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Philly DA’s Office: Mumia Abu-Jamal case not affected by recently discovered files

The convicted cop killer had been arguing that former DA Ronald Castille had "personal involvement" in the case, but prosecutors say newly discovered file boxes don't contain documents supporting that argument.

Mumia Abu-Jamal on death row in the 1990s. He received a bachelor's degree in 1996 from Goddard while in prison.
Mumia Abu-Jamal on death row in the 1990s. He received a bachelor's degree in 1996 from Goddard while in prison.Read moreAPRIL SAUL / File Photograph

A set of recently discovered file boxes relating to convicted cop killer Mumia Abu-Jamal’s case do not include any documents showing “personal involvement” by former District Attorney Ronald D. Castille, according to the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office.

Abu-Jamal last month was granted a new appeal because Castille, who later served as chief justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, did not recuse himself when ruling on a previous appeal.

Abu-Jamal’s lawyers had also argued that his right to a new appeal was bolstered because Castille had “personal involvement” in his prosecution. Common Pleas Court Judge Leon Tucker denied that argument for lack of evidence; the District Attorney’s Office said it had searched through dozens of file boxes last year looking for documents or memos that might demonstrate a Castille involvement but had found none.

Just a day after Tucker’s ruling, according to the District Attorney’s Office, top prosecutor Larry Krasner and staff members were searching for office furniture in a storage closet when they came upon old boxes relating to Abu-Jamal’s case.

At the time, prosecutors did not describe what was in the boxes. But in a document filed Friday, prosecutors said that the materials were largely old police documents or legal filings, and that only three bore Castille’s name. Two simply had his name on the letterhead because he was district attorney at the time, the filing says, and the third, a 1989 letter from the high court to the governor, included Castille’s name at the bottom as one of several co-recipients.

The District Attorney’s Office has not decided whether it will appeal Tucker’s ruling, which would let Abu-Jamal re-argue his appeal of his conviction. Abu-Jamal’s attorneys could not be reached for comment Tuesday.