Appeals Court Grants Mumia Abu-Jamal New Sentencing Hearing
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A federal appeals court in Philadelphia has once again said that death row inmate Mumia Abu-Jamal should be granted a new sentencing hearing. But, his conviction for killing a police officer in 1981 still stands.
Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams intends to pursue an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
“We are going to go forward and ask the Supreme Court to ensure that the defendant receives the death penalty,” Williams explained. “We believe that the Supreme Court will agree it was the standard and it was appropriate for the law at that time.”
(Tawa:) “The federal appeals court is saying the jury instructions were confusing, and perhaps the jury was mislead on being unanimous.”
“Well, the legislature and courts of appeals are always allowed to reinterpret and come up with new laws.”
Williams says they applied the laws that were in place at that time.
A professor at Widener Law School, Judith Ritter, represented Abu-Jamal in this latest stage.
“The Third Circuit took the Supreme Court’s instructions to it very seriously and wrote a very solid opinion,” Ritter said.
She believes the original jury was misled about the process for considering evidence supporting a life sentence.
Reported by Steve Tawa, KYW Newsradio