Mumia Abu-Jamal Off Death Row

    FILE--Convicted police killer Mumia Abu-Jamal is seen in this undated file photo. Prosecutors appealed Friday, Dec. 21, 2001, a federal judge's ruling overturning the death sentence of Abu-Jamal. The move freezes the Tuesday, Dec. 18 order from District Judge William Yohn, who said Abu-Jamal deserves a new sentencing hearing because of errors in the jury instructions given during his 1982 trial. (AP Photo/Jennifer E. Beach, File)

    Jennifer E. Beach / AP Photo

    Prosecutors have dropped the death penalty against former Black Panther Mumia Abu-Jamal, who was convicted in 1981 of killing a police officer. In the 30 years since his conviction, Abu-Jamal became a cause célèbre among death-penalty opponents and critics of racial bias in the legal system. A federal appeals court ruled that instructions given to the jury were potentially misleading and ordered a new sentencing hearing, resulting in the dropping of the death sentence in favor of life in prison.

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