Pa. Supreme Court names 'special master to investigate' alleged conflicts of Abu-Jamal case

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has named the "special master to investigate" how the Mumia Abu-Jamal case is being handled by the Philadelphia district attorney, and how the investigation will play out. The judge is no stranger to high profile cases.

The state’s highest court has appointed Judge John Cleland to oversee the investigation into whether there are conflicts of interest with the District Attorney Larry Krasner's handling of the case.

Abu-Jamal was convicted of killing Danny Faulkner nearly 40 years ago, and has appealed several times. Last summer, Krasner announced he wouldn’t step in the way of Abu-Jamal’s latest attempt, so Faulkner’s widow filed a petition for the state Supreme Court to take over.

They have now ordered that Cleland will have until June 2020 to interview, under oath, any parties listed in the petition. And, by August, Cleland must submit "findings of fact" and make recommendations to the court.

Cleland presided over the child sex abuse case involving Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky, and he had a hand in redacting names in the state’s clergy sex abuse grand jury report.

"This is a very big deal that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has appointed Judge Cleland to oversee the investigation of District Attorney Larry Krasner and his office," said Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5 president John McNesby. "We are optimistic that the Court will find in our favor and remove Krasner from handling any matters related to the Mumia Abu-Jamal case. For nearly 40 years, Maureen and the entire Faulkner family has sought justice and we hope this latest chapter brings us one-step closer to resolving all of these frivolous appeals."