Criminal Justice

Rubin 'Hurricane' Carter, Wrongfully Convicted of Murder, Dies at 76


in 2011
Michael Borkson/flickr

The boxer Rubin Carter died this weekend at age 76. Carter was convicted twice of a 1966 murder in Paterson, New Jersey, before the second conviction was overturned in 1985 by a district judge, That judge, Haddon Sarokin, found that the prosecution appealed to racial prejudice and bias in their attempt to get the jury to a guilty decision, something he wrote "should never be permitted to sway a jury or provide the basis of a conviction." Sarokin further found that:

The prosecution has resources unavailable to the average criminal defendant. Therefore, it is imperative that information which is essential to the defense in the hands of the prosecution be made available to the accused. If trials are indeed searches for the truth rather than efforts to conceal it, full and fair disclosure is necessary to protect and preserve the rights of the accused against the awesome power of the accusor.

Although extended appeals in criminal matters have been widely criticized, the need for review is amply demonstrated by this matter. There is a substantial danger that our society, concerned about the growth of crime, will retreat from the safeguards and rights accorded to the accused by the constitution. The need to combat crime should never be utilized to justify an erosion of our fundamental guarantees. Indeed, the growing volume of criminal cases should make us even more vigilant; the greater the quantity — the greater the risk to the quality of justice.

These are important lessons for the criminal justice system, whether or not Carter actually committed the crime he was accused of. The State must follow the rules even when (or especially when) it is convinced of the rightness and truth of its arguments. Whether someone actually committed a crime, then, can't diminish the rights and privileges of the accused—a fair criminal justice system is no place for emotions to rule, no matter what the media tells you.

After his release, Carter spent 12 years, from 1993 to 2005, as executive director of the Canadian non-profit the Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted. Carter's story was the basis of a 1999 movie, The Hurricane, and a song, "Hurricane," by one Bob Dylan. Here's an Ani DiFranco cover:

Related reading: Why criminal justice reform may prevail this year, with help from conservatives

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  1. Thomas Sargent continues being awesome.

    Other people have more information about their abilities, their efforts, and their preferences than you do.

    Everyone responds to incentives, including people you want to help. That is why social safety nets don’t always end up working as intended.

    In an equilibrium of a game or an economy, people are satisfied with their choices. That is why it is difficult for well-meaning outsiders to change things for better or worse.

    It is feasible for one generation to shift costs to subsequent ones. That is what national government debts and the U.S. social security system do (but not the social security system of Singapore).

    When a government spends, its citizens eventually pay, either today or tomorrow, either through explicit taxes or implicit ones like inflation.

    1. Who is this guy and why haven’t I heard of him?

      How has he not been labled racist/sexist/baby rapist or something yet?

      1. He won the Nobel prize in economics a few years ago. He’s also the economist who said that the math for the Obama stimulus looked like it was written in half an hour on the back of a napkin.

        1. There is probably a good reason it looked that way.

          Obumbles and the political class spend and do as they please. Presenting budgets and plans is just a formality that means nothing to them. They know they will not follow any of it anyway.

        2. Incidentally he also happens to be the author of my textbook from Macroeconomics. Just an interesting little factoid.

  2. New York Times progsplains to Sherpas that their livelihood is unreasonable.

    The math simply doesn’t work out in the Sherpas’ favor. For bearing such risk, a typical climbing Sherpa can expect to bring home approximately $3,000 to $6,000 at the end of the season ? perhaps more, if their English skills are good or they climb with a big-tipping client, according to an article last year in Outside magazine by the journalist Grayson Schaffer. If it’s an unlucky season, they or their families can fall back on government-mandated accident and life insurance policies. The payout was recently raised from $4,600 to $11,000, Mr. Schaffer reported.

    Clearly if it weren’t for this job, those Sherpas would all be investment bankers. Why are they too stupid to realize they don’t need that money?

    1. Forgive me, but I didn’t see any math in that paragraph, only numbers.

      1. You missed the “I know better than a sherpa how they should live = I’m a fucking douchebag” equation? It’s right there in front of you.

    2. I really like the word “progsplains”.

    3. Listen, Freddie Wilkinson, “professional climber and guide” has no economic interest in seeing the Sherpas stop pursuing their traditional livelihood, that just happens to be his livelihood as well, and is only interested in protecting them from exploitation.

    4. I still don’t know what the fuck a sherpa is.

      I do know that climbing mountains for a living sounds like a pretty easy job.

      1. I do know that climbing mountains for a living sounds like a pretty easy job.

        This is a joke, right?

        1. Actually, no. I’ve done some shit work in my life. Most of it dangerous, some of it happened to be fun and dangerous.

          For a person that likes climbing mountains, getting paid to do so would be fucking awesome.

          1. To elaborate a bit, racing cars is a dangerous profession. There are a lot of people that spend a lot of money to race with no payment.

            Add in getting paid (no matter what the pay is) and all of a sudden it feels like you won the lottery.

      2. I think you’ve confused “easy” with “enjoyable”.

        And with Sherpas, it might not even be particularly enjoyable. Just something they have to do to survive.

        I still don’t know what the fuck a sherpa is.

    5. You obviously don’t get it. The Sherpas aren’t paid enough because teh corporations and teh rich. The solution of course is for government to fix it because teh corporations and teh rich. Because teh corporations and teh rich. See?

      1. Man, I spent some time with a friend this weekend who stated (not sarcastically) that Corporashunz are the problem because teh rich.

        Thankfully, he was smart enough to be able to see that it’s only when a corporation colludes with government that it becomes an issue.

        1. Was he smart enough to see that more government is not the solution?

          I’ve found that when I am able to get a progressive to admit that corporate/government collusion is the problem, the usual reaction is that it is something to be fixed by more, not less, government. And if giving more power to the government that is controlled by the corporations doesn’t enable Teh People to control the corporations that control the government, then obviously government needs more power. And so on and so forth.

          1. I’m unsure, honestly. Part of me thinks he believes that people are inherently evil, but part of me thinks that he understands that people just respond to incentives, no matter how perverse those incentives are.

            1. Funny how people who believe everyone is inherently evil feel that government, the organization of people who do violence without consequence, is the source of all that is good in the world.

              1. “If the natural tendencies of mankind are so bad that it is not safe to permit people to be free, how is it that the tendencies of these organizers are always good? Do not the legislators and their appointed agents also belong to the human race? Or do they believe that they themselves are made of a finer clay than the rest of mankind?”


  3. The math simply doesn’t work out in the Sherpas’ favor.

    Substitute “barista” for “Sherpa”.

  4. Vox ‘explains’ the news.

    Matthew Yglesias: The case for really high taxation.

    But would that be so bad? Imagine the very best hedge fund managers and law firm partners became inclined to quit the field a bit sooner and devote their time to hobbies. What would we lose, as a society? Fancy lawyers overwhelmingly compete against each other in a zero-sum game.

    Dear Progressives, repeat after me:

    In a market, there is no such thing as a zero sum game.

    1. Goddamnit, Irish, every time you post this bumbling idiot’s rambling thoughts it pisses me off how so many people can be so ignorant of pretty much everything.

    2. SadBeard is the most striking combination of person who is practically functionally retarded with person who thinks they’re really smart I think I’ve ever seen. I mean, there are a lot of people who do this, but SadBeard is so fucking mindbendingly stupid that it makes it more shocking. I can’t even see how he’s still alive, he’s so fucking stupid. And he hasn’t the tiniest bit of awareness of how retarded he is.

      It’s kind of impressive in its way.

    3. Here’s the problem. It requires thought to understand that those evil rich businesses who exploit the workers actually create wealth. It is much easier to emote and feel that there’s a fixed amount of wealth out there, and the evil businesses are stealing from the poor workers. Thought is hard. Emoting is easy. And it is human nature to take the easy route. Ironically, these are the people who claim to have transcended human nature.

    4. Uh, the goal of lawyers in transactional situations is actually to create value for their clients. Only if you thought movies were real life would you think law is litigation and nothing else.

      Years ago, I used to hear MattY was a really smart guy, but then I read his stuff and he seemed to be operating somewhere around a 9th grade understanding of the world. Lately, I haven’t had anyone ever say he’s a really smart guy. I think even his prog defenders got sick of carrying water for this mentally challenged individual.

      1. And in the case of litigation the goal of an attorney is to win money for his client or stop his client from having to pay.

        As a result, driving talented lawyers out of the business would decrease the quality of representation available to the public.

        I know most people hate lawyers, but the idea that a good lawyer doesn’t provide value to clients is frankly absurd.

        1. A month ago or so someone in The New Republic seriously advocated we go to single-payer legal defense since it isn’t fair that the rich can buy high-priced attorneys while poor people get public defenders.

          Blatantly obvious drawbacks to that be damned, it just FELT right.

    5. Wow. That is a stunningly ignorant thing to say. Is Matty 13 years old?

      The only thing really high taxation would change is that the evil banksters would end up keeping much more of the money they make and tax revenue would plummet, but then maybe he does know that.

      1. Intentions trump incentives.

      2. MattY shows us that tobacco taxes discourage tobacco. He then concludes that wealth taxes with discourage wealth.

        He is correct, but has not considered the secondary effects, as is prog habit.

        1. Actually it will discourage disclosure. Wealth will continue as always.

          The people who write the tax codes are themselves wealthy. Raising taxes is just for show. They create loopholes for themselves and their supporters.

    6. The case for confiscatory taxes?

      I mean, did he really just put together an article calling for the outright theft of people’s money?

      I really hope SadBeard has no pull on the influence curve because this is ignorant beyond hope if not plain, flat out retarded.

    7. Point of Fact: (most) Option contracts are in fact zero-sum games.

      A business may choose to risk losing money based upon some other business need or goal, but that doesn’t change the nature of the game they are playing.

      For the unsophisticated trading options is a fools errand. Hell in the most cases trading options for the sophisticated is a fools errand. The reason you pay hedgefund manager’s an epic shitton is exactly because they are zero-sum games. You pay for precognition.

  5. Imagine the very best hedge fund managers and law firm partners became inclined to quit the field a bit sooner and devote their time to hobbies. What would we lose, as a society?

    This made me woozy.

    It’s not like he’s any good at what he “does” but it’s a goddam shame Yglesias doesn’t take up a hobby, like base jumping with an umbrella.

    1. Creating homemade fireworks by candlelight?

  6. Sadbeard has nothing on this guy:

    I said: Laws and taxes are not voluntary. They are not voluntary because they are backed up with force. That’s why we say laws get enforced. If you use the threat of force to get someone to sign a contract, that contract is not valid because it was signed under duress. Do you really not understand the difference between voluntary and involuntary?

    Not obeying a law is a choice and therfore voluntary. ….you might get away with it, you might have to suffer the consequences. Pretty simple logic.

    I reply: No. Just because you have a choice does not make it voluntary. When a mugger points a gun at you and says “your money or your life” you may choose to obey, but it was not voluntary. Do you see the difference?

    He says:

    You could also turn and run. Any choice we make is voluntary.

    I then forward the wiki article for the legal concept of duress.

    1. I guess it wasn’t really murder when pirates forced people to walk the plank.

      They had a choice not to walk it!

  7. Our favorite commy Red Jesse defends himself on MSLSD:

    1. Intellectually he is on about the same level as Yglesias and should be regarded with the same seriousness.

  8. Some derp for our resident Derptologist to examine:

    Ray K. (Thomas_Pain)
    990 Fans
    Looks to me like we’re headed ninety miles an hour down a dead end street . . . toward a brick wall of Totalitarian Capitalism.

    Which will be the mirror image of Totalitarian Communism.

    Totalitarian Capitalism would be a great band name.

    1. My analysis is that that person does not know the meaning of any of those 3 words, though he may have a dim understanding of simple, concrete concepts like “brick”.

  9. Social Justice!

    How has an earnest 64-year-old Harvard professor with a specialty in bankruptcy law emerged as a progressive hero and presidential prospect?

    For one thing, listen to what Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren says when asked if some bankers should have gone to jail in the aftermath of the financial crisis of 2008. “You always want to be careful about this as a lawyer,” she begins in an interview with USA TODAY, sounding every bit a senator. Then she stops herself. “Actually, no, let me start that one over. Yes!”

    Evil bankers. That’s who crashed the system.

    Always lending money to people who can’t repay, just to watch them suffer.

    1. So many proggies, who are closet commies, want Warren in the White House so bad they cum in their pants at the mention of her name.

      What worries me is that many Rs may just be stupid enough to let that happen, and many others would collude to facilitate it.

  10. What did Red Jesse say on Friday? Did he do a Lionel Hutz on famines under communist regimes?

    1. Not Friday, but he has before.

  11. Looks to me like we’re headed ninety miles an hour down a dead end street . . . toward a brick wall of Totalitarian Capitalism.

    This will only be possible in a Libertarian Dictatorship.

    1. Hm. I thought it was only possible under authoritarian-communist libertarianism.

  12. Wow! Thom Hartmann and Red Jesse on the same video! Let’s listen to what the real story about communism:

    1. It’s really amazing how progs believe in the awesome intellectual prowess of straw man arguments, insults, and tu quoqe fallacies.

    2. Wasn’t RT supposed to be the most libertarian tv station on the planet?

    3. I wonder how much Myerson’s wardrobe of dorky sweaters and button downs cost.

      I think there’s a starving child in Somalia who needs that money more than Myerson. If we only allowed him to own one shitty sweater, a Somalian orphan might not die.

      This is why I am advocating the “Red Jesse Should Only Have One Sweater” bill.

  13. She [Warren] proposed creation of an agency devoted to protecting consumers from predatory practices and corporate deceit – the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Much of the book chronicles the uphill battle against political opposition and an army of well-paid lobbyists to create the bureau and get it running, although in the end, she had become such a lightning rod that Obama, to her dismay, decided against appointing her to head it.

    Predatory lending!

    Corporate deceit!

    Those poor, ignorant, deluded proles, making choices deemed suboptimal by the All Knowing Senator Warren. And those damned ingrates in the Senate who cannot comprehend her all-encompassing wisdom.

    Such tragic injustice makes one weep.

  14. This guy is easily the biggest commy dirtbag on YouTube:

    1. Yeah. Two minutes was all I could devote to it.

  15. Sam Seder AND Red Jesse together? Warning! Critical Derp imminent!

    1. Wow.

      “The problem with stimulus is that the firms that get it tend to hire the most qualified people.”

      No fucking way! You mean firms don’t hire 22 year old potheads with no experience, no education, and no work ethic? Clearly this is a market failure.

    2. Oh, THAT brain dead “Marxist.” I caught him on the Independents this week claiming “millions” of children went to bed hungry in NYC every night. Matt Welch called him out on the obvious BS, there’s only 7 million people in NYC total. You know who did literally starve millions of people though?

  16. Stop linking this stufff….please….I can’t take no more. I yield. I yield.

  17. God riddance to the wrongly convicted murderer Rubin Carter. Burn in Hell, motherfucker!

    1. “Good riddance”

      1. Congrats. You’re the first to comment on the subject of the article.

        Only took 60 or so posts but we got one!

    2. So wait – getting convicted by a kangaroo court is good enough?

      Last time I checked, the prosecution has to *prove* their case. If they truly had enough evidence to convict a overturn on appeal wouldn’t prevent them from retrying (properly this time) and getting a legitimate conviction.

  18. These are important lessons for the criminal justice system, whether or not Carter actually committed the crime he was accused of.

    It was necessary to release him to preserve the integrity of our criminal justice system.

  19. Another fine actor cut down in his prime.

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