PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A state court judge continued the action filed by Mumia Abu-Jamal claiming alleged judicial bias. Abu-Jamal is serving a life sentence for the murder of Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner.
Supporters hope new Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner will review the case.
Dozens of Abu-Jamal supporters rallied outside of the Stout Justice Center, while inside, a judge continued the matter that arose back in 2016 when the U.S. Supreme Court held that it was a violation of due process for a judge to participate in a criminal appeal to which he had a personal involvement in as a prosecutor.
“It’s not just a continuance so that the new lawyers on the case can learn about the case,” says Judith Ritter, an attorney representing Abu-Jamal in this matter.
She says retired Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Ronald Castille illegally presided over Jamal’s post conviction relief in the mid-1990s that went to the state’s high court, after working on his direct appeal while he was Philadelphia district attorney between 1986 and 1990.
Ritter says the DA’s office has been slow to produce documents and prosecutors denied that Castille had been personally involved in the case while he served as DA. She’s hoping the continuance gives newly elected DA Larry Krasner’s team time to review.
“We’re glad that they’re going to take a look at their position,” she says, “and possibly take a position on the ultimate result this time around.”
A status report is set for Feb. 26. The hearing will take place March 27. No word yet from the DA’s office.