All Stories   |  Hoodline Stories

The Latest: Police widow decries DA over Abu-Jamal appeal

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - The Latest on the new appeal hearing for Mumia Abu-Jamal (all times local): 6:15 p.m. The widow of a slain Philadelphia police officer says she's upset the district attorney won't fight the convicted killer's latest appeal efforts. Maureen Faulkner says District Attorney Larry Krasner announced his decision in the Mumia Abu-Jamal case on Wednesday before reaching her by phone. The 64-year-old Abu-Jamal is serving life in prison after spending decades on death row in the 1981 killing of Officer Daniel Faulkner. Maureen Faulkner says she's "exhausted" by the legal twists and turns in the case over 37 years. But she vows to attend the expected appeals hearing before the state Supreme Court. A city judge granted the former Black Panther a new appeal based on a potential conflict of interest involving an earlier judge. Krasner's office says he spoke with Maureen Faulkner on Tuesday before dropping his challenge to the new appeal. ___ 2:45 p.m. A former Black Panther and death row activist convicted of killing a Philadelphia police officer will get a new appeals hearing after the city prosecutor dropped his opposition to it. Sixty-four-year-old Mumia Abu-Jamal is serving a life sentence after spending decades on death row in the 1981 slaying of Officer Daniel Faulkner during a traffic stop. A city judge granted him a new hearing in December after the U.S. Supreme Court said a former Pennsylvania justice who heard his appeal had a potential conflict of interest in a similar case. District Attorney Larry Krasner initially fought the hearing, fearing the judge's order could affect a large number of other convictions. Krasner says Wednesday he's dropped his challenge because Common Pleas Judge Leon Tucker has narrowed the scope of his order.

Ex-Black Panther gets new hearing in 1981 police death

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - A former Black Panther and death row activist convicted of killing a Philadelphia police officer decades ago will get a new appeals hearing after the city prosecutor on Wednesday dropped his opposition to it. Mumia Abu-Jamal, 64, is serving a life sentence after spending decades on death row in the 1981 slaying of Officer Daniel Faulkner, who had pulled his brother over in an overnight traffic stop. Abu-Jamal, who was shot during the encounter, was largely tried in absentia at his 1982 capital murder trial, after being removed over his repeated objections and efforts to serve as his own lawyer. A former radio journalist, Abu-Jamal's prison writings made him a popular cause among death penalty opponents worldwide - and a foe of police unions and the slain officer's widow. The attention to his case quieted after his death sentence was set aside over flawed jury instructions in 2011, and his appeals appeared exhausted. However, in December, Philadelphia Common Pleas Judge Leon Tucker granted Abu-Jamal a new chance to argue his initial appeal after the U.S. Supreme Court said a former Pennsylvania Supreme Court justice had improperly heard a murder case he had overseen as Philadelphia district attorney. The justice, Ronald Castille, had done the same in Abu-Jamal's case. District Attorney Larry Krasner initially fought Tucker's order, fearing it could affect a large number of cases. On Wednesday, he dropped his challenge, citing a revised ruling from Tucker that narrows the scope of his order. Krasner agreed that Castille should not have worn "two hats" in the case, a fact made more egregious, he suggested, by the discovery of a 1990 note Castille sent Gov. Robert Casey about "police killers," urging him to issue death warrants to "send a clear and dramatic message to all police killers that the...