Under pressure, Yale RebLaw conference rescinds keynote offer to Philly DA; instead invites political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal

The following edited press statement was released on Feb. 1.

Cambridge, Mass. – Organizers of the Rebellious Lawyering (RebLaw) conference at Yale Law School rescinded a speaking invitation to Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner. The celebrated “progressive” DA was scheduled to be one of the keynote speakers at the 25-year-old conference on the weekend of Feb. 15-16. But earlier this week a coalition of Harvard law students and lawyers wrote to conference organizers, saying that Philadelphia prosecutors could not be counted in the tradition of rebellious lawyers. Their impassioned letter condemned DA Krasner’s decision to appeal a recent court order that granted Mumia Abu-Jamal the right to re-appeal his conviction. The letter also challenged the notion that a prosecutor could hold that title.

In their letter to RebLaw, they said, “The so-called progressive Larry Krasner is hell-bent on keeping [Mumia’s case] out of the appellate process. Larry Krasner was voted into office by the Black, working-class people of Philadelphia, but in the hour of truth he has upheld the rulings of racist judges [in this case] and is doing the bidding of one of the country’s most corrupt and homicidal police forces.” (tinyurl.com/y7vdof43)

The signers added, “Prosecutors, those managers of the oppressive state, regardless of the rhetoric they may espouse during a campaign, should not be invited to speak at a conference for Rebellious Lawyering.”

Signator Harvard Law student Anneke Dunbar-Gronke noted, “Krasner will go down in history as the well-meaning, ‘progressive’ DA who opposed justice in the case of the Nelson Mandela of our time.”

Another Harvard Law student, Felipe Hernández, concluded, “The lesson here is that in the mind of a progressive DA, justice is doled out selectively and only when there is no real political risk involved. Thankfully the conference participants will hear from Mumia, an actual jailhouse lawyer — and pinnacle of rebellious lawyering.”

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