Mumia Abu-Jamal Off Death Row

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.