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Abu-Jamal, Again

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The US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, having been told by the Supreme Court to reconsider the Abu-Jamal case in light of Smith v. Spisak, has decided that Spisak does not alter its decision, and it has overturned Abu-Jamal's death sentence yet again.

The decision is based on a far-fetched notion that the verdict form might have caused some jurors to disregard mitigating factors they found true and others did not, and then concur in the unanimous verdict of death after disregarding those factors.  Real jurors do not think that way.  This is all based on the Supreme Court's dubious precedent of Mills v. Maryland (1988), one of the worst cases of capital sentencing micromanagement in the whole sorry history.  It is high time that the Court threw Mills overboard.  A lower profile case would be a better vehicle, though.

Update:  Maryclaire Dale has this story for AP.  "District Attorney Seth Williams said he would consider mounting another appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court."

Update 2
: Michael Hinkelman of Philadelphia Daily News reports that the DA will seek US Supreme Court review.  Again.

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A couple of points:

First, Abu-Jamal's conviction happened in the early 80s--years before the Maryland v. Mills case. Second, the federal courts have had this habeas case for well over a decade. They have acted irresponsibly. Someone owes Mrs. Faulkner an apology.

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