Term Paper: Rubin "Hurricane" Carter

Pages: 4 (1436 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1+  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Criminal Justice  ·  Buy This Paper


[. . .] The well-publicized case of Rodney King is perhaps one of the most familiar examples, as were allegations of police racism during the O.J. Simpson trial. Racial profiling by police departments has received a large amount of criticism in recent years, and a disproportionate amount of black males are incarcerated in United States prisons. However, it is difficult to determine to what extent racism plays a role in wrongful convictions. Further, it is difficult to determine if racism has increased or decreased since the conviction and retrial of Ruben Carter.

In large part, Ruben Carter's eventual release rested on his use of the right of habeas corpus. Habeas corpus is enacted in order to release a person from unlawful imprisonment, and is a judicial mandate to a prison official that orders an inmate to be brought in front of a judge to determine if he or she was unlawfully imprisoned. Carole Bos notes that the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 effectively removes this right from potentially wrongfully convicted Americans. As such, prisoners who are wrongfully convicted today no longer have the right to be brought before a judge to determine if they have been unlawfully imprisoned. Given this, Ruben Carter would not have been released from prison if he attempted to file for habeas corpus today.

While the movie Hurricane and other media usually portray Rubin Carter's case as a case of wrongful conviction, this is not a universal consensus in the media. A website by The Graphic Witness Inc. provides a detailed description of the faults in the movie Hurricane, and in other media, that point to Carter as an innocent man. The site argues that Carter was set free because of procedural errors, and has never been found not guilty in a court of law. The site contains a number of pointed accusations, including that "Carter was clearly a psychopath and a pathological liar," and that "the lone surviving victim of the 1966 Lafayette Grill shootings" told close friend that Carter was the gunman (The Graphic Witness Inc.). Carter's lawyer argues that Carter passed the lie detector test administered by police after the murder (Bos). However, The Graphic Witness Inc. says that "the man who gave Carter the test in 1966" states that Carter failed the test.

In conclusion, despite the attention that Carter's wrongful conviction case has garnered, wrongful convictions in the U.S. appear to be on the rise. Since Carter's conviction, accused and convicted criminals have been hurt by a number of changes to the law, including and erosion of legal principles that protect the innocent. The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 damaged prisoner's access to the right of habeas corpus, while racism continues to be a potential problem in cases of wrongful imprisonment. In contrast, the advent of DNA technology has helped to release a number of wrongfully convicted individuals, and may prevent others from being wrongfully convicted. Ultimately, Rubin Carter's case has brought a great deal of public attention to the plight of wrongfully accused and convicted criminals today, but that impact has been largely negated by rises in wrongful convictions.

Works Cited

Bos, Carole. RUBIN "HURRICANE" CARTER. Law Buzz. 23 March 2004. http://manhat1.spfldcol.edu/manhat2-bin/link_visit?crs=0340/ENGL11422&id=byihmhzoBDvJsR&loc=584&url= http://www.lawbuzz.com/justice/hurricane/hurricane.htm

Citizens United for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (CUADP). 22 March 2004. http://manhat1.spfldcol.edu/manhat2-bin/link_visit?crs=0340/ENGL11422&id=byihmhzoBDvJsR&loc=6132&url= http://www.cuadp.org/pris/pot.html

Hurricane. 2000. Starring: Denzel Washington, Vicellous Reon Shannon, and Deborah Kara Unger. Director Norman Jewison.

Roberts, Paul Craig. From Blackstone to Bentham: Why Wrongful Conviction Is On The Rise. 22 March 2004. http://manhat1.spfldcol.edu/manhat2-bin/link_visit?crs=0340/ENGL11422&id=byihmhzoBDvJsR&loc=6424&url= http://www.lewrockwell.com/roberts/roberts4.html

The Graphic Witness Inc. Rubin "Hurricane" Carter: The Other Side of the Story. FAX: PO BOX [HIDDEN], FORT LAUDERDALE, FL 33335-1582

22 March 2004. http://graphicwitness.com/carter/

US Government. Advancing Justice Through DNA Technology. March 2003. 22 March 2004. http://manhat1.spfldcol.edu/manhat2-bin/link_visit?crs=0340/ENGL11422&id=byihmhzoBDvJsR&loc=11972&url= http://www.usdoj.gov/ag/dnapolicybook_cov.htm

Wikipedia. Ruben Carter. 22 March 2004. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rubin_Carter [END OF PREVIEW]

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