Supreme Court Rules Against Ex-Panther on Death Sentence

Abu-Jamal case goes back to appeals court
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Suggested by Tarantulas
Posted Jan 19, 2010 2:20 PM CST
Supporters of Mumia Abu-Jamal protest outside the NBC "Today" television program in New York's Rockefeller Center, Thursday Dec. 6, 2007.   (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
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(Newser) – The Supreme Court has reversed a ruling that would have nullified the death sentence of Mumia Abu-Jamal. The former Black Panther, convicted in the shooting of a Philadelphia police officer back in 1981, has argued that racism pervaded his trial and sentencing, and that there weren’t enough blacks on the jury. An appeals court sided with him two years ago and ordered a new sentencing hearing, but now the high court has ordered it to reconsider.

The Supreme Court cited its own ruling last week in a similar case, which dealt with when capital defendants can cite an inadequate defense in later appeals. The appeals court must now either reimpose the death sentence, or order a new federal trial to look into Abu-Jamal’s claims, reports CNN.

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