Death Penalty Against Abu Jamal Declined

By Lora Neng
WWW.STREETGANGS.COM STAFF WRITER
October 14, 2011

The NAACP is taking a victory this week when the United States Supreme Court declined to hear the case against Mumia Abu-Jamal, thereby refusing Philadelphia District Attorney’s petition to reinstate the death penalty for the convicted police killer.

Former Black Panther Abu-Jamal spent 30 years on death row for the 1982 killing of Officer Daniel Faulkner. The conviction against Abu-Jamal is being upheld, but “because of flawed jury instructions on aggravating and mitigating factors,” according to the Associated Press,  pursuit of the death penalty would require a new sentencing hearing.

John Payton, president of NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, said, “At long last, the profoundly troubling prospect of Mr. Abu-Jamal facing an execution that was produced by an unfair and unreliable penalty phase has been eliminated […] Our system should never condone an execution that stems from a trial in which the jury was improperly instructed on the law.”

Even the officer’s widow is conflicted about whether supporting prosecutors to pursue the death penalty would be the right thing to do. Among Maureen Faulkner’s concerns were that Abu-Jamal would continue being in the media spotlight, and “I have to think of the city of Philadelphia and the costs it would incur to open a new hearing. Any logical person would, after 30 years.” She would consider a life sentence without parole as just judgment.

Mumia Abu-Jamal was a radio journalist supplementing his income through taxi driving before 1982 shooting incident. His iconic story has already infiltrated popular culture, including contributing recordings mixed into and vocal support of hip-hop music.

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