Mumia speaks on new prisoner gag law

Political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal gave the commencement speech Oct. 5 at Goddard College, where he earned his degree, at the invitation of the graduating students. Mumia prerecorded the speech from his prison cell. The ceremony was moved forward three hours to avoid threatened disruption resulting from  from police efforts to silence Mumia.

Immediately following Mumia’s address, the Fraternal Order of Police chapter in Philadelphia pressured the Pennsylvania legislature to pass the Victim Revictimization Relief Act, enabling victims to sue to stop a prisoner from publishing or speaking in such a way that might be interpreted as causing them “mental anguish.” Governor Tom Corbett signed the bill on Oct. 21. The ACLU plans to appeal the law as violating prisoners’ First Amendment rights.


 Anyone even remotely familiar with my case knows about the “Mumia Rule.” That’s when the court or agency changes its rule or precedent to go against me. When Amnesty International wrote about my case, that was its essential focus: that laws and precedents that applied to other cases would be changed when it came to me.

In fact, when my habeas corpus case went before the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, one judge in dissent, Judge Ambro, essentially said, “I know of no reason why we don’t apply our precedents to Abu-Jamal.” There was one reason: the Mumia Rule.

Now, the Mumia Rule has been enacted into law, the so-called Victim Revictimization Act, signed into law by Unconstitutional Tom: Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett.

What makes this remarkable is that Corbett, a former attorney general, knows perfectly well that this is an unconstitutional law, in violation of the First Amendment to the Constitution. An unconstitutional law is like no law at all. He knows this, for he’s a lawyer first.

Interestingly, he’s so much a politician, that he was busy running for governor when, under his very nose, children were being raped and abused in the Penn State scandal. As attorney general, he was on Penn State’s board of trustees at the time these rapes and molestations were happening and did next to nothing—until the scandal broke.

Oh, he reportedly received a generous contribution from the chairman of the board and members—and Jerry Sandusky, the central figure in the Penn State scandal. Nice job, Tom. Too busy picking up campaign contributions to protect the kids?

Every politician and every lawyer who supported this so-called law did so by knowingly violating their oath of office to protect and defend the Pennsylvania Constitution, Article 1, Section 7, and the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

They took an oath to honor the Constitution—not their campaign contributors. They took an oath to protect the constitutional rights of all Pennsylvanians—not just their funders, the FOP, the Fraternal Order of Pigs.

By violating their oaths, they bring disrepute on their oath and their office. By signing a law they knew to be unconstitutional, they departed from the realm of lawmakers—and became constitutional outlaws.

They passed a Mumia Rule, yes. But the damage they have done is greater to themselves than to me.

© Copyright 2014 Mumia Abu-Jamal

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