Mumia Abu-Jamal has appealed his conviction again. The victim’s widow wants DA Larry Krasner off the case.
Abu-Jamal's new petition is the latest appeal effort in a case with a long and complicated post-conviction history.
Mumia Abu-Jamal, convicted in 1983 of fatally shooting a Philadelphia police officer, has filed another appeal seeking to overturn his life sentence — and the effort is again drawing resistance from the officer’s widow and the police union.
Abu-Jamal, 67, filed court documents last month saying the District Attorney’s Office illegally withheld evidence before his trial that would have cast doubt on the credibility of two key witnesses. He has also contended that his trial prosecutor improperly sought to disqualify most potential jurors who weren’t white.
To bolster his case, Abu-Jamal’s lawyers, Judith Ritter and Samuel Spital, cited documents that the DA’s Office did not turn over until 2019, when prosecutors said they inadvertently found six file boxes related to Abu-Jamal’s case while searching for office furniture.
Prosecutors have not yet responded to Abu-Jamal’s latest petition — at least the sixth appeal he’s filed in a case with a long and controversial post-conviction history. Abu-Jamal was convicted of murder in the shooting of 25-year-old Officer Daniel Faulkner in Center City on Dec. 9, 1981.
Jane Roh, spokesperson for District Attorney Larry Krasner, declined to comment Wednesday on Abu-Jamal’s latest claims. A hearing on the matter is scheduled for March 2.
On Wednesday, Faulkner’s widow, Maureen Faulkner, filed her own petition in the case, asking the president judge of Philadelphia’s Common Pleas Court to disqualify Krasner’s office from handling the appeal. She said Krasner’s administration was beset by conflicts of interest, including the fact that an attorney in the office had previously represented Abu-Jamal, and that Krasner, in his previous career as a defense lawyer, had represented groups that were sympathetic to, or advocated for, Abu-Jamal’s cause.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court in 2020 rejected a similar attempt by Faulkner to remove Krasner from the case.
During a news conference Wednesday at the headquarters of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5, Faulkner and her lawyer, George Bochetto, blasted Krasner and said the state Attorney General’s Office or a special prosecutor should take over the defense of the conviction.
Bochetto — who is seeking the Republican nomination for one of Pennsylvania’s U.S. Senate seats — called Krasner’s handling of the case “an absolute disgrace.”
Bochetto criticized Abu-Jamal’s appeal, saying it was based on “recycled” and baseless allegations that had previously been rejected by the courts. “It’s going nowhere,” he said.
Abu-Jamal’s trial prosecutor, Joseph McGill, stood beside Bochetto on stage but declined to comment afterward.
Correction: An earlier version of this article misstated the first name of Officer Daniel Faulkner.