Thursday, March 06, 2014
Vote trashes ‘rule of law’:
Senate Majority Uses Abu-Jamal to 'Tar' Obama Nominee
By Linn Washington, Jr.
Members of the U.S. Senate, who now of late are blasting Russia for violating "the rule of law' in the Ukraine, trashed that same fundamental legal precept during a vote to reject the man President Obama recently nominated to head the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Justice Department.
Senate Republicans, with the support of a handful of Democrats, including Pennsylvania's two Senators, rejected the nomination of Debo Adegbile, followed a venomous, falsehood-filled campaign against him launched by the National Fraternal Order of Police and exploited by conservative opponents of Obama.
The flashpoint Adegbile opponents used to frame their opposition to him was this highly qualified lawyer's indirect and very remote involvement in appeals filed on behalf of Mumia Abu-Jamal, the Philadelphia journalist who was convicted for the 1981 slaying of a Philadelphia policeman. Abu-Jamal's contentious conviction has been condemned by entities as diverse as Nelson Mandela,, the U.S. Congressional Black Caucus and Amnesty International, a widely admired legal organization that produced a lengthy analysis back in 2000 declaring his trial and appeals process "deeply flawed" and saying it "clearly failed to meet the minimum international standards safeguarding the fairness of legal proceedings."
Adegbile worked for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, an organization that officially entered the Abu-Jamal case in January 2011, more than nine years after a federal district declared Abu-Jamal's controversial death sentence unconstitutional. That federal court action, upheld by a federal appeals court panel and ultimately by the U.S. Supreme Court, led to Abu-Jamal's sentence being automatically converted to life in prison much, to the chagrin of police unions in Philadelphia and beyond, who had for years been campaigning for the former Black Panther Party member's execution. Adegbile, a voting rights law expert for the LDF, was not the lead (or even backup) LDF lawyer on the Abu-Jamal case.
Furthermore, the legal issue that resulted in the voiding of Abu-Jamal’s death sentence -– errors by the trial judge during a death penalty hearing and errors in the jury's ballot form -– had been a part of Abu-Jamal’s appeal years before 2001, when Adegbile first was hired by the LDF...
For the rest of this article by LINN WASHINGTON, JR. in ThisCantBeHappening!, the new uncompromising four-time Project Censored Award-winning online alternative newspaper, please go to: www.thiscantbehappening.net/node/2173
Powerful story, but not a true one:
Using a Widow's False Memory to Stir Up Hatred for Imprisoned Man and for Obama Nominee
By Dave Lindorff
Maureen Faulkner, widowed as a young wife by the shooting of her husband, Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner, has spent the over 32 years since his death on a crusade, first to have the man convicted of his death, Mumia Abu-Jamal, executed, and then, since the overturning of his death sentence on Constitutional grounds, trying to ensure that he remains a pariah in prison.
She has been assisted in her quest by a labor organization and political lobby, the Fraternal Order of Police, which has helped her to widely publicize her claims, often factually challenged, that Abu-Jamal was fairly tried and found guilty of murder, and that he is, moreover, a monster deserving the worst that the US penal system can dish out.
One of the FOP's favorite claims in that campaign of vilification is a story that the widow Faulkner also tells at every opportunity, namely that during the early days of the 1982 murder trial, when the prosecutor held up the slain officer's bloody shirt to display the bullet holes in it, Abu-Jamal, seated at the defense table, turned around and "smiled at me."
It is, to be sure, a disturbing image.
It is also not possible to have occurred.
As I discovered in reviewing the trial transcripts of that day (Commonwealth of PA v. Mumia Abu Jamal, June 26, 1982), and later reported in my book on the case (Killing Time: An Investigation into the Death Penalty Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal, Common Courage Press, 2003), Abu-Jamal had been removed by Judge Albert Sabo from the courtroom at the start of the day before the presentation of evidence, and was not returned to the courtroom until well after the shirt had been displayed to the jury...
For the rest of this story by DAVE LINDORFF in ThisCantBeHappening!, the new uncompromising four-time Project Censored Award-winning online alternative newspaper, please go to: www.thiscantbehappening.net/node/2177
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