Sunday, January 11, 2015

You Don't Have To Think Highly Of Mumia Abu-Jamal...

... to understand that this proposed Pennsylvania law, the "Revictimization Relief Act," is at best a terrible idea and at worst quite possibly unconstitutional. (Among other things, the proposed wording strongly suggests imposing prior restraint on the speech of former convicts AND newspapers that write about them.) Then again, if you frequent my site, you know I usually don't approve of laws that grossly compromise due process or free speech, or are targeted broadly at people selected more or less at the discretion of a court which is not necessarily the court that initially bears the responsibility of trying the criminal matter.

Read Kevin Gosztola's post linked above. See how you feel about vesting in (say) Judge Judy the powers this law would confer over just about anybody to prevent them from speaking on certain subjects (including their own due process in a criminal matter), or a third party publishing in (say) a newspaper a quotation from or a discussion about a person so restricted. If that thought unsettles your stomach when this proposed law is applied to a convicted criminal or even a defendant, just think what it would do to you if the judge applied it instead to a state legislator, a city council member, etc. The proposed law doesn't appear to be designed to prevent such usage.

For me personally, the worst thing about this proposed Pennsylvania state law (yes, it's been introduced by a GOPer; who else?) is that it will give the Texas Lege ideas...

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