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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. )
Additional Docket(s) 1:15-CV-45  [ 15-45 ]
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. 96 F. Supp. 3d 447.

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. 105 F. Supp. 3d 448. A declaratory judgment was entered on April 30, 2015.

Defendants elected not to appeal the judgment. Since July 2015, there has been no activity on the docket and the case is presumably closed.

Beth Richardson - 06/14/2015
Hope Brinn - 11/02/2018

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Freedom of speech/association
Plaintiff Type
Non-profit NON-religious organization
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
State law
Defendant(s) Pennsylvania
Philadelphia County
Plaintiff Description Prisoners, Prison Radio, Human Rights Coalition, unincorporated educators, and (in a consolidated case) Prison Legal News
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Declaratory Judgment
Attorneys fees
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Filing Year 2014
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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  See this case at (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
  Civil Rights Injunctions Over Time: A Case Study of Jail and Prison Court Orders
N.Y.U. Law Review
Date: May 2006
By: Margo Schlanger (Washington University Faculty)
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
Date: Jan. 1, 1998
By: Malcolm M. Feeley & Edward Rubin (UC Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law & Vanderbilt School of Law Faculty Faculty)
Citation: (1998)
[ Detail ]

  Prison Legal News Homepage
Prison Legal News
By: Prison Legal News
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

1:14-cv-02148 (M.D. Pa.)
PC-PA-0037-9001.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/11/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
1:14-cv-02148-CCC (M.D. Pa.)
PC-PA-0037-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/22/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint [ECF# 1]
PC-PA-0037-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/10/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Amended Complaint [ECF# 12-1]
PC-PA-0037-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/01/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Verified Complaint [ECF# 1]
PC-PA-0037-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/08/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum [ECF# 47] (96 F.Supp.3d 447) (M.D. Pa.)
PC-PA-0037-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 03/06/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
[Memorandum] [ECF# 54] (105 F.Supp.3d 448) (M.D. Pa.)
PC-PA-0037-0004.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 04/28/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Conner, Christopher C. (M.D. Pa.) show/hide docs
PC-PA-0037-0002 | PC-PA-0037-9001
Plaintiff's Lawyers Ginensky, Amy B. (Pennsylvania) show/hide docs
PC-PA-0037-0005 | PC-PA-0037-9001
Grant, Deneekie (Pennsylvania) show/hide docs
PC-PA-0037-0001 | PC-PA-0037-9000
Grote, Bret D. (Pennsylvania) show/hide docs
PC-PA-0037-0001 | PC-PA-0037-9000
Henderson, Ashley K. (Pennsylvania) show/hide docs
PC-PA-0037-0001 | PC-PA-0037-9000
Hull, Tucker R. (Pennsylvania) show/hide docs
Kreimer, Seth (Pennsylvania) show/hide docs
PC-PA-0037-0005 | PC-PA-0037-9001
Lobel, Jules L. (Pennsylvania) show/hide docs
PC-PA-0037-0001 | PC-PA-0037-9000
McDaniel, Dustin (Arkansas) show/hide docs
PC-PA-0037-0001 | PC-PA-0037-9000
Neelakanta, Sabarish (Florida) show/hide docs
Rose, Sara (Pennsylvania) show/hide docs
Schmidt, Thomas B III (Pennsylvania) show/hide docs
PC-PA-0037-0005 | PC-PA-0037-9001
Segal, Eli (Pennsylvania) show/hide docs
Shapiro, David M. (Illinois) show/hide docs
PC-PA-0037-0001 | PC-PA-0037-9000
Walczak, Witold J. (Pennsylvania) show/hide docs
PC-PA-0037-0005 | PC-PA-0037-9001
Weber, Lance Theodore (Florida) show/hide docs
PC-PA-0037-0005 | PC-PA-0037-9001
Defendant's Lawyers Giunta, M. Abbegael (Pennsylvania) show/hide docs
PC-PA-0037-9000 | PC-PA-0037-9001
Hughes, Bryan C. (Pennsylvania) show/hide docs
PC-PA-0037-9000 | PC-PA-0037-9001
Joel, Kenneth Lawson (Indiana) show/hide docs
PC-PA-0037-9000 | PC-PA-0037-9001
Scalera, Michael R. (Pennsylvania) show/hide docs
PC-PA-0037-9000 | PC-PA-0037-9001
Other Lawyers Staudenmaier, Craig J. (Pennsylvania) show/hide docs

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