Category Archives: Legal Updates

December 2019 Medical and Legal Update

Dear Friends and Comrades –

Dr. Shakur received a diagnosis of life-threatening bone marrow cancer in October, 2019. Until now, he has requested that this information be kept private. For over a year he had experienced pain in his bones, but he was not even x-rayed until April 2019. Although the prison doctor probably suspected cancer and called for a CT scan, the scan was delayed for four months. After a year of delay, we know now that Mutulu is suffering from extensive painful bone lesions, caused by a rapidly growing bone marrow cancer. He is 69 years old, and aging in prison after 33 years of incarceration. In 2014, he suffered from a stroke, which required several months for recovery. He has high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and vision problems from glaucoma. We fear for his survival and his life.

Dr. Shakur’s legal team has filed a compassionate release petition, because now Dr. Shakur’s very survival depends on his release. He meets the conditions for compassionate release under federal law. He is a recognized advocate for human and civil rights who poses no danger of committing any crimes against anyone. As evidenced by widespread support for his parole, he will be welcomed back into a community that will also provide for his financial and medical support. However, on December 5th he was denied compassionate release by the Central office of the BOP. He is currently receiving chemotherapy, but the BOP has not told him or his lawyer the exact type of treatment he is getting.  He has been able to talk with his newest lawyer Mark Kleiman and may receive a family visit from his son. Most importantly, Mutulu says that he is managing the treatment and his spirit is strong.

Our next steps are two-fold: Mutulu will petition his original judge, Judge Haight in the Southern District of New York, to modify his sentence so he can be released immediately based on his current medical condition.  Dr. Shakur also has a habeas petition in front of Judge Wilson in federal court in Los Angeles, detailing the parole commission’s abuse of discretion through their politically-driven denials of parole. We will move to expedite that petition based on the newest information about his life-threatening medical condition.

What you can do to help:

Please send letters of support and love to Mutulu directly.

We are asking his comrades and supporters to give money for medical, legal defense, commissary, and more. The quickest way to send financial support is through the Family and Friends of Mutulu Shakur paypal (go to mutulushakur.com and click on the red and white DONATE button in the right sidebar if this direct link doesn’t work). For your contribution to be tax deductible, FFMS has a partnership with Community Aid and Development (CAD) (cadnational.org) that allows for tax deductible donations via the Paypal button on their website. For a check or money order to be tax-deductible, make it payable to CAD, P.O. Box 361270, Decatur, GA 30036-1270 with “FFMS” in the memo line.

 

At Dr. Shakur’s request, we are not creating a public campaign for his release at this time.  We will update this information as we move into federal court.

 

— Family and Friends of Dr. Mutulu Shakur

January 2019 Update from Dr. Shakur

January, 2019

Firstly, I wish you all the very best of holidays in which you celebrate. I have been remiss by not sending out a strong Kwanzaa recognition and new years greeting. I want to acknowledge receipt of your letters, cards, and concerns. I’m humbled by your continued efforts that acknowledge my circumstances year after year. You have been steadfast since our introduction providing me with encouragement, inspiration and determination for which I’m grateful. Let me assure you that I still have gas in the tank to see this through to the end, hoping to demonstrate the morals and principles that your support demands.

I have had my head down preparing for and attending a parole hearing, which was denied again for 6th time. My attorneys have filed a Complaint in Federal Court in Los Angeles against the Federal Parole Commission for violating my rights and refusing to release me at my maximum out date. Arguments will be held in Federal Court in Los Angeles February 11, 2019.

The stages available that remain post-litigation are, Clemency, release on Parole, and termination of the sentence. I and others I am incarcerated with have begun to develop research on the treatment of “old law prisoners” by the Parole Commission using new law guidelines. We will further our research to determine if this can be litigated.

I understand that some Federal prisoners will be impacted by the “First Step Act” due to the nature of the bill. However, by drawing the line between violent and non-violent prisoners based on their convictions and the long list of exclusions, none of us whose charges are related to the “Old Law” status from the Civil Rights era will be affected. There are hundreds of prisoners still incarcerated in Federal Prison since 1987– Thirty-Two years and counting. Our search for a judicial level playing field still goes on against their tendency to abuse.

Over the past year, I have watched how celebrities have become involved in the just release of individual prisoners. It helps stimulate changes in the culture to become more socially responsible, and there has been a recognition of the excesses of Mass Incarceration. We cannot deny that Meek Mill’s freedom from gross injustice, advocated by a cross-section of celebrities, activists and fans has made the collective consciousness a trending topic.

It would be unprincipled to not acknowledge Kim Kardashian’s persistent, specific advocacy for justice for Ms. Alice Marie Johnson, Ms. Cyntoia Brown, and Matthew Charles, who were prisoners not known by mainstream media. In fact, they were of the have-nots, and there was no other mainstream attention on their cases. The freedom of these individuals is a great thing. But it was not these celebrities that helped to free the political prisoners. We are happy that the 40-year journey to freedom has arrived for Mike Africa, Debbie Africa as well as Herman Bell, and Seth Hayes, after four long decades plus.

I do not underestimate the long consistent work by supporters and advocates who have carried the burden of exposing and advocating for this class of prisoners. I give them the utmost respect and pay homage, for without them the light would have been long burned out on our conditions. For that continued support, I thank all of you.

The grassroots activists should know that I am indebted to and understand what these years of sacrifices have meant to your own personal lives. After 40 years, the impact is unimaginable. I am honored that you have held me and all of us in your hearts; Thank you.

It’s is certain that my family continues to suffer and sometimes has questioned the lack of my presence in their lives, or rather the extent of it. I am terribly aware of my shifting status. I am holding on for engagement upon release, I love them all dearly, and am emboldened by the love they give me.

So here we are, another year later, celebrating the victories of 2018 for prisoners, with a long road still to go stimulated by willingness and demands to continue to learn. THANKFUL, and ENCOURAGE are the only words that fit for this new year’s resolution. I’m smiling at this stage in my life recognizing my many faults and errors. I hope that my growth has been recognized; it’s so good to know that you can still learn at this age!

Even when the road is hard
keep your head up -Tupac Shakur

_______________________
Dr. Mutulu Shakur

Federal Lawsuit Against the Parole Commission and Bureau of Prisons

MUTULU FILES FEDERAL COURT CASE CHALLENGING THE GOVERNMENT’S INTERPRETATION AND APPLICATION OF U.S. LAW BY THE U.S. PAROLE COMMISSION

Shakur v. David Shinn et al.

 

On August 21, 2018, in response to his repeated denial of parole, Mutulu Shakur, represented by the Los Angeles-based Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law, the National Conference of Black Lawyers, the National Bar Association, and the Post-Conviction Justice Program, filed a legal challenge in Federal District Court alleging that the U.S. Parole Commission violated its regulations in adjudicating his case and that Parole Commission’s regulations as written violate the federal law as enacted by Congress dealing with release on parole. The complaint (available through this link) alleges:

  1. The Parole Commission routinely in all “old prisoner” cases misinterprets the parole law in the Parole Commission and Reorganization Act (18 U.S.C. § 4206(D) as interpreted in 28 C.F.R. § 2.53 making what Congress called a more “liberal” route to release into a far more difficult and often impossible route to release.
  2. The Parole Commission routinely denies release because it finds that the prisoner has “frequently” or “seriously” violated prison rules during thirty or more years of incarceration, but has failed to issue standards defining how these terms will be applied consistently in all cases.
  3. The Parole Commission concluded, without reference to any supporting evidence and in the face of overwhelming contrary evidence, that even though Mutulu Shakur has accepted responsibility for the crimes of which he was convicted, his acceptance is somehow not sincere. No evidence supports this conclusion. The Deputy Warden provided the Commission with a letter saying in essence that Mutulu Shakur is rehabilitated and will not reoffend if released on parole.
  4. In violation of its regulations, the Parole Commission in Mutulu Shakur’s case and likely in many other cases relied on allegedly adverse factors not relied upon by the Commission in previous parole hearings.
  5. The Parole Commission erroneously concluded Dr. Shakur is likely to reoffend if released because in the past he has referred to himself as a “victim” of the FBI’s COINTELPRO program. The federal court that convicted Shakur clearly and on the record found that he was a victim of COINTELPRO. The Commission is overworked and obviously was not familiar with the record.
  6. The Parole Commission, which released the prisoner who attempted to kill President Ford even though she escaped from custody while serving her sentence, concluded that a 30-year old positive urine test was a “serious” rule violation barring Mutulu Shakur’s release on parole.

 

In response to the Complaint, on September 17, 2018 the Parole Commission and Bureau of Prisons each submitted separate motions to dismiss. You can read the full motions through the links below:

US Parole Commission

Bureau of Prisons

 

Background

Having served over thirty years of his federal sentence, Mutulu Shakur became eligible for release on “mandatory parole” on February 10, 2016. Rather than release Dr. Shakur in February 2016, the U.S. Parole Commission (“Commission”) scheduled a hearing to determine whether to parole Dr. Shakur on April 7, 2016.

 

After the April 2016 hearing, the Commission denied Mutulu mandatory parole, finding his 1990 positive drug test and four minor phone-related infractions over 30 years of incarceration to be “serious” and “frequent” institutional violations. The Commission further found a likelihood he would commit future crimes upon release based on his absolutely non-violent political beliefs and use of the term “stiff resistance” to occasionally sign correspondence. A copy of their Notice of Action is available here. Dr. Shakur has not had a single rule violation during thirty years of incarceration involving violence or the threat of violence, he has an excellent prison record according to Bureau of Prison’s (“BOP”) staff, and has for decades renounced the kind of criminal conduct he was engaged in more than thirty years ago to further political ends. He has consistently expressed support for peaceful and lawful steps to address issues of social justice.

 

The Commission scheduled Mutulu for a new parole hearing on May 3, 2018. At that hearing, various BOP officials testified in essence that Dr. Shakur has been cooperative with staff in every way and has had no rule violations since a 2014 telephone violation. Despite this, in a Notice of Action dated May 25, 2018 (available at this link), the Commission denied Mr. Shakur parole stating that “the Commission continues to find that, for the same reasons as stated in the 2016 Notice of Action, that he had “seriously violated the rules of the institution and that there is a reasonable probability that you will [if released] commit Federal, State, or Local crime.”

 

On June 25, 2018, Mutulu submitted a timely Petition for Reconsideration of the new denial of parole. However, on July 25, 2018, the National Appeals Board (aka the Commission) rejected the Petition in all respects and reaffirmed the Commission’s initial April 2018 Notice of Action.

 

Based on this repeated, arbitrary treatment, Counsel for Dr. Shakur filed the aforementioned complaint on his behalf on August 21, 2018.

 

Case Documents:

2018 New Year’s Letter

Peace,

Firstly, I would like to ask for your forgiveness for such a long delay in responding to your letters of support, encouragement, seasons greetings and most importantly your individual requests. My delay is not indicative of disregard in any way– rather this last period, which has special implications in the Trump Era calls for response and flexibility concerning various time tables. We are pleased to see that you, many others, and many nations in the world have been responding to disengagement of democracy and instigation of cultural division, as well as assessing of the impact on the financially divided.

Some of you have used your political capital to try to improve and maintain some sort of healthcare predictability against all odds. At this point, it seems the struggle should remain vigilant. To this point, I was shocked and disappointed to hear that the acupuncture availability, as spread by our barefoot doctors, the second, and third generation of Lincoln Detox, and BAANA (Black Acupuncture Association of North America) has been reduced within municipal hospitals for the treatment of drug addiction. This will adversely impact a large population that may not be able to access the open clinics that we provide as opposed to the general costly boutique clinics.

BPA_2017I must also mention that I was humbled to receive the 2017 Black Power Award honoring me for such pioneering work related to acupuncture for drug withdrawal, general healing treatment, and accessibility in underserved communities. The reality dictates that the history and struggle be memorialized comprehensively, so I have been engrossed in trying to do such. Handling the research from behind these walls is a challenge– talk about time consuming!!– especially with other demands such as recruiting for the TRC (Truth and Reconciliation Commission). The acknowledgement of the fact of the deprived and forgotten provides an opportunity to insert a conflict resolution process, aim at remedies for the possibilities that would lessen the loss of many innocent victims on both sides of the past violent conflict.

The TRC is a vision I wish existed when I was drafted during my initial enlistment in the conflict of the 60s, up until my indictment. Truly the pain is overdue for healing, and the initial process consists of enlisting those of all walks of life within our “Diaspora.” This pursuit has left me little time to write poems, write a good song, and frankly there are times I believe I’ve lost the desire for romance =), though I sincerely hope that’s not true. In all candor, we can see the truth of the quote, “In the long run, we hit only what we aim at…aim high.” (David Thoreau).

Even though I was not directly involved in the A&E documentary special concerning my son, it continues to hearten me that there is enough public interest and concern related to my sons’ legacy that a five part series can hold the attention of a broad audience. I’m hoping all the positive that Tupac has done will be kept in proper perspective, for he surely reminds us of what a possibility can be. Afeni fought a tremendous struggle to define and maintain his legacy, to hold onto “some” of his resource against all odds.

This project demonstrates that two contradictions can exist at the same time, and that multiple interests can work together for the same objective, toward different ends, completely unaware of one another and have plausible deniability. It is not in pursuit of revenge, but in the protection of the lessons learned that we search for the “TRUTH.” The truth is out there.

George_Edward_Tait The transition of an extraordinary poet, George Edward Tait, was a tremendous loss. He forged a path through our souls with his art, and was founder of my support community “Friends and Family.” Tait fought royally and courageously for the gift of present life. He reminded us that the afterlife was just as powerful– this was his belief. He will always be in my heart, and we thank him for ALL that he has done throughout my incarceration.

We are so proud of the Black Women of Alabama for the way they used their political capital in electing Douglas Jones over Roy Moore. It’s a clear example to be followed nationally, as each state has it’s own priorities, and the process can be effected by the power and organization of Black Women. We honor them! It’s a fitting remembrance of the four young innocent black girls, killed by the Klan in the church bombing in Alabama in 1964.

As for your individual requests, concerns, and inquiries. I would ask you to visit my website (mutulushakur.com) to see if any of the answers you seek are there. No documents are a complete thought, so I’m sure you may need an explanation. Please use those documents for the basis of your inquiries, so that I can be specific to your request, concerns, and questions as we usher in this new year.

Again, I apologize for the delay. I hope you stay in touch, and engage, and know that I truly appreciate all that everyone has done for me and others in the struggle for freedom. Particular in this era of institutional contradiction, and moral decay, no one agrees as to what is normal, but we all understand suffering, and oppression, it has no ideological tag.

I have nothing but Love for my Family who have suffered many losses, with dignity. I apologize for any undo burden I have caused, but they know that the Shakur’s path has been written, that we honor the suffering, and try to have an impact for the better of us all at a great cost. I love them all, and support all that support them. Remember the LOVE, PASSION, and SACRIFICES. Remember the Shakurs and ALL the innocent victims of both sides of this conflict.

The pathway to Equality, Empowerment and Justice ought not need violence. Peace must be invested with an apparatus and a process. My search has directed me to the TRC, which has proven to allow for possibility of peace when interjected with a process in the midst of violent conflict and post violent conflict. With the reality of the existence of many innocent victims, I believe and demand we preempt violent conflict with a TRC process to forward Peace and Reconciliation. The objective of the Commission is to bear witness to, record, and in some cases, grant amnesty to the perpetrators of crimes and human rights violations, as well as foster reparation and rehabilitation. The TRC can not be a cure all, but it can expose the painful truth and, in doing so, lead the people from trauma and polarization to a greater collective understanding of the suffering they passed through. Such examples are the religious troubles of Northern Ireland, the tribal genocide in Rwanda, and the racial apartheid in South Africa. Who can deny the need for intervention in Myanmar for the Ruhingya people? I’m pained, and my soul is scarred, by the harm caused by my actions in the conflict. We must search for a better way; ALL sides must address their own responsibility to the conflict, reconciliation, and resolution. It is said, “Once you know better, you do better.”

We should not let hate or vengeance distract our vigilance to secure our human rights.  Let us honor the legacy of Erica Garner who also passed all too soon in 2017.

Thank You All!
Picture Me Rollin
AIM HIGH and GO ALL OUT!!
MUD AND WATER
DR. MUTULU SHAKUR

Summer 2017 Legal Update

Your support is meaningful; it provides valuable insight into the ever evolving world and culture outside these penitentiary walls. I find inspiration in your expressions of compassion, dedication and curiosity.

I continue to dedicate myself to the principles of Truth and Reconciliation. We all must search our hearts for the strength to heal, use our creativity to teach, express ourselves and continue to learn. Consider that in today’s time, over 600,000 opioid and opioid derivatives are prescribed everyday in this country. The struggle against addiction is where we began; today it continues and we must find ways to contribute and have an impact.

The fight for freedom is ongoing; from the denial of mandatory parole to Obama’s non-response to my Clemency petition. I will again be considered for parole in 2018. We are conducting a comparative analysis of those granted pardons and those denied. The basis for those decisions can indicate useful information and insight into the unprecedented current political climate of fake news and disinformation. We must “Stay Woke,” just as Erykah Badu has encouraged us.

AEOMThe arts have always played a role as a catalyst for change. Production of the biopics, “All Eyez on Me” and “Resurrection,” indicate that our culture continues to demand inspiration. I have been contributing to the production of a documentary focused on the Lincoln Detox and BAAANA clinics. These projects are about defining our legacies and ensuring their survival. The Tupac Amaru legacy has and will continue to penetrate culture around the world; this is on my oath.

You are able to continue showing your support by writing a letter to the US Parole Commission in preparation for my 2018 hearing. Details on where and when to send the letter to Family and Friends of Mutulu Shakur will be posted on www.mutulushakur.com. I look forward to a brighter 2018 and the manifestation of dreams yet to come.

Pray for me and picture me rollin’,
Dr. Mutulu Shakur

Dr. Shakur Responds to Clemency Campaign

Friends, Family, Supporters and Organizers,

I am most thankful and humbled by what we have accomplished. Together, we accumulated and verified 28,000 signatures is support of a grant of Executive Clemency, in merely 60 day’s time!

I wish to honor and show my appreciation for those who signed on, and for the tireless efforts of the organizers. Everyday I am reminded of the importance of striving for the common good and continue to be motivated by examples of people taking responsibility in bringing about the changes they seek. I am hopeful that this process will indicate that we can and will resist the abuses of power and discretion. Indeed, hope is alive and well!

January 19th has come and gone, President Barack Obama has left his post in the highest of offices in the United States of America, without rendering a decision on a grant of Executive Clemency. The fate of the petition is now in the hands of the the Trump Administration and beyond that we will be left to petition to the federal courts.

Let us channel all anger and outrage over this  non-response and other human rights violations to  remain engaged and committed to make change possible throughout this challenging historical time we are now facing.  We will continue to need your continued support until my freedom is obtained and look forward to working together.

Keep struggling for the common good. Please visit www.mutulushakur.com and/or [email protected], for the latest news and to continue to demonstrate your on-going support.

Thank you!

Parole Reconsideration Denied & Pursuing Clemency

The continued incarceration of Dr. Mutulu Shakur is representative of the failure of our criminal justice system in working towards the stated goal of rehabilitation. Now more than ever it is clear that Dr. Shakur is being held for punitive purposes.  On November 28, 2016, months after filing a petition for reconsideration regarding the denial of parole, the National Appeals Board issued a response upholding the denial of release.  This underscores the importance of Executive Clemency as a potential avenue for justice.  Legal counsel for Dr. Shakur contend that he is being unjustly held by the Federal Bureau of Prisons past his “mandatory parole” date.  Barack Obama has until January 20, 2017 to step in and ensure that justice is upheld.  

Documents recently released by the Parole Commission in response to a Freedom of Information Act request show that in the past two years no other federal prisoner has been denied parole because of the types of infrequent non-serious prison rule violations Dr. Shakur is being held for.  Dr. Shakur has served over thirty years in custody, been unjustly denied parole eight times in a documented discriminatory manner, despite taking full responsibility for his actions and serving as a force for good throughout his decades of incarceration.

Thousands of signatures from the public supporting his clemency, as well as numerous testimonials from individuals with direct experience of his character show vast public support for his freedom.  The White House public comment line is closed for the remainder of Obama’s term in office, but you can still make your support for clemency heard by emailing [email protected] or at www.whitehouse.gov/contact.  Tweets can be directed @POTUS or @BarackObama.

Petition for Executive Clemency Filed

The week of October 10th, a petition for clemency for Dr. Mutulu Shakur was submitted to President Barack Obama. The review will be conducted during the months of October and November. Effective January 1, 2017, President Barack Obama will cede his authority to the incumbent presidential candidate.

The acts of which Dr. Shakur stands convicted were committed in the context of a movement some forty to fifty years ago seeking equal treatment of black people who, it is widely recognized today, were suffering catastrophically from disenfranchisement, poverty and exclusion from many of the fundamental necessities that make life worth living. Black school children were being killed in church bombings. Black and other civil rights leaders were targeted for assassination. Law enforcement, through the COINTELPRO program, infiltrated a wide range of organizations and civil rights groups disrupting their activities and, as Congressional investigation later discovered, often causing violent reactions. In that era, black youth were paralyzed with fear that smothered their dreams, they doubted their life expectancy, and were forced to submit to abuse, runaway or challenge the threat.

Dr. Shakur has served over thirty years in custody, been unjustly denied parole eight times in a documented discriminatory manner, taken full responsibility for his actions, served as a force for good and alternative dispute mechanisms throughout his decades of incarceration, is an elder with multiple health complications, and has a loving family that needs him, even moreso after his former wife, Afeni Shakur, passed away in May. Upon release, he will continue to inspire people to seek self-improvement through peaceful and constructive means, as he has done while incarcerated, as he did with his late son Tupac.

In his own words, “For many years I have been a staunch advocate for the establishment of a truth and reconciliation process to address issues of racial and economic disparities. I have been influenced by examples in South Africa, Latin America, Northern Ireland and here in the United States of efforts at restorative justice through the pursuit of truth and reconciliation …

I cannot undo the violence and tragedy that took place more than thirty years ago. But for several decades while incarcerated I have dedicated myself to being a healer, spreading a message of reconciliation and justice, and playing a positive role in the lives of those I come into contact with, in and out of prison …

This country is not the same country it was at the time of my conviction and I have lived long enough to understand the changes the country and I have undergone. I will always care about freedom and equality for black Americans, marginalized people and the lower classes in this country and abroad. The struggle was never about me, but for the will of the people.

freedomTo support this petition, sign on at change.org.

Please sign and pass it on.

Due to the political nature of the era and the case, the display of significant political and social support is required. If you want to support Dr. Shakur with congressional, faith based or media related contacts please write to us directly at [email protected].

Who-
People who support Dr. Mutulu Shakur. People who are aware of his works and share similar ideals and values. People who believe in Truth and Reconciliation and constitutional Due Process.

Where-
Visit change.org, then add your signature with your email address or Facebook account. Please share the petition with your connections.