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Mumia Abu-Jamal

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Title: Mumia Abu-Jamal  
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Subject: Mumia Abu-Jamal, In Prison My Whole Life, Geronimo Pratt, Black Panther Party, Mos Def
Collection: 1954 Births, African-American Journalists, African-American Writers, Alternative Tentacles Artists, American Anti–death Penalty Activists, American Columnists, American Male Writers, American Newspaper Reporters and Correspondents, American People Convicted of Murdering Police Officers, American Political Writers, American Prisoners Sentenced to Death, American Radio Reporters and Correspondents, Anti-Globalization Activists, Criminals of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, France–united States Relations, Goddard College Alumni, Living People, Marxist Journalists, Members of the Black Panther Party, Mumia Abu-Jamal, Pennsylvania Political Activists, People Convicted of Murder by Pennsylvania, Prisoners Sentenced to Death by Pennsylvania, Writers from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
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Mumia Abu-Jamal

Mumia Abu-Jamal
Born Wesley Cook
(1954-04-24) April 24, 1954
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Criminal penalty
Life imprisonment without parole
Criminal status Incarcerated
Conviction(s) First degree murder

Mumia Abu-Jamal (born Wesley Cook[1] April 24, 1954) was convicted and sentenced to death on July 3, 1982, for the December 1981 murder of The New York Times,[7] during his imprisonment he has published books and commentaries on social and political issues, including Live from Death Row (1995).

Abu-Jamal became involved in MOVE that protested police brutality and was involved in several incidents that included conflict with the police, violence, and homicide.[9] After leaving the party, he became a radio journalist – eventually becoming president of the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists.

On December 9, 1981, Officer Faulkner was shot dead in Philadelphia while he was conducting a traffic stop on Abu-Jamal's brother, William Cook. Faulkner was shot in the back and then again while lying on the pavement.[10] Abu-Jamal was injured by a shot from Faulkner and was taken to Thomas Jefferson University Hospital where two police officers and a black security guard, Priscilla Durham, reportedly heard Abu-Jamal shout out, "I shot the Mother Fucker, and I hope the Mother Fucker dies."[11] Abu-Jamal was arrested and charged with first degree murder.

Abu-Jamal attempted to represent himself at his 1982 trial but was repeatedly reprimanded for disruptive behavior and given a court-appointed lawyer. Three witnesses testified that they had witnessed Abu-Jamal commit the murder, and he was unanimously convicted by the racially mixed jury (2 blacks and 10 non-blacks) and sentenced to death.[12] He spent the next 30 years on death row.

In 2008, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the murder conviction but ordered a new capital sentencing hearing because the jury was improperly instructed.[13] Subsequently, the United States Supreme Court also allowed his conviction to stand,[13] but ordered the appeals court to reconsider its decision as to the sentence.[14] In 2011, the Third Circuit again affirmed the conviction, as well as its decision to vacate the death sentence,[15] and the District Attorney of Philadelphia announced that prosecutors would no longer seek the death penalty.[16] He was removed from death row in January 2012, and in March 2012 the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania ruled that all claims of new evidence put on his behalf did not warrant conducting a retrial.


  • Early life and activism 1
    • Involvement with the Black Panthers 1.1
    • Education and journalism career 1.2
  • Arrest for murder and trial 2
    • Prosecution case at trial 2.1
    • Defense case at trial 2.2
    • Verdict and sentence 2.3
  • Appeals and review 3
    • State appeals 3.1
    • Federal ruling directing resentencing 3.2
    • Federal appeal 3.3
    • Death penalty dropped 3.4
  • Life as a prisoner 4
  • Popular support and opposition 5
  • Written works 6
  • See also 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9

Early life and activism

Abu-Jamal was given the name Mumia in 1968 by his high school teacher, a Kenyan instructing a class on African cultures in which students took African classroom names.[17] According to Abu-Jamal, 'Mumia' means "Prince" and was the name of Kenyan anti-colonial African nationalists who fought against the British before Kenyan independence.[18] He adopted the surname Abu-Jamal ("father of Jamal" in Arabic) after the birth of his son Jamal on July 18, 1971.[17][19] His first marriage at age 19, to Jamal's mother, Biba, was short-lived.[20] Their daughter, Lateefa, was born shortly after the wedding.[21] Abu-Jamal married his second wife, Marilyn (known as "Peachie"),[19] in 1977.[22] Their son, Mazi, was born in early 1978.[23] By 1981, Abu-Jamal was living with his third and current wife, Wadiya.[22]

Involvement with the Black Panthers

In his own writings, Abu-Jamal describes his adolescent experience of being "kicked ... into the Black Panther Party" after suffering a beating from "white

  • Summary of the prosecution's case
  • Fraternal Order of Police news, press releases, and communications relating to Mumia Abu-Jamal
  • Justice For Daniel Faulkner

Opponent groups

  • Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Coalition (New York City)
  • Partisan Defense Committee
  • Journalists for Mumia
  • Educators for Mumia Abu-Jamal

Supporter groups

  • 1996 video of death row visitation interview with Mumia Abu-Jamal
  • Competing Films Offer Differing Views – video report by Democracy Now!


External links

  1. ^ Smith, Laura (October 27, 2007). "'I spend my days preparing for life, not for death'". The Guardian. Retrieved 2008-01-22. 
  2. ^ Commonwealth v. Abu-Jamal, Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas, First Judicial District, Philadelphia, Case Nos. 1357–59.
  3. ^ "D.A.: Abu-Jamal can go rot in cell".  
  4. ^ a b c "A Life in the Balance: The Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal". Amnesty International. February 17, 2000. Archived from the original on December 1, 2008. Retrieved 2007-10-18. 
  5. ^ Taylor Jr., Stuart (December 1, 1995). "Guilty and Framed".  
  6. ^ a b "European Parliament resolution 9(f) B4-1170/95 (p. 39 of original, 49 of pdf)" (PDF).  
  7. ^ Rimer, Sara (December 19, 2001). "Death Sentence Overturned In 1981 Killing of Officer". The New York Times. p. 1. Retrieved July 6, 2011. 
  8. ^ a b Burroughs, Todd Steven (2004). "Epilogue: The Barrel of a Gun". Ready to Party: Mumia Abu-Jamal and the Black Panther Party. The College of New Jersey. Retrieved 2008-01-22. 
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ a b c "Supreme Court lets Mumia Abu-Jamal's conviction stand". CNN. April 6, 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-06. 
  14. ^ a b "U.S. court sends back Abu-Jamal death penalty case".  
  15. ^ Dale, Maryclaire (April 26, 2009). "Mumia Abu-Jamal Granted New Sentencing Hearing". NBC. Retrieved December 1, 2011. 
  16. ^ a b "Death Penalty Dropped Against Mumia Abu-Jamal".  
  17. ^ a b Burroughs, Todd Steven (2004). "Prologue: Joining the Party". Ready to Party: Mumia Abu-Jamal and the Black Panther Party.  
  18. ^ Abu-Jamal, Mumia (February 7, 2003). "Question for Mumia: Tell Me About Your Name". Mumia Abu-Jamal Radio Broadcast. Prison Radio. Retrieved July 11, 2012. 
  19. ^ a b Burroughs, Todd Steven (2004). "Part IV: Leaving the Party". Ready to Party: Mumia Abu-Jamal and the Black Panther Party. The College of New Jersey. Retrieved 2008-01-22. 
  20. ^ Bisson, p.119 quoted at "The Religious Affiliation of Mumia Abu-Jamal".  
  21. ^ Burroughs, Todd Steven (December 2001). "Mumia Abu-Jamal's Family Faces Future While Fighting Fear 20th Anniversary of 1981 Shooting Approaches".  
  22. ^ a b  
  23. ^ See ages given in: and Erard, Michael (July 4, 2003). "A Radical in the Family".  
  24. ^ Abu-Jamal, Mumia (1996). Live From Death Row. New York: Harper Perennial. p. 151.  
  25. ^ Abu Jamal, Mumia (2004). We Want Freedom: A Life in the Black Panther Party. Cambridge, Mass.: South End Press.  
  26. ^ a b Burroughs, Todd Steven (2004). """Part I: "Do Something, Nigger!. Ready to Party: Mumia Abu-Jamal and the Black Panther Party. The College of New Jersey. Retrieved 2008-01-22. 
  27. ^ Burroughs, Todd Steven (2004). "Part II: The Party in Philadelphia". Ready to Party: Mumia Abu-Jamal and the Black Panther Party. The College of New Jersey. Retrieved 2008-01-22. 
  28. ^
  29. ^ Burroughs, Todd Steven (2004). "Part III: 'Armed and Dangerous': Tracked by the FBI". Ready to Party: Mumia Abu-Jamal and the Black Panther Party. The College of New Jersey. Retrieved 2008-01-22. 
  30. ^ a b c d Shaw, Theodore M.; Chachkin, Norman J.; Swarns, Christina A. (July 27, 2007). "amicus curiae"Brief of (PDF). Mumia Abu-Jamal v. Martin Horn, Pennsylvania Director of Corrections, et al.  
  31. ^ a b c Burroughs, Todd Steven (September 1, 2004). "Mumia's voice: confined to Pennsylvania's death row, Mumia Abu-Jamal remains at the center of debate as he continues to write and options to appeal his police murder conviction dwindle".  
  32. ^ a b c d e "The Suspect – One Who Raised His Voice".  
  33. ^ a b O'Connor, The Framing of Mumia Abu-Jamal, pp. 54–55
  34. ^ "Philadelphia AM Radio History". Retrieved 2008-01-22. 
  35. ^ "Trial and Post-Conviction Relief Act (PCRA) hearing transcripts" (PDF). Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Retrieved 2008-01-22. 
  36. ^ "Trial transcript §1.72–§1.73". Commonwealth vs. Mumia Abu-Jamal aka Wesley Cook. Court of Common Pleas, Philadelphia County, Criminal Trial Division. June 17, 1982. Retrieved 2008-01-22. 
  37. ^ "Trial transcript §3.210–§3.211". Commonwealth vs. Mumia Abu-Jamal aka Wesley Cook. Court of Common Pleas, Philadelphia County, Criminal Trial Division. June 19, 1982. Retrieved 2008-01-22. 
  38. ^ "Trial transcript pp.94–95". Commonwealth vs. Mumia Abu-Jamal aka Wesley Cook. Court of Common Pleas, Philadelphia County, Criminal Trial Division. June 21, 1982. Retrieved 2008-01-22. 
  39. ^ "Trial transcript pp.5–75". Commonwealth vs. Mumia Abu-Jamal aka Wesley Cook. Court of Common Pleas, Philadelphia County, Criminal Trial Division. June 25, 1982. Retrieved 2008-01-22. 
  40. ^ "Trial transcript pp.75 ff.". Commonwealth vs. Mumia Abu-Jamal aka Wesley Cook. Court of Common Pleas, Philadelphia County, Criminal Trial Division. June 25, 1982. Retrieved 2008-01-22. 
  41. ^ "Trial transcript pp.29, 31, 34, 137, 162 and 164". Commonwealth vs. Mumia Abu-Jamal aka Wesley Cook. Court of Common Pleas, Philadelphia County, Criminal Trial Division. June 24, 1982. Retrieved 2008-01-22. 
  42. ^ "Trial transcript p.169". Commonwealth vs. Mumia Abu-Jamal aka Wesley Cook. Court of Common Pleas, Philadelphia County, Criminal Trial Division. June 23, 1982. Retrieved 2008-01-22. 
  43. ^ Prosecution expert witness Charles Tumosa said such tests were "unreliable...It doesn't work if you grab a piece of metal like this or put your hand on a car or touch a firearm or touch a person who has touched a firearm or if you put your hand on the clean city streets or whatever." "Trial transcript, pp.57–61". Commonwealth vs. Mumia Abu-Jamal aka Wesley Cook. Court of Common Pleas, First Judicial District of Pennsylvania, Criminal Trial Division. June 26, 1982. Retrieved 2010-06-15. 
  44. ^ Defence expert witness George Fassnacht said "I don't know where he was grasped, but if you are saying that they had contacted his hands, particularly where a great deal of pressure was applied, they could have very well destroyed traces of powder residue if in fact such did exist. That is a possibility." "PCRA hearing transcript, pp.118–122". Commonwealth vs. Mumia Abu-Jamal aka Wesley Cook. Court of Common Pleas, First Judicial District of Pennsylvania, Criminal Trial Division. August 2, 1995. Retrieved 2008-01-22. 
  45. ^ "Trial transcript p.19". Commonwealth vs. Mumia Abu-Jamal aka Wesley Cook. Court of Common Pleas, Philadelphia County, Criminal Trial Division. June 30, 1982. Retrieved 2008-01-22. 
  46. ^ "Trial transcript p.127". Commonwealth vs. Mumia Abu-Jamal aka Wesley Cook. Court of Common Pleas, Philadelphia County, Criminal Trial Division. June 28, 1982. Retrieved 2008-01-22. 
  47. ^ "Trial transcript pp.99–100". Commonwealth vs. Mumia Abu-Jamal aka Wesley Cook. Court of Common Pleas, Philadelphia County, Criminal Trial Division. June 29, 1982. Retrieved 2008-01-22. 
  48. ^ "Post-Trial Motions transcript p.29". Commonwealth vs. Mumia Abu-Jamal aka Wesley Cook. Court of Common Pleas, First Judicial District of Pennsylvania, Criminal Trial Division. May 25, 1983. Retrieved 2008-01-22. 
  49. ^ Lopez, Steve (July 23, 2000). "Wrong Guy, Good Cause".  
  50. ^ "Trial transcript, pp.3–34". Commonwealth vs. Mumia Abu-Jamal aka Wesley Cook. Court of Common Pleas, Philadelphia Criminal Trial Division. July 3, 1982. Retrieved 2008-01-22. 
  51. ^ "Trial transcript, pp.10–16". Commonwealth vs. Mumia Abu-Jamal aka Wesley Cook. Court of Common Pleas, Philadelphia Criminal Trial Division. July 3, 1982. Retrieved 2008-01-22. 
  52. ^ "Trial transcript, pp.100–103". Commonwealth vs. Mumia Abu-Jamal aka Wesley Cook. Court of Common Pleas, Philadelphia Criminal Trial Division. July 3, 1982. Retrieved 2008-01-22. 
  53. ^ Pennsylvania v. Abu-Jamal, 555 A.2d 846 (1989).
  54. ^ Pennsylvania v. Abu-Jamal, 569 A.2d 915 (1990).
  55. ^ Abu-Jamal v. Pennsylvania, 498 U.S. 881 (1990).
  56. ^ Abu-Jamal v. Pennsylvania, 501 U.S. 1214 (1991).
  57. ^ a b c d e f Yohn, William H., Jr. (December 2001). "Memorandum and Order" (PDF). Mumia Abu-Jamal, Petitioner, vs. Martin Horn, Commissioner, Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, et al., Respondents. US District Court for the Eastern District of Philadelphia. Retrieved 2008-01-22. 
  58. ^ "PCRA hearing transcript pp.204 ff.". Commonwealth vs. Mumia Abu-Jamal aka Wesley Cook. Court of Common Pleas, First Judicial District of Pennsylvania, Criminal Trial Division. August 11, 1995. Retrieved 2008-01-22. 
  59. ^ "PCRA hearing transcript pp.16 ff.". Commonwealth vs. Mumia Abu-Jamal aka Wesley Cook. Court of Common Pleas, First Judicial District of Pennsylvania, Criminal Trial Division. August 14, 1995. Retrieved 2008-02-02. 
  60. ^ "PCRA hearing transcript pp.45 ff.". Commonwealth vs. Mumia Abu-Jamal aka Wesley Cook. Court of Common Pleas, First Judicial District of Pennsylvania, Criminal Trial Division. August 10, 1995. Retrieved 2008-01-22. 
  61. ^ "PCRA hearing transcript". Commonwealth vs. Mumia Abu-Jamal aka Wesley Cook. Court of the Common Pleas, First Judicial District of Pennsylvania, Criminal Trials Division. August 2, 1995. Retrieved 2008-01-22. 
  62. ^ Faulkner, Maureen (December 8–14, 1999). "Running From The Truth".  
  63. ^ Pennsylvania v. Abu-Jamal, 720 A.2d 79 (1998).
  64. ^ Beverly, Arnold (June 8, 1999). "Affidavit of Arnold Beverly". Justice for Police Officer Daniel Faulkner. Retrieved December 1, 2011. 
  65. ^ Lindorff, Dave (June 15, 2001). "Mumia's all-or-nothing gamble". Retrieved 2010-09-24. 
  66. ^ Newman, George Michael (September 25, 2001). "Affidavit of George Michael Newman" (rdf). Labor Action Committee to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal. Retrieved December 1, 2011. 
  67. ^ a b c d Dave Lindorff and Linn Washington, Jr, CounterPunch, 20 September 2010, Sidewalk Murder Scene Should Have Displayed Vivid Bullet Impact Marks
  68. ^ "PCRA hearing transcript p.144". Court of Common Pleas, First Judicial District of Pennsylvania, Criminal Trial Division. June 26, 1997. Retrieved 2008-01-22. 
  69. ^ Williams, Yvette (January 28, 2002). "Declaration of Yvette Williams". Free Mumia Coalition. Retrieved 2008-01-22. 
  70. ^ Pate, Kenneth (April 18, 2003). "Declaration of Kenneth Pate". Free Mumia Coalition. Retrieved 2008-01-22. 
  71. ^ Amnesty International The Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal: A Life in the Balance Seven Stories Press 2000 ISBN 158322081X p.25
  72. ^ Lounsberry, Emilie (February 20, 2008). "Pa. court rebuffs Abu-Jamal on bid for perjury hearing". The Philadelphia Inquirer: B03. 
  73. ^ "Abu-Jamal Loses His Final Appeal". Associated Press. April 4, 2012. Retrieved 2012-07-16. 
  74. ^ "Order of Judgment by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, Eastern District, in Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v Mumia Abu-Jamal [J-44-2010]" (PDF). Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. March 26, 2012. Retrieved 2012-07-16. 
  75. ^ "Pa. Supreme Court rejects Mumia Abu-Jamal's last appeal". WPVI TV ( 
  76. ^ Abu-Jamal, Mumia (May 4, 2001). "Declaration of Mumia Abu-Jamal". Justice for Police Officer Daniel Faulkner. Retrieved December 1, 2011. 
  77. ^ Cook, William (April 29, 2001). "Declaration of William Cook". Free Mumia Coalition. Retrieved December 1, 2011. 
  78. ^ "Abu-Jamal's death sentence overturned". BBC News. December 18, 2001. Retrieved 2008-01-22. 
  79. ^ See p.70 of the July 2006 appeal brief for Abu-Jamal before the US Court of Appeal citing Yohn's ruling in the US District Court, the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, and the United States Supreme Court precedent of Mills v. Maryland, 486 U.S. 367 (1988)
  80. ^ Piette, Betsey (March 6, 2003). "Mumia still waiting for due process". International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal. Retrieved 2008-01-22. 
  81. ^ Rimer, Sara (December 19, 2001). "Death sentence overturned in 1981 killing of officer". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-01-22. 
  82. ^ Lindorff, Dave (December 8, 2005). "A victory for Mumia".  
  83. ^ "10 Facts about the Mumia Abu-Jamal Case". The Feminist Wire. 
  84. ^ Duffy, Shannon P. (May 18, 2007). "Spectators Pack Courtroom as 3rd Circuit Hears Appeal in Mumia Abu-Jamal Case". The Legal Intelligencer. Retrieved 2008-01-22. 
  85. ^ Maurer-Carter, Terri (August 21, 2001). "Declaration of Terri Maurer-Carter". Free Mumia Coalition. Retrieved 2008-01-22. 
  86. ^ Conroy, Theresa (September 4, 2001). "She's 'scared' by impact of her allegation – Says Mumia judge made a racist remark". Philadelphia Daily News. 
  87. ^ "Sur Petition for Rehearing Abu-Jamal v. Horn et al." (PDF). United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. July 22, 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-02. 
  88. ^ 'Jeffrey A. Beard, Secretary, Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, et al. v. Mumia Abu-Jamal, case no. 01-9014''"'". Retrieved 2011-12-01. 
  89. ^ Lindorff, Dave (November 10, 2010). "Mumia: New Lawyer, New Round". Retrieved 2010-12-27. 
  90. ^ Audio recording of oral arguments in Abu-Jamal v Beard before US 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal at Philadelphia on 9 November 2010.
  91. ^ Williams, Timothy (December 7, 2011). "Execution Case Dropped Against Abu-Jamal". New York Times. Retrieved December 7, 2011. 
  92. ^ Decision of Appeal upon Judgment of Sentence in Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v Mumia Abu-Jamal, Superior Court of Pennsylvania (July 9, 2013)
  93. ^ 100 Yale L.J. 993 (1990–1991), "Teetering on the Brink: Between Death and Life"; Abu-Jamal, Mumia
  94. ^ Carter, Kevin L (May 16, 1994). "A voice of Death Row to be heard on NPR". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved 2008-01-22. 
  95. ^ Carter, Kevin L (May 17, 1994). "Inmate's broadcasts canceled". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved 2008-01-22. 
  96. ^ "Mumia Abu-Jamal Sues NPR, Claiming Censorship".  
  97. ^ "Judge Dismisses Inmate's Suit Against NPR". The Washington Post. 22 August 1997. 
  98. ^ "Inmate's commentaries, dropped by NPR, will appear in print". The Philadelphia Inquirer. March 6, 1995. Retrieved 2008-01-22. 
  99. ^ "Mumia Abu-Jamal to Speak at College Graduation Ceremonies" (Press release). Peter Bohmer of  
  100. ^ Reynolds, Mark (June 2, 2004). "Whatever Happened to Mumia Abu-Jamal?".  
  101. ^ "Honorary Degrees". New College of California School of Law. Archived from the original on September 28, 2007. Retrieved 2008-01-22. 
  102. ^ "Mumia Abu-Jamal to Give Commencement Speech at Goddard College". Retrieved 2014-10-11. 
  103. ^ "Why a commencement speaker at Goddard College is fueling national headlines". Retrieved 2014-10-11. 
  104. ^ Abu-Jamal, Mumia. "Mumia Abu-Jamal's Radio Broadcasts – essay transcripts and archived mp3". Archived from the original on 2007-10-27. Retrieved 2008-01-22. 
  105. ^ United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit (August 25, 1998). , No. 96-3756"Mumia Abu-Jamal v. James Price, Martin Horn, and Thomas Fulcomer"Opinion in (txt).  
  106. ^ Encyclopedia of African American History, page 6
  107. ^ Kummer, Frank (2012-01-29). "Abu-Jamal moved into general prison population for first time".  
  108. ^ "San Francisco ILWU Local 10 Executive Board Resolution – Support for April 24, 1999 demonstrations in favor of the cause of Mumia Abu-Jamal (also describing support of other named labor union groups)" (Press release).  
  109. ^ "Service Employees International Union (SEIU) voted without dissent to demand justice for Mumia Abu-Jamal" (Press release). International Convention of the  
  110. ^ """Formal resolution "support(ing) a new, fair trial for activist Mumia Abu-Jamal (Press release).  
  111. ^  
  112. ^ Elijah, Jill Soffiyah (July 26, 2006). "Brief of Amici Curiae National Lawyers Guild, National Conference of Black Lawyers, International Association of Democratic Lawyers et al. in support of Mumia Abu-Jamal in the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit" (PDF).  
  113. ^ "Educators for Mumia Abu-Jamal website". Educators for Mumia Abu-Jamal. Retrieved 2008-01-22. 
  114. ^ Human Rights Watch (1996). "United States 1996 country report – citing advocacy on behalf of Mumia Abu-Jamal to the Governor of Pennsylvania and the Superintendent of Waynesburg State Correctional Institution in 1995". From World Report 1996. Human Rights Watch. Retrieved 2008-01-22. 
  115. ^ a b c d Ceïbe, Cathy (November 13, 2006). "USA Sues Paris: From Death Row, Mumia Stirs Up More Controversy". Patrick Bolland (translator).  
  116. ^ a b "59th Republican Ward Executive Committee Files Criminal Charges Against Cities of Paris and Suburb for 'Glorifying' Infamous Philadelphia Cop-Killer". 59th Republican Ward Executive Committee – City of Philadelphia. December 11, 2006. Archived from the original on 28 September 2007. Retrieved 2008-10-26. 
  117. ^ "The Danny Faulkner Story – Related Information". Fraternal Order of Police. Retrieved 2008-01-22. 
  118. ^ "FOP attacks supporters of convicted cop killer" (Press release). Fraternal Order of Police. August 11, 1999. Retrieved 2008-01-22. 
  119. ^ O'Connor, J. Patrick, The Framing of Mumia Abu-Jamal, page 199
  120. ^ "Chief page for the prize at the Web site of the Erich Mühsam Society (in German)". Retrieved 2011-12-01. 
  121. ^ "With United Power Forward" (in German).  
  122. ^ "Annual Report on the Protection of the Constitution 2005". Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution. 2006. p. 168. Retrieved 2010-09-26. 
  123. ^
  124. ^
  125. ^
  126. ^
  127. ^ "Justice For Daniel Faulkner T-Shirts". Retrieved 2008-01-22. 
  128. ^ Celizic, Mike (December 6, 2007). "Officer's widow speaks out on Mumia case".  
  129. ^ Faulkner, Maureen; Smerconish, Michael A. (2007). Murdered by Mumia: A Life Sentence of Loss, Pain, and Injustice. Lyons Press.  
  130. ^ Review in Independent Publishers Group of The Framing of Mumia Abu-Jamal May, 2008.
  131. ^ Wickham Jr, Henry P. (May 17, 2008). "Mumia Abu-Jamal: Still Guilty!". American Thinker. 
  132. ^ Weisman, Jonathan. "Senate Rejects Obama Nominee Linked to Abu-Jamal Case". New York Times. Retrieved 5 March 2014. 


See also

  • Writing on the Wall: Selected Prison Writings of Mumia Abu-Jamal City Lights Publishers (2015) ISBN 978-0872866751
  • The Classroom and the Cell: Conversations on Black Life in America Third World Press (2011) ISBN 978-0883783375
  • Jailhouse Lawyers: Prisoners Defending Prisoners V. The U.S.A City Lights Publishers (2009) ISBN 978-0872864696
  • We Want Freedom: A Life In The Black Panther Party South End Press (2008) ISBN 978-0896087187
  • Faith Of Our Fathers: An Examination Of The Spiritual Life Of African And African-American People Africa World Pr (2003) ISBN 978-1592210190
  • All Things Censored Seven Stories Press (2000) ISBN 978-1583220221
  • Death Blossoms: Reflections From A Prisoner Of Conscience Plough Publishing House (1997) ISBN 978-0874860863
  • Live From Death Row Harper Perennial (1996) ISBN 978-0380727667

Written works

In early 2014, President Barack Obama nominated Debo P. Adegbile, a former lawyer for the NAACP who worked on Abu-Jamal's case, to head the civil rights division of the Justice Department, but the nomination was rejected by the U.S. Senate on a bipartisan basis on the grounds of Adegbile's connection with Mumia.[132]

In 2010, investigative journalists Dave Lindorff and Linn Washington reproduced the shooting in tests that produced results they claimed were inconsistent with the case against Abu-Jamal; according to them, shots that missed Faulkner should have produced marks visible on the pavement. An expert photo analyst found no such marks visible in the highest-quality photo of the part of the crime scene where the body was found.[67] A ballistics expert medical examiner said the idea that police could have failed to recognise such marks at the crime scene was "absolute nonsense".[67] Abu-Jamal's lawyer said that the results constituted "extraordinarily important new evidence that establishes clearly that the prosecutor and the Philadelphia Police Department were engaged in presenting knowingly false testimony".[67]

In 2007, the widow of Officer Faulkner coauthored a book with Philadelphia radio journalist Michael Smerconish entitled Murdered by Mumia: A Life Sentence of Pain, Loss, and Injustice.[128] The book was part memoir of Faulkner's widow, part discussion in which they chronicled Abu-Jamal's trial and discussed evidence for his conviction, and part discussion on supporting the death penalty.[129] J. Patrick O'Connor, editor and publisher of, argues in his book The Framing of Mumia Abu-Jamal that the preponderance of evidence establishes that it was not Abu-Jamal but a passenger in Abu-Jamal's brother's car, Kenneth Freeman, who killed Faulkner, and that the Philadelphia Police Department and District Attorney's Office framed Abu-Jamal.[130] His book was criticized in the American Thinker as "replete with selective use of testimony, distortions, unsubstantiated charges, and a theory that has failed Abu-Jamal in the past."[131]

Anti-Abu-Jamal T-shirt sold in Philadelphia[127]

On April 29, 2006, a newly paved road in the Parisian suburb of Saint-Denis was named Rue Mumia Abu-Jamal in his honor.[123] In protest of the street-naming, US Congressman Michael Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) and Senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) introduced resolutions in both Houses of Congress condemning the decision.[124][125] The House of Representatives voted 368–31 in favor of Fitzpatrick's resolution.[126] In December 2006, the 25th anniversary of the murder, the executive committee of the Republican Party for the 59th Ward of the City of Philadelphia—covering approximately Germantown, Philadelphia—filed two criminal complaints in the French legal system against the city of Paris and the city of Saint-Denis, accusing the municipalities of "glorifying" Abu-Jamal and alleging the offense "apology or denial of crime" in respect of their actions.[115][116]

Abu-Jamal has been made an Society of People Persecuted by the Nazi Regime – Federation of Anti-Fascists (VVN-BdA)[121] which Germany's Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution has considered to be influenced by left-wing extremism.[122]


Concert at a Free Mumia demonstration in Germany, 2007

Popular support and opposition

At the end of January 2012 he was released into general prison population at State Correctional Institution – Mahanoy.[107]

His publications include Death Blossoms: Reflections from a Prisoner of Conscience, in which he explores religious themes, All Things Censored, a political critique examining issues of crime and punishment, Live From Death Row, a diary of life on Pennsylvania's death row, and We Want Freedom: A Life in the Black Panther Party, which is a history of the Black Panthers drawing on autobiographical material.

With occasional interruptions due to prison disciplinary actions, Abu-Jamal has for many years been a regular commentator on an online broadcast, sponsored by Prison Radio,[104] as well as a regular columnist for Junge Welt, a Marxist newspaper in Germany. In 1995, he was punished with solitary confinement for engaging in entrepreneurship contrary to prison regulations. Subsequent to the airing of the 1996 HBO documentary Mumia Abu-Jamal: A Case For Reasonable Doubt?, which included footage from visitation interviews conducted with him, the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections acted to ban outsiders from using any recording equipment in state prisons.[31] In litigation before the US Court of Appeals in 1998 he successfully established his right to write for financial gain in prison. The same litigation also established that the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections had illegally opened his mail in an attempt to establish whether he was writing for financial gain.[105] When, for a brief time in August 1999, he began delivering his radio commentaries live on the Pacifica Network's Democracy Now! weekday radio newsmagazine, prison staff severed the connecting wires of his telephone from their mounting in mid-performance.[31] He was later allowed to resume his broadcasts, and hundreds of his broadcasts have been aired on Pacifica Radio.[106]

In 1999, he was invited to record a keynote address for the graduating class at The Evergreen State College. The event was protested by some.[99] In 2000, he recorded a commencement address for Antioch College.[100] The now defunct New College of California School of Law presented him with an honorary degree "for his struggle to resist the death penalty".[101] On October 5, 2014, he gave the commencement speech at Goddard College, via playback of a recording.[102] As before, the choice of Abu-Jamal was controversial.[103]

In 1991 Abu-Jamal published an essay in the Yale Law Journal, on the death penalty and his death row experience.[93] In May 1994, Abu-Jamal was engaged by National Public Radio's All Things Considered program to deliver a series of monthly three-minute commentaries on crime and punishment.[94] The broadcast plans and commercial arrangement were canceled following condemnations from, among others, the Fraternal Order of Police[95] and US Senator Bob Dole (R-Kan.).[96] Abu-Jamal sued NPR for not airing his work, but a federal judge dismissed the suit.[97] The commentaries later appeared in print in May 1995 as part of Live from Death Row.[98]

Life as a prisoner

On December 7, 2011, Philadelphia District Attorney R. Seth Williams announced that prosecutors would no longer seek the death penalty for Abu-Jamal.[16] Williams said that Abu-Jamal will spend the rest of his life in prison without the possibility of parole,[91] a sentence that was duly reaffirmed by the Superior Court of Pennsylvania on July 9, 2013.[92]

Death penalty dropped

On March 27, 2008, the three-judge panel issued a majority 2–1 opinion upholding Yohn's 2001 opinion but rejecting the bias and Batson claims, with Judge Ambro dissenting on the Batson issue. On July 22, 2008, Abu-Jamal's formal petition seeking reconsideration of the decision by the full Third Circuit panel of 12 judges was denied.[87] On April 6, 2009, the United States Supreme Court also refused to hear Abu-Jamal's appeal.[13] On January 19, 2010, the Supreme Court ordered the appeals court to reconsider its decision to rescind the death penalty,[14][88] with the same three-judge panel convening in Philadelphia on November 9, 2010, to hear oral argument.[89][90] On April 26, 2011, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals reaffirmed its prior decision to vacate the death sentence on the grounds that the jury instructions and verdict form were ambiguous and confusing.

The Third Circuit Court heard oral arguments in the appeals on May 17, 2007, at the United States Courthouse in Philadelphia. The appeal panel consisted of Chief Judge Anthony Joseph Scirica, Judge Thomas Ambro, and Judge Robert Cowen. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania sought to reinstate the sentence of death, on the basis that Yohn's ruling was flawed, as he should have deferred to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court which had already ruled on the issue of sentencing, and the Batson claim was invalid because Abu-Jamal made no complaints during the original jury selection. Although Abu-Jamal's jury was racially mixed with 2 blacks and 10 whites at the time of his unanimous conviction, his counsel told the Third Circuit Court that Abu-Jamal did not get a fair trial because the jury was racially-biased, misinformed, the judge was a racist, and noted that the prosecution used eleven out of fourteen peremptory challenges to eliminate prospective black jurors.[83][84] Terri Maurer-Carter, a former Philadelphia court stenographer claimed in a 2001 affidavit nearly 20 years after the trial that she overheard Judge Sabo say "Yeah, and I'm going to help them fry the nigger" in the course of a conversation with three people present regarding Abu-Jamal's case.[85] Sabo denied having made any such comment.[86]

  1. in relation to sentencing, whether the jury verdict form had been flawed and the judge's instructions to the jury had been confusing;
  2. in relation to conviction and sentencing, whether racial bias in jury selection existed to an extent tending to produce an inherently biased jury and therefore an unfair trial (the Batson claim);
  3. in relation to conviction, whether the prosecutor improperly attempted to reduce jurors' sense of responsibility by telling them that a guilty verdict would be subsequently vetted and subject to appeal; and
  4. in relation to post-conviction review hearings in 1995–6, whether the presiding judge, who had also presided at the trial, demonstrated unacceptable bias in his conduct.

On December 6, 2005, the Third Circuit Court admitted four issues for appeal of the ruling of the District Court:[82]

Federal appeal

Both parties appealed. [81] Prosecutors also criticized the ruling; Officer Faulkner's widow Maureen described Abu-Jamal as a "remorseless, hate-filled killer" who would "be permitted to enjoy the pleasures that come from simply being alive" on the basis of the judgment.[80] at which they could introduce evidence that their client had been framed.trial de novo Eliot Grossman and Marlene Kamish, attorneys for Abu-Jamal, criticized the ruling on the grounds that it denied the possibility of a [79] to require that a jury's finding of circumstances mitigating against determining a sentence of death be unanimous.unconstitutional and ruled that it was [78]He ordered the State of Pennsylvania to commence new sentencing proceedings within 180 days
... the jury instructions and verdict sheet in this case involved an unreasonable application of federal law. The charge and verdict form created a reasonable likelihood that the jury believed it was precluded from considering any mitigating circumstance that had not been found unanimously to exist.[57]
Particularly, [57] upheld the conviction but vacated the sentence of death on December 18, 2001, citing irregularities in the original process of sentencing.United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania of the Judge William H. Yohn Jr.

Abu-Jamal did not make any public statements about Faulkner's murder until May 2001. In his version of events, he claimed that he was sitting in his cab across the street when he heard shouting, then saw a police vehicle, then heard the sound of gunshots. Upon seeing his brother appearing disoriented across the street, Abu-Jamal ran to him from the parking lot and was shot by a police officer.[76] The driver originally stopped by police officer Faulkner, Abu-Jamal's brother William Cook, did not testify or make any statement until April 29, 2001, when he claimed that he had not seen who had shot Faulkner.[77]

Federal ruling directing resentencing

On March 26, 2012 the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania rejected his most recent appeal for retrial asserted on the basis that a 2009 report by the National Academy of Science demonstrated that forensic evidence put by the prosecution and accepted into evidence in the original trial was unreliable.[73][74] It was reported to be the former death row inmate's last legal appeal.[75]

Private investigator George Newman claimed in 2001 that Chobert had recanted his testimony.[66] Commentators also noted that police and news photographs of the crime scene did not show Chobert's taxi, and that Cynthia White, the only witness at the trial to testify to seeing the taxi, had previously provided crime scene descriptions that omitted it.[67] Cynthia White was declared to be dead by the state of New Jersey in 1992 although Pamela Jenkins claimed that she saw White alive as late as 1997.[68] Mumia supporters often claim that White was a police informant and that she falsified her testimony against Abu-Jamal.[69] Priscilla Durham's step-brother, Kenneth Pate, who was imprisoned with Abu-Jamal on other charges, has since claimed that Durham admitted to not hearing the hospital confession.[70] The hospital doctors stated that Abu-Jamal was "on the verge of fainting" when brought in and they did not overhear a confession.[71] In 2008, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania rejected a further request from Abu-Jamal for a hearing into claims that the trial witnesses perjured themselves on the grounds that he had waited too long before filing the appeal.[72]

In 1999, Arnold Beverly claimed that he and an unnamed assailant, not Mumia Abu-Jamal, shot Daniel Faulkner as part of a contract killing because Faulkner was interfering with graft and payoff to corrupt police.[64] The Beverly affidavit became an item of division for Mumia's defense team, as some thought it usable and others rejected Beverly's story as "not credible".[65]

The six judges of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania ruled unanimously that all issues raised by Abu-Jamal, including the claim of ineffective assistance of counsel, were without merit.[63] The Supreme Court of the United States denied a petition for certiorari against that decision on October 4, 1999, enabling Ridge to sign a second death warrant on October 13, 1999. Its execution in turn was stayed as Abu-Jamal commenced his pursuit of federal habeas corpus review.[57]

On June 1, 1995, his death warrant was signed by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge.[57] Its execution was suspended while Abu-Jamal pursued state post-conviction review. At the post-conviction review hearings, new witnesses were called. William "Dales" Singletary testified that he saw the shooting and that the gunman was the passenger in Cook's car.[58] Singletary's account contained discrepancies which rendered it "not credible" in the opinion of the court.[57][59] William Harmon, a convicted fraudster, testified that Faulkner's murderer fled in a car which pulled up at the crime scene, and could not have been Abu-Jamal.[60] However, Robert Harkins testified that he had witnessed a man stand over Faulkner as the latter lay wounded on the ground, who shot him point-blank in the face and then "walked and sat down on the curb".[61][62]

Direct appeal of his conviction was considered and denied by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania on March 6, 1989,[53] subsequently denying rehearing.[54] The Supreme Court of the United States denied his petition for writ of certiorari on October 1, 1990,[55] and denied his petition for rehearing twice up to June 10, 1991.[56][57]

State appeals

Governor of Pennsylvania Tom Ridge signed the death warrant in 1995.

Appeals and review

Abu-Jamal was subsequently sentenced to death by the unanimous decision of the jury.[52]

Does it matter whether a white man is charged with killing a black man or a black man is charged with killing a white man? As for justice when the prosecutor represents the Commonwealth the Judge represents the Commonwealth and the court-appointed lawyer is paid and supported by the Commonwealth, who follows the wishes of the defendant, the man charged with the crime? If the court-appointed lawyer ignores, or goes against the wishes of the man he is charged with representing, whose wishes does he follow? Who does he truly represent or work for? ... I am innocent of these charges that I have been charged of and convicted of and despite the connivance of Sabo, McGill and Jackson to deny me my so-called rights to represent myself, to assistance of my choice, to personally select a jury who is totally of my peers, to cross-examine witnesses, and to make both opening and closing arguments, I am still innocent of these charges.[51]

In his statement Abu-Jamal criticized his attorney as a "legal trained lawyer" who was imposed on him against his will and who "knew he was inadequate to the task and chose to follow the directions of this black-robed conspirator, [Judge] Albert Sabo, even if it meant ignoring my directions". He claimed that his rights had been "deceitfully stolen" from him by Sabo, particularly focusing on the denial of his request to receive defense assistance from non-attorney John Africa and being prevented from proceeding pro se. He quoted remarks of John Africa, and said:

In the sentencing phase of the trial, Abu-Jamal read to the jury from a prepared statement. He was then cross-examined about issues relevant to the assessment of his character by Joseph McGill, the prosecuting attorney.[50]

The jury delivered a unanimous guilty verdict after three hours of deliberations.

Verdict and sentence

The defense maintained that Abu-Jamal was innocent and that the prosecution witnesses were unreliable. The defense presented nine character witnesses, including poet Sonia Sanchez, who testified that Abu-Jamal was "viewed by the black community as a creative, articulate, peaceful, genial man".[45] Another defense witness, Dessie Hightower, testified that he saw a man running along the street shortly after the shooting although he did not see the actual shooting itself.[46] His testimony contributed to the development of a "running man theory", based on the possibility that a "running man" may have been the actual shooter. Veronica Jones also testified for the defense, but she did not see anyone running.[47] Other potential defense witnesses refused to appear in court.[48] Abu-Jamal did not testify in his own defense. Nor did his brother, William Cook, who told investigators at the crime scene: "I ain't got nothing to do with this."[49]

Defense character witness Sonia Sanchez

Defense case at trial

A .38 caliber Charter Arms revolver, belonging to Abu-Jamal, with five spent cartridges was retrieved beside him at the scene. He was wearing a shoulder holster, and Anthony Paul, the Supervisor of the Philadelphia Police Department's firearms identification unit, testified at trial that the cartridge cases and rifling characteristics of the weapon were consistent with bullet fragments taken from Faulkner's body.[42] Tests to confirm that Abu-Jamal had handled and fired the weapon were not performed, as contact with arresting police and other surfaces at the scene could have compromised the forensic value of such tests.[43][44]

The prosecution also presented two witnesses who were at the hospital after the shootings. Hospital security guard Priscilla Durham and police officer Garry Bell testified that Abu-Jamal confessed in the hospital by saying, "I shot the motherfucker, and I hope the motherfucker dies."[41]

The prosecution presented four witnesses to the court. Robert Chobert, a cab driver who testified he was parked behind Faulkner, identified Abu-Jamal as the shooter.[37] Cynthia White, a prostitute, testified that Abu-Jamal emerged from a nearby parking lot and shot Faulkner.[38] Michael Scanlan, a motorist, testified that from two car lengths away, he saw a man, matching Abu-Jamal's description, run across the street from a parking lot and shoot Faulkner.[39] Albert Magilton, a pedestrian who did not see the actual murder, testified to witnessing Faulkner pull over Cook's car. At the point of seeing Abu-Jamal start to cross the street toward them from the parking lot, Magilton turned away and lost sight of what happened next.[40]

Prosecution case at trial

Abu-Jamal was charged with the first-degree murder of Officer Faulkner. The case went to trial in June 1982 in Philadelphia. Judge Albert F. Sabo initially agreed to Abu-Jamal's request to represent himself, with criminal defense attorney Anthony Jackson acting as his legal advisor. During the first day of the trial, Sabo warned Abu-Jamal that he would forfeit his legal right to self-representation if he kept being intentionally disruptive in a fashion that was unbecoming under the law. Due to Abu-Jamal's continued disruptive behavior, Sabo ruled that Abu-Jamal forfeited his right to self-representation.[36]

On December 9, 1981, in Philadelphia, close to the intersection at 13th and Locust Streets, Philadelphia Police Department officer Daniel Faulkner conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle belonging to William Cook, Abu-Jamal's younger brother. During the traffic stop, Abu-Jamal's taxi was parked across the street. He ran across the street towards Cook's car, where Faulkner was shot from behind and then in the face. Abu-Jamal was shot by Faulkner in the stomach. Faulkner died at the scene from the gunshot to his head. Police arrived and arrested Abu-Jamal, who was found wearing a shoulder holster. His revolver, which had five spent cartridges, was beside him. Abu-Jamal was taken directly from the scene of the shooting to Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, where he received treatment for his wound.[35]

Officer Daniel Faulkner

Arrest for murder and trial

At the time of Daniel Faulkner's murder, Abu-Jamal was working as a taxicab driver in Philadelphia two nights a week to supplement his income.[33] He had been working part-time as a reporter for WDAS,[32] then an African-American-oriented and minority-owned radio station.[34]

By 1975 he was pursuing a vocation in radio newscasting, first at Temple University's WRTI and then at commercial enterprises.[30] In 1975, he was employed at radio station WHAT and he became host of a weekly feature program of WCAU-FM in 1978.[32] He was also employed for brief periods at radio station WPEN, and became active in the local chapter of the Marijuana Users Association of America.[32] From 1979 he worked at National Public Radio-affiliate (NPR) WUHY until 1981 when he was asked to submit his resignation after a dispute about the requirements of objective focus in his presentation of news.[32] As a radio journalist he earned the moniker "the voice of the voiceless" and was renowned for identifying with and giving exposure to the MOVE anarcho-primitivist commune in Philadelphia's Powelton Village neighborhood, including reportage of the 1979–80 trial of certain of its members (the "MOVE Nine") charged with the murder of police officer James Ramp.[32] During his broadcasting career, his high-profile interviews included Julius Erving, Bob Marley and Alex Haley, and he was elected president of the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists.[33]

After leaving the Panthers he returned to his old high school, but was suspended for distributing literature calling for "black revolutionary student power".[30] He also led unsuccessful protests to change the school name to Malcolm X High.[30] After attaining his GED, he studied briefly at Goddard College in rural Vermont.[31]

Education and journalism career

[29] from then until about 1974.[28] surveillance, with which the Philadelphia police cooperated,COINTELPRO Federal Bureau of Investigation He was a party member from May 1969 until October 1970 and was subject to [27], living and working with BPP colleagues in those cities.Oakland He spent late 1969 in New York City and early 1970 in [26] and took up residence in the branch's headquarters.Benjamin Franklin High School That same year, he dropped out of [8], saying that "political power grows out of the barrel of a gun".Mao Zedong taking appointment, in his own words, as the chapter's "Lieutenant of Information", exercising a responsibility for writing information and news communications. In one of the interviews he gave at the time he quoted [26][25],Reggie Schell with Defense Captain Black Panther Party From the age of 14, he helped form the Philadelphia branch of the [24]

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