Death sentence of ex-US journalist overturned


A US federal judge overturned the death sentence of former Black Panther and radio journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal today, ordering a new sentencing hearing for the convicted killer of a Philadelphia police officer whose case has been championed by death-penalty opponents worldwide.

But in a 272-page opinion that stunned legal experts and stirred emotions on both sides of the case, Judge Yohn gave state prosecutors 180 days to conduct a new sentencing hearing, citing errors in the death-penalty phase of the 1982 trial.

The judge said proceedings in the original penalty hearing created a reasonable likelihood that the jury believed it was precluded from considering any mitigating circumstance that had not been found unanimously to exist.