It all started with a pre-recorded commencement speech by Mumia Abu-Jamal played for 20 graduates of Goddard College in Vermont earlier this fall.
That speech led directly to a new law passed by the state of Pennsylvania allowing victims of crimes to sue the perpetrators for any action that causes their victims “severe mental anguish.”
Now Mumia Abu-Jamal, who has become a jailhouse celebrity and records weekly talks broadcast on PrisonRadio.org, has filed a lawsuit seeking to declare the law unconstitutional.
“How can the state’s legislators pass and politicians sign the recent law described as the ‘Muzzle Mumia Act’?” Abu-Jamal said in a statement shared by his sattorneys. “They can’t. At least not constitutionally. In order to do so they had to knowingly and willingly violate both the U.S. and state constitutions and their very oaths of office.”
The lawsuit was filed today against Attorney General Kathleen Kane and Philadelphia D.A. Seth Williams by lawyers from the Abolitionist Law Center, Amistad Law Project, and the Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center, on behalf of Abu-Jamal and several other inmates.
We’re suing Attorney General Kane and Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams before they can sue to keep Mumia from speaking publicly,” said Bret Grote, Legal Director of the Abolitionist Law Center, in a statement.
The lawsuit seeks a declaration from the courts that the law is unconstitutional and an injunction “invalidating the statute,” according to court papers.
At this time no civil action has been filed under the Victim Revictimization Act.
Abu-Jamal has been incarcerated since 1981 and is serving a life sentence for the murder of Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner.