It seems unlikely that Mumia Abu-Jamal will have the chance at justice which he deserves.
A judge decided on Monday to continue the activist’s appeal hearing until August 30, ABC News reported. The former death row inmate has attempted several times before to appeal his conviction. At Monday’s hearing, the judge had to consider whether to vacate those previous failed attempts and grant him another try.
Abu-Jamal’s legal team argues, under Pennsylvania’s Post-Conviction Relief Act, that his rights to appeal conviction were violated by former state Supreme Court Justice Ronald Castille, who was biased in denying Abu-Jamal’s appeals. Castille was the Philadelphia district attorney who argued against Abu-Jamal’s appeals in the high court.
Monday’s hearing came just days after the parole of another former Black activist, Herman Bell, convicted in the 1970s for killing two police officers.
Abu-Jamal, 64, is a former Black Panther and journalist who has always maintained his innocence. A jury convicted him in 1982 for the December 9, 1981 killing of Officer Daniel Faulkner. The jurors found that he shot Faulkner, who was White, several times in a confrontation after the officer pulled over Abu-Jamal’s brother for driving the wrong way on a one-way street. The activist argued that someone else at scene was the actual killer.
After spending 29 years on death row, a judge reduced Abu-Jamal’s sentence to life without parole in 2011. That successful appeal was based on jurors receiving misleading instructions during his initial trial.
To many, Abu-Jamal is a political prisoner. An international movement demands his release. He’s become a symbol for groups protesting for criminal justice system reform. Supporters rallied on Monday to raise awareness about his case.
The attorneys agued that Castille, who is now retired from the bench, should have stepped aside from participating in decisions about appeals in this case. In 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled, in a different case, that Castille should have recused himself from hearing a death penalty case that he oversaw as district attorney.
Judges routinely recuse themselves when there’s a possibility of a conflict of interest. Indeed, U.S. Supreme Court justices recused themselves at least 180 times in the 2016 term, according to the ABA Journal. That number included 33 recusals because justices held stock ownership of companies involved in cases they were hearing.
Debates about whether Abu-Jamal deserves the right to another appeal come against the backdrop of parole officials releasing Bell on Friday, despite the strong objections of New York City’s police union and mayor.
Bell, 70, spent four decades in prison after pleading guilty to the murders of two NYPD officers. Along with two other members of the Black Liberation Army, Bell ambushed the officers outside a Harlem housing project in 1971. All three men were convicted and sentence to 25 years-to-life in prison. The board granted Bell conditional release after his eighth attempt at getting paroled.
43 Black Men And Boys Killed By Police
1. Anthony Lamar Smith, 24Source:Getty 1 of 46
2. Ramarley Graham, 18Source:Getty 2 of 46
3. Manuel Loggins Jr., 31Source:Getty 3 of 46
4. Trayvon Martin, 17Source:Getty 4 of 46
5. Wendell Allen, 20Source:Getty 5 of 46
6. Kendrec McDade, 19Source:Getty 6 of 46
7. Larry Jackson Jr., 32Source:Getty 7 of 46
8. Jonathan Ferrell, 24Source:Getty 8 of 46
9. Jordan Baker, 26Source:Getty 9 of 46
10. Victor White lll, 22Source:Getty 10 of 46
11. Dontre Hamilton, 31Source:Getty 11 of 46
12. Eric Garner, 43Source:Getty 12 of 46
13. John Crawford lll, 22Source:Getty 13 of 46
14. Michael Brown, 18Source:Getty 14 of 46
15. Ezell Ford, 25Source:Getty 15 of 46
16. Dante Parker, 36Source:Getty 16 of 46
17. Kajieme Powell, 25Source:Getty 17 of 46
18. Laquan McDonald, 17Source:Getty 18 of 46
19. Akai Gurley, 28Source:Getty 19 of 46
20. Tamir Rice, 12Source:Getty 20 of 46
21. Rumain Brisbon, 34Source:Getty 21 of 46
22. Jerame Reid, 36Source:Getty 22 of 46
23. Charly Keunang, 43Source:Getty 23 of 46
24. Tony Robinson, 19Source:Getty 24 of 46
25. Walter Scott, 50Source:Getty 25 of 46
26. Freddie Gray, 25Source:Getty 26 of 46
27. Brendon Glenn, 29Source:Getty 27 of 46
28. Samuel DuBose, 43Source:Getty 28 of 46
29. Christian Taylor, 19Source:Getty 29 of 46
30. Jamar Clark, 24Source:Getty 30 of 46
31. Mario Woods, 26Source:Getty 31 of 46
32. Quintonio LeGrier, 19Source:Getty 32 of 46
33. Gregory Gunn, 58Source:Getty 33 of 46
34. Akiel Denkins, 24Source:Getty 34 of 46
35. Alton Sterling, 37Source:Getty 35 of 46
36. Philando Castile, 32Source:Getty 36 of 46
37. Terrence Sterling, 31Source:Getty 37 of 46
38. Terence Crutcher, 40Source:Getty 38 of 46
39. Keith Lamont Scott, 43Source:Getty 39 of 46
40. Alfred Olango, 38Source:Getty 40 of 46
41. Jordan Edwards, 15Source:Getty 41 of 46
42. Stephon Clark, 2242 of 46
43. Danny Ray Thomas, 3443 of 46
44. DeJuan Guillory, 2744 of 46
45. DeJuan Guillory, 2745 of 46
46. DeJuan Guillory, 2746 of 46
Why Mumia Abu-Jamal Won’t Be Granted An Appeal Even Though He Deserves One was originally published on newsone.com