As I read Live From Death Row by Mumia Abu-Jamal, I began to understand some of the injustices against certain individuals through the justice system. Mumia Abu-Jamal is an African-American broadcast journalist who was put on trial in June of 1982 and sentenced to death for the murder of a white police officer. He won awards as a Philadelphia radio journalist and worked part-time as a taxi driver when he was arrested for the December 9, 1981 murder of Daniel Faulkner. On July 3, 1981, a jury found him guilty and recommended the death sentence and the trial judge confirmed the sentence a year later. On June 2, 1995 a month after Abu-Jamal's book was published, Pennsylvania Governor Thomas Ridge, a pro-death penalty republican, signed a death warrant ordering execution. Of course Abu-Jamal's attorney had something to say about that decision. The conviction and the death sentence have been an on going war both in the courts and in the press. At the same time, the conditions of Abu-Jamal's incarceration, including access to writing material had become more restrictive. He has claimed his innocence from the outset and is on death row in a Pennsylvania prison hoping for a new trial. In Live From Death Row, Abu-Jamal focuses strongly on the injustices of the criminal justice system.
Mumia Abu-Jamal's case returned to public attention in May of 1994 when National Public Radio cancelled a series of commentaries byAbu- Jamal. The tapes described prison conditions, focusing on life on death row. During his years on death row Abu-Jamal has written articles that have been published in places like The Nation and Yale Law Journal. His case has been supported by a wide array of people, from Whoopi Goldberg to Amnesty International. In Live From Death Row, Abu-Jamal hardly ever discussed his own case. We find in the appendix by Civil Rights attorney Leonard Weinglass that the killing of Daniel Faulker and wounding of Abu-Jamal are questionable.