Letter from Attorney Robert R. Bryan
[Note: "help'em fry the ni - - er" is misspelled only to avoid email profanity filters that would prevent this message from reaching some recipients if the text were to be copied for email distribution]
Two weeks ago the District Attorney of Philadelphia filed a brief in reply to our most recent brief filed on behalf of Mumia Abu-Jamal. Even though this was to be the last of the briefs before oral argument, we felt obligated to respond due to the complexity of the issues and the government’s factual misrepresentations. Attached is the Response of Appellee and Appellant, Mumia Abu-Jamal, to Sur-Reply Brief, submitted this week to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, Philadelphia.
This case is of enormous consequence. It concerns the political repression of an outspoken journalist known globally as the “Voice of the Voiceless,” the right to a fair trial, and the struggle against the death penalty. The authorities want to kill my client in order to silence his voice and pen. We must not let that occur. Racism and politics are threads that have run through this case since his arrest on December 9, 1981, and continue today.
Each of the issues under consideration by the federal court are of great constitutional significance. They include:
- The prosecutor’s exclusion of African Americans from sitting on the jury.
- The bias and racism of the trial judge, Albert F. Sabo, who stated that he was going to “help’em fry the ni – - er.”
- The prosecutor’s “appeal after appeal” argument that essentially called upon the jurors to disregard the right to the presumption of innocence and reasonable doubt, and err on the side of guilt.
- The judge’s unfair and skewed jury instructions and verdict form that resulted in the death penalty, since jurors were precluded from considering any mitigating evidence unless they all agreed on the existence of a particular special circumstance.
We will be presenting oral argument before a three-judge panel in the U.S. Court of Appeals. Even though no date has been set, this will likely occur within the next few months. My purpose remains to win this life-and-death struggle, gain a new and fair trial, and see my client walk out of jail a free person. However, as I have warned, Mr. Abu-Jamal remains in great danger.
Thank you for your concern in this campaign for justice.
With best wishes,
Robert R. Bryan
Law Offices of Robert R. Bryan
2088 Union Street, Suite 4
San Francisco, California 94123
Lead counsel for Mumia Abu-Jamal