Odd you immediately assume this nodeshell was intended to be sarcastic, since a fair proportion of the American population believe both OJ Simpson and Mumia Abu-Jamal are not guilty of the crimes of which they have been accused. In fact, the judicial system has decided that one of them is innocent. But I digress...

I am in fact against the death penalty, but unlike many of my colleagues, I am not so blinded by my position that I ignore the overwhelming amount of evidence that suggests Mumia murdered Daniel Faulkner. As a Philadelphian, I have seen this case beat to death, and, after listening to both sides present all of their evidence (yeah, I've been to all the websites, too), I believe that the Mumia case is one of the most clear-cut famous cases of the last 25 years. In my mind, there is no reasonable doubt about this case, and he is more likely than OJ Simpson to be guilty.

I am quite comfortable with the judicial system of the United States and would not attempt to "erode" the rights which our Constitution guarantees. I have studied criminal justice and have been an ardent defender of constitutional rights. I have been an intern in the office of my District Justice and am confident in my knowledge of and respect for the operations of the American judicial system. Because Mumia's is a high-profile death penalty case, the courts have reviewed his trial in depth and have found nothing to suggest that he needs to be tried again. The courts have been made available to Mumia and his supporters. The flimsiness of his case for freedom, not the oppressive system, is what keeps Mumia behind bars. In terms of alleged "abuses" and "injustices", Mumia's case is far from abnormal, and the case is only prominent because of skillful political manuevering on the part of Mumia and his supporters. Mumia is behind bars because there is no reasonable doubt that he murdered a police officer. Being a prisoner with political views does not make one a political prisoner.

Innocent people do get convicted of crimes. This is unfortunate, but necessary, if anyone is to be convicted at all. No evidence, even a written confession, constitutes absolute proof. There is always the chance of innocence. Pictures could be faked, video tapes could be doctored, the suspect could have an evil twin... The system is designed to minimize the conviction of the innocent. The burden of proof is on the prosecution's side in a criminal case. Juries must find defendants guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. This requires a healthy amount of evidence. More often, the guilty go unpunished. This is the way it should be. In the case of Mumia, the prosecution presented a reasonable amount of proof and he was convicted. The system worked.

A large percentage of Mumia supporters defend him simply because they are against the death penalty. A few celebrities have admitted not knowing the details of the case but argue on his behalf because they do not believe the state should be killing people. People who protest the actions of governors and the courts are not thinking the right way. Governors must enforce the law as it is written. Courts must interpret the law as it is written. Interpreting and enforcing mean killing guilty people. They are more or less powerless to change the legality of the death penalty. Death penalty supporters should instead concentrate on changing the law. This will not happen in most states unless a majority of citizens switch to our side. Protesting outside the courts and jails is cute for the 11 o'clock news, but like the actions of abortion protesters, it's not going to change the law of the land and prevent the death. Death penalty opponents have picked a poor case to scream about. Mumia may be a charismatic guy, but he murdered a cop. Perhaps our cause would fare better if we celebrated someone who is truly innocent.

I saw Twelve Angry Men. Good movie. An accurate depiction of the judicial system? Not quite. Maybe in Hollywood.

I also watched the entire OJ Simpson criminal trial (yawn!) and thought he was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Regarding your "judge not" attitude, please forward your sentiments to the large subset of Mumia supporters who assume his innocence with far more subjectivity and far less evidence and knowledge than my "assumption" of guilt. You might want to start with Tom Morello.

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