Corey Walker, Innocent of murder, Targeted in war on drugs


Free Corey Walker!

For over two years I have been an advocate and supporter of the Campaign to Free Lorenzo Johnson. Beginning in September 2014 I began representing co-defendant Corey Walker in his appeal to overturn his conviction on grounds of actual innocence, police and prosecutorial misconduct and ineffective assistance of counsel. Less than two months later, the PA Attorney General asked the judge in the case to vacate my admission to practice
pro hac vice as Corey Walker’s lawyer. Both the post-conviction appeal proceeding and the AG’s motion to remove me from the case are pending.

This is an introduction to the case of Corey Walker who was framed for a December 1995 Harrisburg PA murder. The case of his also innocent co-defendant Lorenzo Johnson is more well-known. These men were sentenced to life imprisonment without any possibility of parole. In 2013 over 49,000 men and woman were imprisoned in what Mumia Abu-Jamal has bluntly described as “slow death row.”

Corey Walker and co-defendant Lorenzo Johnson are two of the estimated 100,000 actually innocent men incarcerated in the United States. They are part of the generation of young Black men imprisoned in the “war on drugs” that led to the mass incarceration of some 2.3 million men and women, of whom 60% are Black or Hispanic.

The Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General established a multi-jurisdictional Municipal Drug Task Force providing millions of dollars in federal and state funds to police for overtime and specialized surveillance. Corey Walker and Lorenzo Johnson were targeted as NY drug dealers, who the Dauphin County Drug Task Force called “New York N—–s .”

The murder charges brought against Walker and Johnson resulted not from any connection to the Harrisburg murder of Tarajay Williams, but from their refusal to “cooperate” and give false testimony on drug cases. Walker and Johnson insisted on their innocence and fighting the false murder charge. They rejected offers of plea deals. At the time of the shotgun killing, Walker was in a nearby bar and Johnson was in New York City. They each had numerous alibi witnesses. Until the jury rendered its guilty verdicts and the judge immediately sentenced them to life without parole, they hadn’t believed that innocent men could be convicted of murder.

Now eighteen years later, the evidence of state misconduct, extending from the Harrisburg Police and Dauphin County District Attorney’s office through the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office, is nakedly exposed in the PA state post-conviction appeals (PCRA) filings by Lorenzo Johnson and Corey Walker.
read the entire statement

The FOP Campaign to Defeat the Adegbile Nomination
The Issue Is Mumia Abu-Jamal:
Innocent and Framed!

By Rachel Wolkenstein

Originally issued March 13, 2014
edited and expanded for publication

On September 15, 2014, Debo Adegbile, president Barack Obama’s nominee to head the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Justice Department withdrew his candidacy and returned to legal practice at the global law firm WilmerHale as a commercial litigator.


Rachel Wokenstein, Mumia Abu-Jamal and his wife, Wadiya Jamal February 6, 2012, SCI Mahanoy
<span «font-family:»times=»» roman»;=»» mso-bidi-font-family:»times=»» roman»»=»»>His candidacy was defeated with the failure to get a majority vote in the Senate last March 5 after a campaign waged by the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP). Adegbile had been an attorney with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund (LDF) and in that capacity was part of the defense team for Mumia Abu-Jamal securing the reversal of his death sentence. Contrary to the general description of the controversy, this was not, in fact, an abstract constitutional dispute over the Sixth Amendment right to counsel. For the FOP any defense of Mumia Abu-Jamal is grounds for a rabid attack.

<span «font-family:»times=»» roman»;=»» mso-bidi-font-family:»times=»» roman»»=»»>In response, Adegbile and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund (LDF) and most supporters of the nomination, from the Obama administration though the liberal left, distanced the LDF and the nominee from Abu-Jamal’s legal defense. They discounted the very idea that either the LDF or he had, or could have, challenged Abu-Jamal’s conviction for the murder of police officer Daniel Faulkner. This, despite the fact that Christina Swarns, Director of the LDF Criminal Justice Project, has been co-counsel of record for Mumia Abu-Jamal since February 2011, following some twenty years of LDF defense efforts on behalf of Abu-Jamal.

<span «font-family:»times=»» roman»;=»» mso-bidi-font-family:»times=»» roman»»=»»>The Executive Director of the LDF, Sherilyn Ifill, described the FOP-led campaign as a “smear campaign” against Debo Adegbile, accepting the premise that legal representation of Mumia Abu-Jamal is a “smear” instead of insisting that as a lawyer this is a point of pride, responsibility, and a cornerstone of American jurisprudence.

<em «mso-bidi-font-style:=»» normal»=»»>But the smears—the lies—propagated by the FOP are against Mumia Abu-Jamal, on the grounds he is an unrepentant, vicious cop-killer who should have been executed.

<span «font-family:»times=»» roman»;=»» mso-bidi-font-family:»times=»» roman»»=»»>There is an unambiguous and unequivocal answer to this attack: Mumia Abu-Jamal is innocent and framed for the December 1981 murder of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner.

<span «font-family:»times=»» roman»;=»» mso-bidi-font-family:»times=»» roman»»=»»> The Debo Adegbile nomination controversy was and is squarely about the meaning and import of the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. Examining his case is akin to opening Pandora’s box—it explodes the myth of American “justice.”

To read the whole article …

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