New evidence of Castille’s bias in Mumia Abu-Jamal case

first_imgAs supporters demonstrated in the streets outside Philadelphia’s Criminal Justice Center on Oct. 29, inside the courthouse attorneys for political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal presented new arguments of substantive bias by former District Attorney Ronald Castille as grounds for granting Abu-Jamal’s petition.Abu-Jamal’s initial petition, filed in August 2016, is based on the 2016 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Williams v. Pennsylvania that found due process was violated when Castille participated in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s consideration of William’s appeal in a capital postconviction case. Castille, in his previous position as district attorney of Philadelphia, had approved decisions to seek the death penalty. The SCOTUS ruling established that a petitioner is entitled to relief when a reasonable observer could conclude that a judge harbored disqualifying bias against the petitioner.Representing Abu-Jamal, Judith Ritter and Samuel Spital, asked Common Court of Appeals Judge Leon Tucker to vacate Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s decisions that denied Abu-Jamal’s right to appeal his 1983 capital conviction, stemming from the death of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner. The appeal is asking for Abu-Jamal’s right to a new evidentiary hearing.The petition was first heard on April 24, 2017. Since January 2018, when Philadelphia’s current district attorney, Larry Krasner, took office, six additional hearings have been held. At each the Commonwealth has sought to deny Abu-Jamal’s petition, claiming “no evidence exists” of Castille’s direct involvement in Abu-Jamal’s case while he served as district attorney.New evidence surfacesThe lawyers’ new amendment is based on two pieces of evidence that came to light during searches of hundreds of boxes of files looking for a letter written by DA Castille in June 1990 to then Gov. Robert P. Casey. An initial search of files in September 2017 uncovered a draft for a letter written on Castille’s behalf by former Deputy DA Gaele Barthold. Her June 1, 1990, memo to Castille states, “As discussed, I have drafted a letter to Governor Casey for your signature, Ron, requesting that death warrants be issued in appropriate Philadelphia County death cases.”In his June 15, 1990, letter to Casey, Castille used Barthold’s draft but inserted a paragraph urging Casey to sign death warrants to send a message to “all police killers.” At her recent deposition, Barthold confirmed that the paragraph concerning “cop killers” was not in her draft and was not in language she would have used. While the Commonwealth uncovered Barthold’s draft, which refers to a copy of Castille’s letter being attached, they maintain that Castille’s final signed letter to Casey cannot be found.Castille’s letter referred to a list of capital cases then before Casey. Because he had not exhausted his appeals before the DA’s office, Abu-Jamal’s case was not on the list. However, his attorneys hold that Castille had to have examined the status of Abu-Jamal’s case as of June 15, 1990, to determine that it was not ready for a death warrant. They charge that this reflects substantial, personal involvement in a critical decision in Abu-Jamal’s case.Support for pro-death penalty legislationA few days before the Aug. 30 hearing regarding the status of their search for the missing letter, the Commonwealth notified the court that they had also uncovered evidence of communications between DA Castille and former Pennslyvania State Senator Michael Fisher regarding passage of legislation to further restrict state appeals of death penalty convictions.The evidence was a letter, on letterhead identifying Ron Castille as district attorney, from then Philadelphia Assistant District Attorney Kathleen McDonnell sent “pursuant to Sen. Fisher’s request, in order to provide him with, the current status of certain death row inmates.” Abu-Jamal’s name was the first of nine capital defendants.As with the Barthold memo, the “request” that gave rise to McDonnell’s letter was not provided, and the Commonwealth could not verify to whom Fisher addressed his request. Abu-Jamal’s attorneys charge that if Fisher’s letter was addressed to Castille, it would be additional evidence of his personal significant involvement. The Commonwealth claims that, even after searching more boxes of files, it cannot locate the request letter.The attorneys further argued that there can be little doubt of Castille’s ardent support for capital punishment and his frustration that it wasn’t being implemented during his term as DA. According to their new amendment, “Fisher had introduced a new death penalty statute designed to bring capital punishment back to Pennsylvania after an earlier statute had been declared unconstitutional.”The amendment also notes that “on Sept. 23, 1988, DA Castille wrote directly to Fisher urging passage of an amendment to the death penalty law and conveying his fears about the impact of Mills v. Maryland.” Castille feared that “Mills may lead to the vacating of scores of death penalties.” Abu-Jamal’s case not only contained a Mills claim — it became the basis for his eventual sentencing relief.Failure to secure evidence is grounds for appealAbu-Jamal’s attorneys have argued that despite the Commonwealth’s failure to find missing records, “The newly discovered evidence in these proceedings establishes that a reasonable observer could conclude that Justice Castille harbored disqualifying bias against Mr. Abu-Jamal as a person convicted of killing a police officer.”Speaking in court today, Samuel Spital again raised that the Commonwealth’s proven inability to secure evidence favorable to the defendant constitutes adverse interference that arises under the state court’s spoliation doctrine. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court holds that “spoliation of evidence is the non-preservation or significant alteration of evidence for pending future litigation.”Noting that Abu-Jamal and the DA’s office have been involved in postconviction litigation for most of the last 30 years, Spital stated that the Commonwealth had the duty to preserve these documents, yet failed to do so. The amendment also notes that, after having obtained a two-month continuance and assigned a paralegal to work full-time to search for it, the Commonwealth has recognized that the missing memo is central to this case. To date the Commonwealth admits that many boxes of files remain unaccounted for.Abu-Jamal’s case was the most important capital case in Philadelphia’s history. It involved the killing of a police officer, allegedly by a former member of the Black Panther Party. The case remains important, not just to Philadelphia, but to an international liberation movement.To argue that DA Castille was wholly uninvolved in the decisions around the response to Abu-Jamal’s first appeals lacks credibility. During Castille’s term as DA, his office aggressively fought Abu-Jamal’s initial appeals. As DA in 1988, Castille received a “Man of the Year award” from the Fraternal Order of Police, which has arduously sought Abu-Jamal’s death.Spital noted that as DA, Castille’s focus on sending a message to “police killers” could be seen as either bias against a particular defendant or a class of cases. Under the Constitution, claims of judicial bias do not require proof of actual bias. The question for the court is whether the judge is likely to be neutral or whether there is unconstitutional potential for bias. The PA Supreme Court has held that recusal is required wherever there is substantial doubt as to the judge’s ability to preside impartially. Castille had denied repeated requests from Abu-Jamal to recuse himself.FOP intimidationFor the third time in as many hearings, the Faulkner family and dozens of FOP members were given priority seating in the small courtroom, leaving little space for Abu-Jamal’s family and supporters. Former Assistant District Attorney Joseph McGill, who produced a training video for prosecutors to keep Black people off juries, and former police officer Gary Bell, who lied about hearing Abu-Jamal’s confession, were part of today’s FOP contingent — a clear effort to intimidate the court.Abu-Jamal’s lawyers requested a one-month extension to await the results of their right-to-know request to the Pennsylvania State Senate Judiciary Committee for documents. Tucker granted the request and was determining that the court would reconvene on Dec. 3 when Maureen Faulkner, Daniel Fauklner’s spouse, stood up to denounce the extension. When she refused to stop her outburst, Tucker had her ejected from the court.Tucker ended the session noting, “The court is not going to rush to judgment in this matter. Just to be clear, no matter how long it takes, this court is going to do the right thing.”FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

A spaceman comes travelling to Limerick

first_imgTwitter Cllr Kevin Sheahan, Cathaoirleach of Limerick City and County welcomes space travel icon to Limerick, former NASA astronaut Alfred ‘Al’ Worden.Picture: Keith WisemanONE of only 24 astronauts to fly to the Moon visited the offices of Limerick City and County Council this week during his two-day trip to the Mid West.Former astronaut Alfred ‘Al’ Worden was welcomed to Merchants Quay by Cathaoirleach Cllr Kevin Sheahan. Mr Worden’s visit to Limerick also saw him host a lecture at LIT and attend a dinner in The Pavilion Restaurant at the University of Limerick.Sign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter Sign Up Worden is one of five men and the only one still living who flew further from Earth than any others when their Apollo 15 command module travelled to the far side of the Moon in 1971. The Michigan native, now 82, was the Command Module pilot for the lunar mission, which also saw him perform the first deep-space EVA during Apollo 15’s homeward journey.In 2011, Worden’s memoir ‘Falling To Earth’ made the LA Times Bestseller list.Welcoming Mr Worden to Limerick, Cllr Sheahan said: “Al’s story is unique and his memories of his pioneering Apollo 15 mission remain as clear today as they did some 43 years ago. His visit to LIT and UL will no doubt inspire science students and those looking to fulfil their career goals, no matter how lofty they may be.”Cllr Sheahan also acknowledged Paul Ryan, a Ballybricken native and space enthusiast who invited Mr. Worden to visit Limerick. WATCH: “Everyone is fighting so hard to get on” – Pat Ryan on competitive camogie squads Limerick Ladies National Football League opener to be streamed live RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR NewsLocal NewsA spaceman comes travelling to LimerickBy Alan Jacques – September 19, 2014 817 WhatsApp Email Linkedin Vanishing Ireland podcast documenting interviews with people over 70’s, looking for volunteers to share their stories center_img Previous articleRobin Williams’ tribute film Mrs Doubtfire supporting ADAPT servicesNext articleCompany undertakes to remove waste within 3 weeks. Alan Jacques Predictions on the future of learning discussed at Limerick Lifelong Learning Festival Advertisement Limerick Artist ‘Willzee’ releases new Music Video – “A Dream of Peace” Print TAGSAl WordenCllr Kevin SheahanlimerickLimerick City and County Council Facebook Limerick’s National Camogie League double header to be streamed live last_img read more

Zero tolerance

first_imgPredictions on the future of learning discussed at Limerick Lifelong Learning Festival Limerick Artist ‘Willzee’ releases new Music Video – “A Dream of Peace” Advertisement Email Cllr Malachy McCreeshCITY West councillor Malachy McCreesh has called on local government Ministers and TDs to enact legislation to deal effectively and finally with low and zero hour contracts. The Sinn Fein representative stated that thousands of workers are caught in a trap, exploited and tethered to contracts which only provide minimal hours and uncertain pay from week to week. “The Government’s Low Pay Commission is ineffective, and the proposed collective bargaining legislation is way off the mark in terms of what is urgently needed to address this problem. This is unacceptable, especially on the part of the Labour Party,” said Cllr McCreesh, speaking in support of workers at Dunnes Stores. Twitter Vanishing Ireland podcast documenting interviews with people over 70’s, looking for volunteers to share their stories WhatsApp Previous articleExtended Proposals to EVA 2016Next articleRugby – Shannon’s Fitzgerald returns to face Wales Alan Jacques RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHORcenter_img WATCH: “Everyone is fighting so hard to get on” – Pat Ryan on competitive camogie squads Print Facebook Limerick’s National Camogie League double header to be streamed live NewsLocal NewsZero toleranceBy Alan Jacques – June 14, 2015 584 TAGSCllr Malachy McCreeshDunnes StoreslimerickSinn Feinzero hour contracts Linkedin Limerick Ladies National Football League opener to be streamed livelast_img read more

Man charged with methamphetamine delivery

first_img Twitter Previous articleFalcon students working out details for space experimentNext articleDAILY OIL PRICE: Jan. 30 admin 1 of 2 WhatsApp Twitter Pinterest After admitting the vehicle belonged to him, officers searched the vehicle and found around 53.26 grams of methamphetamine, marijuana, as well as multiple scales and narcotics pipes, the release said.Officers also made contact with a woman inside Juarez’s apartment, 27-year-old Jordan Alise Sawyer, who had reportedly placed the shotgun underneath the blanket of a child’s bed to hide it from officers, the release detailed.Juarez was charged with delivery of methamphetamine, a first-degree felony, and possession of marijuana, a class B misdemeanor, while Sawyer was charged with tampering with physical evidence, a third-degree felony.Jail records show Juarez and Sawyer were taken to the Ector County Detention Center Sunday. Juarez has two bonds totaling $50,500 and Sawyer has a $15,000 bond. WhatsApp After finding a bag of methamphetamine in clear view inside his vehicle, police charged a man Sunday night with delivery of methamphetamine, a first-degree-felony.Officers first responded to Jackson Square Apartments, 1120 N. Jackson Ave., around 11:21 p.m. Sunday about a disturbance, an Odessa Police Department press release stated.The complainant told officers he had been threatened by a man with a shotgun, the release detailed. Police then made contact with the suspect, 33-year-old Joseph Montez Juarez, who said he had placed the shotgun inside the apartment.While speaking with Juarez, the release detailed, officers noticed a white Ford Explorer parked in front of the apartment, with a bag containing a crystal-like substance and a black digital scale inside. Joseph Montez Juarez Jordan Alise Sawyer Pinterest Local NewsCrime Facebook Facebook By admin – January 30, 2018 Man charged with methamphetamine deliverylast_img read more

Udaras retains enterprise role, but board will no longer be elected

first_img Main Evening News, Sport and Obituaries Tuesday May 25th By News Highland – June 3, 2011 Twitter Google+ 365 additional cases of Covid-19 in Republic WhatsApp Twitter Facebook Facebook Gardai continue to investigate Kilmacrennan fire Google+ Further drop in people receiving PUP in Donegal center_img Udaras retains enterprise role, but board will no longer be elected Pinterest Udaras na Gaeltachta is to retain its enterprise functions, but budgets are being cut, and the direct election of the board will end.Speaking ahead of the Publication of the Gaeltacht Bill, Junior Minister Dinny Mc Ginley said that contrary to speculation, the Udaras will retain its enterprise function.However, he said the new bill will provide closer ties between Udaras and other agencies such as Enterprise Ireland, and include a provision whereby the minister can direct the board to focus its limited resources towards specific enterprise sectors.Speaking to Highland Radio News a short time ago, Minister Mc GInley confirmed that the number on the board will be cut, and the next board will be nominated rather than elected……….[podcast][/podcast] RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR Newsx Adverts Previous articleFunding confirmed for Swilly Ferry – DonagheyNext articleGovernment to introduce bill which will change Gaeltacht identification News Highland Pinterest 75 positive cases of Covid confirmed in North Man arrested on suspicion of drugs and criminal property offences in Derry WhatsApplast_img read more