In a ruling that was immediately challenged by both prosecutors and the defense, a federal judge today lifted thedeath sentence from Mumia Abu-Jamal for the 1981 murder of Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel J. Faulkner. Inordering that Abu-Jamal be given a new death-penalty hearing within six months or be sentenced to life in prison,U.S. District Judge William Yohn also affirmed the death row inmate’s conviction on a charge of first-degree murder.The court order overturned the sentencing portion of Abu-Jamal’s trial but refused Abu-Jamal’s request for a newtrial, upholding his 1982 conviction on first-degree murder charges. The ruling can be appealed to the U.S. 3rdCircuit Court of Appeals.
For 20 years, award winning journalist and former Black Panther Mumia Abu-Jamal has spoken to the world fromPennsylvania’s death row. His writings and commentaries from death row have made him a world-renowned celebrity forracial equality and against the death penalty. His books ??Live From Death Row, ??Death Blossoms and ??AllThings Censored have sold over 150,000 copies and been translated into seven languages. In 1981 he was electedpresident of the Association of Black Journalists (Philadelphia Chapter).
His 1982 murder trial and subsequent conviction has aroused considerable controversy and criticism for allegedconstitutional violations and other improprieties. On December 9th 1981, Abu-Jamal was driving a cab in Philadelphiawhen he says he saw a police officer beating his brother William Cook on a street corner. In the ensuing chaos, bothhe and officer Daniel Faulkner were shot, and Faulkner died. Abu-Jamal was sentenced to death for the murder ofFaulkner in 1982. He has been on death row ever since.
But there is evidence that Abu-Jamal’s new legal team say prove Abu-Jamal’s innocence, evidence that the Pennsylvaniastate courts and the federal courts have refused to hear.
- Testimony of Arnold Beverly.
- Testimony of Terry Moore Carter, court clerk for 20 years who was witness to the trial of appellate judgeAlbert Sabo.
- Pam Africa, International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal.
- Steve Hawkins, National Coalition Against the Death Penalty, former legal counsel for Mumia Abu-Jamal.
- Noelle Hanrahan, editor, ??All Things Censored, Abu-Jamal’s most recent book of essays.