Mumia's case remains on appeal in the United States Court of Appeals for the
Third Circuit and the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. The appeal in the Third
Circuit is from Judge Yohn's December 18, 2001 decision in which he
overturned the death penalty, but upheld the conviction. The prosecution
appealed overturning of the death penalty; Mumia's attorneys appealed
upholding the conviction. That appeal is presently "stayed" (on hold)
pending the Pennsylvania Supreme Court's ruling on the state appeal. The
appeal in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court is from Judge Dembe's dismissal of
Mumia's Petition for Post-Conviction Relief and/or Writ of Habeas Corpus,
previously filed on July 3, 2001. Mumia's attorneys filed their Opening
Brief in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on August 27, 2002, the prosecution
filed their Brief thereafter. Mumia's attorneys filed a Reply Brief on
October 15, 2002, and also submitted a motion for leave to file a
Supplemental Reply Brief.
Mumia's attorneys had filed a motion requesting the Court set a hearing date
for oral argument. The Court denied the motion before Mumia's attorneys
filed their Reply Briefs. Mumia's attorneys have asked the Court to
reconsider that ruling on the basis that the Court should not have ruled on
the request for oral argument without first having reviewed
all the written briefs. It is unknown when the Court will rule on the motion
Also awaiting a ruling is a motion by Mumia's attorneys to recuse Justice
Castille from hearing Mumia's appeal because of his supervisorial
responsibility for the "McMahon videotape" when Castille was Philadelphia
County District Attorney. The videotape is a training tape for prosecutors
on how to exclude African-Americans from juries. The videotape was produced
by "D.A.T.V. Productions" and bears the official seal of the City of
Philadelphia and the name and title "Ronald D. Castille, District Attorney."
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court had previously denied a motion by Mumia's
attorneys to take the deposition of Justice Castille with regard to the
videotape, a decision in whichJustice Castille did not participate. In their
motion Mumia's attorneys point out that Justice Castille had previously
participated in denying claims in Mumia's case that during his trial
African-American jurors were peremptorily challenged by the prosecutor
during jury selection because of their race.
Mumia's attorneys have also requested that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court
permit Arnold Beverly, the confessed killer of Police Officer Daniel
Faulkner, to appear before them and testify. Beverly's written and
videotaped confession, in which he exonerates Mumia of any participation in
the shooting of Faulkner, was previously filed with the Pennsylvania
Supreme Court. No ruling has yet been made on this request. The ICFFMAJ
should have copies of the briefs filed in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
The most important issue that needs to be gotten across to the public and to
the courts is that Mumia is innocent and that the evidence which proves his
innocence must be heard. The amicus brief on behalf of various labor unions
by attorney Michael Yamamoto provides an excellent, brief and to the point
presentation of this evidence and is a good organizing tool. A campaign has
begun to have individuals and organizations sign Joinder forms to file in
the Pennsylvania Supreme Court joining in the Yamamoto amicus brief. The
Court has taken the position that these Joinders should have been filed on
the same day the amicus brief itself was filed although there is no written
court rule which requires this.
The organizations carrying out the Joinder campaign are in the process of
submitting motions to the court requesting the filing of the Joinders.
Please advise if there are any questions or if you would like further
information concerning the present status of Mumia's case.