This week, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected the appeal for a new trial of Mumia Abu-Jamal, the ex-Black Panther serving a life sentence for killing a police officer in Philadelphia in 1981. He was convicted by a jury made of ten whites and two Blacks in 1982. Abu-Jamal's lawyers' latest appeal was filed on the grounds that the racially-biased justice system excluded blacks from the jury pool. In this latest chapter of the controversy, I find this snippet from BLOOMBERG to be most troubling:
The justices, without comment, left intact a federal appeals court ruling that upheld Abu-Jamal’s conviction, turning away his contentions that prosecutors sought to exclude blacks from the jury.
Why silence? Justices aren't accountable to anyone, so they don't have to speak on something if they don't want to. But the other side of not being accountable is being able to speak on anything with little to no fear of reprisal. Why not speak on this?
This case is older than I am. Trying to ascertain the facts is nearly impossible. Listening to one side, I can be convinced he did it. Looking to the other side, I can be convinced of, at the very least, gross prosecutorial malfeasance. Conclusion: Neither side of the matter can be trusted at this point.
However, not knowing makes me say: "Do over!" The Court doesn't agree. Perhaps the appeal just wasn't up to snuff. Maybe they thought it was, but felt the trial evidence was so overwhelmingly against Abu-Jamal that they'd do the Pennsylvania taxpayers a solid and put the kibosh on his appeal. Or maybe they didn't feel like breaking a sweat—who knows?
But, a note to the justices: Silence doesn't place you above politics.