Mumia Abu-Jamal is currently serving a life sentence for the 1981 murder of a policeman in Philadelphia. The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) submitted a friend of the court brief, and presented oral argument, in support of Mr. Abu-Jamal’s claim of discrimination in jury selection when his case was first before the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.
In 2008, that court denied the jury discrimination claim but upheld a lower court decision declaring that Mr. Abu-Jamal’s death sentence was unconstitutional on other grounds. LDF then filed a brief supporting Mr. Abu-Jamal’s appeal of the denial of his jury discrimination claim to the United States Supreme Court. The Supreme Court rejected that appeal in 2009. In 2010, the Supreme Court reversed the lower court decisions overturning Mr. Abu-Jamal’s death sentence and returned the case to the Court of Appeals for review.
The Court of Appeals heard oral argument on this sentencing issue in November of 2010. LDF joined Mr. Abu-Jamal’s defense team in January of 2011 to represent him in his ongoing appeals.