He'd love to muzzle Mumia
The problem with a recent law curbing free speech by convicts is that it violates the Constitution.
THERE'S NOTHING I would like better than for cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal to shut his lying, mellifluous mouth.
Infuriatingly, he won't. But is passing a so-called "Muzzle Mumia Law" the right remedy?
Coming in response to France's favorite inmate addressing-on-tape some 20 dimwits getting degrees from Mumia's alma mater, Vermont's Goddard College, the Pennsylvania Legislature passed a bill allowing crime victims to sue to prevent inmates from making public statements causing "mental anguish."
It was immediately signed into law by Gov. Corbett.
As much as I despise Mumia, and the Mumidiots who follow him, this cure might be worse than the disease. A federal lawsuit to overturn the law was filed Monday by three public-interest law centers.
The law is intended to curb what Corbett called the "obscene celebrity" enjoyed by convicts such as Mumia, whose support is greater the farther you get from Philly. Around here, even those who worked with him know (even if they won't say) that he shot and killed Officer Daniel Faulkner.
Mumidiots always describe him as "an award-winning radio reporter," never as "the onetime Black Panther fired for turning journalism into propaganda, becoming a gun-toting, cop-murdering cab driver."
There will always be the self-deluded who make themselves believe Mumia is innocent, as there are those who believe man never landed on the moon. There are conspiracy theorists and those whose search for a "cause" leads them into a parallel universe. That's where you find the Mumidiots.
Since his 1982 conviction, Mumia has written books and essays, been in documentaries and on the radio proclaiming his innocence, something he didn't bother to do during a long trial turned into a circus by his own shenanigans.
Defendants in the lawsuit are Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane and Philly District Attorney Seth Williams.
In a statement, Williams says the law would be applied with discretion and "the only people who have been harmed up to now are the Faulkners and the many others who have been victimized."
Kane's office says the matter is "under review," which sounds less than enthusiastic. She and Williams are at each other's political throats and that provides an interesting dynamic to them being yoked together.
I know Maureen Faulkner, the wife of the slain cop, and Mumia's "obscene celebrity" stabs her heart. Mine, too. It is disgusting that his smooth patter and silky presentation spawned a cottage industry of the deluded.
Three years ago, Faulkner had to endure the unendurable when D.A. Williams, with her consent, abandoned the attempt to reinstate Mumia's death penalty, knocked down by the courts. He still has a life-without-parole sentence, but also a court-ordered right to make phone calls that can be recorded.
It was hearing his voice that had to be the cruelest cut. Faulkner told CNN, "My husband has been dead 32 years and his voice was taken from him by Abu-Jamal."
Had Mumia written out his remarks, would the pain be as visceral? Probably not. Does the new law prohibit written communication? Probably not. It is vague, banning "conduct which perpetuates the continuing effect of the crime on the victim."
Is that Constitutional?
No, says Temple University constitutional law professor David Kairys. That's a "listeners veto," rejected "a long, long time ago, as much as we sympathize with the listeners and the victims."
Stripping all rights from a prisoner is an enjoyable revenge fantasy, but it is part of the gulag, not part of America.
So what should we do when the rats squeak?
Endure it, or ignore it, or condemn it.
Don't try to silence it.
On Twitter: @StuBykofsky
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