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Abu-Jamal: 1 down, 1 to go

Supreme Court cases 08-652 and 08-8483 are cross-petitions of Pennsylvania and Abu-Jamal, respectively, to review a decision of USCA3 granting relief from the death sentence but upholding the conviction, respectively, in the controversial case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. The Supreme Court today denied Abu-Jamal's petition. The orders list is here.

The state's petition is still pending. It was originally set for conference March 20. (The state filed a supplemental brief on March 18.) As noted here, on March 13, we expected no action at the March 20 conference so that the Court could consider the two petitions together. However, the cross-petition has now been denied, and no new conference date has been set for the state's petition, so something else is up. One possibility is that a Mills v. Maryland issue has already been accepted in Smith v. Spisak, No. 08-724, and the Court may be deciding whether to grant Abu-Jamal in addition or just sit on it for now.

James Vicini has this story for Reuters. AP story is here.

Emilie Lounsberry has this story in the Philadelphia Inquirer. Officer Daniel "Faulkner's widow, Maureen, said she started to cry after learning about the decision. 'To think that he will never get a new trial is such a relief for the family and I after 27 years and everything we've gone through,' Faulkner said in a telephone interview from California, where she lives."

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