Abu-Jamal case heads back to court

    New attorney for Philadelphia man convicted of murdering police officer will ask for a new sentencing hearing. He’s been on death row for almost 30 years.

    The case involving Pennsylvania’s most famous death-row inmate will be back in court Tuesday. Attorneys for Mumia Abu-Jamal will ask a federal three-judge panel to allow a new sentencing hearing.

    Abu-Jamal has been on death row since his 1982 conviction for killing Philadelphia police Officer Daniel Faulkner.

    A lower court ruled in 2001 that the death sentence should be vacated because the original trial judge gave confusing instructions to the jury. But with so many issues in this longstanding case, Abu-Jamal’s attorneys will once again be arguing similar issues to a new set of judges.

    Michael Coard is an attorney, and supporter of Abu-Jamal.

    “This case has gone from the common pleas court, to the Pennsylvania Superior Court, to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, back down to the PCRA court, Post Conviction Relief Court, which is on the common pleas level,” said Coard. “Back up to the superior court, state superior court, state Supreme Court, federal district dourt, 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals, U.S. Supreme Court.”

    And now, its back to the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals.

    Abu-Jamal is one of more than 200 Pennsylvania inmates sitting on death row. Dozens, including him, were sentenced back in the 1980s.

    In the meantime, Abu-Jamal’s lead attorney withdrew from the case Friday. Widener University Law professor Judith Ritter will argue the case.

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