Trial by Internet
February 21, 2008 10:07 PM   Subscribe

It's a cause célèbre jamboree, starting with Mumia Abu-Jamal: Guilty! Innocent! Guilty! Innocent!

Hurricane Carter: Innocent! (in song form) Guilty!

Leonard Peltier: Innocent! Guilty! Innocent!(in song)

The West Memphis 3: Innocent! Guilty!

Lizzie Borden: Open for Business!

Alfred Dreyfuss: Innocent!

Sacco and Vanzetti: Guilty! Innocent!

Charles Manson: Innocent! Hilarious!
posted by Bookhouse (14 comments total)
For those unfamiliar with Mumia and his origins, read more about "Philadelphia MOVE over at NPR, or a brief rundown at wikipedia.
posted by loquacious at 10:46 PM on February 21, 2008

This is a nice collection of a lot of the movements that i cared more about in high school. I really liked the RATM videos, but then i got distracted by a video of Television playing marquee moon, which fired me up and made me want to do seditious acts...somehow i resisted the urge...

In the end. Fight for what you want most in the world, equality or to pass your genes on...

Depending on the status of the relationship i'm in, i've made different decisions...
posted by schyler523 at 11:09 PM on February 21, 2008 [1 favorite]

George Davis is innocent!
posted by Abiezer at 11:19 PM on February 21, 2008 [1 favorite]

He deserves a new trial. He probably did shoot Faulkner, though. Well, him or the guy who was seen at the crime scene and then was found, dead, naked and handcuffed a few years later, right when the Philadelphia Police firebombed MOVE and killed 11 people.
posted by mobunited at 5:22 AM on February 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

The whole "free mumia" thing is a really weird debate. One side wants him to have a new trial, and the other side says, "yes, he is too guilty!" It's like me complaining about your loud party, and you retorting that Macs kick Windoze ass. Probably true, but irrelevant to the issue. (not microsoftist)

Mumia's very likely guilty as charged, and I think most of the free mumia crowd would be OK with that outcome, given a trial that's a little less self-parody. The Philly law-and-order crowd is so bloodthirsty that they can't see how a guilty verdict out of a fair trial is actually the outcome that's best for everyone.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 6:32 AM on February 22, 2008

I lived in the Philadelphia area when the Mumia Abu-Jamal debate was much more intense than it is now, because Mumia's death sentence hadn't yet been commuted. Outside Philadelphia, it seemed people could discuss the issue semi-rationally, but inside Philadelphia, opinion about the case was highly racially polarized, with huge gaps in how blacks and whites viewed the issue. Part of the problem was that a lot of aging white Philadelphians didn't want to acknowledge the reality that Police Commissioner Frank Rizzo (and later Mayor) made police brutality about as Philadelphian as cheesesteaks and the Liberty Bell. The other problem was that the only public face of the movement against the death penalty for Mumia Abu-Jamal seemed to be ex-MOVE members and extreme leftist sectarians who wouldn't work with anybody to right of Chairman Mao.

My belief in the wrongness of the death penalty is based on my opposition to granting too much power to the State to decide life and death, not on the ambiguous guilt or innocence of any one cause célèbre. In addition, many Mumia protesters insisted on Mumia's innocence as an article of faith, but wouldn't come to grips with the possibility that Mumia might have shot the police officer out of self-defense or to come to the defense of his brother. A short but good article that deals with some of the uncomfortable aspects of the Mumia Abu-Jamal case is Stuart Taylor's Guilty and Framed, which makes an excellent case for the Save Mumia movement from a surprisingly centrist standpoint, even though it acknowledges that Mumia may be a murderer.
posted by jonp72 at 7:13 AM on February 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

ssF, if they just want him re-tried, why is their slogan "Free Mumia"? Seems to me that provokes the "uh, but he's guilty" response right off the bat.
posted by nicwolff at 8:26 AM on February 22, 2008

it-s not that difficult, really, to figure out that being innocent is one thing, having been convicted by a kangaroo court and by a racist judge is entirely another. innocent vs guilty, under the rule of law, is one thing. lawfully convicted is entirely another.

innocent, who knows, very likely not. convicted in a manner consistent with a civilized country and the rule of law, not so much. not that hard to figure out, but appeals to peoples guts are always more successful.

it-s also important to repeat that crime investigations performed by corrupt and/or downright racist cops end up freeing a shitload of guilty men. one good reason to have a bipartisan, harsh approach to police brutality, racism and corruption issues. a cleaner, more honorable police department won-t nearly set as many guilty people free. unless one of course wants to go the guantanamo/abu ghraib route.
posted by matteo at 8:43 AM on February 22, 2008

matteo, how was it a kangaroo court? from what I can tell, mumia almost certainly killed daniel faulkner. I also agree that the trial was a disaster, but having read the transcripts, it seems to me that it was mumia who made it so with his decisions and behavior. Was the judge racist? I don't know. I do know that he had a reputation for being harsh on criminals... but that's not grounds for an appeal. There are also judges with reputations for being particularly lenient... the state can't appeal on that basis either. My theory is that mumia deliberately refused to cooperate, so that he could then point to the clusterfuck he created and the reputation of the judge and demand a new trial. the plan didn't work. that doesn't mean that the trial wasn't fair. Was the first appeal unfair? If the pending appeal doesn't work, will that prove that those judges are unfair? I certainly don't want mumia or anyone else to be executed, but even if he got a new trial, the evidence is overwhelming that he murdered a police officer.
posted by moxiedoll at 9:20 AM on February 22, 2008

I miss the "Fry Mumia" t-shirts.
posted by acetonic at 10:03 AM on February 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

Read the trial transcripts, then say "innocent." Dare you. Mumia's a cop-killing piece of shit and not worthy of bizarre celebrity status he's been granted. New trial? Why, so we can make Danny Faulkner's family suffer through this a little longer? Screw him and his supporters.
posted by VicNebulous at 11:09 AM on February 22, 2008

Fuck Mumia. I don't care if he's guilty or innocent or Martian, but will someone please tell his fucking Trustafarian college-sophomore-Trotskyist supporters to keep their dumb dreadlocked hippie asses the fuck away from anti-war/anti-Bush protests and practice their adorable privileged suburban rebellion at home with their Anti-Flag records? Jesus Christ, I want those people to die. Every time, every single time, there they are, the poor little rich whiteboys with their "FREE MUMIA" (and anti-IMF/World Bank and pot legalization and every other adorable privileged suburban rebellion cause) signs, doing their part to undermine everyone's credibility. I want to put them all in a boat with a hole in it and watch them fucking drown, patchouli and hair grease forming a thin oil slick on the surface of their watery grave. Die. Die. Die. Fucking die.
posted by DecemberBoy at 10:23 PM on February 22, 2008

But - but - but, he's too articulate to be a murderer.
posted by BrotherCaine at 12:42 AM on February 23, 2008 [1 favorite]

DecemberBoy - you know, I was a specimen of exactly that awful sort of person from ages 15-17ish (went to the Free Mumia protests and everything. Didn't have a fucking clue what I was talking about), but having managed to grow up ever so slightly, I am 100% in agreement with you. The last anti-war protest I went to was about half focused on the actual war and half "Legalize Pot!" "Go Vegan!" "Vote Kucinich!" "Close the School of the Americas!" etc. It made me fucking furious - not that I think those things are especially bad ideas (ok, voting for Kucinich is not very productive, imho), but because it's a distraction from the issue at hand, and it makes the left look unfocused and silly, and it makes the anti-war movement look like it's exclusive to the extreme left, which it really isn't anymore.
Apologies for the tangent - I had been looking for a place to vent about that for awhile, and you put it into words more, uh, vividly than I could have.
posted by naoko at 7:49 AM on February 23, 2008

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