Remember Mumia Abu-Jamal, the cop-killing NPR contributor who rallied legions of campus radicals during the 1990s to protest his innocence? There was a time when every demonstration —anti-globalization, anti-war, anti-whatever—featured an organized division of "Free Mumia" types. In 2002, the Paris City Council conferred honorary citizen status on Jamal, and in 2006 the city named a street after him. Quite a step down from Rue Eisenhower and Place du Général Patton. But the Mumia cause soon faded—when everyone (but Parisian politicians) realized that he was guilty. In his book Dude, Where's My Country, Michael Moore admitted that "Mumia probably killed that guy. There, I said it. That does not mean he should be denied a fair trial or that he should be put to death." And according to this report in the Philadelphia Inquirer, he won't be put to death anytime soon:
A federal appeals court today refused to reinstate the death sentence of world-famous death row inmate Mumia Abu-Jamal, but left intact his murder conviction in the 1981 shooting death of Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner.
A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit ruled that Abu-Jamal must be sentenced to life in prison or get a chance with a new Philadelphia jury, which would decide only whether he should get life in prison or be sentenced - again - to death.
The judges left intact his first-degree murder conviction, rejecting Abu-Jamal's claim that he deserves an entirely new trial and a chance to prove his innocence.
Maureen Faulkner, the widow of the Philly cop killed by Jamal, has a new book about the case.