University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Jamal v. Kane PC-PA-0037
Docket / Court 1:14-cv-02148 ( M.D. Pa. )
State/Territory Pennsylvania
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Speech and Religious Freedom
Special Collection Prison Legal News
Case Summary
On November 10, 2014, the plaintiffs filed this lawsuit in the Middle District of Pennsylvania under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and Pennsylvania state law against the Pennsylvania Attorney General and the District Attorney of Philadelphia. The plaintiffs--incarcerated prisoners, Prison Radio, Human Rights ... read more >
On November 10, 2014, the plaintiffs filed this lawsuit in the Middle District of Pennsylvania under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and Pennsylvania state law against the Pennsylvania Attorney General and the District Attorney of Philadelphia. The plaintiffs--incarcerated prisoners, Prison Radio, Human Rights Coalition, and an unincorporated network of educators--requested injunctive relief, a declaratory judgment, and attorney fees; they alleged that the defendants violated their free speech rights.

One of the plaintiffs is Mumia Abu-Jamal; he was incarcerated for killing a police officer. Abu-Jamal was invited by the undergraduates of Goddard College to give the fall 2014 commencement speech via recording. (Prison Legal News, which soon got involved in the litigation, was going to record the speech and relay it to the college.)

In response to this invitation, on October 4, 2014, the Pennsylvania legislature passed the Revictimization Relief Act, 18 P.S. § 11.1304, an amendment to Pennsylvania's Crime Victims Act, 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 11.10. The act allowed, in part, for attorneys and victims of personal injury crimes to enjoin those convicted of the crime from conduct that "perpetuates the continuing effect of the crime on the victim."

On January 8, 2015, Prison Legal News simultaneously filed a verified complaint and a motion for preliminary injunction in an initially separate action. (Prison Legal News v. Kane, Docket 1:15-cv-45). PLN added to the First Amendment argument an argument that the Act was impermissibly vague. The District Court (Chief Judge Christopher C. Connors) consolidated these actions. The records for both are in this Clearinghouse entry.

On January 23, 2015, the defendants filed a motion to dismiss arguing that the plaintiffs lack standing to challenge the Revictimization Act, and that the First Amendment issue was not ripe for adjudication.

In an opinion dated March 6, 2015, the District Court (Chief Judge Christopher Conner) granted the District Attorney's motion, but not the Attorney General's similar motion. The Court reasoned that the District Attorney had promised not to enforce the act pending a determination of its constitutionality, but the Attorney General's refused to disavow enforcement. Jamal v. Kane, 2015 WL 999194 (M.D.Pa)

Next, on April 28, 2015, the Court granted the plaintiffs' motion for declaratory relief, declaring the Revictimization Relief Act violated the plaintiffs' free speech rights, and was impermissibly vague, and permanently enjoining its enforcement. Jamal v. Kane 2015, WL 1932236 (M.D.Pa) A declaratory judgment was entered on April 30, 2015.

It appears that the defendants decided not to appeal (no notice of appeal appears as of June 16, which is more than 30 days after the judgment); that leaves only the attorneys fees issues open in the district court.

Beth Richardson - 06/14/2015


compress summary

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Freedom of speech/association
Self-incrimination
Defendant-type
Corrections
Jurisdiction-wide
Plaintiff Type
Non-profit NON-religious organization
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action State law
42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Pennsylvania
Philadelphia County
Plaintiff Description Prisoners, Prison Radio, Human Rights Coalition, unincorporated educators, and (in a consolidated case) Prison Legal News
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Declaratory Judgment
Attorneys fees
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration 2015 - n/a
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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Case Studies Civil Rights Injunctions Over Time: A Case Study of Jail and Prison Court Orders
N.Y.U. Law Review
By: Margo Schlanger (Washington University)
Citation: 81 N.Y.U. L. Rev. 550 (2006)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ] [ External Link ]

  Judicial Policy Making and the Modern State: How the Courts Reformed America's Prisons
By: Malcolm M. Feeley & Edward Rubin (UC Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law & Vanderbilt School of Law Faculty)
Citation: (1998)
[ Detail ]

Docket(s)
1:14-cv-02148-CCC (M.D. Pa.) 05/11/2015
PC-PA-0037-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
1:14-cv-02148 (M.D. Pa.) 05/11/2015
PC-PA-0037-9001.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint 11/10/2014
PC-PA-0037-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Amended Complaint 12/01/2014
PC-PA-0037-0003.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Verified Complaint 01/08/2015
PC-PA-0037-0005.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum 03/06/2015 (2015 WL 999194) (M.D. Pa.)
PC-PA-0037-0002.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
[Memorandum] 04/28/2015 (2015 WL 1932236) (M.D. Pa.)
PC-PA-0037-0004.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Conner, Christopher C. (M.D. Pa.)
PC-PA-0037-0002 | PC-PA-0037-9001
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Ginensky, Amy B. (Pennsylvania)
PC-PA-0037-0005 | PC-PA-0037-9001
Grant, Deneekie (Pennsylvania)
PC-PA-0037-0001 | PC-PA-0037-9000
Grote, Bret D. (Pennsylvania)
PC-PA-0037-0001 | PC-PA-0037-9000
Henderson, Ashley K. (Pennsylvania)
PC-PA-0037-0001 | PC-PA-0037-9000
Hull, Tucker R. (Pennsylvania)
PC-PA-0037-9001
Kreimer, Seth (Pennsylvania)
PC-PA-0037-0005 | PC-PA-0037-9001
Lobel, Jules L. (Pennsylvania)
PC-PA-0037-0001 | PC-PA-0037-9000
McDaniel, Dustin (Arkansas)
PC-PA-0037-0001 | PC-PA-0037-9000
Neelakanta, Sabarish (Florida)
PC-PA-0037-9001
Rose, Sara (Pennsylvania)
PC-PA-0037-9001
Schmidt, Thomas B III (Pennsylvania)
PC-PA-0037-0005 | PC-PA-0037-9001
Segal, Eli (Pennsylvania)
PC-PA-0037-9001
Shapiro, David M. (Illinois)
PC-PA-0037-0001 | PC-PA-0037-9000
Walczak, Witold J. (Pennsylvania)
PC-PA-0037-0005 | PC-PA-0037-9001
Weber, Lance (Florida)
PC-PA-0037-0005 | PC-PA-0037-9001
Defendant's Lawyers Giunta, M. Abbegael (Pennsylvania)
PC-PA-0037-9000 | PC-PA-0037-9001
Hughes, Bryan C. (Pennsylvania)
PC-PA-0037-9000 | PC-PA-0037-9001
Joel, Kenneth Lawson (Indiana)
PC-PA-0037-9000 | PC-PA-0037-9001
Scalera, Michael R. (Pennsylvania)
PC-PA-0037-9000 | PC-PA-0037-9001
Other Lawyers Staudenmaier, Craig J. (Pennsylvania)
PC-PA-0037-9001

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