Book | Jailhouse Lawyers by Mumia Abu-Jamal

0000012815f48559047dc703007f000000000001.jailhouse Book | Jailhouse Lawyers by Mumia Abu Jamal

Over the weekend on C-Span 2 Book TV televised a show called Jailhouse Lawyers written by Mumia Abu-Jamal. I remember when Mumia Abu Jamal, journalist and activist was arrested and convicted in 1982 for allegedly murdering a Philadelphia police officer. A lot of Mumia Abu-Jamal’s supporters believe that he is innocent of the crime still to this day and believe that he has been detained based on his political views. He is currently awaiting a decision from the Appellate review of his original sentence which may or not be commuted to life in prison. He has been on death row for at least 24 years.

The panel included Dr. Cornel West and Patricia Fernadez Kelly along with Pam Africa activist supporters who have been helping him from behind the iron bars to fight for his rights. Black Panther Party member and death row inmate Mumia Abu-Jamal called from a maximum security prison to participate in a discussion with Cornell West for C-SPAN’s Book TV on April 17. The program featured his new book Jailhouse Lawyers: Prisoners Defending Prisoners v. the USA. He phoned in to speak and was allowed read an excerpt from his book with the audience and the panel. Note that it is not common that a maximum security prisoner be allowed to participate in a panel discussion.

I was blown away at hearing Mumia Abu-Jamal’s voice and surprise at how eloquently he spoke. I marveled at the realness displayed by Dr. West. I love that he calls everyone brother and sister despite their skin color…..it made me ponder about how I go about addressing folks when I meet with them and have a conversation. Dr. West is deep and may be too real for some to comprehend!

Review of Jailhouse Lawyers written by Mumia Abu Jamal

“From his unique vantage point (he has been incarcerated for more than a quarter of a century, most of that on death row), Abu-Jamal aptly humanizes the individuals toiling behind bars to bring cases against enormous institutional, societal, and legal obstacles. . . . [The book] testifies to the character of many jailhouse lawyers, who, when treated with disdain or worse, quietly persist in reading, analyzing, writing, and fighting to do what is right — doing justice.” –Heidi Boghosian, The Federal Lawyer

“Despite the U.S. Supreme Court’s rejection April 6 of Abu-Jamal’s appeal for a new trial, he continues to fight for his freedom. This would not have been possible without the support of millions worldwide. He reminds the reader of the more than two million Americans behind bars in similar situations to himself, and that those in the free world have a responsibility to those trapped ‘in the bowels of the slave ship, in the hidden dank dungeons of America.’” –Indypendent

“More than a book about prisoners defending prisoners in what the author justly calls ‘the Prisonhouse of Nations,’ Mumia Abu-Jamal’s Jailhouse Lawyers has the potential to jump-start the prison reform movement in the US. In addition to telling the individual stories of the best (and worst) jailhouse lawyers defending themselves and their fellow prisoners in the face of official hostility and, in many instances personal danger, and presenting a lively history of jailhouse lawyering in modern America, Abu-Jamal clearly exposes the political and racial bias of the US criminal justice system and explores the role of jailhouse lawyers in the jungle of American law.” –Richard Vogel, Op-Ed News

“Mumia Abu-Jamal points out in his latest book, his sixth from Death Row in Pennsylvania, that unfortunately jailhouse lawyers–prisoners who learn the law in the joint and help other prisoners with appeals and legal problems–have a reputation of freeing others while they squat. ‘It’s the bane of jailhouse lawyers. They seem to be able to help everybody but themselves.’ That truth hit home earlier this month when the U.S. Supreme Court refused, without comment, to hear the former Black Panther’s appeal for a new trial based on the prosecution’s consistent exclusion of blacks from his 1982 jury pool. He turns 55 Friday, which means he has officially spent more than half his life in jail. Unless further appeals work, a new Philadelphia jury will eventually be composed, and it will give him life imprisonment or re-institute his death sentence for the 1981 murder of Daniel Faulkner, a white Philadelphia police officer. Then the state of Pennsylvania will try to kill him again.”–Todd S. Burroughs –Whosemedia.com

“Mumia Abu-Jamal’s 27 years on Death Row for a murder he did not commit would have turned almost anyone else into an embittered, defeated man. Instead, he has remained what he always was, “the voice of the voiceless,” as he demonstrates yet again in his most recent book . . . Jailhouse Lawyers: Prisoners Defending Prisoners v. the U.S.A. opens a tightly shut door into the operations of the U.S. penal system by chronicling the exploits of dozens of jailhouse lawyers – both men and women – who have fought the injustices the courts and the prisons have dealt them and their fellow prisoners. Their accomplishments, against all odds, have been incredible. Their story is a story never before told.” –J. Patrick O’Connor

“Mumia Abu-Jamal’s 27 years on Death Row for a murder he did not commit would have turned almost anyone else into an embittered, defeated man. Instead, he has remained what he always was, “the voice of the voiceless,” as he demonstrates yet again in his most recent book . . . Jailhouse Lawyers: Prisoners Defending Prisoners v. the U.S.A. opens a tightly shut door into the operations of the U.S. penal system by chronicling the exploits of dozens of jailhouse lawyers – both men and women – who have fought the injustices the courts and the prisons have dealt them and their fellow prisoners. Their accomplishments, against all odds, have been incredible. Their story is a story never before told.” –J. Patrick O’Connor

“Mumia chronicles numerous stories surrounding the experiences of those who faced incarceration, but narrowly escaped with the power of the pen, and the tongue of one (or more) like-minded individuals possessing self-invented legal minds. Like-minded individuals who were immensely unafraid, to divinely deter the injustices they faced in prison. . . Mumia deconstructs the entire corruptive constructs rooted in the contradictive, confusing force that is historically known as American Law. Its callous vulture-culture continues to clash its claws upon the working poor, and the poor in general.” — Marlon Crump, Poor Magazine –Marlon Crump, Poor Magazine

Product Description

“Expert and well-reasoned commentary on the justice system. . . . His writings are dangerous.”—The Village Voice

In Jailhouse Lawyers, award-winning journalist and death-row inmate Mumia Abu-Jamal presents the stories and reflections of fellow prisoners-turned-advocates who have learned to use the court system to represent other prisoners—many uneducated or illiterate—and, in some cases, to win their freedom. In Abu-Jamal’s words, “This is the story of law learned, not in the ivory towers of multi-billion-dollar endowed universities [but] in the bowels of the slave-ship, in the dank dungeons of America.”

Includes an introduction by Angela Y. Davis.

Mumia Abu-Jamal’s books include Live From Death Row and Death Blossoms.

Why we should be concern according to Dr. Cornel West is that 62% of the folks in prison are detained for soft crimes and something is wrong with that picture. There are 2.3 million prisoners locked up in the criminal justice system and most folks do not receive a fair trial. The fastest growing population are women, and a majority Latinos and African American men are being detained due to their poverty and lack of education. Mumbia is challenging the state fundamentaly and has questioned the structure of the law and this has caused a ripple effect in Mumbia receiving a fair trial. Dr. West believes that Mumbia is innocent of the crime and has been held based on his political views.

According to Pam Africa there is mass incarceration and it is the new face of racism in the US court system. There are some folks who are questioning Mumia case in the age of Obama. On April 3 was “Call to Action Day” at Columbia University — a day to inform, mobilize and organize to save the life of political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal. The theme was “Live from Death Row: Mumia at the Crossroads in the Age of Obama.” It was organized by Educators for Mumia Abu-Jamal.

I was in my early 20′s when the the Philadelphia Police dropped a smoke bomb on MOVE headquarters, resulting in multiple deaths of MOVE members.

Lord have mercy to anyone who has ever been arrested and stand up for their rights. Once you are entangled in the legal judiciary system…it is a long and arduous fight for your rights.

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