Letter From Libya 1

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Q: When we got a call for pilots to fly over Libya, I answered.  Suppose my plane goes spinning from the sky.  Before it smashes, into a field of wheat and thistles, I parachute into a rocky field and hide in a sheep pen on a farm.  Then the owner calls out ‘we are with the rebels’ and I come out.  They give me water and juice, though they keep my helmet and parachute.

If I decide to publish my story, can that family sue me under the Son of Sam Law?

A: No way.  Although New York Executive Law § 632-a attempts to transfer the profits of a crime – from the perpetrator to the victim – that statute could not possibly apply.  Landing in the field, and hiding in the pen, would not be a crime – certainly not under American law – because you would be protected by a number of privileges, e.g. the privilege to save himself.  If Libyan law is any different, it would not be recognized for the purpose of our Son of Sam Law.

In addition, Executive Law § 632-a has always had very rough sledding in the courts.  Looking at a previous version of that statute, the Supreme Court held “that in the Son of Sam law, New York has singled out speech on a particular subject for a financial burden that it places on no other speech and no other income.  The State’s interest in compensating victims from the fruits of crime is a compelling one, but the Son of Sam law is not narrowly tailored to advance that objective.  As a result, the statute is inconsistent with the First Amendment.”  It is questionable whether the present version of the Son of Sam Law is immune to the same critique.

By: Scott Baron,
Attorney at Law Advertorial

The law responds to changed conditions; exceptions and variations abound. Here, the information is general; always seek out competent counsel. This article shall not be construed as legal advice.

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