More evidence on frame-up of Mumia

By Betsey Piette

In the ongoing battle to win due process in the courts for death-row journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal, his attorneys have submitted an unusual motion to the Pennsylvania Supreme Count to force the court to hear new evidence that cops concocted "evidence" of a "confession" by Abu-Jamal.

On April 24 lawyers Elliott Grossman and Marlene Kamish submitted a remand motion requesting that Abu-Jamal's case be ordered back to the lower court in order to take testimony from Kenneth Pate. In a sworn declaration, Pate states that in a telephone conversation with his half-sister Priscilla Durham in 1983 or 1984 she repudiated her testimony. Durham testified for the prosecution in 1981 when Mumia Abu-Jamal stood trial for the murder of police officer Daniel Faulkner.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court clerk refused to file this motion on the basis of a rule, Appellate Rule 2501(a), which prohibits the filing of a "brief, memorandum or letter" after a case is taken under submission by the court.

In a motion filed May 7, Abu-Jamal's attorneys argue that their "remand motion" is obviously not a "brief, memorandum or letter," and the court clerk's refusal to file this new evidence deprives Abu-Jamal of his right to "due process" and "equal protection" of the law under the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution "by an unlawful act of bureaucratic usurpation of this Court's own authority ... ."

Durham was a security guard at the hospital where Abu-Jamal and Faulkner were brought after both sustained gunshot wounds on Dec. 9, 1981. According to Pate's sworn declaration, Durham told him that in reality the only thing she heard Abu-Jamal say in the hospital was "Get off me, get off me, they're killing me" when police were interfering with his medical treatment.

However, at Abu-Jamal's trial Durham testified that she heard him shout out, "I shot the motherf----r and I hope he dies" while he laid on the floor of the emergency room surrounded by police officers.

None of these police officers reported Abu-Jamal's supposed statement for more than two months. The officer guarding Abu-Jamal filed a written report on Dec. 10, 1981, which said Abu-Jamal made no statements.

According to Pate, the police appealed to Durham to "stick with them" because as a security guard she was part of the "brotherhood" of law enforcement officers.

The prosecution used Durham's testimony to falsely claim that Abu-Jamal had confessed to the killing.


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