Protesters seek Abu-Jamal's freedom, cop's widow says he'll remain jailed

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Protest seeks Mumia Abu-Jamal's release. Katherine Scott reports during Action News at Noon on April 30, 2018. (WPVI)

Protesters blocked 13th Street by Filbert on Monday morning, calling to free Mumia Abu-Jamal following a hearing at the Criminal Justice Center.

Court was continued while further inquiries are made, including trying to secure a file from Ron Castille.

Castille was district attorney when Abu-Jamal's direct appeal was pending, then presided over his appeals in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

Abu-Jamal's legal team is now petitioning under the Post-Conviction Relief Act, arguing their client's rights were violated in his appeals attempts.

"When Mr. Abu-Jamal had his previous post-conviction appeals heard by then-Justice Castille, this is the same individuals that when he was district attorney had overseen direct appeal process and had clearly played a significant role in prosecuting Mr. Abu-Jamal," attorney Samuel Spital said.



Abu-Jamal was convicted of murder and sentenced to death in 1982 for the murder of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner in 1981.


Following his conviction and after numerous appeals, his sentence was commuted to life in prison without parole.

The district attorney's office assigned a paralegal to search for documents that suggest Castille had personal involvement in this case, including a memo from DA Castille that the district attorney's office says is missing.



They did not find such evidence.

"He searched high and low through digital files, through boxes, through files in Harrisburg, anything possible that might have shown Ron Castille's personal involvement in this particular case," Nancy Winkelman, Supervisor of Law Division of the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office.

Faulkners widow, Maureen Faulkner, sat in court with family and members of the police union. She believes the defense is grasping at straws.
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Watch the report from Bob Brooks on Action News 11 p.m. on April 29, 2018.



"Mumia Abu-Jamal will not ever be free; he's going to be behind bars for rest of his life and I will make sure of that," Faulkner said.

The parties are scheduled to reconvene in court on August 30.

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