[Ppnews] New Sentencing for Mumia Abu-Jamal
Political Prisoner News
ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Tue Oct 11 14:19:48 EDT 2011
New Sentencing for Mumia Abu-Jamal
Desmond-Harris | Posted: October 11, 2011
The Supreme Court has rejected an appeal from the
Philadelphia DA's office in the racially charged
case of Mumia Abu-Jamal, bringing an end to
nearly thirty years of litigation over the
fairness of the sentencing hearing that resulted
in his death sentence for the 1981 shooting of a
police officer, the Washington Post reports.
While his case has been famous among anti-death
penalty activists and social justice advocates
for decades, this new development is no doubt
even more poignant for many in light of the recent execution of Troy Davis.
Abu-Jamal, a former Black Panther, has spent
almost 30 years on death row after being
convincted in 1982 for killing Daniel Faulkner.
A federal appeals court this year upheld his
conviction, but agreed that the jurt received the
potentially misleading death penalty
instructions, and ordered a new sentencing
hearing. Because the Supreme Court has left in
place that ruling, Abu-Jamal will be now
automatically sentenced to life in prison without
the possibility of parole unless the District
Attorney seeks another death sentence from a new jury.
The Supreme Courts decision represents the
fourth time that a federal court have found that
Abu-Jamals sentencing jury was misled about the
constitutionally mandated process for considering
evidence supporting a life sentence.
At long last, the profoundly troubling prospect
of Mr. Abu-Jamal facing an execution that was
produced by an unfair and unreliable penalty
phase has been eliminated, said John Payton,
President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal
Defense Fund, which, along with Professor Judith
Ritter, represents Abu-Jamal. Professor Ritter
said, Our system should never condone an
execution that stems from a trial in which the
jury was improperly instructed on the law.
The case will now return to the Philadelphia
County Court of Common Pleas for final sentencing.
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
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