The Victims of Crime Act of 1984 (Chapter XIV of the Comprehensive Crime Control Act of October 12, 1984, Public Law 98-473), enacted 18 U.S.C. §§ 3681 and 3682 (special forfeiture of the collateral profits of crime). Sections 3681 and 3682 provide for "special forfeiture" to the government of proceeds "received or to be received" by criminals convicted of violent crimes from sales of the literary rights to their stories about their crimes and for the deposit of those proceeds in the Crime Victims Fund. Sections 3681 and 3682 and similar state laws are known as "Son of Sam" laws because the first such statute was enacted by New York's state legislature in reaction to the case of a highly publicized murderer known as "the Son of Sam." Sections 3681 and 3682 and similar "Son of Sam" laws have fallen into disuse because there is little doubt, if any, that they are inconsistent with the First Amendment.
Updated December 18, 2015