April 2009 Issue 48

Articles in this Issue:

We cant let them execute Troy Davis

By: Julien Ball

"[T]o execute Davis, in the face of a significant amount of proffered evidence that may establish his actual innocence, is unconscionable and unconstitutional."
-- Dissenting Judge Rosemary Barkett

Troy Anthony Davis has once again been denied the opportunity to present new evidence of his innocence to a jury.

Justice for Oscar Grant III

By: Cameron Sturdevant

Not long after midnight on New Year's Day, 22-year-old Oscar Grant III was gunned down by a Bay Area Rapid Transit system police officer as he lay face down on the floor of a station platform.

In a video of the shooting, circulated widely on the Internet, Grant can be seen lying prone and motionless while police officer Johannes Mehserle, surrounded by six other officers, draws his gun and shoots Grant in the back. No one, other than the officers, had weapons.

Keeping it Real

Live from death row

By: pardoned Illinois death row prisoner Stanley Howard

One of the most powerful weapons we have at our disposal in the fight to end the death penalty is the "Live from Death Row" national speaking tour, hosted by the Campaign to End the Death Penalty (CEDP).

The tour features exonerated and current death row prisoners speaking live via speakerphone to audiences around the country. I've had the privilege of participating in many of these events over the years--while facing execution, and after I was exonerated.

They got the wrong guys

By: Lily Hughes

Michael Scott and Robert Springsteen have a hearing in May which could win their release from prison after more than a decade.

In 1991, four young women were raped and killed in an Austin yogurt shop. After eight years of an investigation plagued with false confessions and insufficient evidence, four young men were arrested and charged with the murders.

Thank you to our monthly sustainers

By: Marlene Martin

I want to express my thanks to all of you who contribute to our monthly sustainers program.

As many of you know, we are on a campaign to try to grow our monthly sustainers donation base to 150 by this year's November convention. We are slowly but surely making our way forward, and now inching up to 110.

Yes, even in these difficult times we've been able to press forward. And I want to thank all of you for caring and for signing up--whether it is at the $5 a month level, or the $25, or $50. All contributions help keep the Campaign able to continue its efforts.

Jailhouse lawyers

By: Mumia Abu-Jamal

Mumia Abu-Jamal has been unjustly incarcerated on death row in Pennsylvania for more than 25 years. A detailed report by Amnesty International demonstrates that Abu-Jamal was the victim of a heinously racist trial and calls for a retrial. The following questions were mailed to Mumia Abu-Jamal at SCI-Greene Prison in Waynesburg, Pa., about his new book, Jailhouse Lawyers. The questions were sent by his editor at City Lights Books, Greg Ruggiero. Reprinted here is an excerpt from this interview.

Supreme Court denies justice to Mumia

By: the CEDP

On April 6, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against Mumia, denying him a new trial based on his claim of racial discrimination in jury selection.

In his 1982 trial, 10 qualified Blacks were kept off Mumia's jury by challenges made by the prosecutors--clearly a violation of the Batson rule, which says that racial discrimination in jury selection is grounds for a new trial.

"I am Oscar Grant"

By: Darrell Lomax

Darrell Lomax, a prisoner on California's death row at San Quentin, wrote the following statement of solidarity for 22-year-old Oscar Grant, an African American man shot in the back by Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) officers as he lay face down on a train station platform early on New Year's Day.

This statement from Darrell was read out at a rally in the Bay Area that drew 1000 protesters.