Rubin 'Hurricane' Carter was born on May 6th, 1937 in Clifton, New Jersey. Carter rose to prominence as a middleweight boxer in the 1960s after getting out of prison (for a series of muggings), rising as high as the #3 ranked contender.


His life changed on June 17th, 1966 when two men were shot in a Paterson bar. Carter was ultimately arrested and charged with two counts of murder. An all-white jury convicted Carter and his alleged accomplice of murder and Carter was sentenced to consecutive life terms in prison. Eventually, two witnesses recanted their testimony, but Carter’s bid for a new trial was rejected in 1974.

Carter was retried in 1976 and found guilty again, but in 1985, the Supreme Court set aside his convictions, saying that his conviction was based more on racism rather than reason, and he was released from the state prison in Rahway.

Carter received a lot of celebrity support during his ordeal. Bob Dylan recorded a song, “Hurricane,” about the case and performed it at Trenton State Prison while Carter was imprisoned there. There was also a 1999 film, The Hurricane, about his life. Carter was played by Denzel Washington (who was nominated for an Oscar for his performance).

Carter died of cancer in 2014.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Bill Doyle. Any opinions expressed are Bill Doyle's own.