29 April 2015

Lynne Abraham's favorite speech-muzzling law tossed

GWB appointee throws out the anti-Mumia "Silencing Act" on First Amendment grounds, because of course:
The Revictimization Relief Act, as it was called, "is the embodiment of content-based regulation of speech," [Judge Christopher] Conner wrote. "Its terms single out a distinct group and disincentivize its members from speaking."

[Also 5th Amendment grounds, particularly because the law didn't define "offender."]

"As a result, many plaintiffs -— prisoners and non-prisoners alike -— instantly modified their conduct for fear of falling within the ambit of the act," the judge said.

He said the law hinged on the emotional response of victims.

"Short of clairvoyance, plaintiffs cannot determine in advance whether and to what extent a particular expression will impact a victim's sensibilities," Conner wrote.
Minus one point for using the "word" disincentivize, but plus one for explaining that the law is no good because, as drafted (PDF), it required the speaker to be a mind-reader.

In January I noted how happy Lynne Abraham was to be present with Governor Corbett at the bill's signing into law. Would love to see someone ask her about the law now that a federal judge has ruled so predictably on it.

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