Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Abu-Jamal seeks new trial in Phila. officer's slaying

By Emilie Lounsberry

Inquirer Staff Writer

Pennsylvania death-row inmate Mumia Abu-Jamal has asked a federal appeals court to reconsider the decision that denied him a new trial in the 1981 slaying of Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner.

In late March, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit left intact Abu-Jamal's conviction but said a new jury should decide whether he deserved death or should be sentenced to life behind bars.

In court papers docketed yesterday, Robert R. Bryan, the San Francisco lawyer representing Abu-Jamal with Widener University law professor Judith Ritter, asked the three-judge panel and the full Third Circuit court to take another look.

They contended that the panel should have ordered a hearing on Abu-Jamal's contention that prosecutors intentionally excluded blacks from his jury in violation of a later 1986 U.S. Supreme Court decision.

They noted that one of the panel members, Judge Thomas Ambro, wanted a hearing held on that issue, and said the majority "has backed away from this Circuit's historical commitment to equal justice for all."

The three-judge panel affirmed the December 2001 ruling by U.S. District Judge William H. Yohn Jr., who had thrown out the death sentence after concluding that the jury might have been confused by the trial judge's instructions and wording on the verdict form filled out when the jury decided on death.

Yohn found that the jury might have mistakenly believed it had to agree unanimously on any mitigating circumstances - factors that might have persuaded jurors to decide on a life sentence, rather than death.

Abu-Jamal, 54, has been on death row since his 1982 conviction in the killing of Faulkner, who was shot to death near 13th and Locust Streets early in the morning of Dec. 9, 1981.

While Abu-Jamal is appealing because he wants a new trial, the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office could ask the U.S. Supreme Court to reinstate the death sentence. Assistant District Attorney Hugh Burns said last month that no decision had been made on whether to ask the high court to consider the matter.

Abu-Jamal has written books and given taped speeches from death row, and his case has been followed in many parts of the world.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court upheld his conviction and death sentence in 1989, and also rejected three other appeals - including one earlier this year.

Contact staff writer Emilie Lounsberry at 215-854-4828 or elounsberry@phillynews.com.


At 3:04 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

"They contended that the panel should have ordered a hearing on Abu-Jamal's contention that prosecutors intentionally excluded blacks from his jury in violation of a later 1986 U.S. Supreme Court decision."

Someone help me with this. If his trial was in '81, how is an '86 court ruling relevant? I guess this is the famous "If we can't blind them with brilliance, we'll baffle them with bullshit" defense.

Just get this thing over with already!

At 3:54 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I personally e mailed Bryant, Wesleys attorney and asked him for a direct answer. " Do you believe Mumia Abu Jamal murdered Officer Faulkner". I doubt I will ever get a straight answer or even an reply

john Di zio

At 8:56 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Without looking at anything, I think this appeal has to do with the one filed by Marlene Gelb. Keep in mind that Jamal's first trial, after all was said and done, in 1983.

I wouldn't hold your breath waitin for Bryant.

At 12:20 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I sent an e mail to Bryant two years ago asking him if he believes “jamal didn't murder PO Faulkner “ or does he merely believe he is “innocent of the crime he was charged with”. Either he didn't really read my e mail through - or someone just sends out automatic responses because I received an e-mail thanking me for my support of jamal. I then ended up on pro-jamal e-mailing list. It took me about a week of repeated e-mails to finally get someone to realize what I really believe and to get off the list.

At 4:52 AM , Blogger Nas Dawud said...

I understand you all wanting to take those of us who support Mumia to able to articulate our position but do you really think that an acting defense attorney is going to reveal in an e-mail whether or not they think their client is guilty.

Come on? This is not about Jamal's lawyer not anwering you, it has everything to do with him protecting his client. He owes nothing to anyone except puttiing on the best defense he can for his client.

Attack us but be reasonable in your expectations.

At 9:25 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course Bryant is not going to whisper "yeah - he really did it - but don't tell anyone " in an e mail. The point is letting Bryant (and jamal) know that people are aware of the ultimate course here they are pursuing. When all the appeals are done, jamal will admit he shot P/O Faulkner, but it was not murder 1, it was self defense, it was a lesser charge, etc.etc. Hence the preliminary work already in progress in not saying that �jamal is innocent� but that he is �not guilty of the crime he was charged with.� In the end, neither side will get what they want. jamal will never be freed, nor will he ever be executed. He will die at age 80 on a cot in the corner of the prison infirmary. Read the 3rd circuit ruling nas dawud.

At 9:37 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

The intent of my post was not to go to an anti mumia site and then debate the guilt or innocence of jamal. It was to provide a humorous antedote about how I ended up being thanked for my efforts to free jamal and being inundated with pro jamal spam after contacting jamal’s lawyer and telling him I think his client is guilty.

At 10:03 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

that should be "anecdote"
the priests from high school would smack me around for that mistake !

At 1:11 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just posted on the Phila IMC site regarding the MOVE demo on Aug 8-9th and I also posted my e mail address...lets'see...hmmm

John Di Zio
Stakeout Unit ret.


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