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  Why Justice Ronald Castille Should Remove Himself From Reviewing The Appeal For A New Trial For Mumia Abu Jamal
by the Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Coalition - NYC ; posted August 11, 1998

Mumia Abu-Jamal, award-winning Black journalist, author of several published books and dozens of articles, and revolutionary activist was convicted in 1982 and sentenced to death for the shooting of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner. At the time of his arrest, he had been president of the Philadelphia chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists. The campaign to gain a new trial for Mumia has received world-wide support from presidents, leading human rights organizations, well-known attorneys, and hundreds of thousands of activists.

The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania is presently hearing Mumia's second appeal of his conviction. Ronald Castille is a justice on this court. He was, however, the District Attorney in Philadelphia ten years ago and played a key role in assuring that Mumia not be granted a new trial at that time, despite an unending list of police, prosecutorial, and judicial misconduct -- not to mention the totally inadequate defense offered Mumia by the City of Philadelphia. At that time, Castille signed all the prosecution's briefs filed against Mumia's appeal to the State Supreme Court. It is on this basis that we charge an obvious conflict of interest for Castille. He is now in the position to review his own arguments, of a decade ago, against a new trial for Mumia. Castille ruling on the case, makes a mockery of even a pretense of an objective review.

Additionally, in 1986 Castille was voted "Man of the Year" by Lodge No. 6 of the Fraternal Order of Police. This organization has campaigned longest and hardest, and sometimes violently, for Mumia's execution. The FOP supported Castille for re-election in 1989, and went on to endorse him in his campaign for the Supreme Court in 1993.

Castille was also District Attorney when the now-infamous training tape was made in his office, which instructed new prosecutors on how to could exclude Black people from juries. Even the US Supreme Court, which is not known as an anti-racist institution, denounced precisely such a practice. (The same tactic was used in Mumia's trial to reduce the number of Black people on his jury to only two, in a city where Black people constitute 40% of the total population).

Despite the gross conflict of interest in being in a position to rule on his own earlier decision and all the additional signs of strong bias against Mumia, Castille has refused to recuse himself, that is, to step aside from the court's deliberations on this case.

Any decision which the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania makes on Mumia Abu-Jamal's appeal will be tainted by the conflict of interest this case presents for Castille and his strong bias against Mumia.

We urge you to protest this situation. Please send [the attached] post cards to Ronald Castille, urging him to recuse himself from Mumia's case, and to his superior, John P. Flaherty, Jr., Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, urging him to put pressure on Castille to recuse himself.

Justice Ronald Castille
818 Market Street Suite 3730
Philadelphia, PA 19103
voice: (215) 560-5663
fax: (215) 560-1808

Chief Justice John. P.Flaherty
Six Gateway Center Suite 616
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
voice: (412) 565-5545
fax: (215) 560-1808

Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Coalition - NYC
PO Box 650, New York, NY 10009
(212) 330-8029

Int'l Concerned Family & Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal
PO Box 19709
Philadelphia PA 19143

Refuse and Resist website

Related Links:
 Philadelphia: The McMahon Video
Revolutionary Worker #909 (June 1, 1997)

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