The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to take up Mumia Abu-Jamal’s case. The Philadelphia District Attorney’s office had appealed a ruling by a federal appeals court that overturned the death sentence for Abu-Jamal. Convicted of killing Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner in 1981, Abu-Jamal is serving a sentence of life without parole.
Christina Swarns of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund has been representing Abu-Jamal. The DA could seek the death penalty again in a new sentencing hearing, she said.
“It wouldn’t technically be a new trial, meaning they wouldn’t get the right to determine if he is guilty or not guilty,” she said. “Bur they would have to go through and understand the circumstances of the offense.”
Swarns said a new hearing would not be easy.
“Witnesses, I’m sure, are long gone, passed away, moved away, disabled because of a variety of life circumstances. It’s going to be very difficult to present a clear picture of what happened in 1981 because of the time lapse,” Swarns said.
District Attorney Seth Williams released a statement saying he is reviewing the Supreme Court decision and has no comment.