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Free Speech: Abu-Jamal v. Kane

Shortly after Amistad Law Project incorporated in October 2014, the Revictimization Relief Act was made law. This law would have allowed victims as defined by statute to sue people in prison to stop them from speaking publicly if their speech caused "mental anguish" or "perpetuate[d] the continuing effect of the crime". The impetus for this law was a prerecorded commencement speech that Mumia Abu-Jamal gave for Goddard College in Vermont. Pennsylvania’s Victim Advocate, Jennifer Storm, along with the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association, supported the law.

Incarcerated people's free speech is already constrained. We wouldn't let the authorities tighten their grip even a little bit more.

Amistad Law Project, along with the Abolitionist Law Center and the Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center at Northwestern University, represented a number of individual incarcerated people and organizations that work to publish and distribute the voices of incarcerated people in a lawsuit against the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. We prevailed in having the law declared unconstitutional.

 

Kris Henderson and Nikki Grant of Amistad Law Project and Bret Grote of Abolitionist Law Center post for a picture during a legal visit with Mumia Abu-Jamal
Kris Henderson and Nikki Grant of Amistad Law Project and Bret Grote of Abolitionist Law Center pose for a picture during a legal visit with Mumia Abu-Jamal