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(Reno Gazette-Journal)   Nevada Supreme Court strikes down "Son of Sam" law, which allows victims of felonies to take any profits made by felons from books, movies, etc. about the crime   (rgj.com) divider line 106
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7151 clicks; posted to Main » on 23 Dec 2004 at 5:52 AM (9 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2004-12-23 05:40:07 AM
There are so many things that are wrong (morally) in that article's content that it makes my heart bleed e.g. plea bargaining, people wanting to pay and read those memoirs, profiting from the misfortune of others, etc etc etc.
 
2004-12-23 05:57:51 AM
At least they don't have to worry about the victims making books about their murders.

.horribly bad taste.
 
2004-12-23 06:00:29 AM
But what if the dog who told Sam to do it penned a book? What then? Huh?
 
2004-12-23 06:10:04 AM
<~ Is that a fishing hook?
 
2004-12-23 06:12:16 AM
Just tax it and be consistent.
 
2004-12-23 06:18:35 AM
"... that included details about suffocating his friend during a 1997 fistfight and going to prison for the slaying."

Fair and indeed balanced... I've read this book, and while it does explain the reason he's in jail, it does NOT go into detail about the killing. It starts from his first day in prison and ends there, without going into great length about events which the author admits he was hardly aware of. It's a very good book, and I could care less the circumstances of the man who wrote it. There have been plenty of great books written in prison, some by murderers, some not.

Besides, the guy was caught, sentenced and has been to jail. That's how people are punished, that's the system. The victim's sister has no right to try to take this guy's cash on top of all that.
 
2004-12-23 06:22:55 AM
I don't understand how profiting from a criminal act can be protected by the first amendment.
 
2004-12-23 06:28:33 AM
Seinfeld's van! Seinfeld's van!!
 
2004-12-23 06:45:16 AM
"I don't understand how profiting from a criminal act can be protected by the first amendment."

Given that he's been sent to jail, he's already been punished for his criminal act. And like I say, it's not a book about the crime, it's a book about the punishment.
 
2004-12-23 06:54:28 AM
dukefluke:

Given that he's been sent to jail, he's already been punished for his criminal act. And like I say, it's not a book about the crime, it's a book about the punishment.

It's the principle that you shouldn't profit from your crime.
 
2004-12-23 06:55:00 AM
Each book comes with a file in the spine of the book and a coupon for soap on a rope. Buy ten and get a tube of colon creme, to relieve those days when the herpes flare up
 
2004-12-23 06:56:53 AM
Cool! Lots of great books to write now. Just as soon as I can start my crime wave.
 
2004-12-23 06:57:07 AM
"It's the principle that you shouldn't profit from your crime."

Well if you want to look at it like that, what he's actually doing is profiting from his punishment.
 
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2004-12-23 06:58:53 AM
The law already has a mechanism to financially punish felons -- their victims (or victims' families) can sue. Then the royalties from the book will go to pay the debt.
 
2004-12-23 07:05:28 AM
dukefluke:

Well if you want to look at it like that, what he's actually doing is profiting from his punishment.

Which kinda takes away the point of punishment, no?
 
2004-12-23 07:08:07 AM
Well, the lazy biatch trying to mooch something she didn't earn, something that landed on her in fact, shouldn't get a dime. But I heard you're not s'posed to get the same rights as law abiding citizens and stuff if you're a scumbag murderer, friend killer at that. I dunno, that's just word on the street.
 
2004-12-23 07:11:01 AM
"Which kinda takes away the point of punishment, no?"

How so? He's been put on trial and sentenced to a fixed amount of time in federal PMITA prison. The only variable from that point on is if he gets released early for good behaviour. That's it. What happens to him in that time is up to him - just with any other prisoner. Turns out this guy did something constructive with his time and wrote a book. What would you have preferred to see happen?
 
2004-12-23 07:24:07 AM
i'd perfer to have him write a book about the horrible gang-bangs he endured in prison from his bunk mate bubba. You should not be able to profit off of the results of a crime, conviction should carry a mandatory 99yr(i.e. military sealed documents) hush clause for the convicted. You want to profit off of your murder, sell that bootay in the pen for some cigs.
 
2004-12-23 07:31:18 AM
Dauvan - "i'd perfer to have him write a book about the horrible gang-bangs he endured in prison from his bunk mate bubba. You should not be able to profit off of the results of a crime, conviction should carry a mandatory 99yr(i.e. military sealed documents) hush clause for the convicted. You want to profit off of your murder, sell that bootay in the pen for some cigs."

So, for you, the point of being sent to prison is so that the criminal can be raped on a regular basis, is it? How very farking enlightened of you. And I still see that you're failing to spot the difference between profiting from a crime and profiting from the punishment.

The irony is, that's exactly what the book IS about. You know, the book you don't want anyone to read.
 
2004-12-23 07:38:17 AM
Now, if the author was Martha Stewart, would any of you be complaining? After all, she is a convicted felon as well.

Bueller?

Thought not.
 
2004-12-23 07:40:55 AM
i'm with you on this one, dukefluke

it's nice to see the 1st amendment being protected every once in a while, especially for people that might not be celebrated by the majority.
 
2004-12-23 07:45:06 AM
robotblood - I'm only really chiming in because I've read the book in question, which barely mentions the crime and shows how miserable life must be in jail. Condolences to the victim's sister, but trying to get the guy's cash for writing THIS book? Pure and simple greed.
 
2004-12-23 07:45:53 AM
SpudMuffin:

Now, if the author was Martha Stewart, would any of you be complaining? After all, she is a convicted felon as well.

Yes.
 
2004-12-23 07:52:54 AM
still don't think he should be able to profit off a crime, the reason he is IN jail is because of a crime. So in essence he is profiting of the crime, why doesn't he send his oh so nice profits to jail reform. Personal gain from something resulting from an illegal act should be forbidden.
 
2004-12-23 08:04:02 AM
I thought that convicted felons were already stripped of many of their rights. They can't vote. They do not have the freedom to leave the prison. Not allowing them to profit from writing a book is not limiting free speech. Let them write as many books as they want. But the money made from the profits should go to compensating the families and the state to pay for the persons prison costs.
 
2004-12-23 08:05:57 AM
1)Commit Felony
2)Go to prison
3)Write Book
4)Profit

So if the book becomes a best seller and he becomes stinking rich because he committed a crime, thats ok is it? (I'm looking at you Dukefluke)
 
2004-12-23 08:07:30 AM
Exactly squintbro
 
2004-12-23 08:11:51 AM
"So if the book becomes a best seller and he becomes stinking rich because he committed a crime, thats ok is it? (I'm looking at you Dukefluke)"

Yes, obviously - and it's also legal. How about you explain why it's not.
 
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2004-12-23 08:15:34 AM
But the money made from the profits should go to compensating the families and the state to pay for the persons prison costs.

The law already does that without the "Son of Sam" provisions. The family can sue for wrongful death. The government in some states can sue for cost of imprisonment. These costs are independent of whether the criminal has or makes any money from any source. If he owes $400,000 to the family and $120,000 to the state, that's what he owes whether he waits tables, writes books, or runs a billion dollar corporation. The "Son of Sam" family of laws treats speech (writing) more harshly than other forms of money-making and is unconstitutional for that reason.
 
2004-12-23 08:16:53 AM
I seem to recall someone a few years back with this grand plan of killing someone and writing a book about it to get rich. A couple million dollars for 8-12 years of work (less with good behaviour)

Fell apart when he realized he wouldn't get any profits from the book.
 
2004-12-23 08:17:57 AM
The U.S. Supreme Court struck down so called son-of-sam laws a while ago (can't remember the name of the case). Basically on the grounds that (1) we guard our freedome of speach jelously, (2)son-of-sam laws might restrict some speach that deserves protection (Malcome X or Martin Luther King Jr. for example).
 
2004-12-23 08:22:55 AM
Zaz - RE: The law already does that

Sort of. How much do you think the child of a murder victim would be awarded in a typical case? Unless your loved one is killed by a doctor or Bill Gates, you probably wouldn't even consider suing him for all he has (which would be nothing)

12 years and a book deal later, that person who killed your parent is well off and you're still an orphan.
 
2004-12-23 08:26:43 AM
First Amendment rights? I don't think so.

The Son of Sam law does not restrict speech in any way. It doesn't stop anyone from writing a book. Granted, the law means that they cannot profit from their crimes, but the right to free speech does not provide that guartantee anyway.

This decision is ridiculous.
 
2004-12-23 08:34:19 AM
squintbro:

I thought that convicted felons were already stripped of many of their rights. They can't vote. They do not have the freedom to leave the prison.

You're exactly right. The gub'ment can indeed take away lots of your rights if you're convicted of a crime, not the least of which is the most fundamental right of all: freedom. They take you and put you in a cell for X years, feed you slop, subject you to beatings and rape. When they let you out, you can't vote, find a decent job or own a gun.

The courts have always looked at the right of free speech as being protected above and beyond most of the other enumerated rights in the Constitution. I can see why they do it, but I'd rather see all the enumerated rights protected more consistently. I've long held that the court should apply the same standards to the Second Amendment as they do to the First, as you can't really have one without the other.
 
2004-12-23 08:36:35 AM
stixx:

I seem to recall someone a few years back with this grand plan of killing someone and writing a book about it to get rich. A couple million dollars for 8-12 years of work (less with good behaviour)

Fell apart when he realized he wouldn't get any profits from the book.


I have no idea what you're referring to, but I'd imagine that this person would be horribly suprised when he was sentenced to life or death for premeditated murder.
 
2004-12-23 08:40:13 AM
write book, profits should go to the police funds or missing childern or victims of violent crimes for the state of the crime. but personal gain, no. How about someone shoot a cop, go to prison then write a book and their spouse gets a nice royalty check for it? Sounds nice to the family of the cop I bet... U.S.A. Are you extreme enough. Our new slogan.
 
2004-12-23 08:44:20 AM
ebell:

The courts have always looked at the right of free speech as being protected above and beyond most of the other enumerated rights in the Constitution.

That's fine, but this is not a free-speech issue. If you have something you really must say, you can do it without selling and profiting from the message.
 
2004-12-23 08:53:56 AM
Let's think about this logically.

There are two scenarios here - one where the profits go to the victims' families (the Son of Sam law is in effect) and one where they don't.

In scenario B, killer writes book, killer makes money, people get pissed off because he's a killer and he's not supposed to have money, he's just supposed to sit and stare at the wall and channel Charles Manson. (You must also ignore at all costs the fact that the only reason he has the money from the books in the first place is that normal people [who knew that he wrote them and is profiting from them] purchased them at Barnes and Noble). People whine.

In Scenario A, judge says "Anything you do related to this crime, any profits genereated therein will be given to the victims". So the killer simply refuses to write a book. A law like this will never give a substantial amount of money to the victims, for the same reason that a pseudo-heroic liberal bill saying "Corporations, you are BAD! You MUST give us workers a LIVING WAGE!" will never work. If you make it unprofitable (where "profit" is defined as any advantage, not necessarily money) for somebody to do something, there comes a point where it's more profitable to simply refuse to do it. There's no incentive. (e.g. take the jaywalking law - everybody, with the exception of maybe a few old ladies, considers abiding by the jaywalking law to be so unprofitable [with regard to time spent] relative to the likelihood of getting prosecuted for jaywalking, that they simply refuse to obey it. Same principle goes here.)

So either way, the victims' families get no money out of this. However, in Scenario A, they not only get no money, but a person (who is of course crazier than a rat in a tin outhouse, but a person nonetheless) is basically given a gag order and not allowed to write his memoirs without forfeiting the profits (all of which would probably have gone to his legal fees anyway. If Crazy Nutbar Man is unable to pay legal fees/court costs, who do you think does? That's right - you and I. We bankroll stupid legislation like this with every paycheck).

Also, does it occur to any of you that people probably don't go on crime sprees because 'the book profits will be awesome'?

/just askin'
 
2004-12-23 08:56:11 AM
Aren't you supposed to lose some of your "Rights" when you become a felon?

im guessing free speech should be one of them.
since your in prison, and under the State's prison laws.

you cant vote can you?

just dumb
 
2004-12-23 08:57:46 AM
dukefluke

Yes, obviously - and it's also legal. How about you explain why it's not.

It is legal, because they've just overturned the Son of Sam law, but it is still morally wrong. He is benefitting from a crime (or benefitting from his punishment). I wouldn't stop him from writing the book, or talking about his crime (thatwould be preventing free speech), or donating all the profits to charity, etc. but he shouldn't profit himself.(Does he have a "Right to Make money"?)
 
2004-12-23 09:00:39 AM
WTF? The First Ammendment guarantees freedom of speech, it does not guarantee you can reap financial gain off your speech. This ruling obviously has to be stricken down by a higher court of appeals. Stupid judge; know your Constitution, spam-for-brains!

dukefluke: Well if you want to look at it like that, what he's actually doing is profiting from his punishment.

Your argument is hair-splitting. Cause-and-effect: he would not have received the punishment and been able to write the book had he not committed the crime. I think it's up to the court to determine whether or not the Son of Sam law relates to profits gained solely from work directly describing or talking about the commission of the crime, or if it also applies to discussion of life that resulted from the crime (i.e., prison time).

NotAWittyUserName makes a really good point, tho': under the Son of Sam laws, the writings of Martin Luther King Jr, Malcolm X, Dietrich Bonhoeffer (OK, he was in Germany, but you get the point)...heck, even the Apostle Paul!...would have been subject to this law. While it's a badly-done law, this judge's interpretation of it is equally flawed.

squintbro: I thought that convicted felons were already stripped of many of their rights. They can't vote.

Not entirely true; IIRC, there was a discussion around the time of the Great Sadness, er, the 2004 presidential election, about certain ex-convicts in Florida who had regained their right...was it that they were from another state that restored their voting right, or something? Someone help me here...

[threadjack]
Anyone want to have a spirited discussion about what the real purpose of prison is supposed to be, and what it actually does to people?
[/threadjack]
 
2004-12-23 09:05:48 AM
I get it...

Phase one: Kill someone

Phase two: Write book about it

Phase three: Do time in pound me in the ass prison

Phase four: Profit
 
2004-12-23 09:05:56 AM
If this fails appeal, all they have to do is pass a new law that is more specific about who is restricted and for how long. No big issue here.
 
2004-12-23 09:06:37 AM
Mor Beal

The First Ammendment guarantees freedom of speech, it does not guarantee you can reap financial gain off your speech.

Quite right. However, when you effectively say 'you cant write a book about your crimes unless you give the profits to victims' (and therefore [surprise, surprise] the killer doesnt write a book because people do things because they anticipate profiting from them in some way and they dont like to do things for no profit), you're effectively telling me that I can't make an informed decision about whether or not I want to purchase a book about a crime written by someone who will profit from this book.

I just so happen to have a huge flipping problem with being told that I cannot make informed purchasing decisions.

If he writes a book and makes millions off of it, why the hell do people blame him for the books' popularity? What about the millions of people who BOUGHT THE FRIGGIN BOOK??
 
2004-12-23 09:11:45 AM
Make the law less absolute: Split the profits. There. Everybody wins. He gets to be creative, the family gets their pound of revenge "flesh."

Tada!

/For my next trick...
 
2004-12-23 09:17:04 AM
mikeyb_houtex

Make the law less absolute: Split the profits. There. Everybody wins. He gets to be creative, the family gets their pound of revenge "flesh."

Tada!


And when the killer gives a manuscript to his lawyer who gives it to Some Random Guy who then publishes a work of 'fiction' detailing the same type of crime the killer is accused of for 25% of the total profits, your trick will be...?

People will always find ways to make things profitable for themselves, as will corporations. They'll always find ways around stupid economy-meddling laws.

Leave the economy alone. He committed a crime, he's being punished for it, what he does for money, so long as it isn't a crime itself, is his own f'ing business.
 
2004-12-23 09:19:21 AM
Dauvan

still don't think he should be able to profit off a crime, the reason he is IN jail is because of a crime. So in essence he is profiting of the crime, why doesn't he send his oh so nice profits to jail reform. Personal gain from something resulting from an illegal act should be forbidden.

By that logic, a person who goes to prison, studies a trade while in the joint, and ends up getting a job in that field after they're released, should have all of their wages taken away, right?

Actually, since you said that "Personal gain from something resulting from an illegal act should be forbidden", you're going way past simple economic gain. Such an attitude would disallow prisoners access to any educational resources at all. After all, education would be a personal gain, and we can't allow that, now can we?

Some people seem to forget that prison is not simply about punishment, but also about reform. Being reformed is, in itself, a type of "personal gain".
 
2004-12-23 09:25:51 AM
Fyouz

The First Amendment guarantees free speech, not free/unlimited purchasing choices.

What you're saying is:

1)Kill friend by putting plastic bag on his head and choking him
2)Go to pound-me-in-the-ass prison
3)Write book
4)Fyouz buys book (which he reads once then forgets about)
7)become multi-bazillionaire
8)victims family get nothing

but because of stage 4 stages 7 and 8 are ok.
 
2004-12-23 09:29:43 AM
I'm not sure how you draft a law that prohibits making money from a book about your crime, but permits making money from a book about your punishment. I would think that a lot would be left for the courts to sort out - and that's never good.

The lesson to be learned here is that the family should always file a wrongful death suit against the murderer. If he later writes a book and makes money - execute on the judgment.
 
2004-12-23 09:31:02 AM
and you dont want to know what happened in stages 5 and 6!
 
2004-12-23 09:33:41 AM
Mor Beal - "Your argument is hair-splitting. Cause-and-effect: he would not have received the punishment and been able to write the book had he not committed the crime. I think it's up to the court to determine whether or not the Son of Sam law relates to profits gained solely from work directly describing or talking about the commission of the crime, or if it also applies to discussion of life that resulted from the crime (i.e., prison time)."

No it's not splitting hairs at all - he's been convicted and sent to jail - that's his punishment, pure and simple. You're talking about possibly adding to his punishment as and when it suits you - in this case, it's if he gets paid for writing his book. That's not how it works. Whether it's how it SHOULD work or not isn't up to me.
 
2004-12-23 09:42:40 AM
Burberry Coloured Beard

The First Amendment guarantees free speech, not free/unlimited purchasing choices.

1)Kill friend by putting plastic bag on his head and choking him
2)Go to pound-me-in-the-ass prison
3)Write book
4)Fyouz buys book (which he reads once then forgets about)
7)become multi-bazillionaire
8)victims family get nothing


This is what, the fourth time in 50 posts that someone thought it was clever to put one of those lists up ("I know, all I have to do now is 1) kill people 2) write a book 3) profit!!!"). Yeah, people generally don't think about the book rights when skinning corpses they dug up to make a vest, but I'll leave that aside for the moment.

In my Boobies I explained (at least I thought I did) why laws like this, no matter how well-intentioned they are, will never provide any substantial amount of money for the victims. The reason for this is simple - if there's a large profit to be made (at least large enough where the author isn't willing to just hand over half of his profits), someone will always find a way around it.

Some examples off the top of my head: 1) judge says killer can't profit off of book, killer writes book, killer publishes it but funnels all would-be profits directly to a lobbying group which takes a stance against the "son of sam law" (e.g. probably every Libertarian lobbying group in the country). Victims lose. 2) Judge says killer can't profit off of book, killer "gives interviews" (but really dictates book) to journalist, journalist writes book, journalist profits, and as per agreement with killer distributes money to killer's lawyer/family/whomever he wanted it to go to. Victims lose. 3) Killer writes book of love poems or cookbook. It sells like hotcakes because of the ironic appeal of such a thing. Since it has nothing to do with the crime, killer profits. Victims lose.
4) Killer publishes it for free on the internet, asks people to send cartons of cigarettes to him if they like it. Killer profits (barely). Victims lose. 5) Killer writes memoirs which just skirt around directly discussing the crime ever-so-elegantly. Lawyer successfully argues that it does not constitute profiting from the crime. Killer profits. Victims lose. 6) Killer signs waiver of attorney-client privilege rights, lawyer publishes book about the crime, lawyer profits, killer profits (off the books of course), victims lose.

Noticing a pattern here? No matter what you do, the victims will get either no money, or not nearly as much money as you oh-so-generously intended with the law. Good intentions and your notions of The Way Things Ought to Be don't change economics. Sorry.
 
2004-12-23 09:45:00 AM
HappyDaddy

The lesson to be learned here is that the family should always file a wrongful death suit against the murderer. If he later writes a book and makes money - execute on the judgment.

There. See? This guy understands that the world isn't going to conform to your desires and people are gonna buy his book no matter what. That's the way you get compensation if you're a victim. Not through some mealy-mouthed braindead legislation like the Son of Sam law.
 
2004-12-23 09:45:21 AM
Couldn't someone get around this by just publishing a book or writing a movie that isn't about the actual crime?

I bet if Charles Manson wrote a children's book, people would be so morbidly curious he'd make some serious cash off it.
 
2004-12-23 09:46:02 AM
Burberry - "(Does he have a "Right to Make money"?)"

Aha - that seems to be your problem with all of this, whether he has that right or not. That may or may not be a different issue, but it's not what I'm trying to argue.
 
2004-12-23 09:50:48 AM
Yeah, it sucks.

However, the (supposed) focus of our justice system is rehabilitation in order to allow released criminals to become a contributing member of society. If he was released, then he is assumed to have 'paid' for his crime.

Regardless of how it makes you feel, he is entitled to as many rights as the government feels he can be allowed without causing direct harm to others. No legal exercise of free speech is harmful; I say "legal exercise" because laws regarding things like slander and libel still apply.

Combine this assumption (rehabilitation) with the fact that we live in a primarily-capitalist economy, and he has the right to sell his life story. Anyone else specifically mentioned by name, without their permission, is entitled to sue for compensation. In the case of a murder victim, I think (not sure) that next-of-kin would assume that right. It doesn't entitle them to all profits, just a reasonable portion.

You need to accept that we live in a democratic republic with laws and a Constitution that apply to everyone, criminal or not. There is a balance. The very things that make it suck sometimes are, to a large extent, the same things that make it (IMHO) the best system of government I've seen on this planet.

Bottom line: he will profit because others will buy the book. Many other commenters have made this point, but it bears repeating. If we, as a society, do not want a convicted criminal to profit, then we should not buy their products. End of story.

From a moral standpoint, the "Son of Sam" law is awesome. From a realistic perspective, it is a dangerous intrusion of government into areas of free speech (yes) and commerce in which we don't want the government to intercede so strongly.

Damn. I was going to say more, but this is already way too long.
 
2004-12-23 09:51:36 AM

Welcome to Nevada. What other states call "crime" we call "entrepreneurialism"

 
2004-12-23 10:01:48 AM
Freedom of speech is linked to profit and marketability? WTF? It's linked to your desire to listen to it or read it? Are you sure about that?
 
2004-12-23 10:05:46 AM
Simply put, profiting from a crime is a criminal act.

Also, this case doesn't involve a felony, this involves murder. For all of you people that think you understand the law, then you should really understand the difference between felonies and murder/manslaughter. Remember the four diliniations of crime? ANYONE? They are infractions, misdemeanors, felonies, and capital crimes (deaths of individuals). READ A LAW BOOK YOU IDIOTS. I bet you have a tough time differentiating between civil and criminal proceedings. I see a lot of budding twits out here that think they know the law. Well, if you don't, you can actually look up US Code on the, gasp, INTERNET!

When you murder and get sent to jail, the wardens and the state tells you what rights you have. FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE IF NECESSARY.

If they say the book isn't legal to profit off of, then he has to shut up about it.
 
2004-12-23 10:08:34 AM
"If they say the book isn't legal to profit off of, then he has to shut up about it."

Well it looks like the book IS legal to profit off of, so I assume you'll be the one shutting up.
 
2004-12-23 10:12:26 AM
El_Camino_SS

If they say the book isn't legal to profit off of, then he has to shut up about it.

If there is a large enough profit to be made, he will find a way around it, guaranteed. READ AN ECONOMICS BOOK YOU IDIOT.

(sorry, couldn't resist)
 
2004-12-23 10:15:14 AM
voodoozebra: Welcome to Nevada. What other states call "crime" we call "entrepreneurialism"

Who's the nonconsenting victim in gambling?
 
2004-12-23 10:17:06 AM
evilgreg:

Bottom line: he will profit because others will buy the book. Many other commenters have made this point, but it bears repeating. If we, as a society, do not want a convicted criminal to profit, then we should not buy their products. End of story.

From a moral standpoint, the "Son of Sam" law is awesome. From a realistic perspective, it is a dangerous intrusion of government into areas of free speech (yes) and commerce in which we don't want the government to intercede so strongly.


This is not a free commerce issue.
A person convicted of murder is not a free citizen.

When an individual is convicted of murder, then the individual's rights can be suspended wholly or in part from the government.

Tough for them. But murder is something that disallows the full restoration of rights.

By the way, judges issue gag orders all the time. This is to protect people, and they always end up gagging those that have not committed crimes. Isn't that a restriction of the First Amendmen? Then think about why we do that. Then think about why we don't let criminals profit off of murder, or let corporations sell crack.

See? This is why we have JUDGES. TO INTERPERET LAWS. So that we can use SAID LAWS to better run the daily operation of a FUNCTIONING SOCIETY. This free fire zone of law you speak of is asinine, and basically, cannot function.

A criminal can no more profit from the blabbing and glorification of crime than you can tell people falsities that lead to their death and not be held responsible. If you scream "He's got a gun!" in a football stadium, and people get trampled to death, are you not committing a criminal act that will bring the possible death of others?

Your superior childish attitude about your freedoms is comical. Why have courts at all with your attitudes? Why interperet anything?
 
2004-12-23 10:22:58 AM
kyouzo:

If there is a large enough profit to be made, he will find a way around it, guaranteed. READ AN ECONOMICS BOOK YOU IDIOT.

NOT WHILE IN STATE CUSTODY.

Your specious argument can be said about drug dealers that kill people to keep their high profits. Economics is not a religion. Nor should an economics book be a barometer of morality.

Simply put, we can build atomic bombs in this world, just because we can doesn't mean we should.

Most modern interperetations of economic theory miss a lot of points. It is too complicated for most people beyond suppy and demand.
 
2004-12-23 10:24:56 AM
Sloth_DC:

voodoozebra: Welcome to Nevada. What other states call "crime" we call "entrepreneurialism"

Who's the nonconsenting victim in gambling?



I think he was making a joke about Nevada being a morality free-fire zone.
 
2004-12-23 10:30:20 AM
El_Camino_SS
NOT WHILE IN STATE CUSTODY.

Oh? He can't give an interview and then the interviewee will publish a book and give a portion of the profits to people the killer wants (e.g. his lawyers, his family, strippers, whoever)? His lawyer can't write a book with the killers help and then give the profits to people the killer wants? (the lawyer isn't in state custody, after all) His family can't write a book about growing up/raising a murderer and make profits/pay his legal fees off with it?

but hey, when you typed "not in state custody" it was in all-caps. You must be right.
 
2004-12-23 10:31:43 AM
kyouzo:

Oh? He can't give an interview and then the interviewee will publish a book and give a portion of the profits to people the killer wants (e.g. his lawyers, his family, strippers, whoever)? His lawyer can't write a book with the killers help and then give the profits to people the killer wants? (the lawyer isn't in state custody, after all) His family can't write a book about growing up/raising a murderer and make profits/pay his legal fees off with it?

but hey, when you typed "not in state custody" it was in all-caps. You must be right.


That is up to interperetation from the courts.

I won't speculate any further than that.
 
2004-12-23 10:31:55 AM
El_Camino_SS: Also, this case doesn't involve a felony, this involves murder.

I think you need to stop reading law books and start reading the articles. He pled guilty to voluntary manslaughter, a felony - not murder. There's a difference between murder and homicide.

From your tone, something tells me you're not an actual lawyer. Or even a law student.

Let's engage in little legal analysis, shall we?

Here's the original U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down New York's "Son of Sam" law.

Here's the opinion currently in controversy, Seres v. Lerner.

Please describe for me, in plain English, what each decision says. Why did the courts rule the way they did? Were the laws sufficiently narrow in scope to serve a compelling state interest? Why or why not?
 
2004-12-23 10:36:11 AM
There comes a time when what good, decent, and RIGHT, and the law must part company. This is one of those times.

He's in prison. His "rights" are limited in the extreme.

Dukefluke, I put this to you:

If (a) kills, say, your daughter, who is several months pregnant, and then slices the fetus from her womb to use in some twisted ritual or another, what then? If he were sentenced to 40 years in prison, and wrote a book about the whole affair from within prison, you'd be okay with said sicko becoming obscenely rich when said tome reaches the inevitable top of Hollywierd's best-seller list?

No, you wouldn't regardless of how you posture.

Law and free speech bedamned. Committing some heinous crime should not be a free ticket to profit from a book and a movie of the week. As far as I am concerned, what is right is for said criminals to surrender any and all possessions and properties to the victim(s) (or their surviving families) up to and including any and all past and future profits derived from any work, artistic, literary, or otherwise, related to said crime.

..But then, that's just me. I'm one of those "right wing wackos" you are all screaming about so much.
 
2004-12-23 10:36:47 AM
kyouzo:

Oh, forgot one more thing.

Often those that insist in the commission of a crime can be barred from completing it, charged fully with the crime, or given infractions for assisting in it.

Once again, you are not totally free in this country. Your actions at any given moment can be called upon in a court of law.

Assisting someone in commmitting a barred act is often a grey area crime, from buying beer for minors, to anything you described above.

Once again, providing a "vehicle" to skirt or break the law is within itself, often a crime.
 
2004-12-23 10:40:37 AM
I'm sorry, but if someone murdered someone I love I do NOT want them basically profitting off it later.

The murderer is alive and now getting money for writing a book, while his victim will never again have any rights.

So, the victims family should get most of the profit from any book written by the murderer. It won't bring their loved one back, but it should go to them anyway.
 
2004-12-23 10:43:01 AM
"Dukefluke, I put this to you:

If (a) kills, say, your daughter, who is several months pregnant, and then slices the fetus from her womb to use in some twisted ritual or another, what then? If he were sentenced to 40 years in prison, and wrote a book about the whole affair from within prison, you'd be okay with said sicko becoming obscenely rich when said tome reaches the inevitable top of Hollywierd's best-seller list?"

You seriously think I'm going to waste time thinking about this, you sick, sad little bastard? This is where the adults are talking, go indulge your truly farked imagination elsewhere, troll.
 
2004-12-23 10:43:50 AM
Mordaris
As far as I am concerned, what is right is for said criminals to surrender any and all possessions and properties to the victim(s) (or their surviving families) up to and including any and all past and future profits derived from any work, artistic, literary, or otherwise, related to said crime.

Then he will NOT WRITE THE BOOK AND THUS THE VICTIMS WILL NOT MAKE ANY MONEY. What about that is so flipping hard to understand?

Let him write his book(s) and make millions - then the victims will get compensated through the civil case. With the Son of Sam law, the victims get nothing. So, ironically, it appears that I (and everyone else who thinks the Son of Sam law is dumb) are in favor of the victims' families receiving money, whereas your position results in the victims' families receiving nothing.
 
2004-12-23 10:54:22 AM
What I am wondering is if this ruling can be "grandfathered" to apply to prisoners who have already produced works. (Charles Manson wrote a book called: "Manson in His Own Words"), (John Wayne Gacey sold a buttload of paintings) In both instances neither was allowed to profit from the sale of these works. Can they (in the case of Gacey his estate) now sue for the monies they were prohibited from receiving?
 
2004-12-23 11:13:14 AM
*sigh*

I don't know why I even bother trying. I wash my hands of this.
 
2004-12-23 11:13:17 AM
kyouzo:

So, ironically, it appears that I (and everyone else who thinks the Son of Sam law is dumb) are in favor of the victims' families receiving money, whereas your position results in the victims' families receiving nothing.

This is the bottom line. Thread over.
 
2004-12-23 11:16:48 AM
Bullshiat, this has nothing to do with free speech. No one is trying to say the book can't be sold. Blocking him from receiving profit is in no way unconstitutional and does not interfere with his free speech rights. No one should ever be able to profit from the commission of a felony, especially a murder.
 
2004-12-23 11:20:46 AM
Vengeful idiots in 3, 2, 1...

/oops, looks like i'm late again
 
2004-12-23 11:21:19 AM
Also, I'm not sure the victims' families should profit from the sale of the book. It would set up a scenario which would be fairly easy to exploit.
 
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2004-12-23 11:46:13 AM
"Felons lose rights as punishment" is a red herring. Suppose the law read "felons may not publish books critical of President Bush." Can the felon be punished for backing Kerry? No. That is unconstitutional discrimination regardless of whether the state has the right to prevent felons from publishing books.

When free speech is regulated the regulation must be content-neutral and reasonable -- like prohibiting prisoners from holding press conferences in their cells -- or any discrimination must be as limited as possible to promote a "compelling" state interest. The "Son of Sam" law was declared unconstitutional because the law was far too broad to be justified as preventing profit from crime.

In the case of free speech, economic penalties are wrong just as outright censorship is wrong. "We'll take your royalties if you write a book about petunias instead of marigolds" is still viewpoint discrimination.
 
2004-12-23 12:07:06 PM
He's served his time. What the hell else do you expect?


God forbid anyone actually fark UP sometime.
 
2004-12-23 12:17:28 PM
This isn't about 1st amendment rights. He can write the book and have it published, but he doesn't have the right to profit from it(I agree with this). There is a difference.

It looks like what got struck down was the part about the profits going to the victim's family. I don't think thats right either. The money should go to charity....I'd almost say give it to the state, but Nevada doesn't really need it.
 
2004-12-23 01:05:52 PM
ebell

I disagree with the court's overbreadth analysis in Seres. The language "person who committed the felony" implies that the law is only invoked upon criminal conviction and is therefore not overinclusive as described by Simon & Schuster.

Granted the state could have drafted the statute more carefully, but I think the statute is clear enough on its face to avoid the Simon concerns. More importantly, by restricting the law to felony convictions and by limiting its application to only the victims of said felonies, the law effectively addresses the primary concerns (MLK) laid out in Simon.

I appreciate the court's concern with respect to overbroad prohibitions on First Amendment rights, but I think said concern was applied incorrectly in this decision.
 
2004-12-23 01:14:46 PM
Geez!

What a bunch of morons! Several serial killers, confined for life, have basked in notoriety and fame by being the subjects of many studies, books, films and interviews. One (I can't recall his name, but he went on a killing spree for decades) boasted that the best sex he ever had was in prison and promptly made himself at home, getting access to drugs and a camcorder not to mention the inevitable booze.

OK, if this is a violation of Constitutional rights, how about the practice of publishing the names of johns in the local newspapers who get caught soliciting prostitutes? (West Palm Beach, FL.) What about the massive spread of information about anyone convicted of a sexual offense including where they live, work, full name and so on, even if all they did was have sex with a 16 year old that said she was 21 and looked it?

I thought when you became a felon, you pretty well lost your civil rights, including the right to vote, hold public office or work in government or law enforcement.

Well, one way around this decision is for the survivors of the victim to file a damage suit against the felon, claiming all and future profits of anything he makes in such a way, as compensation for the loss of a loved one. (Which means, another dragged out, court clogging case.)
 
2004-12-23 01:25:53 PM
"This is where the adults are talking"

Heh. Nope, this is Fark.

Anyway ... a profitable penance is an oxymoron.

Moneys received should pay for the convict's incarceration and legal costs. Any left over should be dispersed through charity.
 
2004-12-23 01:36:08 PM
Where is the "ASININE" tag?

I agree that it may result in a deadweight loss for both parties (victim and felon) by discouraging the creation of any money-making endeavour by the criminal, which would then not be a juicy target for a civil suit. But, this does yank away one ipso facto control the victims (or state acting on behalf of the victims) have on the remaining life of the case in which they were wronged.

Not going to digress into an "if I had my way" argument, but there are such a great many laws that exist not for their utilitarian value, but their greater symbolic, ethical, etc. reasons

I am all for victims' discretion wherever humanly possible in a criminal case, where there is a legally established criminally responsible party and victim.

Come to think of it, couldn't we resolve that whole pesky death penalty debate by victims' discretion?

-Just sayin'
 
2004-12-23 02:00:20 PM
Agh!_My_brain!
Not going to digress into an "if I had my way" argument, but there are such a great many laws that exist not for their utilitarian value, but their greater symbolic, ethical, etc. reasons

Care to name one? I'm not a legal scholar, but I can't think of a time when I've been reading the rules to set up a board game and said "That rule makes no sense whatsoever, but you know what? It's just so damn well-written!"

We make laws for the results we anticipate they will have; the closer those laws' anticipated consequences come to approximating the ideal society we want to see, the more valuable they are to us.

"Son of Sam" law = murky free-speech issue, but regardless of how you feel about that, there's no argument over the fact that the victims will get at most very little money and in almost all cases no money whatsoever (either killer just won't write a book/give interviews because he won't get anything in return, or he will just find a crafty lawyer to skirt around the restrictions. Not might, will.)

No "Son of Sam" law = no free-speech issue, and the victims can potentially get money in the civil case (or even the profit rights to a book that's already been written)

Perhaps it would behoove those people who are so up in arms about profits coming from items describing or retelling a brutal act of murder to look in a mirror? Or do you people who are so offended by the fact that these guys make money off of this think that they somehow force people to be interested in reading about their grisly crimes?

Why not have one of the victims' parents passionately plea on the news for people not to buy I.M. Crazy's new book, I Killed a Dozen People and All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt? Oh, wait. I know why. Because even if everybody in the country saw the news conference and sympathized with the parent, people don't generally care enough about other people to do a seemingly negligible act of good if it will inconvenience themselves to a relatively greater extent. Michael Moore can harp all he wants about Nike and Starbucks and Wal-Mart and McDonalds, but I'll bet you anything he patronizes those places somewhat regularly. Let the public decide whether or not they want to send their money to someone they know is a madman; just because you don't like some of the more unpleasant truths about human behavior doesn't mean you can change them.
 
2004-12-23 02:03:45 PM
I forgot to add, based on the majority position in this thread, I am now advocating to my congressmen A Modest Proposal: New legislation that will make the act of slowing down and staring at a car accident as you pass it punishable by law.

Rubberneckers beware! You'll do time if you stare!

hehe. Catchy, innit?
 
2004-12-23 02:46:13 PM
It's just Nevada; it would be different if this had happened in, say, a real place.
 
2004-12-23 02:47:31 PM
I can't believe how mean-spirited and plain evil so many of your thought processes are. So if someone commits a crime they have to continue paying for it their whole life? They have to never be successful, never make money, never become a respected member of society?

Why don't we just brand a giant letter into his cheek? Would that appease you Puritan bastards?

He's not profiting from a crime, he's profiting from WRITING A BOOK! Do you know how hard it is to write a book? How many have you written? And his book is critically acclaimed to boot.

As far as I know, it's not a crime to write a book.

So what he uses his life experience when writing the book. EVERYONE DOES!

What if he wrote a fictional account regarding events that were suspiciously similar to the crimes he committed. What then, geniuses? He's not writing about the specific crime, now is he?

I think the vast majority of people in this society WANT ex-cons to fail when they reenter society. You want ex-cons to re-offend. You want them to become drunks and drug addicts. You want them to wander the streets homeless, unable to get work.

I know, just to appease you Puritans, let's make it against the law for any ex-con to live in a dwelling! They have to be homeless the rest of their lives! Sounds fair.

/Troll
 
2004-12-23 02:57:20 PM
El_Camino_SS
Also, this case doesn't involve a felony, this involves murder. For all of you people that think you understand the law, then you should really understand the difference between felonies and murder/manslaughter. Remember the four diliniations of crime? ANYONE? They are infractions, misdemeanors, felonies, and capital crimes (deaths of individuals)

Um, no. A capital offense, by its very nature, warrants the possibility of the death penalty. Only first degree murder, with special circumstances, is a capital offense (well, technically treason can be, as well, but to the best of my knowledge nobody's been executed for it in the past 50 years). All other forms of homicide do not include death as a possible punishment.

/Some Idiot picked up a book about law, and it wasn't El_Camino
 
2004-12-23 03:05:31 PM
And another thing, people profit from crime all the time, just not neccessarily ones they committed. The TV show "Cops", newspapers, TV news, etc.

But no, many of you are arguing that the perpetrator of the crime shouldn't profit. Oh, but everyone else can? How is that fair? "Because it was his fault the heinous act happened in the first place." Yeah, we're all just voyers getting turned on by the blood (and profiting from it in some cases). We're innocent.

If a rape victim writes a bestseller about her experience, can the rapist get a share of the profits? Why don't all you Puritans elect a dictator and be done with it. Oh wait, you already have.

/Troll: Part II
 
2004-12-23 03:09:51 PM
FARKers using the "the book will not be written if the author can't make money" argument are, I believe, ignoring one very important factor: Many of the authors of which you speak are not economists, they're nutjobs...nutjobs with a LOT of time on their hands, now that the state is feeding and clothing and housing them. They would gladly write their books and have them published if it COST them money - they are that narcissistic and detached from reality, that desirous of being heard. Such psychology is often a large part of the reason for commission of such sensational crimes as generate this kind of interest.

/longest post ever - shutting up now
 
2004-12-23 03:23:33 PM
kyuozo,

Well, I guess I will digress into an "if I had my way" argument:

Victims' discretion...period.

Hell, for all I care, they can agree to collaborate on a mini-series and split the proceeds (yes, hyperbole). The way I see it is far less humane than most of the people who understand why this law ever existed: the victim is the one who has/should have the right to the story itself, as an article of property.

I heartily agree with letting the people's opinion be heard at the cash register. But, somewhere in this cold little hunk of granite I used to call a heart, a warm little pocket seems to whisper to me that the victims should be protected, at least a little bit, from their assailant continuing to profiteer on the object of their grief.

As for what I said about a law having no "utilitarian" value, I mean deterrence, which is the only utilitarian purpose that a system of crime-and-punishment can have to the general public. You get into a whole different ball o' wax when you start talking about victims' rights and rights of the accused, i.e. - those directly involved. Heck, the death penalty probably doesn't have a real deterrent bone in its causal body. But, it is there at least partially, for good or ill, to make the victims feel a little bit better. That ain't so bad.

Now. Please, for the love of Peter, let's not get into it about the death penalty.

Is the "Son of Sam" law good or bad? Don't know. Probably not terribly great for the ACLU or felons who are in need of a buck. Probably pretty good for the victims of these felons. In my book, their comfort comes before the felons' right to a million-dollar movie deal.

Now. Where I might have a problem, is if some Boy Scout legislator or judge tries to muzzle such a felon from writing his book, without the victims' objection! I am well aware that this could be killing the goose that laid the golden civil suit. As far as civil suits go, I'm not sure how easy it is for the victims of a convicted felon to get his last buck, but if it is too arduous a task for the typical victim, then there isn't much point.

But...

Perhaps the crux of the matter lies in the thought that nobody involved in the case should benefit financially from the sick practice of profiting off of such a crime. If the victim were to, through some rubber-stamp policy of splitting the proceeds, then that would be a conflict of interest, wouldn't it? I don't know. But once again, I digress.

It is my ideal society, and probably the vision of the people who enacted this law, to stop criminals from profiting from their misdeeds. Or they could only do so with their victims receiving a substantial amount as well, I guess that would be OK, as long as the victims have their say.

PS, you don't just throw up your hands and say a law is worthless because a "crafty lawyer" will "skirt around the restrictions."

Anyway, take your pick, either guarantee that the victims will receive at least something from the criminal's sick act of re-telling his experiences, or do away with his profits, period.

My gut instinct, despite the potential can o' worms of "conflict of interest" being opened, is that victims' discretion should be the order of the day. NOT doing away with limitations on this practice completely.

That is all.
 
BHK
2004-12-23 03:28:16 PM
We need to outlaw all freedom of speech for prisoners. After all, when we start locking up people for political reasons we don't want them writing about it and being heard while in prison or even after they leave it!
 
2004-12-23 03:29:05 PM
Oh, by the way:

Yes, shopping at Wal-Mart or... (dare I say) buying gasoline is quite different than unloading a double-barrel of buckshot into someone's head.

"I REFUSE TO USE PETROLEUM!"

and

"You're the Hitler!"

/obscure?
//probably not.
 
2004-12-23 03:41:08 PM
Argh_my_brain!
PS, you don't just throw up your hands and say a law is worthless because a "crafty lawyer" will "skirt around the restrictions."

Within about five minutes' time, I came up with six different viable ways that someone could skirt around the restrictions (see my post somewhere way, way above). I am neither crafty nor a lawyer. The law is worthless.
 
2004-12-23 03:48:09 PM
Perhaps the crux of the matter lies in the thought that nobody involved in the case should benefit financially from the sick practice of profiting off of such a crime.

Tons of people profit off of crime - defense attorneys, police officers, judges, court stenographers, forensics detectives, coroners, funeral home directors, newspaper editors, television reporters, documentary filmmakers, the company that produces that yellow "POLICE LINE - DO NOT CROSS" tape, home security companies, companies that produce DNA testing kits, the publishers and producers of those "America's Dumbest Criminals" books and shows, hell suit and tie manfuacturers' profit off of crime because I can pretty well guarantee that someone hiding a half-dozen corpses under their floorboards wouldnt have worn one if he hadnt gotten caught and had to go to court.

Lots of people profit off of crime - if you want it to stop, don't buy their wares and remind other people that they are supporting crime when they buy I.M. Crazy's tell-all book. But don't tell me what I can and can't buy by telling me what can and cannot be on the market (especially if it would have been a legal product if it were produced by anybody else in the world).
 
2004-12-23 03:56:34 PM
kyouzo,

::sigh::

There is a difference between shooting someone in the face and making a million clams off of the book deal, and being employed in the justice system.

If you ARE a criminal, you do not deserve to make money off of your CRIME.

I'm not telling you you can't buy something. Nor am I telling you (passive "you") to go out and purchase irresponsibly.

It is just simply wrong wrong wrong to call something a felony and then let the FELON make money off of it.

That is all.
 
2004-12-23 04:44:23 PM
El_Camino_SS

Your superior childish attitude about your freedoms is comical. Why have courts at all with your attitudes? Why interperet anything?

I'm glad I amuse you. Also, if I understand this statement, it contains an implication that I consider the court system unnecessary simply because I have an opinion. That is an incredibly stupid assumption on your part.
 
2004-12-23 05:07:50 PM
The amount of ignorance on this board never ceases to amaze me.

What a great system we have where our courts protect everybody, Silverberg said. It would be easy to sell this guy down the river, but the courts said that even people like Mr. Lerner are entitled to constitutional protection.

That should be all you have to read to understand that this judge did the right thing.
 
2004-12-23 05:49:41 PM
OK, if this is a violation of Constitutional rights, how about the practice of publishing the names of johns in the local newspapers who get caught soliciting prostitutes? (West Palm Beach, FL.) What about the massive spread of information about anyone convicted of a sexual offense including where they live, work, full name and so on, even if all they did was have sex with a 16 year old that said she was 21 and looked it?


I'm late but will address this: I don't like any of those practices.
 
2004-12-23 05:53:18 PM
Agh!_my_brain!
It is just simply wrong wrong wrong to call something a felony and then let the FELON make money off of it.

then don't buy the book. How about letting people (i.e. everybody, not just you) decide for themselves whether they think it's a good enough tradeoff to give some sick fark money in exchange for hearing his story?

But my guess is that you don't want that to happen because you know as well as I do that many people will make that tradeoff, and you don't like that; that offends you, so you declare it to be wrong wrong wrong.

Here's a news flash: it isnt the writing of a book that creates profit. Ill show you why. Scenario: Super-crazy-heartless-monsterfelon writes a book. He then burns it up and flushes the ashes down the prison toilet. Good Lord! Why didn't he make any profit?

Because profit comes from the people who buy the book. You don't like that felons make money off their crimes? Don't buy the book, tell others that you aren't buying the book and why, and then leave it up to them to make that decision for themselves. And once they've made that decision, leave them the hell alone.
 
2004-12-23 07:00:22 PM
kyouzo stole my thunder, so I'll just...

/mutter
 
2004-12-23 07:31:49 PM
You know, it's amazing how the "conservatives" in the house, those champions of the free market, suddenly have a problem with free market forces determining this issue.

If you don't like it, don't buy it. Nobody's putting a gun to your head.

/Heavens forfend every side of an issue should be aired...
 
2004-12-29 09:15:52 AM
"Given that he's been sent to jail, he's already been punished for his criminal act. And like I say, it's not a book about the crime, it's a book about the punishment."

Sure, he's been punished. But if you allow criminals to make a profit from their crime, you're giving them more incentive to commit that crime.

What's the point of fining someone a thousand dollars if they can write a book about their crime and make a million?


And first ammendment free speech has nothing to do with it. He's still allowed to write whatever he wants, he just can't make money from it. The first ammendment guarantees only the speech, not the paycheck for it.
 
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