Myths About Mumia
Mumia Abu-Jamal’s lawyers and supporters argue that his attorney at his 1982 trial, was incompetent. They say that Jackson had never tried a capital murder case prior to Jamal’s and that he asked not to be assigned to this one.
To support this myth Jamal’s attorneys claim:
ß Jackson never investigated the case.
ß He failed to interview the prosecution or defense witnesses prior to their testimony.
ß He “failed to seek adequate funding for experts” to support his defense.
ß He failed to call “favorable witnesses, like Officer Gary Wakschul and Debra Kordansky.”
ß He failed to call any mitigating character witnesses prior to Jamal’s sentencing.
(Jamal’s habeas corpus petition to the Federal District Court, 3/28/00)
In his article “The Trial of Mumia Abu Jamal,” Jamal’s lawyer Leonard Weinglass states, “The only inexperienced actor in Mumia’s case was the court appointed attorney”.
Anthony Jackson was a highly experienced and expert criminal defense attorney who was hand picked by Jamal — not thrust upon Jamal by the court, as Jamal’s supporters say. He came to Jamal highly recommended by Jamal’s own friends from the Black Journalists Association. According to Jackson, after Jamal himself chose him as his counsel, Jackson petitioned the Court to appoint him at public expense.
Prior to Jamal’s case, Jackson had defended no less than 20 murder cases, winning 14 of them. Despite trying many cases in which the possible sentence was death, prior to Jamal, Jackson had never had a client sentenced to death. (N.T. 7/27/95, 92-93,102-103)
Contrary to the false claims of Jamal’s lawyers, prior to trial successfully Jackson sought funds from the court to hire a ballistics expert, a photographer, a pathologist, and an investigator to aid him in his defense of Jamal. In fact, Jackson admittedly received more funding in the Jamal case than he had for any of his prior cases.
Among other avenues of preparation, Jackson reviewed each of 150 witness statements given by 75 witnesses, “at least 10 times each.” (N.T. 7/28/95, 57-58) He repeatedly reviewed the Medical Examiner’s Report and conferred with George Fassnacht, his ballistics expert, in at least four separate face-to-face meetings, each of which lasted several hours. (N.T. 7/28/95, 42). Jackson also repeatedly conferred with Jamal, who obviously knew what had occurred at the crime scene. Jackson directed the activities of his investigator, Robert Greer — who acknowledged in his 1995 testimony that he devoted intensive effort to investigating the case — directing him to interview numerous witnesses, including prosecution witness Cynthia White, and other witnesses including Desie Hightower and Robert Pigford.
If Anthony Jackson was impeded in Jamal’s trial, he was not impeded by inexperience or lack of preparation. Rather, he was impeded by Jamal’s own outrageous conduct in front of the jury, his ill-advised decision to defend himself, and his adamant refusal to cooperate with Jackson after being removed from self-representation.
Jamal and his attorneys now want to re-write history and blame his conviction on his supposedly incompetent lawyer. The truth, however, is that Jamal was convicted because he was proven guilty beyond any doubt by overwhelming evidence.
FACTS SUPPORTING OUR REBUTTAL
ANTHONY JACKSON’S “COURT APPOINTMENT”
Jamal’s adherents call Anthony Jackson “Jamal’s Court appointed attorney,” implying that Jackson was a legal hack who was forced upon the unwilling Jamal. The truth, however, is that Jamal personally selected Jackson, and that the state agreed to pay Jackson’s fee on Jamal’s behalf. Many indigent defendants accused of murder have a Public Defender or an unknown lawyer thrust upon him, but that was not true of Jamal.
Jackson was no legal neophyte. He came to Jamal highly recommended by Jamal’s friends at the Association of Black Journalists. According to Jackson, after being approached by Jamal’s friends and colleagues, he met with Jamal — who he had known before the shooting — and Jamal selected him as his counsel. Then, Jackson petitioned the Court to have the case assigned to him at public expense.
The Court agreed to this offer and Jackson proceeded to defend Jamal.
Question: “Now, how did you come to represent Mr. Jamal?”
Answer: “Yes, sir.”
Question: “But, you know, there’s ways to get appointed. Like the Defendant’s friends come to you and say Mr. Jamal is in trouble, we know you are a good lawyer, do you think you could go to the Court and see if you could represent him, see if you could somehow get an appointment to represent him. Tell us how you got to be appointed?”
Answer: “Okay. What you just said is kind of sort of how it happened this time. It is the first time in my whole career it ever happened this way.”
Question: “Are you sure? Was it the last?”
Answer: “Pardon me. It was the first and only time I ever talked to a client and got the Court to appoint me. All of the other Court appointments were given to me out of the blue. I had no prior knowledge. This is the only case where — and let me back up to answer your question fully. I was approached by some friends of Mr. Jamal’s after Mr. Jamal was arrested and shot, who suggested that he needed representation. Not that I could necessarily be his lawyer, but he needed someone to receive some advice and counsel from while he was in Jefferson Hospital. I recall that I went to Jefferson Hospital where he was. He was, you know, had tubes, he was wounded. Things of that sort. I had known Mr. Jamal before that time. I went, I told him that I was there as a result of some concerned friends of his that he at least have counsel available to him if he had any questions or concerns to make sure that at least in that situation that things didn’t get any worse. That may have been — it could have been a week or so, two weeks before I was actually —
Question: “Formally appointed?”
Answer: “Appointed, that’s right.”
Question: “And who were these friends and supporters who suggested that you go to visit him, and that was your introduction to him professionally for the representation ultimately that arrived?”
Answer: “Yes, Ahh… now, I think it was E. Steven Collins was the one who actually talked to me. And I think he told me — well, I know he told me that he conferred with others, and he called me or saw me, I don’t really recall. And as a result of that he came, Mr. Collins came and asked me. And I said well sure…”
N.T. 7/27/95, 118-119
ANTHONY JACKSON DETAILS HIS EXPERIENCE
Some uninformed writers have described Anthony Jackson as, “a reluctant incompetent.” Jamal’s lawyers claim that Jackson had never represented another person accused of murder. This assertion, as usual, is patently untrue. Jackson appeared as a well-prepared defense witness at the 1995 PCRA hearing.
He was examined at the 1995 PCRA hearing by prosecutor Joey Grant and testified as follows:
Grant: “How many murder cases had you tried, sir, prior to December , or I should say June the 2nd, of 1982?”
Jackson: “My best recollection is a minimum of 16, perhaps 20 cases, 20 murder cases before Mr. Jamal’s case.”
ADA Grant: “And how many of those defendants were convicted of first degree murder? Just round numbers if you can. Percentages if you can.”
Jackson: “A half Dozen.”
ADA Grant: “So out of 20 murder cases, six people were convicted of first degree murder. And ostensibly, those six faced the judgment of life or death by a jury, I presume?”
Jackson: “That is correct sir. Let me correct it. This is tough. I think there may have been two, possibly three that were convicted of first degree on waivers [of a jury trial], with the judge.”
ADA Grant: “Nevertheless, the two possible penalties for first degree convictions are only a life or death sentence; is that correct?”
Jackson: “That is correct, sir.”
ADA Grant: “Of those six people — that was prior to Mr. Jamal’s –“
Jackson: “That is correct.”
ADA Grant: “None of those people received a death sentence did they?”
Jackson: “No, sir.”
ADA Grant: “And that’s because you saved their lives through your oral skills, your intellectual prowess, and your advocacy as a lawyer; would that be fair to say?”
Jackson: “I appreciate the compliment, but I would assume that the facts of the cases helped a little bit too.”
N.T. 7-27-95, 92-93
Leonard Weinglass has repeatedly argued, both inside and outside the courtroom, that this testimony of Jackson — whom Weinglass called as his own witness in the 1995 hearing — is incorrect. In Jamal’s Federal District Court appeal, Jamal’s lawyers now claim that Anthony Jackson lied about his prior experience in 1995. Although they somehow failed to notice this supposed lie while Jackson was actually on the witness stand, Jamal’s lawyers now say that Jackson was inexperienced. Jackson’s testimony, however, specifically detailed his experience on a year-by-year, case-by-case basis:
Question: “Okay. And since you had 20 murder trials, more or less, before Mr. Jamal was tried, where did you have time to squeeze all those in between the D.A.’s Office and the Police Department and the prison system and Philcop?”
Answer: “I worked real hard. I did, I could try to tell you. 1975 was the first year because I think I left the D.A.’s Office in January, maybe February of 1975. During that time, again I was staff counsel for the Prison Master, it was not full-time. During that first year of being in private practice, I think I was appointed to three, maybe four criminal cases, criminal homicide cases. I was privately retained for one.”
Question: “Major cases, sir? And by that I mean every case is major if there’s a murder involved?”
N.T. 7/27/95, 102-103
Question: “I would like you to tell me about the other 17 cases, minus the three or four that you have mentioned.”
Answer: “Okay, sure. All right, 1975 I was appointed, I think I told you about that. Okay, ’76, I was appointed to at least three cases, possibly four. I was privately retained in two cases. 1977, appointed to four or five cases, privately retained in two or three cases. If you add up ’75, ’76, ’77, it is a minimum of 11 cases I was court-appointed, and a maximum of 13. I was privately retained through those same years a minimum of 5 cases, a maximum of 7 cases. That’s why you got 11 and 5, 16; 13 and 7 is 20.”
Question: “And you know what Mr. Jackson —
Answer: “Yes, sir.”
Question: “Comparing notes with your colleagues back in the late ’70’s —
Question: –you probably had more homicide experience than 80 percent of the lawyers practicing criminal law here in Philadelphia?”
Answer: “Didn’t know that.”
Question: “Wouldn’t you say that?”
Answer: “I had a lot.”
N.T. 7/27/95, 116-117
Jackson had been involved in the legal system long before he became an attorney. He detailed his experience in his 1995 testimony. In that testimony he stated:
Question: “And when were you first admitted to the practice of law in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania?”
Answer: “July 27, 1974.”
Question: “And prior to your admission were you employed by any government agency of the City of Philadelphia?”
Answer: “Yes, Philadelphia Police Department.”
Question: “And how long did you work for the Philadelphia Police Department?”
Answer: “Approximately five-and-a half years.”
Question: “And in what capacity were you working for the Police Department?”
Answer: “Evidence Technician. I began as an assistant or something of that, there was one title and then eventually I got another title. I forgot what the first title was, but eventually it was an Evidence Technician.”
Question: “And after your admission in 1974 and prior to December 9, 1981, were you ever employed by the District Attorney’s Office?”
Answer: “Yes, I was.”
Question: “And in what capacity?”
Answer: “As an Assistant District Attorney.”
Question: “And for how long were you so employed?”
Answer: “About six months.”
Question: “And prior to December 9, 1981, did you have a professional relationship with an attorney in Philadelphia named Marilyn Gelb?”
Answer: “Yes, sir, I did.”
Question: “And could you describe briefly for the Court that relationship you had with her?”
Answer: “Prior to going to law school, I was also as investigator for the Public Defender’s Office for about five years, and I was also a private investigator for a number of years. During that period of time I met Marilyn Gelb as an investigator. And I had occasion to investigate a number of cases for her, as well as a number of other attorneys. In fact, during this relationship, she was one of the people who encouraged me to go to law school as well. I continued to investigate cases for her, even while I was in school.”
Question: “And did you continue to maintain a relationship of a professional nature with Marilyn Gelb through the 1980’s?”
Answer: “Yes, I did. I mean I would see Marilyn, we would consult sometimes on different cases and things of that sort.”
Question: “Now, could you also indicate what your professional experience was as an attorney after 1974 and up to December 9, 1981? You have indicated that you worked for the District Attorney’s.”
Answer: ” After I left the District Attorney’s Office, I think it was in January of ’75, I was associate counsel for the Philadelphia Prison Master. At that time the Philadelphia Prison System had been declared un-Constitutional. And a Master was appointed and I was associate counsel. I worked there for approximately a year and a half or two years, I’m not sure really clear. And during that period of time I also maintained a private practice as well.
After that I began at Philcop I believe in 1978 as the Director of the Police Project. And I held that position for approximately three years and in fact I was about to leave in, I think in January of 82, yeah, so I think in fact I was working at Philcop for about three weeks or so after the appointment to Mr. Jamal’s case.”
N. T. 7/27/95, 31-34
Jackson expounded on his technical experience:
Question: “And what did you do, sir?”
Answer: “I worked in the identification unit in the evidence lab. I took fingerprints, compared fingerprints, did latent prints, did searches, employment searches, photographs of evidence, photographs of defendants dead bodies, things of that sort.”
Question: “Crime scene photos?”
Answer: Crime scene photos.”
Answer: I did not do sketches.”
Question: “Collecting evidence at the crime scene?”
Answer: “Yes, collecting evidence.”
Question: “You did all those things that are very core and essence of criminal prosecution for five-and-a half years, did you not? The only thing left is talking to witnesses?”
Answer: “Yes, sir.”
Question: “So you would agree with me that in terms of the scientific and forensic sciences that are involved, you were pretty skilled and experienced in that field before you even became a lawyer?”
Answer: “I had some skills and some talents, yes, sir.”
Question: “Well, did you get promoted through the ranks in that field?”
Answer: “One promotion.”
Question: “You got pay raises?”
Answer: “Yes, sir.”
Question: “Were you a slug?”
Answer: “No, sir.”
Question: “All right. You were competent at what you did?”
Answer: “I think so.”
N.T. 7/25/95, 94-97
DID JACKSON “FAIL TO PREPARE ADEQUATELY”
FOR THE TRIAL?
To suggest that Anthony Jackson failed to prepare for the 1982 trial is laughable. These are the steps taken by Anthony Jackson to prepare for the trial:
ß Jackson filed a petition for funding to the court that was approved on January 20, 1982. (N.T. 7/27/95, 180) He would later make several additional requests for funding, most of which were granted.
ß After seeking the assistance of numerous technical experts from all over the state of Pennsylvania and Delaware, Jackson hired a ballistics expert, an investigator, a photographer, a pathologist, and a photographer. He also secured the services of a private court stenographer for the trial. (N.T. 7/28/95, 29-30)
ß Beginning in January 1982, Jackson directed the activities of Robert Greer, his investigator.
ß Jackson had 4 face-to-face meetings, each of which lasted several hours, with George Fassnacht, his ballistics expert, to review the prosecution’s ballistics findings and to formulate an attack on those findings. (N.T. 7/28/95, 42); which he did relentlessly during the trial.
ß Jackson reviewed each of 150 witness statements “at least” 10 times. (N.T. 7/28/95, 57)
ß Jackson reviewed and questioned the findings contained in the Medical Examiner’s Report.
ß He filed innumerable motions and documents that were required to move the case forward.
ß He regularly met with Jamal and Jamal’s family.
Jamal’s supporters nevertheless continue to say that Jackson went to trial unprepared. Anthony Jackson admittedly terminated his preparation before the trial began, but he did so only because Jamal took control of his witness statements and other important documents in order to represent himself.
“FAIL TO SEEK ADEQUATE FUNDING FOR EXPERTS?”
To suggest that Anthony Jackson did not attempt to gain “adequate funding” to support his efforts is an outright lie. While testifying in 1995, Jackson admitted that he repeatedly sought and received funding in excess of the $150 initial standard fee for each expert he requested. (For more information on the Funding allocated to Jamal see Myth #5) While Jackson acknowledged that he would have preferred “a blank check” to support his defense of Jamal, he confirmed that Jamal received funding and legal support far in excess of what he had received from the Court in his previous cases.
NOTE: When reviewing the funding provided to Jackson, it must be understood that the amounts shown are in 1982 dollars. An appropriate adjustment to today’s dollars would be to double or triple these amounts.
Regarding the photographer Jackson said:
Question: “Now, by the way of a petition for monies to pay for a photographer, did you not?”
Answer: “I did, sir.”
Question: “And that was granted, was it not?”
Answer: “Yes, sir.”
Question: “And how much did Mr. Peraneau receive?”
Answer: “I think 150, 200, I really don’t recall.”
Question: “And he was in fact a photographer?”
Answer: “Yes, sir.”
Question: “And he took photographs for you?”
Answer: “Yes, sir.”
N.T. 7/28/95, 7-8
Within a few weeks of taking on the case, Jackson hired Robert Greer as an investigator. In 1990, Jamal’s new attorneys again retained Robert Greer to assist them in their efforts to appeal Jamal’s conviction. At the 1995 PCRA hearing Greer stated that, because of personal involvement, he worked on the case three hours for every hour he billed; bringing the total time he spent assisting Mr. Jackson to over 70 hours.
Question: “And based upon your testimony yesterday, Mr. Greer received practically $500; correct?”
Answer: “Ahh, yes sir.”
N.T. 7/28/95, 12
In fact, it was later agreed that Greer received $562 from the Court, as well as additional funds from Jamal’s supporters.
Jackson acknowledged that the court allocated him sufficient funds to hire a ballistics expert, George Fassnacht, who, by Jackson’s own admission, was an exceptional and “world renowned” ballistics technician. Like Robert Greer, Jamal’s current attorneys retained the services of George Fassnacht prior to and during the 1995 PCRA appeals hearing.
Question: “And you said yesterday also that Mr. Fassnacht, who was your alleged expert ballistician, received more than twice what the initial and usual fee was for his services, did he not?”
Answer: “I believe he did.”
N.T. 7/28/95, 12
Question: “And you then thereafter testified that he [Fassnacht] looked at no Firearms Identification Unit Reports, that is to say, he didn’t look at the findings of paper of the ballisticians who testified at trial; correct?”
Answer: “He looked at whatever I was given.”
Question: “Pardon me?”
Answer: “Whatever I was given.
Question: “Oh. So he did look at reports?”
Answer: “Yeah, I apologize if I misstated. Yeah, I mean he looked at whatever I was given in discovery.”
N.T. 7/28/95, 13-14
Question: “Well, when he [Fassnacht] gave you his extraordinary [cost] projection, did you file a petition with the Court of Common Pleas and say I need extraordinary bucks?”
Answer: “Oh, yes, sir. Mr. Fassnacht was — I do particularly remember being in front of Judge Ribbner. Mr. Fassnacht is well known here in Philadelphia and of course he has performed these tests and things of this sort all over the world. During the time I know that I appealed before Judge Ribbner I had asked for additional funds. And I know there was a prolonged discussion. And I was told when I got the extra money, that’s all I was going to get. And again, I think originally $150 and whatever the extra amount was, that was it.
N.T. 7/28/95, 19
Answer: “Well, I think it was cheap at that price. If you know ballistics. The information he [Fassnacht] gave me was invaluable during the cross-examination of the witness [Anthony Paul, the prosecution’s ballistics expert], it was well worth it.
Question: “It was well worth it?”
Question: “In fact, he [Fassnacht] did advise you and consult with you and give you his expertise?”
Answer: “I said that, yes.”
Question: “And he directed you to areas that he thought were ripe for exploitation or attack by you?”
Answer: “Yes, sir. It all just made it all the more clear it would have been so much better if I had him conduct an independent test and perform some other examinations. Couldn’t do it. Couldn’t do it.”
Question: “Certainly in the best of all worlds it is always nice to have more?”
Answer: “Yes, I guess that’s what it is.”
Question: “But when you coupled his expertise and his advice to you — and he is a world renowned expert, is he not?”
Answer: “Yes, sir.”
Question: “When you coupled that with your expertise as an evidence technician and knowing what of necessity is done and should be done, that in fact, gave you more of an edge than the average lawyer would have because of your expertise coupled with his expertise, did it not?”
Answer: “Probably did.”
Question: “And you kept Larry Paul [the prosecution’s ballistics expert] on the witness stand and cross-examined him on behalf of Mr. Jamal to a fare-the-well, didn’t you?”
Answer: “I did the best I could, sir.”
N.T. 7/28/95, 24-25
In reference to the additional “independent tests” of the physical evidence (jackets, bullets, guns and so on) that Anthony Jackson alleged would have made it “better” for him in 1982, it should be noted that Jamal and his current lawyers had the opportunity and the funding to run these exact tests on the physical evidence prior to the 1995 PCRA hearing. In fact, the prosecutor invited them to do so. The offer was refused.
Mr. Jackson obtained $400 for a photographer:
THE WITNESS [trial counsel]: Apparently he received $400.
BY MR. GRANT:
Q. The photographer?
Q. And that’s from the Court of Common Pleas by way of your petition?
A. That’s correct.
Q. That’s a lot of pictures, isn’t it?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. In 1981 pictures?
A. Well, Mr. Peraneau is a good photographer.
N.T. 7/28/95, 8-9.
In reference to the total amount of funding Anthony Jackson solicited and received from the court in 1982, the following was said:
Question: “Okay. So now we are up to around what? Let me see. 450, 350, that’s 800, photographer, Fassnacht. We got 450 for an investigator. That’s around 1,200. Now we have 150 for the pathologist, so we are up around 1,400. Did you retain the services of — that you paid for — of any other experts in your pursuit of a defense for Mr. Jamal?”
Answer: “I don’t think so. I Don’t —“
Question: “When I say did you pay for: Did the Court of Common Please, did the Citizens of Philadelphia pay for any other experts?”
Answer: “No. According to this petition [for funds], the Citizens of Philadelphia paid $562 for an investigator, $400 for a photographer, and $350 for a ballistician, and that was it.”
Question: “So, the investigator got nearly $600 now?”
Answer: “Yep, that’s what it looks like.”
N.T. 7/28/95, 29-30
Question: “Your final bill submitted on C-4 for experts – and you claim that they were fair and reasonable amounts — was 1,312 dollars and 50 cents; would that be correct?”
Answer: “Okay, yes, I see it down there. I guess that’s it, yeah.”
N.T. 7/28/95, 100
Note: At the 1995 PCRA hearing, Joe Davidson, from the Association of Black Journalists, stated that his organization submitted between 200 and 400 hundred additional dollars for Jamal’s defense. He also acknowledged that there was an additional undisclosed amount of money made available to Jamal by The Concerned Friends and Family of Mumia Abu-Jamal and other support groups.
Clearly, Anthony Jackson did everything he could within the system to accumulate funding to mount his defense. One might argue that the total amount approved by the Court — which was in excess of $1,300 for experts and $13,000 for Jackson’s services — was not adequate. However, given that Jackson had admittedly received far more funding and support to defend Jamal that he had for any other “court appointed” case, it seems that the $1,300 amount was, at a minimum, “fair.” One thing is perfectly clear; the allegation that Anthony Jackson was “ineffective” because he “failed to seek adequate funding for witnesses” is a lie.
MUMIA ABU-JAMAL’S ROLE IN HIS OWN DEFENSE
Jamal’s supporters choose to deny the fact that Jamal’s own efforts went far to sabotage whatever Jackson might have been able to achieve on his behalf. On May 13, 1982, Jamal suddenly decided to supplant Jackson and conduct the defense case himself. Thus, in the critical pretrial period lasting from May 13th until June 18, 1982, Jackson was forced to relinquish control of the witness statements and other pertinent documents to Jamal.
All important pretrial proceedings were handled by Jamal, not Jackson. Jamal took over the investigation. He questioned witnesses at the Motion to Suppress. Then, at the brink of the start of the trial, Jamal’s unrelenting misconduct forced the Judge to remove him. As the only lawyer familiar with the case, Jackson was forced to resume representing Jamal, even though Jamal made clear that he did not want him, or “any other member of the ABA.”
As the trial progressed, so did Jamal’s folly, as Jamal flatly refused to cooperate with Jackson in any way. Jackson often complained to Judge Sabo that he was struggling in the courtroom because Jamal had failed to return many of the statements and documents he had taken from Jackson. He told the judge that he often had to work from “memory” or from his notes, because he was without these documents:
Jackson: “Let me explain what happened. When I received discovery from the District Attorney’s office, I made copies — remember, I mean it was at least 150 statements. I made copies of most, some of those statements, and gave them to Mr. Jamal. As we proceeded in preparation for the trial or during the trial, I’m not certain when, I gave him some statements that I had not made copies of. Those would be the statements that I was talking about, that Mr. Jamal had. I had copies of some statements that I had also provided him copies with. There was other statements that I had no copies of. And I believe there may have been statements that I had, that he didn’t have.
N.T. 7/27/95, 106
At one point Jackson is asked by Judge Sabo why he doesn’t know who his next witness will be. Jackson replies:
Jackson: “One of the difficulties that I have in determining what witnesses to call is that I have to reflect and think and search my notes as to the statements of witnesses since I no longer have a copy of the statements. Mr. Jamal has copies of the statements. I think I indicated I showed you all of the names.”
N.T. 6/26/82, 139-140
Jamal often ordered Jackson to take certain actions, and Jackson, as an attorney loyal to his oath, executed the wishes of his client. Jamal repeatedly told Jackson to sit with his arms folded and refuse to participate in the trial at all. At one point in the trial, Jamal demanded that Jackson make a ridiculous request for charges against him to be dropped, because the courts supposedly had not defined the term “murder” to Jamal’s “satisfaction.”
WHY DID ANTHONY JACKSON ASK
TO BE REMOVED FROM THE CASE?
Anthony Jackson repeatedly asked to be released from the case. This request, however, was not brought on because he felt technically unable to defend Jamal. On the contrary, Jackson stated that he felt he was well equipped to do that. Jackson asked to be removed because Jamal insisted on it.
Jackson: “Your Honor, as you can well imagine, in any situation where you’re representing someone, whether it’s in this case or any other case, one of the keys to that defense is the co-operation of the client. But of course I don’t have a client in this situation, because Mr. Jamal is representing himself. And I think to force me to remain in this situation where Mr. Jamal has said in no uncertain terms that he doesn’t want me, puts me in a position of trying to force advice on someone who doesn’t want that advice.”
Court: “No. You don’t have to force any advice on him. You’re there to give him advice if he seeks it. If he doesn’t seek it, he does so at his own peril.”
Defendant: “Yeah, right, but I don’t want his advice.”
Jackson: ” He has no faith in anything I say.”
Defendant: “I want the advice of someone that I have respect in and that’s John Africa!”
N.T. 6/17/82, 1.64-65
In addition to his desire not to have Jackson represent him, on several occasions Jamal loudly stated, in the presence of the jury, that he “refused to be represented by any legal trained lawyer [because they were] all being manipulated by the court.”
Defendant: “I do not want to be backed up or represented by Attorney Jackson or any other lawyer of the ABA anywhere in America. I want John Africa as my counsel.”
N.T. 6/17/82, 1.59
It is undeniable that Jamal and his friends selected Anthony Jackson as Jamal’s attorney. It was Jamal who decided to defend himself, it was Jamal who began raving about having John Africa “represent him” and it was Jamal who blocked the efforts of Anthony Jackson — who was by all accounts, a seasoned and dedicated attorney — to defend him. Jamal, not Jamal’s lawyer, was responsible for these events. Given the resources at his disposal and Jamal’s non-cooperation, Jackson did the best he could.
Question: “So did you give Mr. Jamal second-rate service because you were moving your offices from one part of town to another?”
Answer: “I didn’t give him second-rate service.”
Question: “In your mind you were giving him first rate service and you were highly recommended to him?”
Answer: “I gave him the best that I could with the resources that were made available to me.”
N.T. 7/27/95, 134
Anthony Jackson had a client whose conduct, as stated by Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Marc Kaufman in 1982, “was as bizarre as it was suicidal”. Given the difficult circumstances that Anthony Jackson had to work with, he did an admirable job of maintaining his composure and he put together a vigorous defense for Jamal.
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