This week, the U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for death-row inmate Mumia Abu-Jamal to get a new sentencing hearing for the killing of a Philadelphia police officer 30 years ago, according to CNN.
The high court rejected a request from the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office to overturn the federal appeals court decision declaring the death sentence unconstitutional for Abu-Jamal, a former Black Panther who was convicted in 1982 of gunning down a Philadelphia police officer.
Abu-Jamal was convicted and sentenced to death for the 1981 killing of Officer Daniel Faulkner. Witnesses testified that Abu-Jamal shot Faulkner in the back and head after the officer pulled his brother over during a late-night traffic stop, reported CNN.
Abu-Jamal, once known as Wesley Cook, was wounded in the encounter and later confessed to the killing, according to other testimony.
According to CNN, he has been on death row at a state prison in southwest Pennsylvania, where he's been an outspoken activist from behind bars -- claiming there were procedural errors during his capital sentencing, and that too few blacks were on the jury. The case has attracted international attention, amid charges of prosecutorial misconduct.
Abu-Jamal will be automatically sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole unless Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams seeks another death sentence from a new jury.
To read more: http://www.cnn.com/2011/10/11/justice/scotus-officer-killing/