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U.S. high court rejects latest Mumia appeal

May 18, 2004
Pennsylvania
U.S. high court rejects latest Mumia appeal
Associated Press
PHILADELPHIA - The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday denied a request to
consider death row inmate Mumia Abu-Jamal's latest appeal of his
conviction for the 1981 murder of a Philadelphia police officer.

The appeal contended that the trial judge was racially hostile and that a
state Supreme Court justice should not have participated in the case
because he was a former prosecutor.

Abu-Jamal still has several appeals still pending in local and federal
courts stemming from his 1982 conviction and sentence for the murder of
Philadelphia police Officer Daniel Faulkner.

The latest appeal alleged that Judge Albert F. Sabo was overheard saying
he was "going to help 'em fry" Abu-Jamal, whom he referred to with a
racist epithet. A court stenographer signed a sworn affidavit saying she
heard Sabo, who died two years ago, make the statement to an unidentified
court employee.

The appeal also said Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Ronald Castille
acted improperly when he did not remove himself from the panel hearing
Abu-Jamal's appeal. Castille fought to uphold Abu-Jamal's conviction and
death sentence while serving as district attorney in Philadelphia from
1986 to 1991.

Assistant District Attorney Hugh Burns said that the appeal, like all of
Abu-Jamal's legal actions, "has no validity."

Robert R. Bryan, Abu-Jamal's lead attorney, said the high court only hears
a very small percentage of cases that are brought before it, and the
court's refusal to hear Abu-Jamal's appeal is not a reflection of its
merit.

Abu-Jamal, 50, a onetime radio reporter and former Black Panther, was
convicted of shooting Faulkner, 25, after the white police officer pulled
over Abu-Jamal's brother on Dec. 9, 1981.

Prosecutors said Abu-Jamal, then a taxi driver, was in his cab when he saw
the officer scuffling with his brother and ran toward the scene, shooting
Faulkner point-blank in the face. Police arriving at the scene discovered
the mortally wounded officer on the ground and Abu-Jamal, wounded by a
bullet from Faulkner's gun and with his own weapon nearby, slumped on a
curb.

Abu-Jamal's writings and taped speeches on the justice system have made
his case a cause celebre among Hollywood activists, foreign politicians
and death-penalty opponents, who believe he was the victim of a racist
justice system.

In December 2001, U.S. District Judge William H. Yohn overturned
Abu-Jamal's death sentence but upheld his conviction. Both sides have
appealed, and Abu-Jamal remains on death row in western Pennsylvania.

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On the Net:

Appeal:  http://www.freemumia.org/Petition.Mar.8.pdf

Concerned Family & Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal:  http://www.mumia.org

Justice for Daniel Faulkner:  http://www.danielfaulkner.com

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Source : Associated Press

 http://www.observer-reporter.com/280535431582890.bsp