Jacob Goodwin attended the Charlottesville demonstrations as a pro-monument demonstrator. At some point in the melee, Goodwin, along with other persons, kicked a counterprotester several times. He should not have done this. But the sentence he received after a subsequent prosecution – eight years in prison in Virginia – was grossly disproportionate, given that the counterprotester’s injuries from the kicks were not serious, the counterprotester had struck another man near Goodwin with a metal flashlight, and Goodwin had no prior record of bad conduct. It seems apparent Goodwin was sentenced more for his political views than his misconduct. It has been a financial challenge for Goodwin’s working class and devoutly Christian parents in Arkansas to visit their son – so much so that on the rare occasions when they can afford to visit they drive all night to avoid the expense of a hotel. FEF has given the Goodwins a small grant so they may visit their son more frequently and have reasonable accommodations when doing so.
Scott Goodwin, Jacob’s father, sent FEF a letter expressing his gratitude:
My name is Scott Goodwin. I am the father of Jacob Goodwin. I would like to thank the Free Expression Foundation and Mr. Glen Allen for the generous donation and legal support they have given to us and for all of their support for us in this time of need. Thanks to them we will be able to visit our son. We live in Arkansas and he is incarcerated in Virginia. It is a 14-hour drive to be able to see him and visit with him. Because of your kindness we will be able to visit our son again in June. My family would like to express our gratitude for all that you have done for us.