Supreme Court Declines To Reinstate Death Penalty For Mumia Abu-Jamal BEST
The Reading Eagle reported in June 2016 that from the time the Commonwealth enacted its current death penalty statute in September 1978 through 2015, Pennsylvania had sentenced 408 prisoners to death. Of those, 191 had subsequently been resentenced to life or less or released (46.8%), including 169 resentenced to life (41.4%); 16 resentenced to a term of years (3.9%); and 6 exonerated (1.5%). 181 remained on death row (44.4%), including 28 whose convictions or death sentences had been overturned but who were awaiting further court proceedings. 33 had died on death row other than by execution (8.1%). 3 had been executed (0.7%).
Supreme Court Declines To Reinstate Death Penalty For Mumia Abu-Jamal
The most recent US executions took place in the states of Virginia, Missouri and Oklahoma, bringing the number of death row inmates put to death this year to 27. Since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976, 625 people have been executed in the United States.
James H. Hampton, 62, died by lethal injection in Missouri on March 22 for the abduction and murder of Frances Keaton and Christine Schurman. He had refused for years to appeal his conviction. As police were about to arrest Hampton for the 1992 murders, he shot himself under the chin. The bullet exited through the front of his brain, and death penalty opponents said that his judgment was impaired, leading to his desire to die and not fight his death sentence. Hampton went to reform school at the age of 11, and had served time in 25 different prisons for burglary, assault and drug related crimes before being convicted of the 1992 murders. Forty-one people have been put to death in Missouri since the death penalty was reinstated.
Coe's defenders had hoped that his final appeal would come before Nashville US District Court Judge John T. Nixon, who has a history of overturning capital convictions, but his case was assigned to Judge Trauger. Judge Nixon has come under attack by pro-death penalty forces who have accused him of practicing "judicial advocacy" by waiting for years to rule on habeas corpus appeals by condemned death row inmates. Death penalty advocates led a failed impeachment drive against the judge after he overturned Robert Coe's conviction, which was later reinstated by a higher appeals court.
Since the death penalty was reinstated in Florida, Green is the twenty-first person to be taken off the state's death row because of a wrongful conviction or doubt of guilt. Commenting on Green's case, a spokesman for Governor Jef Bush said it didn't prove anything is fundamentally wrong with Florida's judicial system, "In this particular case, the system worked for this gentleman. Based on his direct appeal, his conviction was overturned."
1946 Lewis Hill moves from Washington DC to the SanFrancisco Bay Area and begins work toward creating an alternative radiostation.1949 Pacifica first goes onthe air April 15 as KPFA-FM in Berkeley CA.1950 Opponents to the Korean war are among the manyminority viewpoints given freedom of speech on Pacifica during the McCarthyera.1951 Pacifica receives thefirst major foundation grant (Ford Founda- tion) for the support of anon-commercial broadcast operation.1952 Jazz aficionado Phil Elwood debuts on KPFA, making himtoday the longest-running jazz programmer in the country.1953 Philosopher/author Alan Watts begins aregular program on KPFA that continues until his death in 1973.1954 An on-the-air discussion of theeffects of marijuana results in the California Attorney General impoundingthe program tape.1955Poets Allen Ginsberg andLawrence Ferlinghetti bring the Beat Generation to the airwaves. A fewyears later the FCC questions Pacifica's broadcast of some of their worksas "vulgar, obscene and in bad taste."1956 Pacifica wins its first broadcast awards fora program on the First Amendment by Alexander Meiklejohn and a children'sseries of _Robin Hood_ by Chuck Levy and Virginia Maynard.1957 Pacifica/KPFA wins its first George FosterPeabody Award for "distinguished service and meritorious public service"for programming that takes strong issue with McCarthyism.1958 Nuclear war and the arms race are debated onthe air by Nobel Prize winner Linus Pauling and Edward Teller, the "Fatherof the H-Bomb."1959 Pacifica begins its second station--KPFK-FM in LosAngeles--with Terry Drinkwater as General Manager.1960-1963 The House Un-American ActivitiesCommittee (HUAC) and the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee (SISS)investigate Pacifica programming for "subversion." Suspected writers includeBertolt Brecht, Norman Cousins, Carey McWilliams, Dorothy Healey, and W.E.B.DuBois.1960 The Federal CommunicationsCommission (FCC) requests a tape of a Pacifica broadcast of poet LawrenceFerlinghetti that it found "in bad taste" with "strong implications againstreligion, government, the president, law-enforcement and racial groups"--and demands full information on Pacifica finances andgovernance.1960Commercial station WBAIin New York is given to Pacifica by philanthropist Louis Schweitzer. Then-Governor Nelson Rockefeller, Mayor Robert Wagner, Jr. and Attorney GeneralLouis Lefkowitz are among the speakers honoring the first day of a Pacificaradio station in New York. Early programs include a documentary on George LincolnRockwell and a speech by Herbert Aptheker. The SISS requests files of WBAIprograms and program guides.1961 KPFK wins Pacifica's second George FosterPeabody Award for excellence in broadcasting.1962 KPFK broadcasts women's history profiles ofDorothy healey and Elizabeth Gurley Flynn--programs that are later used inSISS Hearings charging Pacifica is communist infiltrated.1962 WBAI is the first station to publicly broadcastformer FBI agent Jack Levine's expose of J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI. Theprogram is followed by threats of arrests and bombings, as well as pressurefrom the FBI, the Justice Department, and major broadcastnetworks.1962 The FCC withholds the license renewals of KPFA, KPFB,and KPFK pending its investigation into "communist affiliations." Pacificawas never ultimately cited in any of these or subsequent investi-gations.1963 I. F. Stone and Bertrand Russell take to thePacifica airwaves, leading a long list of luminaries to oppose the war inVietnam at this early stage of direct U.S. involvement.1964Pacifica trains volunteers totravel to the South for coverage of the awakening civil rights movement.Andrew Goodman, son of the Pacifica president, is murdered in Mississippiwith Michael Schwerner and James Cheney.1964 The Federal Communications Commission (FCC)renews the licenses of all three Pacifica stations after a three-yeardelay.1965 WBAI reporter Chris Koch is thefirst American to cover the war from North Vietnam.1966 Leaders of organizations such as theStudent Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), Congress Of RacialEquality (CORE), Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), and the SouthernChristian Leadership Conference (SCLC) discuss the future of civil rightsover Pacifica stations.1967 Pacifica broadcasts a live interview with LatinAmerican leader Che Guevara months before he is killed inBolivia.1968 Pacifica Radio News(originally the Washington News Bureau of WBAI/New York) is established inWashington DC.1969 Pacifica is the only newsorganization willing to break Seymour Hersh's story of the My Lai massacre.Hersh later wins the Pulitzer Prize for exposing the atrocities committed byU.S. troops in Vietnam.1970 KPFT in Houston goes on the air and is bombed off twice duringits first year by Ku Klux Klan attacks on its transmitter tower. Aftermonths of inactivity by federal agents and Houston police, Pacifica mountsa media campaign. Federal agents ultimately arrest a Klansman and chargehim with plotting to blow up KPFA and KPFK, as well as the actual KPFTbombing.1971 WBAI station manager Ed Goodman is jailed for refusingto turn over taped statements by rebelling prisoners at the "Tombs," theNew York City jail.1972 The Pacifica Radio Archive and Pacifica ProgramService are established in Los Angeles to preserve and distribute Pacificaprogramming to schools, libraries, individuals, and other community radiostations across the country.1973 Pacifica provides gavel-to-gavel coverage of the SenateWatergate hearings.1973Third World programmersat KPFA organize to demand a programming department with paid staff andcontrol over some airtime. The station management opposes this effort andobtains a court order banning Third World project coordinator JeffEcheverria from the KPFA premises. The Third World programmers file achallenge to KPFA's license on grounds of discrimination in hiringpractices. The lawyer representing them is David Salniker, later to becomeKPFA manager and Executive Director of Pacifica.1974 The Symbionese Liberation Army delivers thePatty hearts tapes to KPFA/Berkeley and KPFK/Los Angeles. KPFK manager WillLewis is jailed for refusing to turn the tapes over to the FBI.1974 In the summer, KPFA staff andprogrammers go on strike to demand more democratic decision-making process,the reinstatement of the fired Third World staff, and the firing of stationmanagement. After KPFA is off the air for one month, Pacifica agrees to mostof the strikers' demands. In the fall, KPFA formally creates the ThirdWorld programming department with a paid department head and control oversome airtime.1975Joel Kugelmassbecomes the first Executive Director of the Pacifica Foundation.1975 Comedian George Carlin's "dirty wordsyou can't say on television" routine, broadcast by WBAI/New York in 1973,leads to several years of First Amendment litigation and a hearing by theU.S. Supreme Court. No sanctions are imposed, but the Carlin Case sets thelimits of broadcasting for over a decade.1976 The Pacfica documentary on the assassination ofChilean diplomat Orlando Letelier is instrumental in piecing togetherevidence that later convicts the murderers.1976 In September, KPFA station manager Larry Bensky lays offtwo-thirds of the station's paid staff in one of the many financial crisesperpetually plaguing Pacifica stations.1977 WPFW/Washington DC goes on the air, after winning a six-yearcompetitive process for the last available frequency in the nation'scapital.1977Jack O'Dell becomes Chairof the Pacifica Foundation.1978 The Pacifica Radio News begins to distribute news services to20 non-Pacifica stations across the U.S. and Canada and expandsinternational coverage by establishing correspondents in a number offoreign capitals.1979 Pacifica, the League of Women Voters, and congressman HenryWaxman (D, CA) challenge the constitutionality of the prohibition oneditorializing by non-commercial broadcasters.1980 Pacifica interviews Sister Ita Ford a few daysbefore she is murdered in El Salvador.1980 Sharon Maeda becomes Executive Director ofPacifica.1981 KPFT/Houston becomes the firstpublic radio station to broadcast special programs in 11 differentlanguages, serving the multi- ethnic Texas Gulf Coastcommunities.1981 KPFA/Berkeley creates a Women's Department with a paiddirector and control over some airtime. Ginny Z. Berson (a member of thecollective that created Olivia Records) becomes the first director of theWomen's Dept. (Women's programming had been done on KPFA since the early1970s by a collective called Unlearning To Not Speak.)1982 Pacifica provides the only continuous livenational coverage of one million people demonstrating for jobs, peace, andfreedom in New York's Central Park during the U.N. special session ondisarmament.1982After years ofdevelopment by women and people of color, the KPFA Apprentice Program isformally established as an intensive training program in broadcast skills.It is now the most comprehensive program of its kind in thecountry.1983 WPFW heads up theall-Pacifica team which covers the 20th anniversary of the March onWashington with Julian Bond and Justine Rector ashosts/commentators.1984 The U.S. Supreme Court rules in Pacifica's favor thatnon- commercial broadcasters have a constitutional right toeditorialize.1985 Pacifica broadcasts its firsteditorial, condemning the apartheid South African government. Pacifica ChairJack O'Dell calls upon U.S. citizens to bring pressure on the White House tocut all ties with South Africa on the 10th anniversary of the Sowetouprising.1985 WPFW helps launch the Capital City Jazz Festival inWashington DC.1985WBAI/New Yorkorganizes the now-annual Listener Action for the Homeless project tomobilize aid for New York's homeless.1986 The National Federation of Community Broadcasters (NFCB) radioarchives are consolidated with Pacifica's, making the Pacifica RadioArchive 30,000 tapes strong.1986 David Salniker becomes Executive Director ofPacifica.1987 Pacifica's coverage of the Iran-Contra affair iscarried by 33 stations and wins two national journalism awards.1987 Pacifica provides the only national live radiocoverage of the complete confirmation hearings for U.S. Supreme Courtnominee Robert Bork, beginning a traditon that has continued to the presentday of broadcasting important congressional hearings.1987 Lady Smith Black Mambazo makes theirfirst live U.S. radio appearance, on KPFK/Los Angeles.1988 Pacifica stringers provide on-the-spotcoverage of the Intifada, the Palestinian uprising, despite great personaldanger.1989 The Pacifica Radio Archivecompletes restoration of 7,000 one-of- a-kind recordings from the early1950s and 1960s in conjunction with Pacifica's 40thanniversary.1990Pacifica's ongoingcoverage of the preparations for and conduct of war in the Persian Gulfreaches listeners on dozens of public stations throughout thecountry.1990 Pacifica declines two NEA grants because of contentrestrictions attached to the funds.1991 Pacificia leads a coalition with PEN, Allen Ginsberg and broad-casters opposing Senator Jesse Helms' (R-NC) and the FCC's 24-hour banagainst "indecency" on radio. The Court of Appeals agrees with Pacifica andsets the ban aside as unconstitutional.1991 KPFA/Berkeley moves into its newlyconstructed building in September.1992 KPFA's Flashpoints program, headed by DennisBernstein, becomes the third-most-popular program on the station (after theMorning Show and the Evening News). Flashpoints evolved from thedaily Persian Gulf War update program.1992 Senate Republicans put a hold on funding for the Corporationfor Public Broadcasting, claiming "liberal bias" on a host of issues,including environmental coverage. A bill is passed imposing "objectivityand balance" conditions on CPB funding. Almost alone among broadcasters,Pacifica protests any content-conditional funding, pressing CPB to shieldall news programming and editorial integrity of individual producers--whichCPB agrees to in its implementation protocols. Pacifica observes that noother broadcasters, commercial or religious, are any longer subject toaccess and balance requirements of the now-repealed FairnessDoctrine--making public broadcasters alone subject to editorialrestrictions. Immediately after passage of the content restrictions, CPBBoard member Victor Gold targets KPFK for strident African Americanprogramming and controversial speech aired during Black History month, byfiling an FCC complaint.1993 CPB Board member Victor Gold calls for de-fundingPacifica, echoing lobyying campaign orchestrated by right-wing mediacritics. In a unanimous vote, CPB reaffirms Pacifica's funding irrespectiveof program content. Senate Minority Leader Robert Dole (R-KS) threatenspublic broadcasting with Congressional revenge, his aide explaining: "TheFirst Amendment, freedom of speech, doesn't apply, because we are able toput conditions on the grants of federal money. The same as we do forfarmers." Pacifica launches a campaign for unconditional funding andself-defense, led by a tremendous outpouring of "fightback donations" fromlisteners nationwide. CPB funding narrowly escapes cuts in the House ofRepresentatives, with program content the driving issue. A lobbying effortkeeps Pacifica funding off the Senate agenda. This is the second year inwhich Pacifica has received no discretionary funding from CPB (only thematching funding based upon listener contributions).1993 Pacifica wins its third Court of Appealsruling in six years, overturning the FCC restrictions on "indecent"programming as unconstitutional restrictions of the First Amendment rightsof the radio audience.1993 WBAI wins the Roger N. Baldwin Award for OustandingContributions to Civil Liberties, presented by the American Civil LibertiesUnion of New Jersey, who state: "In the winter of 1991...a war hysteriaseemed to engulf the United States and its mainstream media.... In thisoverheated, thought-muddling atmosphere, one of the few cool, on-targetvoices of rational discussion and dissent was a small FM radio stationbeaming steadily out of New York City.... From the armies converging onIraq to the march for women's lives in Washington, from the killing fieldof East Timor to the mean streets of Manhattan's homeless, WBAI covers thelocal, national and international scene with a depth and integrity not evenconceived of by commerical broadcasting."1993 Amy Goodman, WBAI News Director and co-anchor ofWBAI's Morning Show, wins the following awards for the program "Massacre:The Story of East Timor": Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Award forInternational Reporting; Unda-Gabriel Award for Nationally Distributed Newsand Information; Radio & Television News Directors Award; and the Unity inMedia Award from Lincoln University.1993 The CPB Silver Award for Children's and Youth Programming goesto "Youth in Control," the two-hour live radio magazine of ExecutiveProducer Ellin O'Leary's Youth Radio Project, produced weekly in KPFB-FMstudios. This two-time CPB Award-winning program is a show produced byteens for teens, a project recruiting low income and minority youth,providing training in all aspects of news and music programming, andfeaturing live weekly Pacifica broadcasts and special pieces on KQED-FM,NPR, Monitor Radio and Inner City Broadcasting.1993 San Francisco Foundation Executive DirectorRobert Fisher sele