'SON OF SAM' LAW UNANIMOUSLY STRUCK DOWN
The Supreme Court has struck down New York's "son of Sam" law allowing a criminal's profits for selling his story to be seized and given to his victims, casting in doubt the status of similar laws passed by Congress and 41 other states.By an 8-to-0 vote, the court declared Tuesday that New York's 1977 law - the nation's first such statute and a pattern for the rest of the nation - violates the First Amendment. The law was enacted in 1977 during New York City's search for the notorious "son of Sam" serial killer. State legislators drafted the law fearing the murderer would profit from his crimes upon his capture, while his victims suffered. Justice Sandra Day O'Connor called the law "significantly overinclusive" and specified another state's statute might be legal if it is "narrowly drawn" and "necessary to serve a compelling state interest." But both victims' rights groups and First Amendment advocates said the ruling left little room for such an exception.