Lawyers for Mumia Abu-Jamal will have to wait before they can present evidence-based arguments in court to petition for a new appeal. A judge ordered Thursday that a hearing would be continued for 60 days.
On Monday, lawyers said new evidence was found and turned over to indicate that former Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Ronald Castille was biased in upholding the murder conviction of a policeman against Abu-Jamal, who is serving a life sentence. A judge pressed parties Thursday to continue searching for more documents before presenting arguments in October, NBC-owned WCAU reported.
Abu-Jamal, like other convicted Black men, has had many failed appeals in fighting for freedom. The former member of the Black Panthers party, journalist and author spent 29 years on death row following his conviction in the 1981 murder of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner. The 64-year-old has maintained his innocence and become a symbol for criminal justice reform. His story has inspired activists to stage protests for securing his release after what they have said was a wrongful conviction. Questions about whether there was sufficient evidence in the case, substantial witness testimony and a fair jury have arisen over the years.
The defense team had to previously reset when a hearing was postponed in April. They were petitioning under the Post-Conviction Relief Act to have Abu-Jamal’s previous appeals thrown out to make way for the new appeal.
Abu-Jamal recently offered his thoughts about his conviction and previously being ordered to face the death penalty.
“I think we posed an existential challenge to the very legitimacy of the System – and it unleashed unprecedented fury from the State,” he said from behind bars and through emails in a story published by The Guardian last month. “That’s why they used any means, even illegal, to extinguish what they saw as a threat.”