Zurück zu Dokumente  Mumia Solidaritäts Index MSI [de]   26.01.2000 
Demonstrationen, Kundegebungen und mehr Links ins WWW Kontakt aufnehmen
  Homepage Dokumente Aktuell Email: info.msi@gmx.de - keine email ?
  A View from Death Row
written 2 January 2000
© 1999 Mumia Abu-Jamal
(Written for January 12 Press Conference held in the National Press Club in Washington, DC)

Welcome international guests, and other human rights activists here assembled; I welcome you all: Ona Move!

Many are unfamiliar with the reality of death row, for the corporationist press paints a picture of death row as the abode of the worst of the worst, while a truer picture is of those who are the poorest of the poor, or even the weakest of the weak. How so, you ask?

Well, look: Of all the kinds of killings that people do, what can be more horrific than murder for hire? In Philadelphia alone, dozens of people have been slain in the streets as local Mafia wars raged over a decade. Which leads to another question: How many Mafia hit-men are on Pennsylvania's Death Row? The answer?: Zero. Not one.

How can this be, you ask, and the answer is simple. Real Mafia guys are able to afford the best lawyers that money can buy, while the poor schmuck is left with court-appointed lawyers, hardly the best in the craft. So, guess who goes to death row? Death row is the prerogative of the poor. This was shown by a 1992 article in the Philadelphia Inquirer which reported on capital cases, poor people, "represented by ward leaders, ward committeemen, failed politicians, the sons of judges and party leaders, and contributors to the judge's election campaign." (See Fredric N. Tulsky, "Big-time Trials; Small Time Defenses," Philadelphia Inquirer, Sept. 14, 1992, at A1, A8.) What emerges is the politics of death, that the well-to-do can afford to escape, and where one's poverty is the definitive aggravating circumstance.

I have written previously of the Fred Thomas case; of the diabetic grandfather whose witness in his defense was run out of court by cops later convicted in the infamous 39th District corruption scandal; of Jimmy Dennis, whose alibi defense was tossed aside by the courts; innocent men whose real offense was not being able to afford adequate defense lawyers-and I assure you, they are not alone.

Death Row is not just a poor place, but a predominantly black place, with most from Philadelphia. Again, we see the politics of death; of prosecutors and judges who seek political advancement on the basis of their fierce allegiance to the death penalty. These same actors in the containment system have treated the Batson case as a joke. What the case claims, and what the courts actually do, are two very different things.

Perhaps this group will begin the process of change. I, we, certainly hope so.

Thank you!
Ona Move!

Mumia Abu-Jamal, #AM 8335
175 Progress Drive
Waynesburg PA 15370
© MAJ 1999
   zum Anfang der Seite
  Homepage Dokumente Aktuell Email: info.msi@gmx.de - keine email ?