Above Photo: Taylor Hall/Flickr
In the face of mounting legal victories and an energized movement in the streets to free Mumia Abu-Jamal, the Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police is now attacking District Attorney Larry Krasner for failing to challenge a request by Abu-Jamal’s attorneys for a new evidentiary hearing. Maureen Faulkner, widow of slain police officer Daniel Faulkner, has been enlisted by the FOP to attack Krasner, despite his initial efforts to help her perpetuate Abu-Jamal’s unjust imprisonment.
Maureen Faulkner has been featured on the regular cop-friendly local media outlets calling for Krasner to recuse himself from Abu-Jamal’s appeal. The police lawyers who speak in Faulkner’s name filed a petition with the Pennsylvania Superior Court to have Krasner removed from the case and replaced by conservative Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro. The complaint alleges that Krasner has not been vigorous enough in his attempts to keep Abu-Jamal behind bars.
The FOP is angry with Krasner for giving in to massive pressure to withdraw his initial opposition, earlier in 2019, to Abu-Jamal’s appeal moving forward in Pennsylvania’s higher courts. His latest acquiescence to the request by Abu-Jamal’s attorneys that newly uncovered evidence is grounds for the case to be sent back to Philadelphia Common Pleas Court may be the final straw as far as the FOP is concerned. (Go to tinyurl.com/y3uybtvs for more information.)
Maureen Faulkner, claiming “victim’s rights” under state legislation that has yet to be passed, filed a petition Sept. 18 to have Krasner replaced by Pennsylvania AG Shapiro “in criminal actions in which there is an appeal.” She alleges that the lack of “finality” in this case has caused trauma for her.
Faulkner bases her petition largely on unfounded claims that DA Krasner and attorneys in his office had some connection with Abu-Jamal’s case in the past. It specifically mentions Krasner’s spouse, now Judge Lisa Rau, and Jody Dodd, a former paralegal in Krasner’s law practice.
In attacking lawyers whose firms had some prior connection with Abu-Jamal’s case, Faulkner is continuing a pattern of intimidation carried out by the FOP against progressive attorneys. Faulkner also ludicrously claims that Dodd was the former “leader of the International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal” — move over Pam Africa!
Despite living in California, Faulkner is often flown to Philadelphia to make the rounds on television and radio to parrot FOP talking points and has only lobbied for Mumia’s execution or permanent imprisonment without appeal. If she were truly concerned about justice for her late spouse, she would join the call for a retrial and the immediate release of Abu-Jamal who was clearly framed for the crime.
During one hearing in December 2018 that resulted in a legal victory for Abu-Jamal, Common Pleas Court Judge Leon Tucker was forced to eject Faulkner from the courtroom. In a clear attempt to disrupt the proceedings, Faulkner launched into a tirade against the African-American judge until she was escorted out by sheriff’s deputies.
The likely staged disruption was just the most visible form of the state’s various schemes to sabotage Abu-Jamal’s appeals process at that time. These include blocking public and media access, posting officers in and around the court, filling most available seats with off-duty police officers, and lying to the public about the location and time of the hearings.
In response to Faulkner’s petition, one of Abu-Jamal’s attorneys, Judith Ritter, stated: “The fact that we have now seen new pieces of evidence that should have been disclosed years and years ago is certainly not the fault of anyone on the defense side. I don’t know that there are too many people who would say ‘finality’ is more important than preventing wrongful or unconstitutionally attained convictions.” (mcall.com, Sept. 22)
It’s unclear whether the frivolous petition will pose any serious challenge to Abu-Jamal’s defense team. But the irony is not lost on his supporters that the cops are decrying “conflict of interest” when the root of the problem is a criminal conspiracy of judicial and prosecutorial misconduct to frame an innocent man for murder.