December 10th marked the 61st anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Declaration) by the United Nations. It was celebrated locally and world wide as Human Rights Day.
Last night I received an email from a fellow anti-death penalty activist who shared good news from California. The 2010 California Democratic Party Convention included the following in its platform: "The California Democratic Party believes in the human rights of all people, and has taken a position opposing the death penalty in this year's platform."
Although being the Executive Director of the Rosenberg Fund for Children is a full-time job, I engage in extra-curricular activities as well. In one such activity I am Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors of Murder Victims’ Families for Human Rights (MVFHR). MVHFR is an anti-capital punishment organization composed of people who have had immediate family members murdered, executed or disappeared, and who view capital punishment not as a criminal justice issue, but as a human rights abuse.
On December 9th, Mumia Abu-Jamal, arguably the world’s most famous death row prisoner, will have been incarcerated for 30 years. As I’ve written here before, I’ve read the entire transcript of Mumia’s trial, and am convinced that it was unfair and that Mumia should be freed. I feel well qualified to make this determination because while serving two one-year judicial clerkships for the Justices of the Massachusetts Appeals Court it was my job to read trial transcripts and judge the fairness of those trials.