Tom Corbett Signs Anti-Mumia “Revictimizing” Bill

The bill, likely to be challenged in the courts, would allow crime victims to sue convicts for seeking publicity or money.

At the site where Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner was shot and killed in 1981, Gov. Tom Corbett today signed a bill today that would let crime victims sue convicts for seeking publicity or money. The bill is a direct response to Mumia Abu-Jamal, giving a graduation speech at Goddard College earlier this month.

Even people with only a cursory understanding of the legal system can guess this bill is on incredibly shaky footing — two lawyer friends of mine called it “laughably unconstitutional” — and will end up in the courts sooner rather than later. Last week Joel Mathis called the bill’s language “so broad as to be meaningless” and “a violation of the First Amendment.” Andy Hoover, legislative director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania, agreed.

“I have no hesitancy in endorsing a change in our crime victims act that provides for injunctive relief on behalf of the victims of violent crime,” Corbett said of the bill earlier this month. Today, he said the law “empowers victims to stand up and say ‘no more.'”

Abu-Jamal actually commented on the constitutionality of the bill himself: “These are people who took an oath of office to protect and defend and uphold the Pennsylvania Constitution and the Constitution of the United States blatantly acting unconstitutionally in office.”

Protesters also appeared at the bill signing at 13th and Locust holding “Free Mumia” signs — as well chanting anti-Tom Corbett slogans.