AP NEWS

Senior judge to review widow’s petition in Abu-Jamal case

March 3, 2020 GMT

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A senior judge will review whether the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office should step down from the latest appeal of former death row inmate Mumia Abu-Jamal.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Tuesday named McKean County Senior Judge John Cleland to review the conflict of interest petition filed by Maureen Faulkner, the widow of slain officer Daniel Faulkner. She believes that District Attorney Larry Krasner and his aides have prior links to Abu-Jamal’s case that should disqualify them.

Krasner denies any substantive conflict in the case. The high court asked Cleland to file a report by about August 1.

The 65-year-old Abu-Jamal, who is serving life in prison over the 1981 traffic stop death, is pursuing his fifth post-conviction review based in part on a 2017 U.S. Supreme Court decision that affects his case.

Cleland has previously been tapped to work on the Penn State sex abuse case, the Kids for Cash juvenile justice scandal and the state priest abuse investigation.

Police union President John McNesby welcomed his appointment.