On December 7, 2011, Philadelphia District Attorney R. Seth Williams announced that prosecutors would no longer seek the death penalty for Abu-Jamal. Williams said that Abu-Jamal will spend the rest of his life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Like a referee at a basketball game, some people like that call and some don’t.
It’s hard to believe that it’s been 30 years since we’ve heard that guy with the distinctive voice and unusual name bringing us Philadelphia news on WDAS radio. No one could have imagined back then that Mumia would turn out to be the world’s best known death-row inmate.
Despite your opinion on his death sentence, you can’t deny that his case has been one of the craziest ones ever, from the local courts up to the highest court in the land.
Have you ever seen so many issues: disputed evidence - available versus permitted; witness testimony that ranged from credible to bizarre; rulings that convict and recant?
In my opinion, law is confusing and ambiguous by it’s very nature. In complex cases, it is asking a lot of juries to sort out all the issues they have to make decisions on. If lawyers and judges can’t agree on the laws, you know a jury will likely struggle, too.
Even the statement from the judge in 2001 that justified vacating Mumia’s death sentence has my head spinning --
...the jury instructions and verdict sheet in this case involved an unreasonable application of federal law. The charge and verdict form created a reasonable likelihood that the jury believed it was precluded from considering any mitigating circumstance that had not been found unanimously to exist.
Like most everything else concerning this trial, it’s confusing.
Obviously, everyone has an opinion on who committed the crime that killed Officer Faulkner based on the evidence presented. Yet, Mumia’s death sentence was a legal matter that has resulted in 30 years of court room confusion.
If it was only up to a jury of Chester City Blog readers, Mumia would hang.