Grand Lodge (Bad) News


FOP says appeals process is too often an obstacle to justice …   

Chuck Canterbury, National President of the Fraternal Order of Police, expressed anger and frustration with news that Mumia Abu-Jamal, the criminal alias of cab driver Wesley Cook, who murdered Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner almost thirty years ago, would not face the death penalty.

“While we understand and accept the decision of the Philadelphia District Attorney, it makes me angry that the courts and an endless appeals process will keep Cook from getting penalty he so richly deserves,” Canterbury said.  “This killer and his attorneys simply gamed the system to avoid the sentence his jury imposed.  Parsing jury instructions from thirty years ago when there is no question of guilt makes a mockery of the criminal justice system.”

The U.S. Supreme Court ordered the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit to reconsider its decision and reinstate the death penalty for Officer Faulkner’s killer.  However, after review, the Third Circuit Court upheld its own decision, leaving prosecutors to decide whether to hold a new sentencing hearing or agree to a sentence of life.

The Philadelphia District Attorney, Seth Williams, announced today, with Officer Faulkner’s widow Maureen and the Philadelphia Lodge #5 President, John McNesby, by his side, that his office would not continue to seek the death penalty in the case saying that it could then could go on for an “unknowable number of years.”  Mr. Williams asserted Abu-Jamal’s guilt and said that he would “remain behind bars for the rest of his life, [where he] belongs.”

President McNesby released a statement supporting the District Attorney’s decision, saying, “Confronted with the possibility of a new death penalty phase and the same protracted appeals Lodge #5 feels this is the right choice.  We hope Wesley Cook will fade into obscurity and the next time we hear from him is his obituary.”

“This is a travesty of justice, but the Office of the District Attorney, who pursued this case doggedly for thirty years, did not fail–the system failed them.  We reluctantly accept their decision,” Canterbury said.  “My thoughts and prayers today are with Maureen and all members of Danny’s family who have had to deal with this legal circus for three decades.  I hope the decision brings her at least some measure of closure.”

Maureen Faulkner issued her own statement, which can be found here: said that the National FOP, along with Philadelphia Lodge #5, would continue to support her and to honor the memory of their fallen brother, Daniel Faulkner.

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… The final rusty nail in Danny Faulkner’s coffin.  Criminal-“In”justice at its worst. …


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