Mumia Abu-Jamal

Mumia Abu-Jamal, shown in 1995, is seeking another chance to appeal his 1982 conviction in the slaying of a Philadelphia police officer. — AP Photo/Chris Gardner, File

After two years of court dates, a Philadelphia judge will now decide whether Mumia Abu-Jamal, who is serving a life sentence for the murder of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner, will get another chance to appeal his 1982 conviction.

“You’ll hear from me shortly,” Common Pleas Court Judge Leon Tucker said Monday during a brief hearing, scheduled to give Abu-Jamal’s lawyers time to present additional evidence before a ruling on the high-profile, emotionally charged case.

There wasn’t any new evidence, so Tucker is teed up to make a decision he has publicly called “difficult” based on the record he has had before him for a couple of months. It’s unclear when he will make his ruling.

Abu-Jamal’s odds hinge on how Tucker interprets the actions of former Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Ronald Castille who also served as Philadelphia District Attorney earlier in his career.

Abu-Jamal’s lawyers have argued that Castille should have recused himself when their client’s case went before the high court because the justice fought Abu-Jamal’s initial appeal when he was district attorney.

They also said Castille personally pushed for former Gov. Robert Casey to sign the execution warrants for death row inmates convicted of murdering a police officer.

In a 1990 letter to Casey, Castille urges him to “send a clear and dramatic to all cop killers.” The second page of the letter includes the names of nearly a dozen death row inmates, excluding Abu-Jamal, at the time in the midst of his direct appeal.

“There’s lots of reasons to be concerned about Ron Castille’s neutrality when he became a Supreme Court justice,” defense attorney Judith Ritter said during a hearing in October.

Prosecutors say there’s no evidence proving Castille had a “personal significant involvement” in Abu-Jamal’s case, the legal hurdle Tucker must consider before deciding whether Castille had a conflict of interest.

Abu-Jamal, who was not in court Monday, has always maintained his innocence in the fatal shooting of Faulkner. — (WHYY)

(2) comments


send this guilty **** back to prison where he belongs. he worked hard to get there. he earned it.



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