Written by Jenée Desmond-Harris, The Root


Mumia Abu-Jamal, former radio reporter. (STEVEN M. FALK/AP)

The case of the former Black Panther, journalist and social commentator is known worldwide because of the widespread perception that he was the victim of an unjust and racist system.

Swarns and her colleagues saw a victory this week, when, after a court battle that spanned 30 years, Philadelphia prosecutors announced that they would drop their pursuit of the death penalty for Abu-Jamal.

The Root talked to Swarns about what the development means, what's next for her client and what the famous case represents about American criminal justice.

The Root : How does this development further the interests of justice?

CS: First of all, law for the worst of the worst offenders reserves the death penalty. And Mumia does not fit that description. He had zero history of violence, he was a family man, he was a journalist and he's been incarcerated for 30 years with no violence or disciplinary problems in prison. He's become a remarkable hinker and commentator on criminal-justice and social-justice issues. By no stretch of the definition does he meet the definition of worst of the worst. The death penalty for him was absolutely not appropriate.

Read the rest of the story at The Root.