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Carter in 2011
|Born|| May 6, 1937 |
Clifton, New Jersey
|Wins by KO||19|
Carter in 2011
|Born|| May 6, 1937 |
Clifton, New Jersey
|Wins by KO||19|
Rubin "Hurricane" Carter (born May 6, 1937) fought professionally as a middleweight boxer from 1961 to 1966. In 1966, he was arrested for a triple homicide in the Lafayette Bar and Grill in Paterson, New Jersey. He and another man, John Artis, were tried and convicted twice (1967 and 1976) for the murders, but after the second conviction was overturned in 1985, prosecutors chose not to try the case for a third time. From 1993 to 2005 Carter served as executive director of the Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted.
Carter grew up in Paterson, New Jersey, the fourth of seven children. He acquired a criminal record and was sentenced to a juvenile reformatory for assault and robbery shortly after his 14th birthday. Carter escaped from the reformatory in 1954 and joined the Army. A few months after completing infantry basic training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, he was sent to West Germany. He began going to classes — including a Dale Carnegie class, which helped him to conquer his stuttering problem. He adopted Islam and changed his name for a while. In May 1956, he received an "Undesirable" discharge, having served 21 months of his three-year term of enlistment.
Carter was discharged from the Army on May 29, 1956, and was arrested less than a month later for his escape from the Jamesburg Home for Boys. After his return to New Jersey, Carter was picked up by authorities and sentenced to an additional 9 months for escaping from the reformatory, he was sent to Annandale prison for five months. Shortly after being released, Carter committed a series of muggings, including assault and robbery of a middle-aged black woman. He pleaded guilty to the charges and was imprisoned in East Jersey State Prison in Avenel, New Jersey, a maximum-security facility, where he would remain for the next four years. and spent time in the Rahway and Trenton state prisons until his release in September 1961.
Upon his release from prison in September 1961, Carter became a professional boxer . At 5 ft 8 in (1.7 m), Carter was shorter than the average middleweight, but he fought all of his professional career at 155–160 lb (70–72.6 kg). His aggressive style and punching power (resulting in many early-round knockouts) drew attention, establishing him as a crowd favorite and earning him the nickname "Hurricane." After he had beaten a number of middleweight contenders such as Florentuno Fernandez, Holley Mims, Gomeo Brennan, and George Benton, the boxing world took notice. The Ring first listed him as one of its "Top 10" middleweight contenders in July 1963.
He fought six times in 1963, winning four bouts and losing two. He remained ranked in the lower part of the top 10 until December 20, when he surprised the boxing world by flooring past and future world champion Emile Griffith twice in the first round and scoring a technical knockout.
That win resulted in The Ring's ranking Carter as the #3 contender for Joey Giardello's world middleweight title. Carter won two more fights (one a decision over future heavyweight champion Jimmy Ellis) in 1964, before meeting Giardello in Philadelphia for a 15-round championship match on December 14. Carter fought well in the early rounds, landing a few solid rights to the head and staggering Giardello in the fourth, but failed to follow them up and Giardello took control of the fight in the fifth round. The judges awarded Giardello a unanimous decision. Carter felt in retrospect that he lost by not bringing the fight to the champion. 
After that fight, Carter's standing as a contender — as reflected by his ranking in The Ring — began to decline. He fought nine times in 1965, but lost three of four fights against top contenders (Luis Manuel Rodríguez, Dick Tiger, and Harry Scott). Tiger, in particular, had no problem with Carter, flooring him three times in their match. "It was", Carter said, "the worst beating that I took in my life — inside or outside the ring." During his visit to London (to fight Scott) Carter was involved in an incident in which a shot was fired in his hotel room.
Carter's career record in boxing was 27 wins, 12 losses and one draw in 40 fights, with 19 total knockouts (8 KOs and 11 TKOs).
On June 17, 1966, at approximately 2:30 a.m., two males entered the Lafayette Bar and Grill in Paterson, New Jersey, and started shooting. The bartender, James Oliver, and a male customer, Fred Nauyoks, were killed instantly. A severely wounded female customer, Hazel Tanis, died almost a month later, having been shot in the throat, stomach, intestine, spleen and left lung, and having her arm shattered by shotgun pellets. A third customer, Willie Marins, survived the attack, despite a gunshot wound to the head that cost him the sight in one eye. Both Marins and Tanis told police that the shooters had been black males after being interrogated, although neither identified Carter or John Artis, both of whom were subsequently arrested, charged, tried, and convicted.
Petty criminal Alfred Bello, who had been near the Lafayette to commit a burglary of a factory that night, was an eyewitness. Bello later testified that he was approaching the Lafayette when two black males - one carrying a shotgun, the other a pistol - came around the corner walking towards him. He ran from them, and they got into a white car that was double-parked near the Lafayette. Bello was one of the first people on the scene of the shootings, as was Patricia Graham (later Patricia Valentine), a resident on the second floor (above the Lafayette Bar and Grill). Graham told the police that she saw two black males get into a white car and drive westbound. Another neighbor, Ronald Ruggiero, also heard the shots and said that when he looked from his window he saw Alfred Bello running west on Lafayette Street toward 16th Street. He then heard the screech of tires and saw a white car shoot past, heading west, with two black males in the front seat.Both Bello and Valentine provided a description of the car to the police, which changed at the second court case: Valentine claimed that the lights lit up like butterflies, which Carter's car did not have; only the two end lights lit up.
Carter's car matched this description, and police stopped it and brought Carter and another occupant, John Artis, to the scene about 31 minutes after the incident. There was little physical evidence; police took no fingerprints at the crime scene, and lacked the facilities to conduct a paraffin test on Carter and Artis. None of the eyewitnesses identified Carter or Artis as the shooters. Carter, in fact, was brought to the hospital the evening of the shooting at approximately 4a.m., and victim Willie Marins identified Carter as not one of the shooters.  On searching the car about 45 minutes later, Detective Emil DiRobbio found a live .32 caliber pistol round under the front passenger seat and a 12-gauge shotgun shell in the trunk. Ballistics later established that the murder weapons had been a .32 caliber pistol and a 12-gauge shotgun. The defense would later raise questions about this evidence, as it was not logged with a property clerk until five days after the murders.
Carter and Artis were taken to police headquarters and questioned. They were released later that day.
Several months later, Bello disclosed to the police that he had an accomplice during the attempted burglary, one Arthur Dexter Bradley. On further questioning, Bello and Bradley both identified Carter as one of the two males they had seen carrying weapons outside the bar the night of the murders; Bello also identified Artis as the other. Based on this additional evidence, Carter and Artis were arrested and indicted.
At the 1967 trial, Carter was represented by well-known attorney Raymond A. Brown. Brown's focus, eventually unsuccessful, was on inconsistencies in some of the descriptions given by eyewitnesses Marins and Bello. The defense also produced a number of alibi witnesses who testified that Carter and Artis had been in the Nite Spot (another nearby bar) at about the time of the shootings. However, prosecutors were able to impeach the testimony given by these witnesses. Both men were convicted. Although prosecutors had sought the death penalty, jurors recommended that each defendant receive a life sentence for each murder. Judge Samuel Larner imposed two consecutive and one concurrent life sentence on Carter, and three concurrent life sentences on Artis.
In 1974, Bello and Bradley recanted their identifications of Carter and Artis, and these recantations were used as the basis for a motion for a new trial. Judge Samuel Larner denied the motion, saying that the recantations "lacked the ring of truth."
Despite Larner's ruling, Madison Avenue advertising guru George Lois organized a campaign on Carter's behalf, which led to increasing public support for a retrial or pardon. Muhammad Ali lent his support to the campaign, and Bob Dylan co-wrote (with Jacques Levy) and performed a song called "Hurricane" (1975), which declared that Carter was innocent. In 1975 Dylan performed the song at a concert at Trenton State Prison, where Carter was temporarily an inmate.
However, during the hearing on the recantations, defense attorneys also argued that Bello and Bradley had lied during the 1967 trial, telling the jurors that they had made only certain narrow, limited deals with prosecutors, in exchange for their trial testimony. A detective had taped one interrogation of Bello in 1966, and when it was played during the recantation hearing, defense attorneys argued that the tape revealed promises beyond what Bello had testified to. If so, prosecutors had either had a Brady obligation to disclose this additional exculpatory evidence, or a duty to disclose the fact that their witnesses had lied on the stand.
Larner denied this second argument as well, but the New Jersey Supreme Court unanimously held that the evidence of various deals made between the prosecution and witnesses Bello and Bradley should have been disclosed to the defense before or during the 1967 trial as this could have "affected the jury's evaluation of the credibility" of the eyewitnesses. "The defendants' right to a fair trial was substantially prejudiced", said Justice Mark Sullivan. The original convictions were set aside and Carter and Artis were granted a new trial.
Despite the difficulties of prosecuting a ten-year-old case, Prosecutor Burrell Ives Humphreys decided to try Carter and Artis again. To ensure, as best he could, that he would not use perjured testimony to obtain a conviction, Humphreys had Bello polygraphed, once by Leonard H. Harrelson and a second time by Richard Arther, both of whom were well-known and highly-respected experts in the field. Both men concluded that Bello was telling the truth when he said that he had seen Carter, outside the Lafayette immediately after the murders.
However, Harrelson also reported orally that Bello had been inside the bar shortly before and at the time of the shooting, a conclusion that contradicted Bello's 1967 trial testimony. Despite this oral report, Harrelson's subsequent written report stated that Bello's 1967 testimony had been truthful, the polygraphist apparently unaware that in 1967 Bello testified that he had been on the street at the time of the shooting.
During the new trial, witness Alfred Bello repeated his 1967 testimony, identifying Carter and Artis as the two armed men he had seen outside the Lafayette Grill. Bradley refused to cooperate with prosecutors, and neither prosecution nor defense called him as a witness.
The defense responded with testimony from multiple witnesses identifying Carter at the locations he claimed to be at the morning the murders happened.
Defense witness Fred Hogan – whose efforts had led to the discredited recantations of Bello and Bradley – dealt the defense yet another blow. Although Hogan denied ever offering any bribes or inducements to Bello, Judge Bruno Leopizzi forced him to produce his original handwritten notes on his conversations with Bello.
After deliberating for almost nine hours, the jury again found Carter and Artis guilty of the murders. Judge Leopizzi re-imposed the same sentences on both men – a double life sentence for Carter, a single life sentence for Artis.
Carter's attorneys continued to appeal. In 1982, the Supreme Court of New Jersey affirmed his convictions (4–3). While the justices felt that the prosecutors should have disclosed Harrelson's oral opinion (about Bello's location at the time of the murders) to the defense, only a minority thought this was material. The majority thus concluded there had been no violation of Brady.
Three years later, Carter's attorneys filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in federal court. In 1985, Judge Haddon Lee Sarokin of the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey granted the writ, noting that the prosecution had been "predicated upon an appeal to racism rather than reason, and concealment rather than disclosure," and set aside the convictions.
Carter, 48 years old, was freed without bail in November 1985.
Prosecutors appealed Sarokin's ruling to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals and filed a motion with the court to return Carter to prison pending the outcome of the appeal. The court denied this motion and eventually upheld Sarokin's opinion, affirming his Brady analysis without commenting on his other rationale.
Prosecutors could have tried Carter (and Artis) a third time, but decided not to, and filed a motion to dismiss the original indictments. "It is just not legally feasible to sustain a prosecution, and not practical after almost 22 years to be trying anyone", said New Jersey Attorney General W. Cary Edwards. Acting Passaic County Prosecutor John P. Goceljak said several factors made a retrial impossible, including Bello's "current unreliability" as a witness and the unavailability of other witnesses. Goceljak also doubted whether the prosecution could reintroduce the racially motivated crime theory due to the federal court rulings. A judge granted the motion to dismiss, bringing an end to the legal proceedings.
Carter now lives in Toronto, Ontario, and was executive director of the Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted (AIDWYC) from 1993 until 2005. Carter resigned when the AIDWYC declined to support Carter's protest of the appointment (to a judgeship) of the prosecutor of Canadian Guy Paul Morin, who had to serve ten years in prison after a wrongful conviction for rape and murder.
In 1996 Carter, then 59, was arrested when Toronto police mistakenly identified him as a suspect in his thirties believed to have sold drugs to an undercover officer. He was released after the police realized their error.
Carter often serves as a motivational speaker. On October 14, 2005, he received two honorary Doctorates of Law, one from York University (Toronto, Ontario, Canada) and one from Griffith University (Brisbane, Queensland, Australia), in recognition of his work with AIDWYC and the Innocence Project. Carter received the Abolition Award from Death Penalty Focus in 1996.
Carter's story inspired:
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