Killing Time An Investigation into the Death Row Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal
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Edition: paper, pages
The Book that Blows the Lid Off the Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. In the first book by an investigative reporter to examine the case of America's most famous living death row inmate, Dave Lindorff uncovers explosive evidence in Killing Time: An Investigation Into the Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. Lindorff has uncovered shocking new details that raise questions about both the truth of the defendant's story, and about the fairness of his trial and appeals process. After two decades, what can be said about this famous case that's new? Lindorff's book is packed with original revelations:
1. A Pennsylvania Superior Court Judge, back in June 1982, overheard the judge sitting at Abu-Jamal's trial, state that he was going to help the D.A. "fry that nigger," but has kept that evidence of gross judicial malpractice to himself for 20 years. Dave is the first person to interview the judge about that incident.
2. In the first careful review of key documents, Lindorff reveals that Abu-Jamal's and his brother William Cook's accounts of what happened back on December 9, 1981, which they released as affidavits for the first time in 2001, are mutually contradictory on key points.
3. Many are familiar with the fact that Abu-Jamal fired his own stellar team of lawyers in 2001 after one published a tell-all book on the case even while it was pending. But Lindorff has uncovered startling news about the lawyers hired by Abu-Jamal to replace them: Eliot Grossman has no experience litigating death penalty cases. Marlene Kamish, who was previously peripherally involved in one death penalty case, was removed from it by her employer.
4. In a surprise turn, the celebrity support movement behind Abu-Jamal has shut down. Lindorff got the story from the star who turned off the spigot.
5. Joseph McGill, the D.A. who prosecuted the case and won the death penalty, had at the trial had assured the court that a police officer sought by the defense as a crucial witness, was away on vacation. The defense failed to contact him. For the first time, in an interview with Lindorff, the prosecutor now concedes that he may have previously instructed that police witness to stay at home while on vacation to be available to testify, a fact kept from the court. It's an earth shaking revelation. At the trial 20 years ago, McGill succeeded in blocking the defense from finding and calling the witness by convincing the defense counsel the witness was unavailable, though he now concedes he may have known the officer was available. Had that officer's testimony been taken, it would have shattered the prosecution's pivotal claim that Abu-Jamal had confessed to killing Officer Faulkner.
6. The same D.A. concedes that at the time of the trial he himself "wondered about" the credibility of two police officers who, only after a two-month lapse, claimed to have heard Abu-Jamal confess to killing Officer Daniel Faulkner.
7. The federal judge, William Yohn, who rejected all 20 of Abu-Jamal's habeas corpus appeals for an overturning of his conviction, made factual errors so grievous that it would appear he never really read the documents in the case. For example, he chastises the defense for not calling in 1995 a prosecution witness who in fact had been dead since 1992. He also wrongly placed a witness at the scene of the shooting who was actually never closer than a block away.
8. That same judge was monumentally confused over critical evidence about race-based jury selection by the prosecution. He incorrectly barred this evidence whose relevance he tragically misinterpreted. These and several other equally big errors-discussed at the opening of the book in a last-minute insert, and completely missed by Abu-Jamal's own attorneys-should, if properly presented on appeal, compel the Third Circuit Court of Appeals to reverse the judge's ruling or to order him to reconsider.
"The book we have been waiting for. The book is commendable for its allegiance to truth, even as it describes how Abu-Jamal, a black man in the clutches of a racist criminal justice apparatus, has seen justice repeatedly thwarted for twenty-one years. Lindorff brilliantly managed the hardest play of all, which is to have written a book with good politics which isn't just a hero-gram about an icon of the left." -- Scott Handleman, Counterpunch
"Dave Lindorff's Killing Time stands alone as a full and fair-minded analysis of the case brought against Mumia Abu-Jamal. As such it throws lurid light on the workings of the institutions that played a role in carrying out and publicizing the case: the Philadelphia police, the judiciary, and the seriously biased media. It also makes a completely compelling case that Mumia Abu-Jamal's trial and treatment by police and courts from his moment of arrest to the present failed to meet minimal standards of justice." -Edward S. Herman
At last! At long last! A journalist worthy of the name has finally put his magnifying glass on America's most notorious death penalty case. Dave Lindorff's meticulous examination of the trials of Mumia Abu-Jamal spares no one. Having exposed the failings of prosecutors, judges and defense attorneys while laying bare the inexcusable rot in its criminal justice system, Lindorff had better stay out of Philadelphia. -Mike Farrell, actor/writer/producer and President of Death Penalty Focus
A terrific courtroom thriller, acted out by real people, brave and cowardly, honest and deceitful, strong and weak, biased and fair, smart and stupid, some admirable, some despicable, all fallible-in a word, human. A credit to investigative journalism. -John L. Hess, former investigative reporter for The New York Times
An extraordinary roadmap, revealing disturbing new evidence and explaining subtle yet significant nuances, free of the partisanship that pollutes many examinations of this ugly case. -Linn Washington, Temple University journalism professor, Philadelphia Tribune columnist
Dave Lindorff has written a magnificent book. From the sprawling turbulence of the Mumia Abu-Jamal case, he has distilled a lucid, absorbing and indeed ground-breaking account, which should compel the respect of any fair-minded person. At last I feel I understand the case in its entirety. -Alexander Cockburn, columnist for The Nation
An extremely compelling argument for a new trial. I applaud Dave Lindorff's courageous and thorough examination of this case, which illustrates that in this justice system, error is virtually guaranteed. -Rev. Jesse Jackson
Carefully reported and powerfully written. -Ed Lazarus, former federal prosecutor
Dave Lindorff's Killing Time stands alone as a full and fair-minded analysis of the case brought against Mumia Abu-Jamal. As such it throws lurid light on the workings of the institutions that played a role in carryig out and publicizing the case: the Philadelphia police, the judiciary, and the seriously biased media. It also makes a completely compelling case that Mumia Abu-Jamal's trial and treatment by police and courts, from his moment of arrest to the present, failed to meet minimal standards of justice. -Edward S. Herman, professor emeritus, Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania