From Jail in Brooklyn

Mumia Dementia

By C. Clark Kissinger

Revolutionary Worker #1087, January 21, 2001, posted at

There is something about the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal that causes judicial and prison authorities to go bonkers. I call this phenomenon "Mumia Dementia." At my recent probation violation hearing, the mere mention of the government's campaign to suppress the movement for justice for Mumia sent Judge Arnold Rapoport into an apoplectic fit, crying "Not true. Not relevant. Stop that!"

After most of the spectators were dragged from the courtroom and I was sentenced and taken out in handcuffs, a federal marshal asked Frances Goldin, Mumia's 76-year-old literary agent, to remain behind. When everyone else had left, he informed her she was under arrest!

Frances, one of my co-defendants who is under the same travel restrictions that I was charged with violating, had asked for permission to travel to Philly to be at my hearing, but was denied by Judge Rapoport. What Judge Rapoport didn't know--and didn't bother to ask--was that Frances had then gone to a higher judge and had obtained permission to attend. After hurried phone calls behind the scenes, the truth of this was established and Frances was sheepishly released. She then asked that the judge come out and apologize for ordering her arrest. After more hurried behind-the-scenes conferencing, she was told that he had left for the day--apparently gone home to recover from a severe bout of Mumia Dementia.

The latest outbreak of Mumia Dementia has been reported at the Metropolitan Detention Center, Brooklyn. While a guest at MDC Brooklyn, I have received many books sent by thoughtful friends. These are books of fiction, science, history, and politics, ranging from the Feynman Lecture on Physics to the Quotations of Chairman Mao Tsetung. The rules provide that "the warden may reject a publication if it is determined to be detrimental to the security, good order, or discipline of the institution, or if it may facilitate criminal act." So far only three books have been declared beyond the pale and returned to the sender. These are Live from Death Row by Mumia Abu-Jamal, Death Blossoms by Mumia Abu-Jamal, and All Things Censored, by Mumia Abu-Jamal.

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