This commentary was produced by Prison Radio on the 40th anniversary of Abu-Jamal’s imprisonment.
Question: What do you call a judge who takes money from one side of a case? Answer: In Philadelphia you call him “your honor.” Here I speak of the late, notorious Judge Albert Sabo, who not only returned more death sentences than any other judge in Pennsylvania but was also a life member of the Fraternal Order of Police, or the FOP.
Sabo, my trial and posttrial judge, was so openly biased that a local newspaper carried a brilliant, bright yellow banner headline saying: “Sabo must go.” But Sabo was just one of many.
The point is, why isn’t it against simple due process for a judge to take donations to do anybody’s bidding — because judges write the rules, period. In trials, they choose lawyers, jurors, decide which witness to appear and which won’t. The courtroom is their fiefdom.
If anyone denies this, just look at the Kyle Rittenhouse case. The accused was treated as if he was the judge’s grandson. When was the last time you saw a judge outlaw the word “victim?” The court dropped charges as if he was dropping dimes on a street corner dice game. This ain’t about a judge or a case, it’s about a system. Let’s change the damn system!