Abu-Jamal's Death Sentence Overturned

| December 21, 2001

Abu-Jamal's Death Sentence Overturned: Jury Instruction Confusing, District Court Rules, Shannon P. Duffy, The Legal Intelligencer
Although supporters of Mumia Abu-Jamal are lauding U.S. District Judge William H. Yohn Jr.'s decision to overturn Abu-Jamal's death sentence, the decision comes as a major setback in his case, says Shannon P. Duffy of The Legal Intelligencer. Abu-Jamal, a journalist convicted of killing a Philadelphia police officer in 1981, submitted a petition citing 29 different arguments for a new trial. Of those 29 claims, only one -- that the jury received faulty instructions on how to deliberate his penalty -- was accepted. As a result, Abu-Jamal will receive new sentencing but not a new trial. Abu-Jamal is the third Pennsylvania death-row inmate to win a new sentencing hearing this year on the basis of jury instructions, set forth in the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Mills v. Maryland.
--Kate Garsombke
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Related links:
Europeans Hail Abu-Jamal Decision, Guardian Unlimited
Faulkner Family Outraged by Decision, Delaware County Daily and Sunday Times