April 29, 2011
Court Orders New Sentencing Hearing for Cop-Killer
On Tuesday the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals told prosecutors to conduct a new sentencing hearing for the former Black Panther Mumia Abu Jamal within six months or agree to a life sentence for the infamous killer.
Back in 2001 a federal judge granted Jamal a hearing based on "mitigating" circumstances surrounding jury instructions given at the 1982 proceeding. Philadelphia prosecutors fought against the ruling on behalf of the dead police officer's widow, but in 2008 the 3rd Circuit denied the district attorney's appeal.
Mumia Abu Jamal has been on death row since his 1982 conviction for the murder of a 25-year old police officer in Philadelphia. Since then the left's favorite murderer has become a cause célèbre for the Hollywood crowd. Stars like Alec Baldwin, Whoopi Godlberg, and Susan Sarandon to name a few. In addition to movie personalities he's a hero to Noam Chomsky, Van Jones, Marc Lamont Hill, Nelson Mandela, Fidel Castro and the late Howard Zinn.
The 29-year saga of famed cop-killer Jamal, born Wesley Cook, has come replete with worldwide "Free Mumai" protests; a 2002 album produced by former green czar Van Jones in support of his fellow Maoist; commencement addresses from his prison cell televised to the students of institutions like Kent State University and President Obama's own Occidental College; books like "Live From Death Row" that have sold hundreds of thousands of copies; a stint as guest blogger at former Fox pundit Marc Lamont Hill's website; and his own radio program heard online.
Before he murdered Danny Faulkner during a routine traffic stop in 1981 Jamal was the Information Minister for the Philadelphia branch of the Black Panther Party at the age of 15. He was well known for calling cops "pigs" and for his radical NPR radio show.
In the early morning hours of December 9, 1981 Jamal shot Officer Faulkner 5 times. Before the fatal bullet to the head Faulkner managed to shoot Jamal once in the chest. At the trial three witnesses, including two police officers and a hospital security guard, stated that Jamal confessed to the shooting at the hospital yelling "I shot the mother...er and I hope the mother...er dies." All the shell casings found at the scene of the crime came from Jamal's gun.
Philadelphia district attorney Seth Williams, an African-American made this statement after Tuesday's decision by the 3rd circuit:
"This is not a whodunit," he said.It's really an unfortunate fact that, yes, the criminal justice system in Philadelphia . . . in America has a history of problems and racism. I understand all of that. This is not one of those cases.
Maureen Faulkner, the officer's widow, broke down crying after the ruling and was "devastated" according to Williams.
Read more M.Catharine Evans at www.potterwilliamsreport.com