July 22, 2008
From: Robert R. Bryan, lead counsel
Subject: Federal ruling regarding Mumia Abu-Jamal, death row, Pennsylvania
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, Philadelphia
Today our Petition for Rehearing and Rehearing En Banc, submitted on behalf of my client, Mumia Abu-Jamal, was denied by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Simply put, we did not receive the needed majority vote from the nine sitting judges; at least five votes for a rehearing were necessary. However, Justice Thomas L. Ambro continues to urge the granting of relief on the issue of racism in jury selection. That position, as detailed in his brilliant dissenting opinion of March 27, 2008, will continue to serve as a beacon of hope as we press on for a new trial and Mumia's freedom. Judge Ambro said that the "core guarantee of equal protection, ensuring citizens that their State will not discriminate on account of race, would be meaningless were we to approve the exclusion of jurors on the basis of . . . race. . . . I respectfully dissent." A copy of today's decision is attached.
Reaction Mumia and I had a legal conference this afternoon. He, as I, was stunned by the federal court's refusal to grant relief since it flies in the face of established legal precedent in both the U.S. Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court. I am furious because racism continues to raise its ugly head in this country, and should have no place in our legal system. The indisputable facts are that the prosecutor engaged in racism in selecting the jury in this case, and that bigotry lingers today in Philadelphia. It would be naive not to realize that this case continues to reek of politics and injustice.
U.S. Supreme Court We will be seeking relief in the Supreme Court. The Petition for Writ of Certiorari will be filed by October 20, 2008, unless there is an extension. The racism issue will be presented, along with the fact that the prosecutor made misrepresentations to the jury in order to obtain a murder conviction against Mumia.
Conclusion My goal remains a complete reversal of the conviction, even though the federal court has already granted a new jury trial on the question of the death penalty. We will not rest until Mumia is free.
Yours very truly,
Robert R. Bryan
Law Offices of Robert R. Bryan
2088 Union Street, Suite 4
San Francisco, California 94123-4117
Lead counsel for Mumia Abu-Jamal
*As to panel rehearing only.
UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
FOR THE THIRD CIRCUIT
Nos. 01-9014 & 02-9001
a/k/a WESLEY COOK
Appellant at No 02-9001
PENNSYLVANIA DIRECTOR OF CORRECTIONS;
CONNER BLAINE, SUPERINTENDENT, SCI GREENE;
DISTRICT ATTORNEY FOR PHILADELPHIA COUNTY;
THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE
STATE OF PENNSYLVANIA,
Appellants at No. 01-9014
(D.C. Civ. No. 99-cv-5089)
SUR PETITION FOR REHEARING
Present: SCIRICA, Chief Judge,
SLOVITER, BARRY, AMBRO, FUENTES, SMITH,
CHAGARES, JORDAN, HARDIMAN and COWEN*, Circuit Judges.
The petition for rehearing filed by appellee/cross-appellant Mumia Abu-Jamal in the above-entitled case having been submitted to the judges who participated in the decision of this Court and to all the other available circuit judges of the circuit in regular active service, and no judge who concurred in the decision having asked for rehearing, and a majority of the circuit judges of the circuit in regular service not having voted for rehearing, the petition for rehearing by the panel and the Court en banc, is denied. Judge Ambro would grant rehearing en banc.
BY THE COURT,
/s/ Anthony J. Scirica
Dated: July 22, 2008
CMD/cc: Robert R. Bryan, Esq.
Judith L. Ritter, Esq.
Hugh J. Burns, Jr., Esq.
Ronald Eisenberg, Esq.
Christina Swarns, Esq.
Jill Elijah, Esq.