US judge keeps alive challenges to Pa. 'mental anguish' law

Written by The Associated Press | Mar 6, 2015 5:28 PM

Photo by AP Photo/Matt Rourke

Maureen Faulkner, widow of slain Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner, speaks beneath a new mural of him in this 2014 file photo. The mural is painted on the side of the police station Faulkner worked at in the Chinatown section of the Philadelphia. Daniel Faulkner was shot to death by Mumia Abu-Jamal on a downtown street in 1981.

(Harrisburg) -- A Pennsylvania federal judge is keeping alive two lawsuits challenging a state law that arose after a man convicted of killing a Philadelphia police officer gave a taped speech at commencement for a small Vermont college.

The judge declined a request by the state attorney general to dismiss the litigation over a state law passed after Mumia Abu-Jamal spoke to Goddard College last year.

The Revictimization Relief Act lets victims of violent crimes seek injunctions against offenders who act in ways that perpetuate their mental anguish.

Abu-Jamal is serving life for the 1981 shooting death of Officer Daniel Faulkner.

The judge says another lifer has halted plans for a book because of the new law. Trial is scheduled for later this month.

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