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:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
January 20, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Divide and Rule: Class, Hate, and the 2016 Election
Andrew Levine
When Was America Great?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: This Ain’t a Dream No More, It’s the Real Thing
Yoav Litvin
Making Israel Greater Again: Justice for Palestinians in the Age of Trump
Linda Pentz Gunter
Nuclear Fiddling While the Planet Burns
Ruth Fowler
Standing With Standing Rock: Of Pipelines and Protests
David Green
Why Trump Won: the 50 Percenters Have Spoken
Dave Lindorff
Imagining a Sanders Presidency Beginning on Jan. 20
Pete Dolack
Eight People Own as Much as Half the World
Roger Harris
Too Many People in the World: Names Named
Steve Horn
Under Tillerson, Exxon Maintained Ties with Saudi Arabia, Despite Dismal Human Rights Record
John Berger
The Nature of Mass Demonstrations
Stephen Zielinski
It’s the End of the World as We Know It
David Swanson
Six Things We Should Do Better As Everything Gets Worse
Alci Rengifo
Trump Rex: Ancient Rome’s Shadow Over the Oval Office
Brian Cloughley
What Money Can Buy: the Quiet British-Israeli Scandal
Mel Gurtov
Donald Trump’s Lies And Team Trump’s Headaches
Kent Paterson
Mexico’s Great Winter of Discontent
Norman Solomon
Trump, the Democrats and the Logan Act
David Macaray
Attention, Feminists
Yves Engler
Demanding More From Our Media
James A Haught
Religious Madness in Ulster
Dean Baker
The Economics of the Affordable Care Act
Patrick Bond
Tripping Up Trumpism Through Global Boycott Divestment Sanctions
Robert Fisk
How a Trump Presidency Could Have Been Avoided
Robert Fantina
Trump: What Changes and What Remains the Same
David Rosen
Globalization vs. Empire: Can Trump Contain the Growing Split?
Elliot Sperber
Dystopia
Dan Bacher
New CA Carbon Trading Legislation Answers Big Oil’s Call to Continue Business As Usual
Wayne Clark
A Reset Button for Political America
Chris Welzenbach
“The Death Ship:” An Allegory for Today’s World
Uri Avnery
Being There
Peter Lee
The Deep State and the Sex Tape: Martin Luther King, J. Edgar Hoover, and Thurgood Marshall
Patrick Hiller
Guns Against Grizzlies at Schools or Peace Education as Resistance?
Randy Shields
The Devil’s Real Estate Dictionary
Ron Jacobs
Singing the Body Electric Across Time
Ann Garrison
Fifty-five Years After Lumumba’s Assassination, Congolese See No Relief
Christopher Brauchli
Swing Low Alabama
Dr. Juan Gómez-Quiñones
La Realidad: the Realities of Anti-Mexicanism
Jon Hochschartner
The Five Least Animal-Friendly Senate Democrats
Pauline Murphy
Fighting Fascism: the Irish at the Battle of Cordoba
Susan Block
#GoBonobos in 2017: Happy Year of the Cock!
Louis Proyect
Is Our Future That of “Sense8” or “Mr. Robot”?
Charles R. Larson
Review: Robert Coover’s “Huck out West”
David Yearsley
Manchester-by-the-Sea and the Present Catastrophe
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail