Date: 2015-09-19 08:48
From: Noelle Hanrahan
by Noelle Hanrahan, P.I. Prison Radio
Late in the day on Friday September 18th, United States Magistrate Judge for the Middle District of Pennsylvania Karoline Mehalchick issued a proposed order (http://www.prisonradio.org/sites/default/files/letters/pdf/Report%20and%20Rec.%20%281%29.pdf) denying Mumia Abu-Jamal’s motion for preliminary injunction
(http://www.prisonradio.org/sites/default/files/letters/pdf/PreliminaryInjunction8-24-15Abu-JamalvKerestes.pdf) and his 1st Amended complaint
(http://www.prisonradio.org/sites/default/files/letters/pdf/Abu-Jamal%20v.%20Kerestes%2C%20et%20al.-Amended%20Complaint_1.pdf) seeking immediate treatment for active Hepatitis C.
In a calculated attempt to deny lifesaving health care and effective arguments on Mumia’s behalf, Judge Mehalchick preemptively issued this “proposed order” before Mumia’s lawyers had the opportunity to respond (as allowed by court local rules) to the Pennsylvania Department of Correction’s (DOC) opposition. (http://www.prisonradio.org/sites/default/files/letters/pdf/PADOCOppositiontoPreliminaryInjunctionDecofPaulNoel9-10-2015.pdf)
Bret Grote (Abolitionist Law Center) and co-counsel Bob Boyle (NYC) are expected to quickly file in court with 3rd Circuit Federal District Court Judge Robert Mariani to oppose this proposed order on procedural and substantive grounds.
The proposed order is clearly an attempt to subvert justice and delay critical treatment for Mumia Abu-Jamal. It is simply intellectually disingenuous.
Notably the proposed -not final- order submitted to the presiding Judge Robert Mariani states that Mumia Abu-Jamal has failed to exhaust his administrative remedies/grievances, and thus is precluded from filing a federal lawsuit. As quoted:
“Accordingly, the Court recommends that Abu-Jamal’s motion for injunctive relief be dismissed without prejudice because the uncontroverted evidence presented by Defendants indicates that this claim has not been administratively exhausted, his administrative grievance appeal remains pending.”
In fact, Mumia has fulfilled all of the exhaustion requirements and the intent as well– and the DOC denied his grievance specifically, as we know through written record.
Further, the “uncontroverted evidence” cited by the court completely ignores the facts in Mumia’s preliminary injunction and 1st amended complaint. This proposed order was also issued even before Mumia’s lawyers could respond to the DOC brief- which was full of blatant obfuscations and lies.
In addition, Magistrate Mehalchick’s proposed order states that Mumia will not be irreparably harmed if he receives no care.
To quote the Order: “While there is little question that hepatitis C is a ‘sufficiently serious’ condition under the Eighth Amendment, merely becoming infected with hepatitis C does not ensure that serious and irreparable damage will occur… These risks, although severe, do not sustain Abu-Jamal’s burden of showing immediate irreparable harm that warrants injunctive relief, especially given the fact that it often takes significant time for hepatitis C to progress.”
Mumia’s 1st Amended complaint details his near death and hospitalization with renal failure on March 30, 2015. It also shows the extensive diagnostic tests which indicated organ failure (skin) and organ damage (liver), open wounds, hemoglobin deficiency, extensive fevers, and his continued weakness.
Magistrate Mehalchick’s order goes on to state that the PA DOC should be allowed to implement their own “protocols” for hepatitis C for prisoners.
“The Defendants’ interests would therefore be harmed by granting injunctive relief because it would deny Defendants an opportunity to treat Abu- Jamal’s hepatitis C in accordance with their own established protocols.”
This language purposefully misstates the facts. The truth is that the PA Department of Corrections has not produced a treatment protocol for Hepatitis C in their responses. This is because the current standard of care in the PA DOC is to deny appropriate testing and deliver no treatment.
As such, Mumia’s lawyers, Bret Grote and Bob Boyle, will file in court to oppose this proposed order on procedural and substantive grounds.
We remain completely confident that we will be successful in getting Mumia treatment.
Stay tuned for more information, and join the call for treatment and freedom.
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