Whenever I feel the weight of real life and question its fairness, I reflect on this great man and humble myself. Mumia Abu-Jamal spent 30 years on Death Row in solitary confinement . Because of the tireless fight led by his freedom fighting supporters in 2011 the death penalty was dropped and his sentence reduced to life without parole. Mumia and his defense continue to petition the courts for an appeal as recently as this past April, and though an appeal was not immediately granted, let us continue to pray for his justice and freedom. His story is complicated, his voice is powerful, his thoughts are inspiring, his circumstance is challenging, yet his spirit always rising throughout decades of inhuman torture both as a black man on the streets and prisoner in our racist justice system. I’m honored to be representing Mumia Abu-Jamal's voice with this 5x6’ acrylic piece I painted back in 1999. Free Mumia!
And Free Ross! Please read the latest updates about Ross' situation below from his mother, Lyn Ulbricht, a revolutionary in her own right. If you're not already on her mailing list please support them by doing so now, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
"A lot has happened in the past six months as we continue to fight for Ross's freedom. On December 22, 2017 Ross and his legal team of Williams & Connolly, one of the top firms in the nation, filed a Petition of Certiorari with the Supreme Court. The petition argues that Ross's case presents two important questions of constitutional law, and has broad significance impacting both our Fourth and Sixth Amendment protections:
Whether the warrantless seizure of an individual's Internet traffic information without probable cause violates the Fourth Amendment.
Whether the Sixth Amendment is violated when a judge uses uncharged allegations, never brought to trial before a jury, to support an exessive sentence.
On February 5, 2018, twenty-one organizations from across the political spectrum supported the petition in five amicus (friend of the court) briefs. Then on April 13 the petition was distributed for conference, meaning the Justices will consider it. About 200 cases were denied by the Supreme Court that day, but not Ross's!
According to his lawyers, this means we can be pretty sure the Court is holding Ross's petition pending another important Fourth Amendment case, Carpenter v. U.S. How the Court rules on Carpenter will determine what happens with Ross's case. This can happen any time, probably by June.
Meanwhile, since July 2017, Ross has been held at USP Florence, a maximum-security penitentiary, where the Bureau of Prisons puts its most violent and dangers offenders, short of the Super Max. This is despite the fact that Ross is a first-time offender with no history of violence. Rather, the designation is a result of his life sentence.
Despite the horrors of his environment, Ross remains optimistic and strong, characteristically making the best of it. He has immersed himself in his case, spending a lot of time in the law library, and otherwise focusing on staying healthy mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically.
We hope and pray our next communication brings good news in our ongoing struggle."
We are grateful for your support, as always,