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More on the Adegbile Nomination

Sen. Chuck Grassley, ranking Republican on the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, has posted some of the letters in opposition to the nomination of Debo Adegbile to head the Civil Rights Division.  See Bill's post earlier today and my post Tuesday. 

The letter from Philadelphia DA Seth Williams is on pages 14-15 of the PDF file.  An excerpt is copied after the break.
Abu-Jamal made every effort to turn the trial into political theater.  He repeatedly interrupted the proceedings, insulted the judge, and chanted the name of MOVE leader John "Africa."  During the appeals, his supporters attempted to intimidate the judge by massing in front of his home in a residential neighborhood.  Worst of all, they have maintained a three-decade-long campaign of verbal abuse against Officer Faulkner's widow, Maureen, who simply wanted justice for her dead husband.

His lawyers, who have included Leonard Weinglass, echoed these tactics in their legal maneuvers.  Despite the overwhelming evidence of guilt, they have consistently attempted to turn reality on its head, arguing that Abu-Jamal was framed and that it was he, rather than Officer Faulkner, who was the victim of racism.  The LDF perpetuated these allegations when he took over Abu-Jamal's case.  Although Abu-Jamal's death sentence was eventually overturned on the basis of new procedural rules invented after his trial, his murder conviction has been upheld -- and his lawyers' bogus racial claims have been consistently rejected in both state and federal court.

Aside from being patently false, moreover, these claims are personally insulting to me.  As an African-American, I know all too well the grievous consequences of racial discrimination and prejudice.  I also know that Abu-Jamal was convicted and sentenced because of the evidence, not because of his race.  And I have continued to fight for the jury's verdict because it was the just result.

Given all of the laudable objectives of the NAACP, it is telling that Mr. Adegbile chose to devote his resources to this particular cause rather than the many legitimate battles that called for his formidable abilities.  Of course, in our system even a radical cop-killer like Mumia Abu-Jamal is entitled to legal representation.  That does not mean, however, that those lawyers who elect to arm him in his efforts are suitable to lead this nation's highest law enforcement offices.  To select such a lawyer, among all those qualified for the position, speaks volumes to police officers and their families.
On the last paragraph, I will add a personal comment.  Why does an organization that is supposed to be advocating for civil rights spend so much of its resources advocating against the death penalty, even in cases where the penalty was well deserved and fairly imposed?  As someone who decides how to spend the resources of a nonprofit myself, I am particularly sensitive to this.  I am careful to channel my organization's resources on its mission, not on other issues however strongly I may believe in them. 

The notion that the defense side is always the civil rights side is very outdated, very wrong, and very dangerous.  Violent crime is a gross violation of civil rights and a major factor degrading the quality of life of the poor.  This is not 1960 Mississippi.  Law enforcement is, overall, the friend of civil rights, and the criminals are the enemy.  Yet organizations calling themselves "civil rights" organizations fight against effective law enforcement and for criminals who have zero regard for the rights of others.  A person with this mentality is the last person who should be heading the Civil Rights Division.

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