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"Paying The Costs: SF8"
1) 1:31 Paying The Costs: SF8 MP3
2) 2:29 Paying The Costs: SF8 MP3
Paying the Costs (SF-8)
[col. writ. 2/5/10] (c) '10 Mumia Abu-Jamal
As the once front page story of the San Francisco 8 case winds down, bills are becoming due.
The San Francisco 8 refers to 8 former members of the Black Panther Party, charged with involvement in a 1971 homicide.
There is little doubt now that the case was initiated more for political reasons than legal ones. The San Francisco District Attorney's office thought so little of the case that it declined to prosecute. California's attorney general opted to try it instead.
Almost from day one, the case began unraveling. A few guys took plea bargains to relatively minor charges, resulting in probation. Within months, charges against 5 of the men were dismissed. Only one still has charges pending.
The men - Herman Bell, Ray Boudreaux, Henry Jones, Jalil Muntaqim, Richard O' Neal, Harold Taylor, and Francisco Torres - now middle aged and older, stood firm with each other, and refused to flip on each other. Some of them were tortured back in 1973, when charges were originally dismissed. (One man, John Bowman, died before trial)
Why this case? Initially, it is the extraordinary resources and papers made available to local jurisdictions by the federal government in the aftermath of 9/11; secondly, California's Attorney General (Edmund 'Jerry" Brown) was anxious to run for governor, and thought this case would prove the right vehicle.
But what was sensational in 1971 loses some of it's punch in 2007.
The newest headlines from the case isn't what the cash strapped stated wants to hear.
San Francisco's Public Defenders office has filed for $2 million in reimbursements owed by the City for its defenses of the men.
They are seeking that sum because the State, not San Francisco County, took up the prosecution of the 36 year old case.
--(c) '10 maj
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