Category Archives: Legal Updates

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.

Dr. Shakur responds to Denial of Release Notice

The following quotes are from the April 20th Notice of Action confirming the denial of mandatory parole for Dr. Shakur.  Below he responds:

“You have violated the rules of the institution on 5 occasions:

– Use of drugs on June 11, 1990”

Although the 100-series “use of drugs” infraction is 27 years old, we acknowledge its serious nature. I have continually contested it as being a false-positive; there exists no other indication of the “use of drugs,” either before or after, during my 32 years of incarceration while being subjected to regular urine analysis. Further, I have repeatedly requested alternative means of testing and was denied; the corporation, “Pharm Chemical” responsible for urine sample analysis has since been dissolved based on high incidence of false positives.

“- Abuse of telephone privileges on April 24, 2001 and on May 9, 2007. You were found guilty of contacting the public without authorization on May 9, 2007 and again on February 6, 2013, which involved you making a call to give a speech that was broadcast to a group of more than 200 people attending a symposium.”

The most recent telephone infraction was the result of a U.C. Northridge symposium, where I addressed students on the theory of T.R.C. The above infractions that the commission relies on have previously been reviewed by the B.O.P. None of these infractions indicate violent behavior or criminal conduct.

“Additionally, you take no responsibility for the crimes for which you were convicted. Information on your website, including your writings and in a recent letter you wrote to your supporters in 2014 indicates you routinely refer to yourself as a freedom fighter, a political prisoner, and the “victim” of government’s counter-intelligence program.”

The origins of the Commission’s references are ambiguous and we are not sure of what specific “written statements” they refer to. None of their references represent a threat to society or the government, or to indicate potential to re-offend; and they are insignificant as a factor of my rehabilitation. However, they are in fact evidence of the exercise of my constitutionally protected right to freedom of speech.

“Further you end most of your writings with the salutation ‘Stiff Resistance’, a phrase which is also prominent on your webpage. The commission not only finds these statements incompatible with the goals and conditions of parole supervision, but also concludes they are evidence that you have not disavowed yourself from the same set of beliefs you had when you were convicted for your role as leader in a Racketeering Conspiracy.”

The RICO Racketeering conspiracy may have been politically motivated, but my beliefs were not criminal. I was indicted and convicted of specific criminal acts; for which I have been held accountable and still harbor a great deal of remorse over. As well, the Commission designated my case as “original Jurisdiction” based on the political interest and the Government’s assertion that the acts for which I was convicted were politically motivated. The Commission does not rely on any evidence of criminal conduct or propagation within their denial.

See also “The Stigma of Stiff Resistance”

2016 Legal Update on Denial of Release

Dear family and friends and supporters,

Like many of you, I was of the belief that I was to be released from prison, effective February 10, 2016. That belief was based on the 30 years I was required to serve. I have fulfilled that commitment while following all rules and regulations like any other prisoner would be expected to. Having been sentenced under federal statute 4205(a), any person serving more than 45 years must serve 30 years to receive mandatory release.

For the past 30 years my target release date has been February 10, 2016. Whosoever had legitimate concerns had the same time to come forward to argue that I should not be released.

To deny me release at this stage the Parole Commission must determine that I have either “repeatedly or seriously violated the rules of the institution, or there exists a great probability that the inmate will commit any federal, state or local crime following his release.”

The Parole Commission’s function is now limited in scope. The idea is that the society as a whole is represented by the Parole Commission. Hopefully the broader society has embraced a willingness to heal and move towards reconciliation. We have an obligation to ensure that the Parole Commission’s process is informed, fair, impartial and as unbiased as possible.

Many of the individuals that have opposed my release and question my resolve to be a productive member of society have had the benefit of mainstream media to project their views. I have endured the disadvantage of not having that benefit. My story has not been heard through the mass media. But I hope my call for reconciliation has been heard by some, and has had an impact, especially on young people.

What we have been tasked with is difficult and victory will have been hard fought. This is yet another stage of the struggle, but also an opportunity for our voices to be heard. I am hoping your messages can be shared with the Parole Commission as it makes a decision regarding my release or further incarceration.

Incarceration can be a catalyst to produce individuals that emerge with a newfound moral compass. I have been privileged to witness that growth and development in many other prisoners throughout my incarceration. As a result, there have been many good works produced, both inside and outside of these walls.

I would not be who I am today without all of you and I can only hope to have been a positive influence in your lives and in the lives of young men who have been incarcerated with me. It will be helpful to gather your thoughts and memories of our experience, and to share your sincere observations with the Parole Commission.

Please feel free to circulate this letter and my request to others who have had similar experiences that they would like to share.

Please address letters to the Parole Commission [specific instructions are below] but email them to both my attorney Peter Schey at [email protected] and my family at [email protected] for review before they are forwarded to the Board.  I will not be personally reviewing letters.

My son Tupac acknowledged in the context of the struggle to overcome oppression that, “we’ve come so far, but still have so far to go …” To that I say, we must continue to be guided by the essence of our circumstances that has brought us to these points; which encourage us to be principled, honest and continue to search for the truth

Brotha Kendrick Lamar taught us “to pimp a butterfly.” From that we must always remember that we can evolve and to have faith in the power of transformation, that has been evident throughout the saga of our journey.

I thank you in advance for your continued love and support.

-Dr. Mutulu Shakur

 

 

BACKGROUND: CONTROLLING LAW

 

(A) A prisoner (including a prisoner sentenced under the narcotic addict rehabilitation act, federal juvenile delinquency act, or the provision of 5010(c) of the youth correction act) serving a term or terms of five years or longer shall be released on parole after completion of two-thirds of each consecutive term or terms or after completion of thirty years of each term or terms of more than 45 years (including life terms), whichever comes earlier, unless pursuant to a hearing under this section, the commission determines that there is a reasonable probability that the prisoner will commit any federal, state, or local crime or that the prisoner has frequently or seriously violated the rules of the institution in which he is confined. If parole is denied pursuant to this section, such prisoner shall serve until the expiration of his sentence less good time.

 

(B) When feasible, at least 60 days prior to the scheduled two-thirds date, a review of the record shall be conducted by an examiner panel. If a mandatory parole is ordered following this review, no hearing shall be conducted.

 

2.53-01 REVIEW PROCEDURE

(A) Upon receipt of a progress report from the institution prior to the “two-thirds” date, an examiner panel shall conduct a record review. A recommendation to parole normally should be made in order to provide a period under supervision for all except those who have the greatest probability that they will commit any federal, state, or local crime following release. A parole should not be recommended, however, for prisoners who have seriously or frequently violated the rules of the institution.

 

(B) Unless mandatory parole is ordered on the basis of the record review, the case should be placed on the next hearing docket for a mandatory parole hearing. If the regional commissioner disagrees with a panel recommendation to grant mandatory parole on the record, he may order that the case be heard as originally scheduled. If paroles not recommended following such hearing, the examiner panel may recommend any such action as may be appropriate.

 

(B) The commission shall furnish the eligible prisoner with a written notice of its determination not later than twenty-one days, excluding holidays, after the date of the parole determination proceeding if parole is denied such notice shall state with particularity the reason for such denial.

 

(C) The commission may grant or deny release on parole notwithstanding the guidelines referred to in subsection (a) of this section if it determines there is good cause for so doing: provided, that the prisoner is furnished written notice stating with particularity the reason for its determination, including a summary of the information relied upon.

 

*Italics indicate my emphasis

 

BACKGROUND: ANALYSIS OF SECTION 4206(D)

 

Section 4206(D) should be interpreted in connection with statutory framework of the parole act. The act provides for both discretionary and mandatory parole. An inmate with a life sentence becomes eligible for parole after serving 10 years in prison. Section 4205(a) release may be granted in the commission’s discretion based on a variety of factors, including the seriousness of the offense, whether the individual has substantially observed the rules of the institution, and whether parole would jeopardize the public welfare Section 4206(a). If parole is denied, the prisoner receives additional discretionary parole consideration every two years.

 

Under Section 4206(d) the commission (must) parole an inmate who served 30 years (unless) it determines he has seriously or frequently violated institution rules and regulations or…there is a reasonable probability that he will commit another crime. (This is crucial…) In establishing different criteria for discretionary and mandatory parole, congress necessarily intended the commission view the grant of mandatory parole under section 4206(d) through a different and more lenient lens than discretionary parole.

 

The legislative history of the act supports this view. This section provides more liberal criteria for release than the discretionary parole provision and requires the commission to consider efforts that the prisoner may have made to improve his education, skills, or personal attributes.

 

Surely, a prisoner who was granted a “discretionary parole” – even though now taken away – is even more eligible to be released on mandatory parole after they have served 30 years. Anyone sentenced 45 years or more, including those sentenced to any life term or other terms, who has not been released by any other applicable laws shall be released after the service of two-thirds or 30 years of such sentence. The math is computed on the basis that 45=30.

 

INSTRUCTIONS FOR ADDRESSING AND MAILING YOUR LETTERS

 

If you are able to write a parole support letter, please address it to the Parole Board (Case Operations, U.S. Parole Commission, 90 K Street, N.E., Third Floor, Washington, D.C. 20530), but please ONLY email them to [email protected] and [email protected] so that they arrive as soon as possible and no later than March 7th to be reviewed. Because the Commission considers whether there is a reasonable probability that he will commit another crime this can be addressed in your letter.

 

  • Please type on letterhead
  • Date the letter
  • Add a subject line such as “In regards to: Dr. Mutulu Shakur #83205-012”
  • Begin your letter with “Dear Honorable Members of the Parole Board:”
  • Include biographical information such as your name, age, occupation (if you have been employed in the same field for some time, note that in your first paragraph) and relationship with Dr. Shakur or how you know him.
  • Describe why you believe he deserves the chance for parole, such as positive activities while incarcerated such as education and mentoring other inmates, as well as his positive attitude.
  • Mention if there is any specific way(s) you intend to provide support once he is granted parole (housing, employment, healthcare, etc.).
  • Generally, these are the subjects that letter writers may want to cover:
  1. Include a short acknowledgment about Mutulu’s conviction. Basically that the author knows that he was arrested in 1986 and eventually convicted of conspiracy to commit serious and violent crimes based on circumstantial and informant testimony. The prosecution never argued that these crimes were committed for greed or personal gain. Letters should not defend or justify the alleged conduct that led to the convictions, but in the writer’s own words acknowledge that s/he is aware of the conviction and the severity of the allegations.
  2. Explain that these are different historical times and for many years while in prison Mutulu has never engaged in illegal or violent conduct. He has maintained relationships with family, friends and colleagues outside the prison. He has suffered a stroke while in prison in February 2013. He has also throughout his prison term maintained a commitment to the struggle for justice for people of color.
  3. If Mutulu is released, he will be a productive member of society. He’ll contribute to efforts to help the poor and those who are marginalized. He is highly unlikely to violate the terms of parole.  He will in no way be a threat to the public safety.