With the death of Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, we have lost a great fighter in the ring and a powerful advocate for the wrongfully convicted. In many ways, he helped open the eyes of many to the injustices of a system that far too often throws innocent people behind bars.
Carter knew firsthand about the plight of the wrongly accused because he had spent 19 years behind bars for crimes he did not commit. He and co-defendant John Artis were charged with a triple murder at the Lafayette Grill in Paterson, New Jersey in 1966. There was little physical evidence in the case, and the so-called eyewitnesses who testified against them were two convicted felons. And Carter and Artis maintained their innocence and passed a lie detector test. However, an all-white jury found them guilty. Carter was sentenced to three life sentences.