The Supreme Court rejected the latest appeal from Mumia Abu-Jamal today, declining to reverse his conviction. His death sentence was overturned in March, forcing Pennsylvania to either retry his sentencing in front of a new jury or accept a life sentence instead. This appeal attacked the conviction, but left the same court unmoved:
The US Supreme Court Monday refused to hear arguments for a new trial for Mumia Abu-Jamal, a former Black Panther accused of killing a police officer who has become an icon for anti-capital punishment campaigners.
His lawyer Robert Bryan has already said he will seek to bring a second Supreme Court appeal — on the grounds of racism — for the 54-year-old former radio journalist accused of the 1981 murder of Daniel Faulkner. …
As part of his defense, Abu-Jamal has argued he was denied a fair trial in 1982 because the prosecution barred 10 qualified African-Americans from sitting on the jury, which in the end consisted of 10 whites and two blacks.
The Philadelphia appeals court had rejected his arguments on lack of evidence of any racist intent on the part of the prosecution.
Without intent, it’s doubtful that the Supreme Court will act to overturn the conviction at this stage, especially since they had that opportunity — and declined to even hear the case. Given that the jury included two African-Americans who then voted to convict, the argument that the composition of the jury would have made any difference seems far-fetched. After that last appeal fails, the case of Mumia will finally get a chance to pass into oblivion, unless Pennsylvania decides to retry the sentencing.
As I wrote in March, I think they’d be better advised to let Mumia rot in prison for the rest of his life. Without the attraction of the death penalty, most of the celebrity attached to this case would disappear, and perhaps we may finally see a recognition of a basic fact in this case: Mumia murdered Daniel Faulkner in cold blood. Be sure to read Maureen Faulkner’s book on the murder of her husband, Murdered by Mumia. Shaun Mullen worked as a reporter in Philadelphia at the time and has some excellent observations as well.