Against the Current, No. 81, July/August 1999
The State's Capital Crimes
— The Editors
Largest Outpouring Ever for Mumia
— Steve Bloom
Final Victory for Geronimo
— Karin Baker
Race and Politics: Profiling and DWB
— Malik Miah
Silvia Baraldini Wins Return Home
— Maria Ornella Marotti
The Sixteenth Puerto Rican Political Prisoner: The Case of José Solís
— Carmelo Ruiz
Stop the Bombing of Puerto Rico!
— Puerto Rico Libre
Hurricane Relief and Debt Cancellation for Nicaragua: Visiting the Casa Materna
— Phyllis Ponvert
Stop Sweatshops-Linking Workers' Struggles
— Marion Traub-Werner
Notes on the Millenium
— Jane Slaughter interviews Daniel Singer
Trying to Arrest Madeleine Albright
— Stanley Heller
The Pittsburgh Reds, 1911-1914: Revolutionary Socialists in Allegheny County
— Mark Hudson
Labor Politics in Action, 1901-1911: The Union Labor Party of San Francisco
— Hayden Perry
Alexandra Kollontai and Red Love
— Teresa L. Ebert
Radical Rhythms: Ellington and his Centenary
— Kim Hunter
Death of a Sacred Place
— Michael Betzold
Random Shots: Balkan Wars, Now and Then
— R.F. Kampfer
The Rebel Girl: For A Celebration Excluding No One
— Catherine Sameh
- A Dialogue on NATO's War
Introduction to the Dialogue
— The Editors
Along NATO's Road to War/Ruin
— Branka Magas
Against the Holy Alliance
— Daniel Singer
The NATO War and Its Aims
— Mel Rothenberg
A Response on NATO and Kosovo
— Catherine Samary
Whose Stupid War Was This?
— Peter Gowan
- In Memoriam
Eric R. Wolf, Scholar-Activist
— Anthony Marcus
SINCE JUNE OF 1997 Geronimo Pratt has been free from prison, but not free from its threat. No longer!
Even Los Angeles District Attorney Gil Garcetti concedes that the former Black Panther, whose 1972 murder conviction was overturned, is now beyond his reach. This past February an appeals court, in a 3-0 ruling, upheld the decision of the judge who threw out Pratt’s conviction in June 1997.
Although a retrial would be allowed under the ruling, “most of the witnesses to the case are deceased,” said Garcetti. “It would be virtually impossible to retry this case. . . . [T]here would be no reasonable likelihood of conviction.”
As with the judge in the June 1997 ruling, the judges on the appeals court based their decision predominantly on the fact that the jury was not told that the main prosecution witness—a former Panther named Julius Butler—was an informant for the Los Angeles Police Department and the District Attorney’s Office.
Butler testified that Pratt had confessed to him. The judges questioned whether the jury would have convicted Pratt if they had known Butler was an informant and a felon and that he had received money from a police officer.
Released after twenty-seven years of imprisonment, Pratt had been out on bail for the past year and a half. In his 1972 trial Pratt was convicted of shooting Caroline and Kenneth Olsen and robbing the couple of $18. Caroline Olsen died.
In fact, at the time of the 1968 holdup, which took place in Santa Monica, Pratt was at a Black Panthers meeting. A number of Panthers who were not willing to provide Pratt with an alibi at the time of his trial, due to a split within the party, have since vouched for Pratt’s presence in Oakland when the murder occurred.
Wiretaps that could have proven Pratt was in Oakland were mysteriously lost by the FBI.
Pratt has filed a false imprisonment suit in federal court, accusing the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office, the LAPD, and the FBI of malicious prosecution and evidence tampering.
In December the city of Los Angeles attempted to have the suit thrown out, but this motion was overturned by a U.S. district judge.
Obviously, nothing can ever make up for Pratt’s years of imprisonment, eight in solitary confinement. Nothing can make up for the time away from his family and the accomplishments Pratt would surely have achieved out in his community.
Is it too much to hope that those responsible for denying Geronimo Pratt the life he deserved shall be held accountable for what they’ve done?
ATC 81, July-August 1999