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Watch: Arguments over Whether Convicted Murderer Can Avoid Death Penalty After Prosecutor Misconduct


When it’s all said and done, Abu-Ali Abdur’Rahman will remain a guilty man for the 1986 murder of Patrick Daniels and stabbing of survivor Norma Jean Norman. But will he live out the end of his days behind bars, or will Tennessee put him to death? A hearing is set for 10 a.m. ET / 9 a.m. CT on Tuesday before the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals.

Remarkably, the hearing stems from a dispute between different prosecutors. Abdur’Rahman was set for execution April 16, but the Tennessee Supreme Court put that on hold in December, according to The Tennessean. The thing is, Nashville District Attorney Glenn Funk acknowledged there was prosecutorial misconduct in the trial. That included race discrimination. (Abdur’Rahman is black.) The defense called out prosecutor John Zimmerman, saying he had a “pervasive pattern of suppression and deception” that included withholding information from the defense. They’ve argued that racism tainted the jury selection.

Funk set up a new deal for the defendant to serve life in prison instead of getting death after Criminal Court Judge Monte Watkin agree to hear the dispute.

But Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery wanted to put a stop to that. His office has argued that Funk is retreading water. From a press statement dated September 20, 2019:

Over the last 30 years Mr. Abdur’Rahman has repeatedly raised the same issues Davidson County District Attorney Glenn Funk relied on in the trial court, all of which were thoroughly litigated and rejected in the state courts and on federal review through the United States Supreme Court.

That leaves no option for reopening Abdur’Rahman’s case for post-conviction proceedings or otherwise amending the sentence.

[Mugshot via Tennessee Department of Correction]

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