4/30/2011 Newsletter

Contents:

  • Fundraising Dinner for Immigrant Rights March
  • May Day Parade: Join the Committee to Stop FBI Repression Contingent
  • International Workers Day March
  • Important New Ruling in Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal
  • Two L.A. Cops Appear in Porn Film
  • Racism Alive and Well: MO Legislator Calls for Poor Black Town to be Flooded

LOTS HAPPENING THIS WEEKEND--GET INVOLVED!

Events around May Day, International Workers Day, provide wonderful opportunities to support the movement and spread the word. Come out this weekend to support actions by the May 1st Coalition and Stop FBI Repression--two fine groups that CUAPB is proud to be involved with. Besides, marching is great exercise and the weather tomorrow is supposed to be cool but not rainy.

Fundraising Dinner for May 1st march
Saturday, April 30 – 5:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.

MIRAc and the May 1st Coalition are sponsoring a fundraising dinner for the march on May 1st, International Workers' Day. $8-$10 suggested donation, but no one will be turned away for lack of funds. All money raised at the dinner will be used to help pay for the costs of organizing the march and rally. Where: 3236 Longfellow Ave S, Minneapolis (In the backyard). We will be also be picking the winners for MIRAc’s May 1st raffle at the dinner, so bring an extra $5 to buy a raffle ticket! If you can’t come but want to make a donation, you can send a check to MIRAc/May 1st Coalition, PO Box 7266, Minneapolis, MN 55407 or donate online here.

May Day Parade: Join the Committee to Stop FBI Repression Contingent!
Sunday, May 1st meet @ Cedar Field on 25th Street and Cedar Ave at 12:30PM, march to Powderhorn Park, Minneapolis, MN

The Annual Mayday Parade in Powderhorn Park is a great opportunity to reach thousands of people and do outreach on the current case around the Grand Jury and the 23 subpoenaed activists. We are inviting all of you to be a part of the Committee to Stop FBI Repression contingent in the Mayday parade. If you are interested in joining us please meet us at the start of the parade at Cedar Field on 25th Street and Cedar Ave at 12:30PM on Sunday, May 1st. Look for the bright orange witch hunt flags. If you can't join us at the beginning still look for us on the parade route and join us at any time during the march, we recruit! :) We'll have a puppet representing an FBI agent and we're asking all of you to help us out by being out "witches" and activists that are being "chased" by the FBI.

If you can join us we're asking that you wear your "witch hunt" shirts and black clothing. (If you don't have witch hunt tees we're working on ordering more. contact us to buy your own!) We also recognize that this Grand Jury is an attempt to criminalize activism so if you don't have a witch hunt tee, please wear your own political tee-shits with black clothing and witch hats. Green face make-up encouraged.

There is other help that we need during the parade such as holding the banner, flags, collecting pledges as well as other tasks. FFI: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=156657811064444&ref=notif&notif_t=event_invite

March on Sunday, May 1 - International Workers Day: 125 years of solidarity among workers of the world!
Gather starting at 4:00 pm on Sunday, May 1 @ Cathedral, St. Paul with a march to the Capitol
Stop the attacks against workers, unions and immigrants! We Demand: Justice, freedom to organize, legalization and equality! RSVP on the facebook event. Organized by the May 1st Coalition 2011. Endorsed by CUAPB and we will be providing copwatch support. Info: may1minnesota@gmail.com, http://may1minnesota.wordpress.com/


IMPORTANT NEW RULING IN THE CASE OF MUMIA ABU-JAMAL

Mumia Abu-Jamal has been a political prisoner on Pennsylvania's death row for nearly 3 decades. While much evidence shows he is innocent, this respected and award-winning journalist has remained behind bars as the state has blocked every avenue for allowing that evidence to be brought before a jury. However, this ruling is a partial victory that may lead to further unraveling of the state's unjust case. For more in depth coverage, check out Journalists for Mumia Abu-Jamal at http://www.abu-jamal-news.com/. Further analysis by National Lawyers Guild attorneys is below the article.

3rd Circuit: Mumia Must Have New Sentencing Trial For Death Sentence To Be Reinstated
DA Will Appeal to US Supreme Court
(www.abu-jamal-news.com)

On April 26, 2011 the US Third Circuit Court upheld earlier rulings from 2001 (by US District Court Judge William Yohn) and 2008 (by the same 3rd Circuit panel of three judges) that 'overturned'* the death sentence and stated that if the DA wants to re-instate the death penalty, then Mumia must first be given a new sentencing phase jury trial where Mumia can present evidence of innocence but the jury can only decide between execution or life in prison without parole. (View full ruling)

According to the ruling, the DA has 180 days to decide whether or not to have a new sentencing trial. However, the DA is now appealing this ruling to the US Supreme Court, further postponing the 180 day deadline.

*The word 'overturned' must be qualified because following the 2001 ruling, at the DA's request, Mumia has never left his death row cell or been given general population 'privileges' such as contact visits with family.

RELATED: NAACP LDF press release II Linn Washington Jr. II Jeff Mackler II Democracy Now interview Judith Ritter and Linn Washington Jr. II Amy Goodman in Guardian UK II Associated Press / ABC II Philadelphia Inquirer II Newsworks/WHYY video of DA Seth Williams II Amsterdam News II FreeMumia.com

For further analysis, here is a piece on what happens next by National Lawyers Guild attorneys:
(This summary was written by Johanna Fernandez, approved by Judith Ritter, and edited and augmented by Heidi Boghosian).

The Third Circuit Court just granted Mumia relief on the Mills v. Maryland, 486 U.S. 367 (1988), ruling. This is an important decision in this 30-year old legal battle. Congratulations are due to [NLG member and attorney for Mumia] Professor Judith Ritter for her brilliant job before the Third Circuit Court of Appeals this past fall.

Here is a brief description of Mills and of what we can expect.

The Mills ruling concerns poor or confusing instructions to the jury during the sentencing phase of a death penalty trial. In Mumia's case, the jury was confused about how and when to consider evidence that might mitigate against a death penalty verdict. An example of such mitigating evidence in his case might have been that he had no prior criminal record before his 1982 conviction, that he was a citizen in good standing, and an award-winning journalist at time of trial. But because of the confusing instructions in the verdict form used by the jurors when considering life in prison or the death penalty, they may have understood that in order to hear mitigating evidence against the death penalty, all 12 members of the jury would have to unanimously agree to hear such evidence, when in fact any juror could have asked to hear mitigating evidence without approval from the others.

Winning on the Mills claim can result in a new sentencing phase trial or an automatic change in a penalty from a death sentence to life in prison without parole.

Now that the Third Circuit has granted Mumia the Mills claim, what comes next?

The prosecution will appeal the Third Circuit case to the Supreme Court and Mumia's attorneys will also submit briefs in defense of their position.

It is likely that the Supreme Court will not hear arguments on this issue again, given that high court already heard the Mills issue in this case and decided to remand the issue of Mills back to the Third Circuit for the Third Circuit to decide whether Mumia really had a Mills claim.

It is also possible, but hopefully unlikely, that the DA may request an en banc rehearing on the Mills claim. This sometimes happens in political cases after a victory for the political prisoner. For example, in the case of the Cuban Five the government requested an en banc rehearing after the 3-judge panel of the 11th Circuit unanimously overturned the Five's convictions. (The 3 judges found that pervasive prejudice against the Castro government combined with other factors to deprive them of a fair trial.) The US government appealed and the Circuit Court (en banc) reversed the 3-judge panel's decision a year later.

If the Supreme Court does not hear arguments on Mills once again, the Philadelphia DA's office will have to grant Mumia a new sentencing phase trial or release him to general population for a sentence of life in prison without parole.

Life in prison without parole is no victory for Mumia, but given the long history of Supreme Court precedent reversals in the case of Abu-Jamal, the Third Circuit Court has ruled that there were serious constitutional violations in this case.

Now it is up to the people of conscience of this world to get to the business of building a movement that will free this extraordinary black radical Guild member.


YUCK! GET THAT PICTURE OUT OF MY HEAD!

Two L.A. Cops Appear in Porn Film
http://www.thedailybeast.com/cheat-sheet/item/two-la-cops-appear-in-porn-film/compromising/#
Posted at 10:32 PM, Apr 29, 2011

Two L.A. cops are getting spanked by their supervisors after allegedly getting spanked by a porn actress in an adult film. In a strikingly cost-effective move, the officers allegedly appeared in uniform, in a city vehicle, on the job. The video shows an actress who leaps into the arms of the first officer, who spanks and fondles her breasts before the actress spanks the second officer and then performs lewd acts on herself in the city vehicle. A local television station reports that a manager knew of the men’s behavior but took no disciplinary action. Now the men are on administrative leave while an inquiry proceeds.


SADLY, RACISM ALIVE AND WELL

Missouri House Speaker: Flood Poor Black Town To Save Farmland

A debate over how to stem possible flooding in Illinois and Missouri took an ugly turn this week, as a leading Missouri politician made some crass remarks about the fate of an Illinois town.

Due to high rains, waters at the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers are running dangerously high, and the mayor of Cairo, Illinois, located at the confluence, has asked residents to evacuate the town.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is considering a plan to destroy a levee, which would lower the floodwaters by a few feet and help protect Cairo. But the state of Missouri has vigorously objected to the plan, because it would badly damage around 130,000 acres of farmland, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Missouri's Republican House Speaker Steve Tilley was asked by reporters about the dilemma. "Would you rather have Missouri farmland flooded or Cairo underwater?" Tilley is asked.

Without hesitation, he replies, "Cairo. I’ve been there. Trust me. Cairo.”

As another reporter prepares to ask another question, Tilley goes on. “Have you been to Cairo? OK, then you know what I’m saying then.”

Cairo, Illinois (pronounced KAY-roh) was at the turn of the 20th century a bustling trade center. The 2,800-person town is now largely abandoned, two-thirds African-American, and deeply impoverished: nearly 50 percent of children under the age of 18 in Cairo live below the poverty level.

Many criticized the Speaker for what they described as insensitivity in the remarks. The Capitol Fax, which posted the video of Tilley's remarks, also has a press release from Illinois State Senator Gary Forby:

During a time when people are being asked to evacuate their homes and leave behind their belongings, it absolutely blows my mind that that type of dialogue is being thrown around by the Missouri Speaker. Not only is it in poor taste, but it absolutely disgusting that Speaker Tilley would joke about putting the lives of Cairo residents at risk by choosing farmland over a community.

To read more and see a video of the controversial remarks, go to http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/04/28/missouri-house-speaker-st_n_855139.html


Unless a man is honest we have no right to keep him in public life; it matters not how brilliant his capacity; it hardly matters how great his power of doing good service on certain lines may be... No man who is corrupt, no man who condones corruption in others, can possibly do his duty by the community.

http://www.judgesgonerogue.org/


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