Mar 28 2008

Mumia Update: No Death Penalty, No New Trial

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MumiaGUEST: Robert R Bryan, lead counsel for Mumia Abu Jamal

A three judge panel with the third circuit US Court of Appeals in Philadelphia refused to reinstate the death penalty for political prisoner Mumia Abu Jamal yesterday. While this is a major victory for Abu-Jamal and his supporters, his murder conviction in the 1981 shooting death of Police office Daniel Faulkner was left intact. The state now has six months to hold a new sentencing hearing for Abu-Jamal. If a new hearing is not held, the life imprisonment sentence stands. The legal appeal was based on the argument that racism by the judge and prosecutors in the original trial played a negative role Abu Jamal’s conviction by a nearly all-white jury. Abu Jamal’s lawyers were hoping for an entirely new trial to prove his innocence. In the lengthy opinions issued yesterday, one of the three judges, Judge Thomas L. Ambro wrote that he would have gone further than his two colleagues in granting a hearing on Abu-Jamal’s contention that the prosecution unfairly excluded blacks from his jury. Recently, in a story we covered this week on Uprising, an African American man from Louisiana named Allen Snyder was granted a new trial after the US Supreme Court decided that black jurors had been excluded from his jury on the basis of their race.

Read the judges’ ruling here:

There will be a protest this evening at 5 pm at the Federal Courthouse to protest the decision to not grant Mumia a new trial. The protest will be at 312 N Spring St in downtown LA.

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