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Son of Sam Law

30/4/19 Son of Sam Law

A statute that prevents a convicted criminal from profiting by selling his story rights to a publisher or movie maker, usually by authorizing prosecutors to seize royalties from convicted criminals and to place the money in an escrow account for the crime victim’s benefit.
The law gets its name from David Berkowitz; a New York serial killer who left a note signed “Son of Sam” at his crime scenes. The law first came into effect in 1977 in New York. Since 1977 forty-two states and the federal government have enacted various types of Son of Sam laws that take any proceeds a criminal earns from selling the story of his crime and gives them to a victims’ compensation fund.
In 1991, the U.S Supreme Court declared the New York’s Son of Sam law unconstitutional as a content-based speech regulation. Ever since the 1991 decision, many states have amended their Son of Sam laws in order to avoid constitutionality issues.

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