Criminals, as well as law abiding citizens are protected under the First Amendment allowing for free speech. We do not proclaim to want or have the right to censor any individual(s). We are seeking to deny criminals from directly profiting from their lives of crime.
United Crime Victims was founded with the belief that criminals should not be allowed to profit from telling their stories. Founding members, Laura & Karen Garofalo, whose father Eddie Garofalo was murdered by Salvatore ‚ÄúSammy the Bull‚ÄĚ Gravano; and Rosanne DeBatt, who lost her brother, Michael DeBatt to Sammy, are seeking changes to the New York State Son of Sam Law, as well as the creation of a National Son of Sam Law that would empower victims of violent crimes, and that would prevent both the criminals and members of their family from being allowed to profit from the telling and re-telling of the criminal‚Äôs story.
Our quest began in August 1997 when Salvatore Gravano penned his memoir, Underboss. New York State Attorney General Dennis Vacco, who represented the state‚Äôs Crime Victims‚Äô Board served Salvatore Gravano with papers in a lawsuit seeking the profits from his memoir. Ron Kuby, representing the families of Gravano‚Äôs Victims initiated a press conference for the crime victims to seek legal action.
In an apparent attempt to circumvent the ‚ÄúSon of Sam‚ÄĚ Law, Gravano, and author Peter Maas, traveled overseas to write his memoir. As a result, Dennis Vacco filed another lawsuit against Peter Maas, and included publisher Harper-Collins and International Creative Management in the lawsuit seeking to prevent them from receiving proceeds from the book.
In New York State, the action against Salvatore Gravano was unsuccessful, since Gravano pled guilty to his crimes, including nineteen murders, in federal court. As the law currently stands, the Son of Sam law is a state law, that does not apply to criminals tried in federal court. Upon his cooperation with the federal government, he was placed in the witness Protection Program.
With a second chance handed to him, whereas his victims didn‚Äôt have that luxury, he continued to victimize the public and create his new life of criminal activity. As part of the Arizona community, Gravano, with the help of his family began an Ecstasy drug enterprise. The state of Arizona was successful in shutting down this criminal enterprise. The state seized all properties, business, bank actions and his book royalties. Arizona obtained all that Gravano had through the RICO act. Upon learning this his victims were named as Interveners, which unique to Arizona State law, allowed them to seek the royalties. The legal action filed was fought by Gravano but they prevailed.
Now, 15 years later, Karen Gravano, star of VH1‚Äôs Reality T.V. series, Mob Wives, recently released her own memoir entitled Mob Daughter: The Mafia, Sammy ‚ÄúThe Bull‚ÄĚ Gravano, and Me! Once again, another Gravano, through her inclusion of the victims in her memoir, and her weekly encouragement of the mafia lifestyle, would cause unnecessary trauma to the victim’s families for her own financial gain. Her memoir is simply a re-telling of her father’s story in Underboss, with the addition of her own “struggles” growing up as a mafia daughter.
Karen Gravano, is a convicted criminal, who is currently allowed to profit from the re-telling of both her and her father‚Äôs crimes. As a result, we are seeking review of the current Son of Sam Law in New York State, as well as the creation of a National Son of Sam Law, that would empower victims of violent crimes, and prevent criminals and members of their family, from being able to profit from telling and retelling their stories.
We invite any crime victim, to join us in our struggle. You can help us by signing our petition, lobbying your state representatives directly, or simply by helping us spread our message. We encourage any feedback via our contact form.