2008 Reichert’s Campaign Ace In the Hole: The Green River Killer
posted by April 1 at 14:07 PMon
I’ve filed a lot of copy lately documenting nervous Republican Rep. Dave Reichert’s election-season shuffle to the left—voting for a gay rights law, voting to override President Bush’s veto of children’s healthcare legislation—but one of the most recent bills he’s sponsoring comes from the right side of the political divide. It also seems to be an election-season reminder about his role in capturing the Green River Killer. (BTW, Reichert’s nervous because Democratic challenger Darcy burner has $144,000 more cash on hand than he does.)
The bill would crack down on “murderabilia.” Specifically, trying to stop federal prisoners from profiting off their crimes, the law would regulate what federal prisoners can send in the mail (destination Ebay, I imagine.)
A law along the same lines (the Son of Sam Law)—which prohibited criminals from profiting from book deals about their crimes—was ruled unconstitutional in 1987. (I wonder how much Rep. Reichert has profited off his book and movie deals about the Green River Killer?)
Rep. Reichert’s effort seems well-intentioned but riddled with constitutional problems.
A recent Time article on the murderabilia craze and Congress’s attempt to deal with it featured this quote from the ACLU:
“The [new] bill does cause some concerns,” says Marv Johnson, legal counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union in Washington, D.C. “It’s a bit too broad and does raise some First Amendment issues by affecting protected activity.”
P.S. I closed the comments thread on my post yesterday about leaving the paper (it’s true, it’s true) because, feeling dramatic, I wanted a stand-alone announcement without some weird thread creating its own storyline. But, goddamn, thanks for all the wonderful e-mails that came in.