By Cherri Gregg

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Pennsylvania chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union says it is preparing to file a lawsuit to get the state’s new “Revictimization Relief Act”overturned.

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Signed into law on Tuesday, the law — which the ACLU says is unconstitutional — bans conduct by criminal offenders that causes “mental anguish” to their former victims.

“We are cautiously optimistic that a federal judge will take a quick look at this and say, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me,’ ” Vic Walczak, legal director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania, tells KYW Newsradio.

(File photo)

(File photo)


He says they are working to file a First Amendment lawsuit to block the law, which allows personal injury victims to sue their offenders, whether they’re in or no longer in prison.

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The law was fast-tracked and approved just days after convicted cop killer Mumia Abu Jamal gave an October 5th commencement speech to a Vermont college.

But, Walczak says, the First Amendment impact is bigger than Abu Jamal.

“It’s very important for society to be able to hear from people who are incarcerated,” he notes.  “There are prisoners who profess their innocence, and some of them actually are innocent.  Those folks must have a voice, and they do have a voice under the First Amendment.”

Walczak says the lawsuit will likely be filed in a few weeks.



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