FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

99 Problems But a Ban on Frances Goldin Ain’t One

by

Every three months for over twenty years, legendary NYC literary agent and activist Frances Goldin would take a two-day trip to a maximum security prison in Pennsylvania to visit her client and friend on death row—black scholar, author, and freedom fighter, Mumia Abu-Jamal.

Over the decades, Goldin has not only served as Abu-Jamal’s literary agent, but as one of the most vocal and relentless advocates for his release based on both his innocence and the denial of a fair trial in his case, the facts of which are well documented in a report by Amnesty International.

According to Goldin, several years ago the prison system sent her a letter declaring that she was no longer permitted to visit SCI Greene, the super-max facility that incarcerated Abu-Jamal and three fellow inmates that Goldin had become friends with after decades of visiting the prison. The letter claimed that Goldin violated prison rules by using the U.S. Postal System to send one of the men contraband.

No, she didn’t try and mail her friends a joint, weapons, or tools with which to break out. According to Goldin, she had sent one of Mumia’s imprisoned friends a note that she had inadvertently written on the flip side of a recent, semi-nude photo of herself. She thought she was writing the note on a scrap of paper, one of many on her desk. In her late 80s when it was taken, the photo showed Goldin in bed, topless, reading a book.

Prison censors quickly used the photo to enact a ban that has prevented the outspoken literary figure from troubling them with further visits to their super-max prison.

According to Johanna Fernandez, Abu-Jamal, a renowned jailhouse lawyer, challenged the lawfulness of the ban against Goldin by submitting a grievance in the form of a brief that cited a Supreme Court precedent. Fernandez says that early this morning, Wednesday, June 11, 2014, “Mumia was called in by one of the white shirts and told that he was right and that, if she wishes, Frances can have a contact visit beginning tomorrow.”

Mumia beat the ban.

“With sharpness of pen and mind, behind bars, Mumia’s effectiveness as a Jailhouse Lawyer has once again furthered the interests of justice,” says Heidi Boghosian, executive director of the National Lawyers Guild and author of Spying on Democracy.

For the duration of his 28-plus years on death row, Mumia was denied visits where he came in physical contact with other people, including his wife and children. Instead, all visits were conducted through a thick plexi-glass barrier. Mumia began receiving contact visits in January 2012, after the death sentence against him was dropped.

Frances Goldin tells me that she plans to visit Mumia immediately, tomorrow. She learned that Abu-Jamal’s jailhouse lawyering beat the ban when he surprised her with an unexpected phone call from prison a few hours ago.

He broke the news to her by saying, “I can’t wait to give you the 23-years of hugs that I owe you. I love you.”

“Not more than I do you,” she responded.

Patience, a guerrilla virtue.

Frances Goldin will be 90 years old on June 22, 2014.

Greg Ruggiero is an editor for City Lights Books, publisher of two books by Mumia Abu-Jamal, Jailhouse Lawyers and Writing on The Wall, forthcoming in 2015.

More articles by:
May 30, 2016
Ron Jacobs
The State of the Left: Many Movements, Too Many Goals?
James Abourezk
The Intricacies of Language
Porfirio Quintano
Hillary, Honduras, and the Murder of My Friend Berta
Patrick Cockburn
Airstrikes on ISIS are Reducing Their Cities to Ruins
Uri Avnery
The Center Doesn’t Hold
Raouf Halaby
The Sailors of the USS Liberty: They, Too, Deserve to Be Honored
Rodrigue Tremblay
Barack Obama’s Legacy: What Happened?
Matt Peppe
Just the Facts: The Speech Obama Should Have Given at Hiroshima
Deborah James
Trade Pacts and Deregulation: Latest Leaks Reveal Core Problem with TISA
Michael Donnelly
Still Wavy After All These Years: Flower Geezer Turns 80
Ralph Nader
The Funny Business of Farm Credit
Paul Craig Roberts
Memorial Day and the Glorification of Past Wars
Colin Todhunter
From Albrecht to Monsanto: A System Not Run for the Public Good Can Never Serve the Public Good
Rivera Sun
White Rose Begins Leaflet Campaigns June 1942
Tom H. Hastings
Field Report from the Dick Cheney Hunting Instruction Manual
Weekend Edition
May 27, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Pilger
Silencing America as It Prepares for War
Rob Urie
By the Numbers: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are Fringe Candidates
Paul Street
Feel the Hate
Daniel Raventós - Julie Wark
Basic Income Gathers Steam Across Europe
Andrew Levine
Hillary’s Gun Gambit
Jeffrey St. Clair
Hand Jobs: Heidegger, Hitler and Trump
S. Brian Willson
Remembering All the Deaths From All of Our Wars
Dave Lindorff
With Clinton’s Nixonian Email Scandal Deepening, Sanders Must Demand Answers
Pete Dolack
Millions for the Boss, Cuts for You!
Gunnar Westberg
Close Calls: We Were Much Closer to Nuclear Annihilation Than We Ever Knew
Peter Lee
To Hell and Back: Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Karl Grossman
Long Island as a Nuclear Park
Binoy Kampmark
Sweden’s Assange Problem: The District Court Ruling
Robert Fisk
Why the US Dropped Its Demand That Assad Must Go
Martha Rosenberg – Ronnie Cummins
Bayer and Monsanto: a Marriage Made in Hell
Brian Cloughley
Pivoting to War
Stavros Mavroudeas
Blatant Hypocrisy: the Latest Late-Night Bailout of Greece
Arun Gupta
A War of All Against All
Dan Kovalik
NPR, Yemen & the Downplaying of U.S. War Crimes
Randy Blazak
Thugs, Bullies, and Donald J. Trump: The Perils of Wounded Masculinity
Murray Dobbin
Are We Witnessing the Beginning of the End of Globalization?
Daniel Falcone
Urban Injustice: How Ghettos Happen, an Interview with David Hilfiker
Gloria Jimenez
In Honduras, USAID Was in Bed with Berta Cáceres’ Accused Killers
Kent Paterson
The Old Braceros Fight On
Lawrence Reichard
The Seemingly Endless Indignities of Air Travel: Report from the Losing Side of Class Warfare
Peter Berllios
Bernie and Utopia
Stan Cox – Paul Cox
Indonesia’s Unnatural Mud Disaster Turns Ten
Linda Pentz Gunter
Obama in Hiroshima: Time to Say “Sorry” and “Ban the Bomb”
George Souvlis
How the West Came to Rule: an Interview with Alexander Anievas
Julian Vigo
The Government and Your i-Phone: the Latest Threat to Privacy
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail