Republican Candidate for City Council at Large Matt Wolfe Condemns DA Larry Krasner for Withdrawing Opposition to Mumia Abu-Jamal’s Review of his Case in the Supreme Court
Philadelphia, PA – Matt Wolfe, Republican candidate for City Council at Large, condemned DA Larry Krasner’s decision to withdraw his opposition to Mumia Abu-Jamal’s attempt argue for a new trial before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. “Mumia Abu-Jamal savagely murdered Philadelphia police officer Danny Faulkner in 1981. The evidence is clear and the trial has been reviewed time and time again in the almost 40 years since the murder. No court has ever given any credence to the arguments that he was innocent or did not have a fair trial. Larry Krasner owes Danny Faulkner and his family better treatment.”
Abu-Jamal was on death row until 2011, when the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office, after consultation with Officer Faulkner’s widow, Maureen Faulkner, withdrew its fight to have the death penalty enforced. The intent at the time was to end the continuous legal fight in the face of decades of courts preventing Pennsylvania from carrying out the death penalty. This time with Krasner in charge Ms. Faulkner learned of the decision when she received a phone call from a spokesperson from the police union. “Once again, our District Attorney makes decisions that benefit the convicted criminal without consultation with the victims,” said Wolfe. “This is a shameful pattern that needs to stop. Victims should be the focus of the District Attorney, not viewed as an impediment to pushing his agenda.”
The decision by the local court, which the District Attorney’s office had been opposing, found that a letter from then District Attorney Ron Castille to then Governor Bob Casey expressing his personal views of the governor’s responsibilities in signing death warrants was the reason that Castille should have recused himself on the Supreme Court when Abu-Jamal’s case was reviewed by the Supreme Court. The letter was not about Abu-Jamal or his case and his name is not mentioned. Castille was not personally involved in Abu-Jamal’s trial or appeals. “There was no reason for Ron Castille to have recused himself from that case,” commented Wolfe. “Ron Castille was a great District Attorney and a great Chief Justice. I am proud that he appointed me a Special Assistant District Attorney during his tenure there.”
Even supporters of Abu-Jamal were surprised by the judge’s decision. “This is an unheard of legal victory,” said Rachel Wolkenstein, a former lawyer for Abu-Jamal. “This is the best opportunity we have had for Mumia’s freedom in decades.” “Freedom?,” commented Wolfe. “All Philadelphians should stand with the Faulkner family against releasing that convicted murderer onto the streets.”
Wolfe pointed out that the decision came on the heels of Krasner’s being disinvited to speak at a conference at Yale Law School. He had been expected to speak about “progressive approaches to law.” He was criticized by the organizers after appealing the judge’s ruling for failing to live up to the “transformative vision that he ran on.” “This disinvitation by progressive law students is the only thing that happened since the District Attorney’s office took the appeal,” said Wolfe, an attorney, noting that the supplemental opinion by the court did not really change the legal posture of the case. “It looks like he is more concerned with keeping up his ‘progressive’ brand than about justice in Philadelphia. Sadly, Krasner is one of those politicians who is keeping his campaign promises.”
About Matt Wolfe: Matt Wolfe is a former Deputy Attorney General. He also served in the administration of Governor Tom Ridge as the Chief Counsel of the Department of Labor and Industry, which played a key role in helping Pennsylvania’s economy grow and attract new jobs. Before that he was Assistant Counsel at the Department of Transportation and he was appointed a Special Assistant District Attorney and Special Prosecutor in several counties. In Philadelphia, former District Attorney Ron Castille appointed him a Special Assistant District Attorney to represent the city to close down nuisance bars in his neighborhood. He helped close down the notorious Times Café and the Purple Fox. He also served with Sam Katz when Sam was on the School Board as a member of the Philadelphia School Board’s Task Force on Scholastics and Sports, which developed academic standards for public school students to meet in order to be eligible for sports and extracurricular activities.
Matt Wolfe has been a community activist in West Philadelphia since he was in college. He was a long-time member of the Board of Directors of the Spruce Hill Community Association, also serving as its Vice President. Matt has served as a member of the 18th Police District Neighborhood Advisory Committee and was Vice Chairman of the Woodland District of the Boy Scouts of America. He is active in his parish, St. Francis DeSales, and has served on the Parish Pastoral Council and as a Eucharistic Minister.
Matt Wolfe has been an active Republican since college, is the Chairman of the University City Republican Committee and has served his community for years as a ward leader and committeeman. Wolfe is a lawyer, having graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and Villanova Law School, practicing election law and has taught other lawyers in continuing education classes in the area. He currently maintains his own law office, understanding the challenges that a small business owners face. His law office is in West Philadelphia where he lives with his wife, Denise Furey. He has two adult sons, Jay and Ross.
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