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Law an attack on free speech

By Carey Shenkman

Any state legislature would have a hard time dreaming up a more unconstitutional measure than the one outgoing Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett recently signed into law. The so-called Revictimization Relief Act allows victims of personal-injury crimes to sue convicts to silence any speech that allegedly "perpetuates the continuing effect of the crime" or causes "mental anguish."

Mumia supporters file free-speech suit

Posted: Tuesday, November 11, 2014 1:00 am

Larry Miller Tribune Staff Writer 

A coalition of prison inmates rights groups filed a federal lawsuit on Monday seeking to overturn a recently enacted law that allows the victims of violent crime to institute legal action against a convicted person whose actions are perceived to perpetuate the continued effects of the crime.

Gov. Tom Corbett signed Senate Bill 508 into law immediately after its passing last month. The law known as the Crime Victims Act was amended on October 2, 2014 to include language for re-victimization relief. Under the amendment, which is called the Re-Victimization Relief Act, a victim of a personal injury crime could take civil action against an offender for conduct that perpetuates the continuing effect of the crime. The term conduct which perpetuates the continuing effect of the crime on the victim includes conduct which causes a temporary or permanent state of mental anguish.

In addition the language of the statute allows district attorneys or the state attorney general may also institute a civil action against an offender for injunctive relief for conduct which perpetuates the continuing effect of the crime on the victim.