Supreme Court lets Mumia Abu-Jamal’s conviction stand

07Apr09

free-mumia-abu-jamaloriginally published: 6th April 2009

The Supreme Court has let stand the conviction of former Black Panther Mumia Abu-Jamal, who was sent to death row for gunning down a Philadelphia police officer 28 years ago.

He contends blacks were unfairly excluded from the jury, and has been an outspoken activist from behind bars. The justices made their announcement Monday. A separate appeal over whether Abu-Jamal deserves a new sentencing hearing has not been taken up by the high court.

Prosecutors are appealing a federal appeals court ruling in Abu-Jamal’s favor last year on the sentencing issue. The case has attracted international attention amid charges of prosecutorial misconduct and the inmate’s outspoken personality.

Abu-Jamal, a former radio reporter and cab driver has been a divisive figure, with many prominent supporters arguing that racism pervaded his trial. Others countered Abu-Jamal is using his skin color to escape responsibility for his actions. They say he has divided the community for years with his provocative writing and activism.

He was convicted for the December 9, 1981, murder of Officer Daniel Faulkner, 25, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Faulkner had pulled over Abu-Jamal’s brother in a late-night traffic stop. Witnesses said Abu-Jamal, who was nearby, ran over and shot the policeman in the back and in the head.

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