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A Philadelphia judge has allowed convicted police-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal to launch a new appeal, ruling that a former chief justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court should have recused himself from the inmate’s previous appeals.

Abu-Jamal, 64, a former black nationalist and public radio reporter, was sentenced to death for the 1981 killing of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner. His sentence was commuted to life without parole in 2011.

Judge Leon W. Tucker said former Chief Justice Ronald Castille should have stepped aside because his past service as Philadelphia District Attorney — the office which prosecuted Abu-Jamal — created an appearance of bias.

“True justice must be completely just without even a hint of partiality, lack of integrity, or impropriety,” Tucker wrote in his opinion issued late on Thursday. “Petitioner is entitled to an unbiased tribunal, without even the appearance of impropriety.”

Lawyers for Abu-Jamal now have 30 days to begin a new appeal, which would first be heard by the Pennsylvania Superior Court and then, if necessary, by the Supreme Court. Castille, who could not be reached for comment on Friday, retired in 2014. Four new justices have joined the seven-member high court since Abu-Jamal’s last appeal was denied in 2012.

Abu-Jamal, a past president of the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists, sought permission for a new appeal after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2016 that Castille’s refusal to recuse himself from an appeal of a different death penalty case created an impermissible risk of bias.

Tucker said Abu-Jamal was unable to prove Castille’s direct involvement in his prosecution and death sentence — he was then an assistant district attorney — but noted Castille campaigned for the Supreme Court in 1993 touting the number of defendants he sent to death row.

“This was a straightforward application of federal and Pennsylvania law requiring cases to be decided by judges whose impartiality cannot reasonably be questioned,” said Judith Ritter, one of Abu-Jamal’s attorneys.

Dustin Slaughter, a spokesman for the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office, said they are examining the ruling and have not yet decided whether to appeal.

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This guy is a fucking animal and looks like he smells horrid just by the sight of him.

If he's not guilty of shooting the cop, he at least was part of it and an accomplice to it.

The bro is no use. His statement was that he essentially saw nothing, just heard the shots and sorta saw his bro show up running, then saw his bro injured on the ground following it all. Seems to suggest his passenger, Kenneth Freeman, was the perpetrator although he doesnt ever say directly, "he did it".

Pretty outrageous to suggest someone else did it when this stain was found with the shoulder holster and a gun with rounds spent. We supposed to believe that Freeman blew everybody away and then messed with the gun on Jamal to frame him? All in a span of 20 something seconds? GIve me a break.

What has Mumia himself said. Whether anyone believes he did it or not, there is no question that he was AT the crime scene. I read he didnt testify at the trial for some reason(nor did his bro, which is odd considering there goes another witness at the crime scene, one who later claims his very passenger that night was the culprit).

"On May 13, 1985, Kenneth Freeman was found dead in an empty area, handcuffed, bound, and naked, his death listed as "natural causes". J. Patrick O'Connor, in his book The Framing of Mumia Abu-Jamal, says that "[h]is body was found bound, gagged, and naked in a vacant lot"."

This is funny. This is from wikipedia. Any accuracy at all do this?
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Sugar Cookie

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Former Black Panther and convicted cop killer Mumia Abu-Jamal will get a new appeals hearing after a Philadelphia prosecutor dropped his opposition to it on Wednesday.

In December, a Philadelphia judge granted Abu-Jamal the right to re-argue his appeal when it was revealed that the justice who initially heard it had overseen his prosecution as district attorney.

The current Philadelphia district attorney, Larry Krasner, initially fought the decision, arguing that it could affect a number of convictions in the city. Krasner dropped his opposition on Wednesday.

Abu-Jamal served decades on death row for the 1981 slaying of Daniel Faulkner, a 25-year-old Philadelphia cop. During a traffic stop, he shot Faulkner in the back and the face.

Abu-Jamal’s death sentence was reduced to life imprisonment in 2011 over flawed jury instructions. During his time on death row, however, he became a liberal cause celebre for his activism. He published a book, “Live from Death Row,” while in jail in 1996 and gained fame over allegations of racial bias in his case.

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