Court Decision Perpetuates Fodder in Mumia Case
The Legal Intelligencer reported online today that Mumia Abu-Jamal’s death sentence has been overturned but his conviction upheld.
Shannon Duffy reported that the “3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court’s ruling that affirmed Abu-Jamal’s conviction but overturned his death sentence due to potentially confusing jury instructions.”
It doesn’t surprise me at all that the opinion was 118 pages (36 pages short of the 154-page PCRA opinion that I worked on with Judge Albert F. Sabo as his law clerk in 1995) or that the three-judge panel was divided.
Having read more that 10,000 pages of transcripts when we heard the PCRA matters in 1995, I personally believe that the appellate claims are meritless.
What really irks me, though, is that this case, some 26 years later, is still unresolved. The evidence clearly shows that Abu-Jamal murdered Officer Daniel Faulkner in cold blood. If he had just gotten life in prison at the original trial, I doubt he would have ever become a cause celebre. Let’s face it, Pennsylvania may claim to be a capital punishment state but getting the death penalty is no different than life in prison.
The death penalty, as with this decision, just gives rise to plenty of fodder for the media, continues to keep the case alive and perpetuates the injustice to the Faulkner family.
In the book, “Murdered by Mumia,” co-authored by Michael Smerconish and Maureen Faulkner, Maureen remembers the day Judge Yohn overturned the death sentence. She says that she received a call from “Hugh Burns of the District Attorney’s Office in Philadelphia. He had news that would drain the blood from [her] face. . . [she] felt sick … [then] the phones started ringing from reporters.”
I presume, seven years after Judge Yohn’s decision, Maureen Faulkner is experiencing much of the same. So the saga continues.
Gina F. Rubel, Esq.
Furia Rubel Communications, Inc.