Court Refuses to Reinstate Mumia's Death Sentence

Pa. judges order life in prison, or new hearing
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Mar 27, 2008 1:00 PM CDT

(Newser) – Famed death-row inmate Mumia Abu-Jamal earned some measure of triumph today as a US appeals court refused to reinstate his death sentence, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Abu-Jamal was convicted in 1982 of killing a Philly cop, and has fought for retrial. The court upheld the conviction but said Abu-Jamal should face life in prison or get a new sentence hearing.

The appeals court fully agreed with a 2001 ruling that rejected the death sentence, saying jurors in the 1982 case might have been confused about unanimity rules. Abu-Jamal wants a complete do-over, contending the prosecution unfairly kept blacks off the jury in 1982. Today’s decision will almost certainly be appealed by one of the parties involved, the Inquirer notes.