Acting on orders from the U.S. Supreme Court, the federal appeals court in Philadelphia will again review the death sentence of death-row inmate Mumia Abu-Jamal. Some believe that the Nov. 9 hearing may be a setback for the convicted police killer, who is awaiting execution. The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 2008 granted the one-time radio reporter and former Black Panther a new sentencing hearing based on "flawed jury instructions." But the Supreme Court this year upheld a death sentence in an Ohio case with similar jury issues — and ordered the Philadelphia court to revisit its Abu-Jamal ruling. Assistant Philadelphia District Attorney Hugh J. Burns Jr. believes that the case is "indistinguishable" from the Ohio case, while Abu-Jamal's defense attorney Robert Bryan believes the hearing is a good thing because it will "will enable the three-judge appeals panel to reach a different conclusion." Abu-Jamal maintains that racism led to his 1982 conviction by a trial judge, prosecutors and an all-white jury, which he alleges were given "flawed" instructions on "weighting" circumstances. Prosecutors have fought a federal judge's 2001 decision to grant Abu-Jamal another sentencing hearing. The saga continues.
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