- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 22, 2001

PHILADELPHIA (AP) A judge yesterday rejected a plea for a new trial from Mumia Abu-Jamal, the former Black Panther sentenced to death for killing a police officer in 1981.
Common Pleas Judge Pamela Dembe said she does not have jurisdiction over Abu-Jamal's petition for a new trial, scuttling his hopes for another round of state court appeals.
Abu-Jamal argued that his former lawyers did a poor job and that he has new evidence that could clear him.
Still pending is his federal appeal in the slaying of Officer Daniel Faulkner, 25, whom Abu-Jamal killed after he pulled over his brother in a downtown traffic stop.
Celebrities, death-penalty opponents and foreign politicians have rallied to Abu-Jamal's cause, calling him a political prisoner and the victim of a racist justice system.
Assistant District Attorney Hugh Burns praised Judge Dembe's decision, but said other Abu-Jamal appeals will keep the case tied up in court.
"It never ends," Mr. Burns said.
Abu-Jamal exhausted his state appeals two years ago, but a petition filed in September argued his lawyers have new evidence to clear him, including a confession by a man named Arnold Beverly.
In a 1999 affidavit, Mr. Beverly claimed the mob hired him to kill Officer Faulkner because the policeman had interfered with payoffs.
Abu-Jamal's former lawyers, Leonard Weinglass and Daniel R. Williams, said they thought the confession was not credible, and a federal judge refused to order Mr. Beverly to testify on Abu-Jamal's behalf.
Abu-Jamal argued he should get another state appeal because his lawyers counseled him badly.


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