicial system itself.”
Monterio also postulates that if Krasner wants to hold onto the goodwill he has created with progressive voters and Black people, particularly the Black working class, that he will have to not contest the appeal of Abu-Jamal. “I want to emphasize that it was the black community in particular–I like to make this point very, very clear–in particular, Eddie, the black working class who have suffered the most under police violence and the injustice of the criminal justice system,” Monterio said. “And it was they who elected Krasner. And it is upon their shoulders that not only Mumia’s future rests, in large measure, but Larry Krasner’s political future rests.”