Workers Vanguard No. 988
14 October 2011
Supreme Court Rejects D.A. Appeal to Reinstate Death Sentence
(Class-Struggle Defense Notes)
OCTOBER 11—The U.S. Supreme Court today rejected a petition by the Philadelphia D.A.’s office to restore the death sentence for political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal. The D.A. had sought to reverse an April 26 ruling by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals that upheld for the second time a 2001 decision by District Court judge William Yohn overturning the death sentence on the grounds of faulty jury instructions (see “Federal Appeals Court Orders New Sentencing Hearing,” WV No. 980, 13 May). The D.A. now has 180 days to convene a new sentencing hearing, the sole purpose of which would be to determine whether Mumia is to again be sentenced to death or will rot in prison for life.
The Supreme Court’s ruling dealt a blow, for now, to the prosecution’s drive to kill Mumia. But in no way should it justify faith in the capitalist injustice system. Mumia Abu-Jamal is an innocent man who has already spent just under 30 years in prison for a murder he did not commit. Mumia was convicted for the December 1981 killing of Police Officer Daniel Faulkner based on lying testimony extorted by the cops, phony ballistics “evidence” and a “confession” manufactured by the police and prosecutors. A former Black Panther Party spokesman, a supporter of the MOVE organization and well-known journalist, Mumia was sentenced to death explicitly for his political views (see the July 2006 Partisan Defense Committee pamphlet, The Fight to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal—Mumia Is Innocent!).
The courts have steadfastly refused to hear the overwhelming evidence of Mumia’s innocence, including Arnold Beverly’s confession that he was the one who shot and killed Faulkner. As the Spartacist League and Partisan Defense Committee have always insisted, fighters for Mumia’s freedom must look to link his cause to the class struggles of the multiracial proletariat. Trade unionists, opponents of the racist death penalty and fighters for black rights must not rest until Mumia is released from prison hell. Free Mumia now! Abolish the racist death penalty!