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First Legal Step Won in Mumia’s New Challenge to his Conviction!
Just days after the DA’s office argued Mumia’s new legal challenge should be dismissed
for not being “timely” and that the precedent setting case of Williams v Pennsylvania,
that it is a violation of due process for a judge to rule in a case that he had previously
had a significant personal involvement in a critical prosecutorial decision, does not
apply to Mumia’s case, Judge Leon Tucker ruled in favor of Mumia’s demand for
discovery of the DA’s files.
On April 24, Mumia’s 63rd birthday, the courtroom was filled with Mumia’s
supporters and demonstrators rallied outside and all day and into the evening
demanding Mumia’s freedom. The DA’s office argued there was no evidence that PA
Supreme Court Justice Ronald Castille, who ruled on all of Mumia’s appeals from
1998-2008, had been involved in Mumia’s case while he was the District Attorney
from 1986-1991 or as a senior district attorney during Mumia’s 1982 trial. Mumia’s
attorney, Christina Swarns of the the NAACP Legal Defense Fund (LDF) spoke to
the exceptional circumstances of Mumia’s case and that the Motion for Discovery
should be granted to determine the particulars of Castille’s personal involvement in
Mumia’s prosecution, including his appeals.
Judge Tucker did not rule for the prosecution and dismiss Mumia’s petition. He
granted discovery and ordered the DA’s office to produce and turn over all records
and memos regarding Castille’s involvement in Mumia’s case; pre-trial, trial, posttrial
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 are to be turned over to
Mumia’s attorneys within 30 days, by May 30, 2017, and Mumia has fifteen days to
file amendments to his post-conviction petition.
This is an unquestionable win for Mumia in the PA
courts. It opens the prosecution files on Mumia’s case
to him, for the first time, ever. The DA’s office will
likely stall and appeal and we should be prepared for
protestations that the records do not exist. This new
legal proceeding is a path towards Mumia’s freedom;
we can win Mumia’s freedom with mass international
protest and publicity.
From Atty. Rachel Wolkenstein
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