The U.S. Supreme Court rejected a bid today for a new trial for Mumia Abu-Jamal, who has been on death row for more than 25 years for the 1981 murder of Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner.
Abu-Jamal and his lawyers had been hoping for a new trial based on their contention that prosecutors unfairly excluded African-Americans from his jury during his 1982 trial.
But the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, in a 2-to-1 decision last March, refused to order a new trial, but the panel agreed unanimously that his death sentence should been thrown out.
The panel said that Abu-Jamal must either be sentenced to life in prison, or receive a new sentencing trial only on the issue of whether he should be sentenced to death or life in prison.
But the epic struggle over the fate of Abu-Jamal, who has become an international symbol in the debate about the death penalty, is not over. The nation's high court is still weighing the state's petition to have his death sentence reinstated.