From Jail in Brooklyn, December 28

The Selectivity of Judicial Review

By C. Clark Kissinger

Revolutionary Worker #1085, January 7, 2001, posted at

For years, we have been assured by prosecutors, newspapers, Maureen Faulkner and the Fraternal Order of Police that Mumia Abu-Jamal is guilty beyond a shadow of a doubt. How do they know? Because he was found guilty by a jury--a finding supposedly so sacrosanct that 18 years of appeals have failed to get any court to take notice of the massive irregularities in Mumia's trial.

But let three cops be found guilty by a jury and judicial review operates with lightning speed. Sergeant Edward Ortiz, Sergeant Brian Liddy, and Officer Michael Buchanan were found guilty of major police corruption charges by a Los Angeles jury. The trial was scarcely over when the trial judge overturned the jury's verdict. The judge held that the prosecutors hadn't presented enough evidence, although the jury evidently thought they had. And the judge ruled that members of the jury had misunderstood their instructions.

On this later point, the judge is probably correct! Cops are not supposed to be found guilty, but somehow the jury didn't get that point. Instead, they looked at the facts of the massive corruption in the L.A. Police Department Rampart Division, where cops regularly lied and falsified evidence to frame up alleged gang members. When juries make such mistakes, they have to be "corrected."

Meanwhile, in the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal, where evidence was suppressed; where witnesses changed their stories under police pressure; where a court-appointed defense attorney failed to even interview witnesses; where no defense experts could be hired because of lack of funds; where the prosecution used peremptory challenges to knock Black people off the jury; where the jury never saw the medical examiner's report, saying the fatal bullet was a different caliber; where a phone confession story made up weeks after the event was admitted as evidence; where the revolutionary political writings of the defendant were used as an argument for the death penalty; and where the defendant was not allowed to defend himself and was barred from the courtroom for half the trial -- in this case the verdict of a jury remains sacrosanct!

This article is posted in English and Spanish on Revolutionary Worker Online
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