Friday, March 28, 2008

Mumia Deserves New Hearing

A federal appeals court on Thursday said former Black Panther Mumia Abu-Jamal cannot be executed for murdering a Philadelphia police officer without a new penalty hearing. The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Abu-Jamal's conviction should stand, but that he should get a new sentencing hearing because of flawed jury instructions. If prosecutors don't want to give him a new death penalty hearing, Abu-Jamal would be sentenced automatically to life in prison.

Abu-Jamal, 53, once a radio reporter, has attracted a legion of artists and activists to his cause in a quarter-century on death row. A Philadelphia jury convicted him in 1982 of killing Officer Daniel Faulkner, 25, after the patrolman pulled over Abu-Jamal's brother in an overnight traffic stop.

He had appealed, arguing that racism by the judge and prosecutors corrupted his conviction at the hands of a mostly white jury. Prosecutors, meanwhile, had appealed a federal judge's 2001 decision to grant Abu-Jamal a new sentencing hearing because of the jury instructions.

Hundreds of people protested outside the federal building in Philadelphia in May and an overflow crowd - including legal scholars, students, lawyers, the policeman's widow and Abu-Jamal's brother - filled the courtroom when the appeals court heard arguments about the case.

The officer's widow, Maureen Faulkner, has kept her husband's memory alive over the years, and recently co-wrote a book about the case. The book, "Murdered by Mumia: A Life Sentence of Loss, Pain and Injustice," written with radio talk-show host Michael Smerconish, came out in December.


X. Dell said...

Mumia's case represents one of the most horrendous miscarriages of justice, stemming as it does in police animus against MOVE, and relying on improper instructions, unveiled racism on the part of prosecutors, police and Judge (Sabo, if memory serves), and altered/tampered with evidence.

Mumia doesn't deserve a new hearing.

He deserves immediate release, a settlement from the city of Philadelphia, and an official apology.

I'm afraid what he will receive, however, is infamy.

pjazzypar said...

dell x.,

I have followed this case for the last 17 years and I agree with you wholeheartedly. The brother should have never been locked up in the first place, he did not murder that police officer. With that said, there will be no settlement or apology, the city of Philly is in too deep.