The NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund has joined Mumia Abu-Jamal’s defense team to represent him in his ongoing appeal of his capital murder conviction.

“Mumia Abu-Jamal’s conviction and death sentence are relics of a time and place that was notorious for police abuse and racial discrimination,” said John Payton, director-counsel of the LDF in a statement. “Unless and until courts acknowledge and correct these historic injustices, death sentences like Mr. Abu-Jamal’s will invite continued skepticism of the criminal justice system by the African American community.”

Abu-Jamal was convicted in 1981 for the killing of Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner. He was sentenced to death. He and his defense team have been fighting to initially, get him off of death row, but now to get him out of prison.

His sentence was vacated in 2001 when a federal court found error in the jury instructions and verdict form used in his initial trial.

In 2008, a formal petition from Abu-Jamal seeking reconsideration of the conviction was denied by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, while the United States Supreme Court also denied his appeal.

However, on Jan. 19, 2010, the Supreme Court ordered the appeals court to reconsider its decision.

LDF will serve as co-counsel with Judy Ritter of Widener Law School.