Apr 07 2009
The Supreme Court yesterday rejected an appeal by Mumia Abu Jamal and his lawyers for a new trial. The former member of the Black Panther Party and award winning radio journalist has remained on Pennsylvania’s death row ever since his conviction in 1982 for the murder of a white Philadelphia policeman Daniel Faulkner. In letting the conviction stand, the High Court dismissed without comment Abu-Jamal’s claim that the composition of his jury improperly excluded African-Americans. His chief defense attorney, Robert R. Bryan, has said that racism was central to the selection of the jury in the case. Joseph McGill, the prosecuting attorney in the Abu-Jamal case, has stated that he used 10 of his 15 peremptory challenges to exclude potential African-American jurors. Such a strike rate eventually led to there being only two African-American jurors in the trial of Abu-Jamal which took place in Philadelphia; a city that in 1982 was comprised of 40% African-Americans. The Supreme Court’s ultimate rejection of Abu-Jamal’s appeal has been seen by some of his supporters, as well as detractors, as his last chance for a new trial.
GUEST: Robert R. Bryan, Chief Defense Attorney for Mumia Abu-Jamal
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