New court filing for man convicted of killing cop nearly 37 years ago

Kristen Johanson
July 11, 2018 - 6:53 pm
Former Black Panther and convicted cop killer Mumia Abu-Jamal, seen in this undated file photo, will be spared the death penalty, the Philadelphia district attorney announced on Wednesday, December 7, 2011, bringing a quiet end to a racially charged case

April Saul/Philadelphia Inquirer/MCT/Sipa USA


PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — In a new court filing this week, attorneys for Mumia Abu-Jamal spell out their claim in more detail that the convicted cop killer never got a fair shot at an appeal attempt because of a possible conflict involving a former Philadelphia district attorney. 

The newest filing comes after a 2016 U.S. Supreme Court opinion, which said that judges should recuse themselves from criminal cases that they have had prior involvement with as a prosecutor. That opinion involved former District Attorney Ron Castille, who was later elected a state Supreme Court justice.

Mumia Abu-Jamal's lawyers claim Castille should have recused himself during one of his prior appeal attempts — and claim there is a memo from Castille linking him to the case, before he later decided against an appeal attempt as a justice.

The Philadelphia District Attorney's Office said after an extensive search, it cannot find the memo.

At a deposition last month, a former deputy district attorney under Castille testified that she does not remember any memos involving Abu-Jamal, as the defense has claimed.

Prosecutors said they have found no evidence of "significant personal involvement" on the part of Castille and will oppose the amended appeal.  

They have until the second week of August to respond.

A judge will hear arguments next month and decide whether the case can move forward.