I hadn’t known what to make of the recent news regarding Mumia’s case, being illiterate in all things legal and judicial. So I asked my radical lawyer friends Scott Fleming and Ben Rosenfeld for their opinion.
Re: Mumia, the district court overturned his death sentence but upheld his conviction in
2001. Since then, he has been appealing to have his conviction overturned, and the state
has been appealing to reinstate his death sentence.
The court of appeals today upheld his conviction and also upheld the district court’s
decision to overturn his death sentence. That means the state can now seek a new penalty
phase hearing at which they can try to get another jury to sentence him to death (though
today’s decision may first be subject to further appeals by either side).
I’ve always thought that, if I were the state, I would be satisfied to just see him
sentenced to life. That way, they get their kilo of flesh, and, with the urgency of the
death penalty out of the way, the movement to free/save him will probably wither away.
However, since the state and the FOP are so hydrophobic, there’s a good chance they’ll
seek to have him sentenced to death again.
I think this article sets it out pretty clearly.