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The Bay View’s First Amendment Campaign: an update

February 26, 2010

by Randall Sondai Ellis

California’s prisons reserve some of their harshest punishment for prisoners accused of “gang” membership simply for possessing anything mentioning George Jackson – and, because the Bay View often mentions George Jackson, sometimes for merely possessing a copy of the Bay View newspaper. Gov. Schwarzenegger admitted that he decided to execute Stanley Tookie Williams primarily because Tookie dedicated one of his books to a long list of Black heroes that included George Jackson.
As reported in previous issues of the Bay View, the Bay View, its readers, the community and those of us behind enemy lines had been working with attorney Anthony D. Prince to develop a litigation strategy that would address the state’s suppression of legitimate historical and cultural expressions by relegating those expressions and beliefs to the realms of gang activity simply because it may refer to historical figures that the state deems objectionable. Working with the attorney, we sought to expose this blatant attack upon the First Amendment by showing how the state continues to deny the safe exchange of the wealth of ideas contained in the free marketplace.

Attorney Prince sought to protect the Bay View’s right to publish what it chose to and deemed to be newsworthy under the First Amendment and to protect prisoners’ rights to view, express and even comment upon issues that continue to affect them and their communities. As the United States Supreme Court recently recognized in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, “the First Amendment is the life blood of the press” (according to James Taranto in the Jan. 30, 2010, Wall Street Journal story “The Media and Corporate Free Speech”). And even further back than the Citizens ruling the high court “said unanimously … that the notion that a newspaper should be kept from publishing what it wanted to publish – even at least one day of the year, even for a supposedly good cause – was alien to this country” (First Amendment lawyer Floyd Abrams quoted Jan. 30, 2010, in the same Wall Street Journal story).

Well, this is to update our readers to our recent setback: It appears as though for some unexplained reason that our attorney has disappeared. We have not received any word at all as to the whereabouts of our attorney. Although it may be premature to speculate as to why we were so suddenly abandoned by our attorney, as in any struggle, we realize that there will be setbacks, but we are always hopeful that new counsel will step forward and assist us with our lofty endeavor, specifically an attorney experienced in the First Amendment, but all legal help is welcomed. Contact Sister Mary Ratcliff at the San Francisco Bay View newspaper.

Bay View editor Mary Ratcliff can be reached at (415) 671-0789 or editor@sfbayview.com. Please contact the Bay View if you have any information about attorney Anthony Prince and why his phone is disconnected and his mail returned. We are concerned about his wellbeing, and the State Bar has no information. To correspond with Randall Sondai Ellis, who attorney Anthony Prince told the Bay View would be the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit, write to Randall Ellis, C-68764, SHU D2-213, P.O. Box 7500, Crescent City CA 95531-7500.

One thought on “The Bay View’s First Amendment Campaign: an update

  1. LarryCanty

    THEY DID TOOKIE WRONG BECAUSE THEY MADE HIM SERVE ALL THAT TIME BEHIND BARS AND THEN WANNA DECIDE TO DO THE LETHAL INJECTION…IF THEY WANTED HIM TO DIE THEY SHOULD HAVE JUST LET HIM FINISH HIS TIME IN THERE, HELL EVENTUALLY IT WOULDA HAPPNED

    Reply

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