Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The never-ending courtroom saga of Abu-Jamal

In 1982 this guy was convicting of killing a cop. Nearly 30 years later, his case was back in court yesterday... specifically, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Over the years, this case has been up to the U.S. Supreme Court and in all levels of the Pennsylvania appellate court system. The question is not one of guilt. It is whether the jury properly gave him the death penalty as opposed to life in prison. As millions of dollars and countless hours of attorney and judicial time no doubt have been expended on the case, life in prison has pretty much turned out to be the de facto, if not the de jure, sentence for this cop killer.

Here's what the Philadelphia Inquirer says today about yesterday's courtroom event:

"Mumia Abu-Jamal's latest chance to get off death row now depends on whether three federal appellate judges believe they can win a legal argument with the U.S. Supreme Court.
"In January, the high court vacated a 2008 decision throwing out Abu-Jamal's death sentence and ordered a new hearing.
"Tuesday, in a crowded federal courtroom, that hearing was convened. For an hour, lawyers for Abu-Jamal and the Philadelphia district attorney were peppered with questions by the three judges from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. A decision is not expected before 2011.
"Abu-Jamal, convicted in the 1981 slaying of Police Officer Daniel Faulkner, remains in a state prison outside Pittsburgh and will likely stay behind bars for years because no matter what the judges decide, an appeal by one side or the other is a given."

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