Mumia Execution Blocked, Pending New Hearing
Hundreds of people protested outside the federal building in Philadelphia in May and an overflow crowd â€” including legal scholars, students, lawyers, the policeman's widow and Abu-Jamal's brother â€” filled the courtroom when the appeals court heard arguments about the case.
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.
(The Associated Press)
Note: “Journalists for Mumia” organization is extremely disappointed by this decision because Mumia should have been granted a new trial. Protest actions are planned for Friday (3/28), including in New York City at The Adam Clayton Powell State Office Building (125th St. and Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd.) at 5pm. For the latest updates, go to www.freemumia.com
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