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DA gets 60 days to answer Abu-Jamal petition

February 27, 2018 GMT

The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office has requested more time to review a petition and produce documentation brought by a man serving a life sentence for the murder of a city police officer.

In a status hearing on Monday, Common Pleas Judge Leon Tucker granted District Attorney Larry Krasner’s office an additional 60 days to comply with the petition requests of Mumia Abu-Jamal, who was found guilty of killing police officer Daniel Faulkner in 1982.

Ben Waxman, a spokesman for Krasner, said the office does not comment on pending litigation.

Rachel Wolkenstein, who has been a legal advocate of Abu-Jamal’s for decades, said during a telephone conversation on Monday that the district attorney’s office was “stalling” on producing the additional documentation.

Wolkenstein said Abu-Jamal’s petition argues that Justice Ronald Castille, who worked on Abu-Jamal’s appeals as a district attorney and later sat on the state Supreme Court when he presided over Abu-Jamal’s appeals, had shown bias and a conflict of interest in the case.

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“He had no business sitting [as a judge] on those appeals in which he was the prosecutor on those issues,” Wolkenstein said, referring to Castille.

Abu-Jamal’s petition also requests that the District Attorney’s Office produce a memorandum written by Castille during his time as district attorney, which could shed light on how much of an influence he had on Abu-Jamal’s appeals.

Wolkenstein said Abu-Jamal filed the petition two years ago seeking to vacate his appeals that would allow him to re-appeal his case.

Abu-Jamal’s petition will go back before Tucker on March 27 for a status update and is scheduled for a final hearing on April 30.