Mumia's Appeal. (Comment)

By Lindorff, Dave | The Nation, December 16, 2002 | Go to article overview

Mumia's Appeal. (Comment)


Lindorff, Dave, The Nation


After decades of legal and political maneuvering, the twenty-year-old death-penalty case of black journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal is entering a critical stage. The former Black Panther activist's case is currently before the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, which could decide to grant a new trial or reinstate his death sentence. Last December Federal District Judge William Yohn at least temporarily overturned Abu-Jamal's death sentence while upholding his conviction for the 1981 first-degree murder of white Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner.

Abu-Jamal's best hope for winning such a trial is his claim that the prosecution improperly barred blacks from his jury. Prosecutor Joseph McGill used eleven of his fifteen peremptory challenges to remove blacks otherwise fit to serve, resulting in a panel that had nine whites, three blacks and four white alternates. (After the replacement of one black, the final jury had ten whites and two blacks.) Judge Yohn last December rejected this claim, ruling that Abu-Jamal had not made a "prima facie case" of racial bias. In reaching that decision, Yohn declined to consider several defense studies. One showed that during the 1977-86 period covering the two terms of District Attorney Edward Rendell (now governor-elect of Pennsylvania), local prosecutors used peremptory challenges to bar 61 percent of otherwise qualified black jurors. Another showed that McGill, over the course of six capital trials, removed 74 percent of qualified black jurors.

The problem is that in rejecting those damning studies, Yohn made several serious factual errors. He claimed that both covered periods after Abu-Jamal's trial, and that they were thus not relevant. In fact, however, a close examination of his ruling shows that he was confusing them with two other studies submitted by the defense. The two studies he rejected not only cover periods that bracket Abu-Jamal's 1982 trial, they both include his trial in their data sets. Although Yohn granted the defense a certification of appealability on the jury selection issue, Abu-Jamal's attorneys for at least eight months failed to notice the errors and have yet to file any appeal based upon them.

A new trial, if held, could include testimony not heard the first time around. For example, in 1982 the jury heard devastating testimony that Abu-Jamal "shouted out" a confession while being brought into the hospital. (This was controversial, because no witness reported such an alleged confession until two months after the shooting. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • A full archive of books and articles related to this one
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Mumia's Appeal. (Comment)
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.