Inquirer Editorial: Abu-Jamal sentence should provide closure

Officer Daniel Faulkner
Officer Daniel Faulkner
Posted: December 09, 2011

It's time for convicted cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal to make the switch from celebrity death-row inmate to just another face in the crowd of prison lifers.

Now that Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams has made the smart decision not to seek reinstatement of the death sentence in the murder of Officer Daniel Faulkner, Abu-Jamal faces life in prison with no possibility of parole.

Repeatedly, appeals courts have said that's where Abu-Jamal belongs - having upheld his conviction in the 1981 killing of the 25-year-old patrolman.

What kept Abu-Jamal in the headlines was the fact that Pennsylvania sought to execute him based on jury deliberations that the appellate courts found to be fatally flawed.

The courts overturned the death sentence, but left open the option for prosecutors to try once more to have it reinstated.

After the U.S. Supreme Court's refusal in October to intervene in the case, the clock was ticking on a decision by Williams as to whether to make yet another legal pitch to keep Abu-Jamal on death row.

Williams' assessment - one that was shared by the officer's widow, Maureen Faulkner - was that 30 years of legal wrangling was more than enough.

They're right.

To continue to push for Abu-Jamal's execution would only mean more time in the limelight for a convicted killer who has become an international icon for the injustices inherent in the American system of capital punishment.

Following Williams' announcement, an Abu-Jamal supporters' group contended that "an aroused public . . . is ready to challenge anew the entire trial."

But it's a far-fetched notion that new evidence would emerge after three decades to alter the damning facts that put Abu-Jamal behind bars, which is where he belongs.

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