THE NEW BOOK BY
MAUREEN FAULKNER AND MICHAEL SMERCONISH
How Not to Build One’s Case for Justice
A Review of Maureen Faulkner and Michael A. Smerconish, Murdered By Mumia: A Life Sentence of Loss, Pain, and Injustice. Guilford, CT: The Lyons Press, 2007, 349 pp.
by Mark Lewis Taylor
December 19, 2007
Maureen Faulkner, widow of slain Philadelphia Police Officer, Daniel Faulkner, and conservative Philly radio talk-show host, Michael Smerconish, released their new book in early December 2007. It is their take on the decades-long debate about perhaps the most contested death penalty case today, one that dates back to the 1982 conviction and death sentence of Mumia Abu-Jamal for the officer’s murder. The book’s chapters are organized roughly in terms of what Maureen Faulkner sees as her emotional ups and downs relating to her public relations victories and defeats, in her struggle to see Abu-Jamal executed.
The battle lines have firmed up over the years as prosecutors continue to argue they have “slam dunk” evidence of Abu-Jamal’s guilt, even while ever more analysts and human rights organizations – Amnesty International, for example – call for a new trial.
In their book, Faulkner and Smerconish definitely embrace the slam-dunk view of evidence for Abu-Jamal’s guilt and are out to explain to readers, as Maureen Faulkner puts it, “why I and my family need to see Jamal executed” (300).