Editor’s Note: In April 24’s story, ” ‘Hurricane’ to Hit Isla Vista,” the event’s date was incorrectly stated as April 24 at 7:30 p.m. The event will be on April 26 and begin at 4 p.m. in Isla Vista Theater.The Daily Nexus regrets this error.
Tonight is UCSB’s chance to meet a former prizefighter turned fighter for social justices
Former boxer Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, who spent 22 years in prison for murder before his eventual exoneration, will introduce a screening of the movie loosely based on his life, “The Hurricane.” The movie stars Denzel Washington and will begin at 7:30 tonight in Isla Vista Theater. Tickets for the screening are $5 for UCSB students, $6 for the general public. Books by Rubin Carter will be available for purchase and signing at the event.
Carter’s presentation is a part of the series Executing Justice: America and the Death Penalty, a coordinated program of events and teaching initiatives that began in winter to educate people about the death penalty in America. The program includes three undergraduate classes (two in the Law & Society Dept. and one in the Art Studio Dept.), a lecture series, film screenings and a public debate that occurred in January between legal experts.
“Carter is one of the leading activists against both the death penalty and wrongful convictions,” said Juliet Williams, assistant professor of law and society and co-organizer of the Executing Justice program. “It’s difficult to find people who have experience with this issue from the inside, so we thought it was fitting to have him represented as one of this program’s voices.”
From an early age, Carter found trouble with the law. At the age of 14, Carter was arrested for stabbing a man he claimed was trying to molest one of his friends and was sent to a juvenile detention center. After being released from detention, Carter joined the army, where he learned to box.
Carter defeated 27 of the 40 opponents he faced in his career, which began in 1961. He also scored eight first-round knockouts. While preparing for his second middleweight championship in 1966, three people were gunned down at the Lafayette Bar and Grill in Paterson, N.J. Carter and an acquaintance, John Artis, were arrested and eventually convicted of the crime by an all-white jury. Carter was sentenced in 1967 to three consecutive life sentences.
Upon the publication of his autobiography in 1974, Carter’s case attracted national attention, which peaked with the popular Bob Dylan song “Hurricane.” Carter was granted a new trial after the two key prosecution witnesses recanted their prior testimony, but was again found guilty. A review of his case in 1982 by the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled likewise.
The conviction was not overturned until 1985 when Carter’s lawyers were granted a hearing to determine whether he received a fair trial. The judge ruled that the prosecution had withheld evidence and based their case on racial prejudices.
Carter now lives in Canada and serves as executive director of the Toronto-based Association in Defense of the Wrongly Convicted, a group dedicated to overturning wrongful convictions. Carter has also addressed the General Assembly of the United Nations, advised Bill Clinton on death penalty issues and spoken alongside Nelson Mandela at the 2000 World Reconciliation Day in Australia.