THIS WEEK IN NYC 
 
 
MANHATTAN CHRONICLES
Fall Issue
Continuation from Homepage
by Raphael Golb
A Night and a Day at Rikers Island
                                                                                                                                                            Begin by descending. St. Augustine

 

 

Things went smoothly at the court. The judge — Carol Berkman, who had presided over the trial at the prosecutor’s request — pronounced the sentence. “Your criminal intent,” she explained, “brought your parody over the line… Accordingly, there needs to be a clear message as to the consequences of continuing in such behavior.” When it was over, I was immediately handcuffed and taken into a little cage behind the door. There they removed the cuffs, searched my bag and shoes, then let me put the shoes back on.

As I was waiting in there, Ashly, a friend of mine who had missed the sentencing, arrived and asked the guard in the courtroom what had happened to me. As she reported to me after my release, he explained to her that I had been sentenced to six months at Rikers Island and would not be bailed out. They opened the door for a second and I heard her telling the man to let me know that she would come visit me as soon as possible. As they shut the door I tried to call out her name, but she didn’t hear me.

After a while they took me down a hallway and elevator into another area where some new guards fingerprinted me and searched my bag again. They did this in a rather casual, matter-of-fact manner, and seemed a bit puzzled at my sentence of six months at Rikers for a bunch of emails making fun of a professor. After a short wait, they took me to another cell, where I began to wait. They had a Latino kid in there with me; he kept moaning to be let out, but eventually they took him away.

After sitting for a while and trying to read a few pages from a paperback copy of the Confessions of St. Augustine, which I had brought with me in my bag, I got up and walked back and forth in the cell, trying to relieve my legs and back from the pressure of sitting on the narrow bench. Several hours went by before they came again and took me down to the “Tombs” — the detention complex under the courthouse.

Here again my bag was searched. The guards down here were more meticulous. They let me keep the book, but they threw out my toothbrush and Peelu chewing gum. They placed me in a cell with another Rikers-bound inmate, a big fellow with dreadlocks named Joe, who was on the phone when they brought me in the free phone one can use to make calls, but only within the city. I minded my own business, urinated in the filthy metal contraption that served as a toilet, the first of many such receptacles I would see during the next 38 hours, and paced around in the cold. When Joe was off the phone, I asked him if he thought I could call 411 on it. We quickly confirmed this was impossible. Then we started talking.

Joe could see I was scared about going to Rikers. He said it would be okay, asked me what I had done, and gave me some advice: everyone would want to take me under their wing, some for the wrong reasons; he would do it himself, but he was only there for a day or two at most since he had already served seven days and was going to be released maybe even that same night. (Joe had served most of his ten-day sentence for heroin dealing because, like most inmates in New York, he was unable to afford bail.) But he would get me started. There were good people, but there were some I had better avoid. Never give your pin number to anyone. Just be there reading your book in your corner and you’ll be okay. He suggested I would want to ask for protective custody in a cell of my own, something I had already decided upon long before. Joe had obviously been to Rikers many times, a pattern I was going to notice with most of the other inmates I met as well.

Since in my haste to prepare for sentencing I had forgotten to copy down the number of my attorney, Ronald Kuby,and couldn’t remember it, Joe called his friend back and asked him if he could look it up. We called again a few minutes later and he read it to us. Joe gave me a slip of paper he had in his pocket and a bottle opener, and I scratched the number onto the slip (no pens are allowed in the Tombs). Thus I was able to call Kuby’s office and speak with his secretary, who gave me his cell number. He didn’t answer, and when I called his office back some time later the secretary had also been unable to reach him. Clearly he was still in the chambers of the appeals court judge he had applied to with my request for bail.

Maybe, I thought, the prosecutor was turning this judge against me the way he had turned Berkman against me; maybe they were arguing through all the facts of the case in detail. Or maybe Kuby was rushing down to the tombs in the subway to try and get there before I was shipped out to Rikers. Maybe bail had been refused after all. Or maybe it had been granted, but Kuby couldn’t come up with the money. Maybe it was more than my parents had planned for or were capable of producing. I was to worry about this endlessly during the next 22 hours. By now it was 4:00, and Kuby still wasn’t picking up. Joe said I could keep the piece of paper, so I used it as a bookmark for the Confessions.

Then Joe and I were removed from the cell. My talk with Kuby’s assistant was the last communication I had with the outside world until the next day. I would not see another phone at all until the morning, and hours were to pass between seeing one and being able to use one. Thursday at 4:00, Joe and I were handcuffed together and taken to the “boarding” area adjacent to the armored Rikers “bus.” There, in another, slightly more sinister cell, we were soon joined by a flock of other inmates.

A seething, imploded energy made itself felt here. Some of the inmates were gay, some had been brought in on drug busts. Joe, however, stood very cool at the bars, clenching them in his hands, and I followed suit on account of the cuffs. Then we sat. His leg was very thick, so thick that his hand automatically rested on his thigh. He noticed that my cuff was too tight and told me it was okay to keep my hand on his leg so the wrist didn’t swell up. He was entirely matter-of-fact about it. There was no embarrassment, just as there would later be no embarrassment about sharing foul breath with others locked in the “holding” cells at Rikers.

I kept hoping Kuby would burst in shouting for my release, or that someone would quietly come and get me, but it quickly became apparent that I was actually being hauled off to Rikers Island. Joe and I were led to the bus and found a seat in the back (I could barely fit given his size, and had to struggle not to fall from the seat). Two inmates who had been separated shouted back and forth excitedly about the drug raid in which they were caught. “Nigger” echoed in nearly every sentence they spoke. The trip was rough, as there was no suspension and potholes abounded. I saw Chinatown passing and then we were on highways. An hour later we were all waiting, still sitting in the bus, in a courtyard in the prison complex.

We may have sat waiting on the bus for an hour; my sense of time was beginning to get muddled. During the night and following day, as I tried to come to grips with what was happening, it occurred to me that the disorientation involved here was intentional, part of a process of intimidation designed to encourage passivity in hardened inmates, acceptance of being shouted at by Rikers guards and doing what they were told.

It also occurred to me that I was the only inmate with a watch, a factor that may have earned me a certain amount of friendly communication from the others. It didn’t really make any difference, of course, if it was 10:00 p.m. or 2:00 a.m.; but just knowing where everyone stood in the flow of time from my watch seemed to help. To be sure, there were a few clocks here or there for the benefit of the guards, and almost as a warning to the inmates; but some fellow inmates began to ask me for the time instead.

That being said, I have little memory of what went on between approximately 7:00 p.m. and 2:00 a.m. I do recall what happened when we got off the bus. Joe and I had our handcuffs removed. We were brought through a door into a space with cages, and told to stand behind a red line that was some three or four yards from the door. A red-faced man standing by the door shouted at me: “How many crimes you been charged with?” “One,” I said. “One?” he yelled back, looking at a list of my offenses on a paper in front of him. “There were a lot of counts,” I said. He looked at the list again and then he shouted, with a voice louder than any I’ve ever heard in my life, “Fuck that! You do this shit in here, I’ll take you out in the courtyard and shoot you! You hear? I’ll take you outside and shoot you!” At first I thought he must be joking, and gently laughed at him.

The man did not take kindly to this friendly gesture on my part. He became frantic and screamed, “I’ll shoot you. And get that smile off your fucking face, idiot!” I realized my body was shaking with fear. He ordered me to place my bag on the counter and sent me into a large cell on the left. Here there was no phone. I was in the company of only two people: Joe, and a thin man who lay exhausted on a bench.

Soon the red-faced man had me come out to fetch my bag, which he had searched. I told him I was requesting protective custody and he shouted furiously, “There’s none of that shit here! You’ll be treated just like anybody else!” When I told Joe I had asked for protective custody, he said “wrong man to ask.” Joe told me to ask the medical personnel when I saw them. By now I had figured out that we were going to be kept in these cages for some period of time and then taken somewhere else for a medical checkup before going “upstairs.”

The thin man on the bench seemed to know Joe, and told us that earlier he had been on the floor, and a cockroach had gotten into his ear and had to be removed in the infirmary. He asked about my case and when I told him he said, “fuck that shit, they give you six months for sending out a bunch of BS emails. I did something really bad and got ten days for it.” This was a reaction I was to hear from a good number of other inmates.

Joe and I were soon moved into another cell across from the red line, with many more inmates. We spent most of the time sitting on the dirty wooden benches or standing; as the night wore on, I stood more and more to try and keep the pressure off my back, shifting my weight from one foot to another as the pain began to set in.

After hours of waiting, we were moved to another, particularly filthy cell. Here it got even more crowded as the number of inmates kept increasing. My fear increased while the sitting and standing continued. At some point Joe switched places and took a spot that had opened up next to me on one of the hard wooden benches. We didn’t need to say anything. I appreciated it. More hours of surreal waiting went by. Towards midnight, a man came into the cell and approached me. He said, “You’re Golb?” I nodded. “I need to speak with you,” he said, emphasizing the word “speak” in a meaningful and polite manner. “Okay, should I bring my bag?” I said. “No,” he said in a very firm, polite manner. “Later in the morning.” 

Then he left. I asked who he was and someone said he was the “captain.”  Later I found out his name was N_____. Captain N_____. But I never saw him again. At least a dozen times during the night and even the next day too I reminded one guard or another that the “captain” wanted to speak with me, but the meaning of this mystery was never clarified.

Perhaps towards midnight, we were provided with a meal (or “chow”) of rice, beans, and chicken, and a cup of cool-aid. Then the process moved to another stage. Once we had all been numbed from fatigue and waiting, and indeed from a sense of imminent danger induced by the red-faced man screaming at one or another new arrival on the other side of the bars, around 2:00 in the morning my name was called. I was never to see Joe again.

I was taken into a room where I was forced to strip. One of the guards shouted, “Squat down.” I squatted. Then they made me put on a green jump suit. They gave me receipts for my clothes, my bag, and the $88 in cash I had on me, and I was told to keep all these receipts in my socks, which I was allowed to continue wearing along with my underwear and shoes. It was cold in the jump suit without a tee-shirt underneath. If I have to return to Rikers I will be sure to take along extra pairs of underwear and several white tee-shirts. These are the only items one is allowed to bring into jail, but apparently they tolerate a book and a watch too.

I was allowed to move my bowels in a toilet off the hallway that was open and visible to anyone passing along, and provided with a plastic cup for a urine sample. It was another one of those dirty metal toilets. The waiting now shifted from the cages to the medical check-up room. Here I sat again on a bench along the wall, with seven or eight other inmates. A few of them seemed curious about the Confessions, which I still had with me.

One of them, Marcus, had spent a year in a Florida penitentiary. He told me that St. Augustine, Florida, is the oldest town in the United States. He had taken a class on theology in college. The Confessions, he said, show how you can find faith, which is there in you if you just open yourself to it. With Marcus I also met Danny, a rock drummer who proudly showed us the tattoo on his shoulder that he shared with other members of his band. Danny had been sentenced to ten days in jail on a DUI charge. He was the only other inmate I met who had never been in jail before. He was also one of the three or four white inmates I would see at Rikers. Marcus and Danny both listened to details of my case with their jaws dropped.

At 3:00 a.m., my blood was drawn and a TB test administered. I was seen by a male nurse and a female medical assistant who asked me a series of questions about my health. I told both of them I was seeking protective custody. The medical assistant said it was a decision to be taken by the department of corrections, not by medical personnel. The nurse told me the head intake woman would make the decision. When I asked the head intake woman, she said I was supposed to have asked the judge and it was too late. At one point, some guard came in and told her Captain N_____ wanted to speak with me. She nodded at him. That was the last I ever heard of Captain N_____ wanting to speak with me. At this point I started to imagine, perhaps a bit hysterically, that I was being given a run-around, or that there had been some kind of collective decision to deny my request for protective custody.

Then I was sent back to one of the cages in my jump suit. Eventually we were taken down a long hall to another cage, where we were fed little boxes of rice crispies and milk. After two more hours of waiting, we were lined up and provided with a plastic drinking cup. I wondered whether we shouldn’t be provided with a toothbrush and toothpaste too. Later I was to learn that those items should have been inside the plastic cup, and since none had been provided to me, I would simply have to go without brushing my teeth, at least for the time being. When I asked how long it would be before I could get another toothbrush, I was told it could take up to a week. During my 40 hours of incarceration I was never able to brush my teeth.

Most of the inmates were given blankets, but there were none left for me or for Marcus who, like me, was one of the last in line. The others were also given an ID card and a “pin” number that gave you access to the phone and to the “commissary” or store where you could purchase ramen soup, granola bars, a plastic radio with headphones, and other things that might help you make it through six months. Somehow I never got the ID card or pin number, but was sent “upstairs” with everyone else. It was a quiet operation with a few orders barked here or there. It was 6:00 a.m. when we made it out of the cages.

“Upstairs” was a vast area that perhaps resembled a darkened homeless shelter, with what seemed around 200 cots distributed in rows and a glass booth near the entrance where a guard sat looking out over the prostrate inmates. We were told to pick any cot we wanted. Since I had no blanket, they gave me a few extra sheets. We were forbidden from removing our jump suits, although I would have kept mine on even if we had been allowed to remove them.

I lay shivering on a cot near the aisle in my floppy green suit, wondering if I had been granted bail and when I would be allowed to brush my teeth. I was exhausted, but fear, the images in my head, and snoring around the room kept me from falling asleep. By 8:00 a.m., daylight had lit the room, filtering through large barred windows and revealing, to my dismay, red and orange stains here and there on the sheets they had given me. Most of the inmates were still lying on the cots, but someone shouted out “commissary,” and a number of them lined up to go to the commissary. I got up too and tried and figure out what I had to do next.

A female guard at a window in a central booth watched over the entire room. I hesitantly moved towards the window, but at that point a inmate who noticed me quickly approached and explained that he was on suicide watch duty. It was his job to make sure none of the new arrivals were psychotic, and to make sure they all got what they needed. He explained that I could get two free calls on the phone with my pin number. I told him I never got a pin number. He said I would get one soon. He showed me the list of goods sold in the commissary, and explained that I would be able to go there too once my account (now worth $88) was activated. Most importantly, he gave me a blanket. I lay back down under the rough, gray-nylon warmth and fell asleep for around an hour.

When I awoke, the inmate in the cot next to mine was getting up. He was a white man with hair cropped close to his skull, looking clearly a hardened convict. He said, “You’re scared, uh? Never been to jail before? It’s okay, I’ll protect you.” He lay reading a copy of the Bible. I showed him the Confessions. Another inmate approached and told him that Bible-reading was a form of hypocrisy. “Because you say, if I read this I’m not gonna do what I do on the street anymore. But then you go back out there and do it again. So it’s better just not to do it instead of thinking you can read some Bible and stop. That’s just an excuse.” 

The white man defended Bible-reading. Maybe you could find something in that book that made you a better person. A bit later he confessed to me that he could barely understand a lot of what they were talking about in the Bible. I then heard myself saying it also had value as a literary work, since Dante and everyone else read it. He nodded a bit skeptically.

Another hour or so went by. Towards 9:00 a.m., I and all the other new arrivals (but as said I never saw Joe again, he had either been released or imprisoned somewhere else) were taken down a stairwell to a large, gym-sized space in which we were shown a film entitled “Orientation,” which most of them had already seen many times. Among other details presumably required by administrative regulations, the narrator of this film explained that we had the right to make a phone call to our lawyer during the intake process the process, that is, that I had been through the night before, during which time no phone had been available at all.

The film also emphasized that we should never accept anything from another inmate, and that if we felt threatened in any way we should speak to our “counselor.” I never saw any counselor during my day at Rikers. Maybe I will meet one in the future, if I have the privilege of returning there. Maybe Captain N_____ wanted to play this role. I wish I knew. After the film, several representatives of charitable organizations gave speeches, urging the inmates to take vocational training during their incarceration. We could get drug counseling. We could learn cooking skills that would allow us to seek employment in New York City restaurants. Then we were taken back up to the homeless shelter zone.

After another hour on the cot, I approached the guard at the window and explained that I had no pin number and no tooth brush. The guard (who was a woman) said she would look into it, and then called me back as I moved away from the window. “You don’t take nothing from any prisoner here,” she said. I quietly asserted that I would never take anything from anyone, and then she reiterated: “If anyone offers you anything, you don’t take it, got it?” During the day, I repeatedly asked for a toothbrush. Eventually she explained to me that since the toothbrushes were “downstairs,” and we were “upstairs,” I would have to do without one.

Around 11:00 a.m., another guard shouted out that it was “chow” time. A wave of excitation swept through the cots. Inmates sat up, puttered with their stuff, went towards the line-up area and milled around. Gradually a general groaning made itself felt. Time was going by again, and nothing was happening. We were taken downstairs for “chow” nearly two hours later. This is when I fully realized how the guards at Rikers use time as a form of cruelty, to disorient the inmates and awaken them to their lack of control over any aspect of their own destinies. This was like teasing a dog with a bone, except the teasing took place over hours and hours of time.

When we were taken downstairs, we were made to wait in double file along a red line, facing the wall, then forward, then the wall again, then forward again with the guards shouting at us, before going into the giant eating space. The food was vile no rice and beans anymore, but mushy pasta with some form of ground beef. This could probably keep a person alive, but I had difficulty stomaching it. Each of us sat in a spot we were sent to by the guards, in the order we came in. There was no sitting with any group of lunch-partners like in the movies. Then they took us back upstairs to the cots again.

I was cold, and for the second time I began hastily walking around the room between the cots. At one point a friendly-looking inmate who was sitting back on his cot chatting with two others called out to me, “Hey, do you want a tee-shirt?” He seemed to have a pile of tee-shirts, and I immediately thought he was passing them out, so I said “Sure, thanks.” He handed me the shirt and I took it in my hands, but then I realized he was pulling them out from under his pillow. I said, “is this your own personal tee-shirt?” “Yeah,” he answered. “I’m sorry,” I said, “you need this tee-shirt, I can’t take it from you.” He seemed disappointed. “I’m just trying to help you out,” he said, “you look cold.” A grin flashed on his face, and he added, “but that’s okay. I’m gonna freeze you out!” 

This was the one real moment of doubt I had about my interaction with another inmate at Rikers. Did I offend someone by refusing a friendly gift, or did I wisely follow instructions and avoid accepting an object for which I would eventually have been required to give something else in return, something I might not have? I told my hardened Bible-reading convict-neighbor about it, and he immediately replied, “He’s just trying to help you out, man. It’s just a tee-shirt. Cautious, huh.”

I did some more walking, and during one of my rounds I spotted Russ, the suicide-watch guy, sitting on someone else’s cot. He called me over and asked me if I had gotten my pin number yet. I said no, and this time something moved him to help me. “Well, you’re gonna make your call now,” he said. “I’m gonna let you make your call on my pin number.” He took me to the phone. I fished the piece of paper Joe had given me out of the book, and managed to read the scratched-in number in the dim light. Russ dialed the number and gave me the line. Immediately I was connected with Ron Kuby’s associate. “So they denied the bail?” I said. “No, Raphael, they granted the bail!” she began, and finally I learned that I would be going home.

Later I was to learn that while I had been waiting for the armored bus in the Tombs under the courthouse in Manhattan, the appeals court judge had issued an order staying Berkman’s judgment and releasing me on bail. The prosecutor had followed Kuby over to the Appellate Division, had opposed staying the judgment, and then had demanded bail in the amount of $500,000. The prosecutor argued that I should be forced to serve my sentence immediately because of my morally repugnant character, but the judge said the case involved issues of “first impression” (meaning they had never arisen before) and set bail at $25,000.

Kuby’s associate explained that my parents had cabled the money and she was about to fetch it at the bank and come up to Rikers. She didn’t know, however, how long it would take for the prison bureaucracy to become aware that I had to be released. Some of the other inmates quickly told me that it could take the entire weekend to get me out of there. This sobered me up a bit, and I lay back down under the blanket.

It seemed like I had just fallen asleep, when someone prodded my leg. I opened my eyes. A guard was standing looking down at me. “Pack your stuff,” he said. “You’re leaving.” This was 3:00 p.m. on Friday. I had nothing to “pack,” but leaped up. Marcus was sleeping under his sheets; I laid my blanket over him as he had asked me for it in case I left, and turned to follow the guard. He had vanished.

My exit from the system was to be handled with almost as much efficiency as my entry into it. Several inmates noticed my relief, and warned me that it could take days for them to actually get me out of there. One man who seemed old and wise came and sat on my cot with me. “This is what they do to you,” he said, “they mess with your head. You’ll be in here until the morning.” He asked me many details about my case and the Dead Sea Scrolls. “That shit is fucked,” he said. “You just got carried away with a bunch of BS on the internet, but I did something wrong; and you got six months for that shit.” 

I didn’t ask him details about what he had done, but he said that if he had just stayed on the F-train and gone home, nothing would have happened. One thing I noticed over and over again at Rikers was the necessity everyone felt to talk about their cases, often in veiled terms. I asked the old man what he would do when he got out of there. He said, “I’m going to stay home and raise my daughter. I’m going to watch her grow up.”

Another hour went by. Danny came over and shared some insights with me into the results of racial profiling we were seeing in this giant chamber. He told me about his rock band. He asked me if I could give him my copy of the Confessions when I left. I wrote my number in the back of it so he could return it when he got out, but I never heard from him again. Marcus was awake by now and I borrowed my blanket back from him as the time went by. Then “chow” was announced again, and again we waited. At 6:00 we were lined up and taken back downstairs; before we left I made sure Marcus had the blanket again. In the corridor downstairs, as we stood facing the wall and then straight forward, a woman shouted from somewhere, “there’s a discharge down here: Golb!”

I waved a quick goodbye to the line of inmates and headed off with the woman, who handed me over to a male guard. He took me back to the cages where I had spent the first night. Along the way, he stopped by the room where I had initially been made to squat and change into the jump suit, but he couldn’t spot the yellow bag with my clothes. So when we got to the cages I was still wearing the jump suit. “You know about this discharge here?” he said to the red-faced man at the door. “No, there’s no discharge,” the man shouted back. “We got nothing on him.” Then he shouted at me, “You been sentenced. You got no discharge.” I explained that the sentence had been stayed by the appellate court and that my attorney had posted bail that afternoon. “You got no discharge,” he screamed. “I’ll shoot you!” Then he pointed to the cage in the corner and shouted, “Go in there.”

The time was 6:15. Hours passed in that cage. There were around a dozen of us waiting to be discharged, while the red-faced man screamed abuse at new arrivals. The wait was hard not only because I was afraid they didn’t know I was discharged and would send me back upstairs, but because I no longer had anything to read. I regretted having left the book with Danny. Around 9:00 p.m., we were all fingerprinted again.

Then the nature of the problem began to clarify itself. Friday nights, we were told, the “box” area with the yellow bags is closed. Some of us had our clothes in that “box.”  I showed my receipt to one of the guards and he took out a fat wallet from his pocket and lifted it in front of my face. I said, “That’s not mine,” and backed away. He seemed extremely satisfied at this reaction. Eventually, they took me and a few other discharges back to the jump-suit room and forced us to select some old clothes from a huge plastic bag they had there. “It’s your choice,” they said. “If you wanna go home, you have to wear these clothes.” 

All I could come up with was a pair of old, sick-looking sweatpants, a gray tee-shirt and black zip-up sweater, all of it way too big for my 120-pound figure which was probably thinner now after 36 hours in that place. In these rags I looked like a homeless person. Since no account had been opened for me and my money was unavailable, I was going to have to go home in the F-train wearing that uniform. I would then have to return to Rikers on Monday to retrieve my regular clothes, including my gray scarf and my suede jacket.

When they brought me back to the cage, a wave of snickering mirth went through the other discharges. “You take that stuff off and throw it out before you cross the door into your apartment,” one of them said. Another hour went by, and then around 11:00 a guard looked in at me. He said, “Where do you live?” “In the Village,” I answered. “You know you can go down to the Tombs to get your money next week,” he said. “But I have to come back here for my clothes,” I said. “Let me finish!” he shouted. “I’m going to get your clothes for you!” 

This was quite a relief, but then the waiting began again. The ones who had their own clothes on were frustrated, because the delay seemed to be due to those of us without clothes. But they recognized that we needed our clothes, and bore it patiently. Towards midnight, I and three other discharges were again taken to the jump-suit room and given our clothes. When I reappeared in the cage, faces lit up. “That’s different,” someone said. He approvingly touched the suede on my jacket.

I was released from Rikers at 1:00 a.m. Saturday morning, ten hours after the guard prodded my leg and told me I was leaving. After waiting another hour for a bus that took me to Queens Plaza, I took the F-train home and called my parents. Then I fell asleep. I woke up the next morning at 10:00 and sent an email to Ashly. I fell asleep again and woke up at 3:00 p.m. Ashly had left two messages on my machine. When I emailed her she was already on the way to Rikers. When she made it there, they told her I had been released. I later learned that another friend of mine had also tried to visit me. They told her I was still in “holding” and refused to allow her to see me.

The next day I slept for a long time again. When I awoke, I put some of my stuff together and started waiting for the appeal.

                                                                                                                                    Raphael Golb*

 

* The author was arrested in March, 2009, and prosecuted the following year for allegedly criminal conduct in connection with his anonymous campaign of blogs and emails concerning the Dead Sea Scrolls controversy. After seven delays requested by prosecutors, the trial verdict is still awaiting appellate review on First Amendment grounds. If Raphael Golb’s conviction and sentence are upheld, he will be spending six months at Rikers Island. For documentation concerning his appeal, see: http://raphaelgolbtrial.wordpress.com/.