A very important legal precedent has been established regarding how the bias of a Judge is determined when they are assigned to a case addressing issues involving law enforcement.
Very often a Judge may have close ties to law enforcement officers, or may come from a similar background. They may have been a prosecutor or worked closely with them and may maintain close ties and friendships. Yet, absurdly they feel comfortable claiming they have no bias, when overseeing a case that may challenge the actions of law enforcement.
Until this recent ruling, in the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal who has sat on death row for forty years for a crime he did not commit, (he was convicted and remains in prison because of his political history), such a biased Judge could not be removed.
On January 8, 2019, a court ruled that the denial of Mumia’s right to appeal was unjust because the ruling Judge was biased: because of his relationships with law enforcement:
Link to the transcript for this discussion.
This ruling is very important to ensuring that our courts become a healthy and just forum for justice. For decades now, the courts and law enforcement worked together as a fraternity (women participated). It did not matter if the accusers were themselves compromised or participated in setting up the accused, or were responsible for federal crimes themselves, including capital crimes. They could have confidence that a judge would likely rule against the party they wanted convicted, and would look the other way when it came to their own wrong-doing. And so innocent people spent their lives in prison, including teens, while muderers and rapists wearing uniforms gained promotions and lived out their lives in a kind of freedom.
The vulnerable populations or those who witnessed bad acts by these individuals became terrified as they were targeted and threatened by this corrupt ring of false authorities, including those in courts or who held high political office.
Former inmate’s became informants under threat of re-imprisonment. And they had no doubt any false conviction would succeed as the deeper one goes into learning about the justice system the more one can see the reach of the ring of corruption. The reach goes all the way up…
With the Indelible project such corruption has been clearly observed: in the case of Carl L. Harp, in both his conviction and murder in prison, as well has his undocumented work and training for the military as a teen in poverty. And also in the case of the former kid survivor, Artie DuFur, who sits in Federal Prison today, past the expiration of his sentence which ended in 2016. But also in the details of his criminal case, including the Western Washington Federal Court’s attempt to retract his trial documents illegally from the National Archives and attempt to destroy them once it became known I intended to access them as part of my research.
It also became evident when I filed a FOIA lawsuit to obtain public records from the FBI on Harp, my father, and myself from an interaction I had at Carnegie Mellon University when I served on their faculty. I received a handful of documents on Harp but was denied the rest. And when I went to court to object, the Federal Judge stated he was a friend of the officer in Harp’s criminal case. And that my questioning the FBI or the Harp case proved to him my legal position was invalid. This was an admission of bias. Yet when I filed a motion claiming this, asking for a reassignment, my claim was dismissed by the Chief Justice. This Justice is the boss of the biased judge. He works in the same building. They are colleagues. To find bias in his staff would reflect poorly on his own role.
But with this new ruling such easy dismissals of honest claims of bias, after a Judge admits bias—in open court—stating he has a history and friendship with the very law enforcement being questioned would demand his recusal without argument. And a Judge would have to be assigned who had no history with law enforcement. Period.