Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Reason #84: Mumia

After 30 years of appeals and coming within spitting distance of the Supreme Court, former Black Panther Mumia Abu-Jamal is at long last off death row. Convicted of killing a white cop in 1981, Mumia's death sentence has been a big rallying cry for lefties ever since due to allegations of systemic--and specific--bias regarding his initial trial, and due to the fact that he's since proven to be a fairly rational and well-spoken dude.

What finally nixed the death sentence was a ruling that his jury had been given "potentially misleading" instructions, and therefore a new sentencing hearing needed to take place. The Supreme Court could have overruled that, but they declined to rule on the matter at all, which meant that federal prosecutors had to determine whether to press for the death penalty all over again, or just leave it lie at life in prison.

Instrumental to their decision not to purpue the death penalty this time around was Maureen Faulkner, the widow of the victim, who doesn't seem to have forgiven Mumia or anything, but says she came to the conclusion that at this point, there was no way the actual execution would ever actually get around to happening (some of the original witnesses have in fact died themselves in the intervening three decades), and would rather just move on with her life.

As I've said before, I won't profess to being an expert on the case, or really have any opinion on whether Mumia is guilty. But the system is undoubtedly biased (and was probably way worse 30 years ago), and anytime someone escapes execution, I count that as a win - especially if it means I don't have to hear hippies complain about it anymore.

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