Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A Letter to Mumia: Together we are three. 
By Linn Washington (about the author)     Page 1 of 3 page(s)
For OpEdNews: Linn Washington - Writer
Two inmates on Pennsylvania's death row raise the same issue on appeal blatant misconduct by prosecutors and police yet Pa's Supreme Court issues different rulings in these respective cases.

The Pa Supreme Court released Jay C. Smith directly from his death row cell, ruling the misconduct by prosecutors and police so "egregious" that retrying Smith for murdering a school teacher and her two children would violate fair trial protections in Pa's state Constitution.

However, in appeals from convicted Philadelphia cop killer Mumia Abu-Jamal, Pa's highest court repeatedly rejects solid evidence of wrongdoing by prosecutors and police despite that misconduct being more extensive than misconduct in Smith'scase.

Why, people wonder worldwide, does Mumia Abu-Jamal remain imprisoned when mounds of evidence unearthed since his 1982 trial undermine all aspects of the controversial conviction that sent this acclaimed journalist to death row?

The answer to this justice denying/logic defying question is simple: "The Mumia Exception."

This "Mumia Exception" is the phrase devised to describe the practice repeatedly employed by state and federal courts to strip Abu-Jamal of the same legal relief those courts extend to other inmates raising the same legal issue when challenging violations of their legal rights.
Jurists bending and/or breaking the bedrock American legal principal of equal justice under the law is the driving dynamic of "The Mumia Exception."

This "Exception" explains how Pa's Supreme Court in the Smith case castigated authorities for illegally withholding evidence crucial to the high school principal's defense while that court constantly refuses to criticize any of the misconduct that crippled Abu-Jamal's defense.

The fact that courts including the U.S. Supreme Court have consistently upheld the conviction of the world's most recognized death row denizen is a key argument advanced by persons backing Abu-Jamal's execution when countering claims of his innocence.

Execution advocates reject "The Mumia Exception" as the reason why courts uphold Abu-Jamal's conviction despite the fact that dismissing the role of the "Exception" requires embracing scenarios that defy statistics and common sense.

For example, Philadelphia and Pennsylvania appellate courts overturned 86 Philadelphia death penalty convictions between Abu-Jamal's December 1981 arrest and October 2009 after finding various errors by prosecutors, police, defense attorneys and even judges including the judge at Abu-Jamal's trial.

Yet, those same courts declare that not a single error evidentiary or procedural exists anywhere in the contentious Abu-Jamal case a statistically improbable circumstance.

Pa and federal courts have even brushed aside credible evidence that on the eve of Abu-Jamal's 1982 trial the presiding judge, Albert Sabo, declared he would help prosecutors "fry the Nigger" an odious admission oozing racial bigotry and lack of impartiality clearly violating Abu-Jamal's constitutionally guaranteed fair trial rights.

The twin pillars of this "Mumia Exception" are: courts refusing to apply their established legal rulings (precedent) to Abu-Jamal's appeals; and/or courts creating new legal standards to sabotage Abu-Jamal's appeals.
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Linn Washington Jr. is a veteran investigative journalist who writes regularly on issues involving the criminal justice system, the news media, race & racism, constitutional rights and the Mumia Abu-Jamal case. He is passionate about examining (more...)


March 7. And now more than ever I am homeless at home.

A Letter to Mumia Regarding Exceptional Injustice.
There is no explanation. We are three.

What kind of a world allows children to go hungry and forces people out on the street because they owe $4.50 in late fees?

Well there are no more late fees or gas prices to bitch about. There are just memories of my father's last words as I walked into the courthouse alone.

And the knowledge that he didn't lift a finger to stop the two men from removing my clothes as they put all their weight into to middle of my back, forcing my head into a plastic matress that lay on the floor.

They left bruises, abrasions and scars in places no one ever bothers to look... deep inside my heart that still aches for the injustice I have witnessed. Not only on March 7 2002, March 7, 2009, but right now as I lie hear with nothing left but broken appliances, water stained journals I kept over the years.

My body will never heal, that I can live with. But watching my neighbors, friends, collegaues, and community look the other way is much more difficult. Doctors that left the wounds untreated, records missing several pages of listing the first 72 hours before I was seen by a medical professional.

While I was kept in a room with no vathroom, food, speakers, or emergency call button to cry for help. Injected with drugs and that were mysteriously absent from any medical chart.

I spent the next 5 and a half months documenting my experience. I took 1,890 photos. I sent out 32,000 tweets.

No one called. No one came. No one cared.

My spirit is every bit as broken as my already fragile bones have been since I was twenty two.

There were my colleagues who lost the medical record that I so carefully preserved on the blank pages of a telephone book.

There was Christina who brought me clothing and the Pastor who promised to visit. I never saw either of them again. There was chamber meeting I so carefully composed myself to give my regrets to the Mayor. The same fucking Mayor who names me on his committee of educators. I haven't forgotten, and trust me, neither will you.

My name is Elyssa. Elyssa Durant

Yes, I am the daughter of the man who did this to you. Marc. "L." Marc Durant from the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. There was  Abscam, COINTELPRO, John and Ramona, you and I.

The thee was Five Squad, and now there is Madoff and lots and lots of money.

But he is my fatherm and I can't say it was all a complete loss.  After all, I learned that I am every bit as strong as the gang of dirty cops who beat down the voice of resitance in so ny ways.  I too am beaten.  I am tired, I am sick, and I am lonely.

en down. I am ready to give up. I don't have much to live for. Very few people would miss me or notice I ws gone. I am well aware that I take more from more from society, financially and fom the limited pool of social services and welfare benefits that our sick materialistic society uses to keeo us enslaved fo eterrnity.

But I do have one thing. I have a voice, and I have passsion, And i have love. Lots and lots of love give, though you willnever know see me giving it to those who need t most.

Maybe I can find a way out this miserable country except to give back to those who have been marginalized like you and I.

I too was beaten, silenced, and forced to retreat into a rison that is really just a social construct of the post modern world. 

There are invisible jailers made of "respectable members of society."

Sure, I loook the pat, but I won't play it for very long.  I simply can't stomach the intoleance and hypocricy.  Not quite the same as the way you wee beaten and jailed  in West Philadelphia, but I did feel a certain connection to your experience wheen I read your first book in Union Square. 

God, I woild give anything to be in that bookstoe right now. To lose myself in the wonders of the unknown and fill my mind with thoughts and ideas other than the ones running through my head.  Yes, I do relate to your experience,and I am sorry for my father and his colleagues have done. 

To you, Mumia, and the 13 innocents that died in that fiery inferno that can bes be described as hell on earth.  The Philadelphia Fire of May 13, 1985.

Sometimes I think they were the lucky ones.

I am now thirty seven years old but not a day goes by that I feel I am any more in control of my life than I was when I first learned who "you people" were. 

I was just a child, 7 or 8, but I knew the target, and I was told, you "Shoot to Kill." 

Sometimes I wish I had.  Maybe Myself.  I even know the exact place my father planned to bury me should I speak the very words I have spoken these last 72 hours... not on suicide watch, but definitely on guard. 

I didn't because he was so focused on bringing down John Africayou down at any cost... wwell, eally see him much, nor did I know what he was capable of until these last months when I realize that the fear and pain I knew as a child evolved into a self-sustaining emotional and physical state of uncertainty and futility. Learned helplessness. Real helplessness.

I live in a state of uncertainty futility and regret.  We are not a free people. I do not claim to be a victim, however if I tell were to believe that repeaing the same actions that I have for the last 15 and a half years and expect some positive outcome, than I truly would be insane. 

So to have hope or act with deterrmination and purpose than I would be be sadly mistaken.  Actually if  were to believe that my actions ha some consequence than I could feel something... anything other than completely vulnerable the predators that have made my father the success that he is. 

So, I have nothing.  And I don't want anything I haven't earned.  I learned ealy in life that anything that is given to you can be take away. Including love. 

I don't want it. But as I feel the tears swell in my eyes, I so desperately want to believe I am worthy of being loved. An I wish someone had told me that as a child, a teen, an a younf adult or even right now.  Because I am locked into the prison where the things I love most are always the first thing to be compromised when ... if.. yes... iI did! I told the truth, and I pay for it everyfucking day of my life, becase no one want to know such evil exits.

I don't want be the one to tell them, but they are at risk. Anything I cae about is at risk.  But it ddoesn't matter.   People don't like me much anyway. So fuck you all, maybe some day I will leave my house and come to one those shallow FaceBook invites and see how you would react. 

Yeah, maybe I will.  And stay as long as I like without a single apology.

You know who you are. The people who showered me with paise and promises until you realized how bad off I really was.  And promises were never honored, and yes... I do rememberm and there times like right now  when I want tell the world how shallow and incensere eah and every one of you are. 

Everyone leaves. I would too if I could. Without apology. Probably not tommrow either, because There Are No Children Here. There never were.

"The Crazy One"

Post Script: March 10, 2010


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  2. To "The Crazy One," your letter to Mumia moved me. Especially these words: "The people who showered me with paise [sic] and promises until you realized how bad off I really was." There's one person who loves you for this very reason. He wants to run TO you, not FROM you! Remember this when you feel alone, lonely, lost and without direction.

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Elyssa D. Durant, Ed.M.