not in jail for committing murder. I'm in jail partly because
I'm a black man in America, where the powers that be will
only allow a black man to be an entertainer or a criminal."
- Rubin Carter, Penthouse Interview, 1975.
From the Editor: The power of the movie is undeniable.
I was nearly drawn to tears when Rubin Carter was given
back his freedom at the film's end. I want to fully believe
in the Hurricane, but my research and the film's fabrications
have planted a seed of doubt in my mind." - K.Lang
Questioning the Story:
Were there really 3 Canadians who helped to free Carter?
Yes. Lesra Martin and the three Canadians really did
work to help free Rubin Carter. However, the movie shows
them discovering pivotal evidence to help prove Carter's
innocence, when in reality this did not happen.
Was Lesra Martin's story accurately portrayed in the film?
Regardless if Rubin Hurricane Carter is innocent or guilty, Lesra
Martin's story is encouraging. By age ten, his family had
gone from middle class living in Queens to living on welfare
in the ghettos of Bushwick. In July of 1979, Lesra hopped
on a subway train bound for his new summer job at a Brooklyn
environmental lab. He befriended three Canadian entrepreneurs
who were visiting the lab. They saw great potential in the
then illiterate Lesra, and proposed that he come live with
them in Canada where they could assist in educating him.
He went, but was discouraged and lacked confidence that
he could learn and be smart. He read Rubin Hurricane Carter's "The
Sixteenth Round," which inspired him to believe in
himself. He wrote to Carter and the two began a long distance
friendship, and they remain friends until this day. Lesra
went on to graduate as an Ontario Scholar in 1983, received
an Honors BA in anthropology at the University of Toronto
in 1988, and earned his law degree from Dalhousie Law School
in 1997. After articling with a Vancouver law firm, he served
as a Crown Prosecutor (similar to a district attorney) in
Kamloops, British Columbia. Since the movie, he has embarked
on a career as a motivational speaker, and has begun to
write a book about his experiences and the negative effects
Was the detective (pictured above) fictionalized for the
The filmmakers changed the name of the detective from Vincent
DeSimone to Vincent Della Pesca. This character was significantly
fictionalized for the movie. In reality, Vincent DeSimone
had never met Rubin Carter before the murders, and had therefore
never hounded or harassed Rubin when he was a child, as
depicted in the movie. Detective DeSimone also wasn't alive
for the court hearing that set Carter free in 1985. He had
died six years earlier.
Was Carter really the number one contender for the middleweight
crown when the murders happened?
1966, just one month before the murders, "Ring"
magazine reported that Rubin Carter had plunged to No. 9
in the rankings.
He might have been hoping to re-challenge for the championship,
but his record for 1965-'66 was 7-7-1. His career was in
Did boxing judges really steal the middleweight title
from Carter by robbing him of a victory against Joey Giardello
as portrayed in the film?
As a result of his depiction in the film, Joey Giardello
threatened to sue the filmmakers for defamation. Nearly
all of the sportswriters who attended the December 1964
bout agreed that Giardello won handily.
Did Rubin Carter really serve in the military?
Yes. Carter served in the military for 21 months. Unfortunately,
he was court marshaled four times, and he was thrown out
upon being deemed "unfit for military service."
Did Rubin Carter really save his friend from a child
molester when he was young by hitting the molester in the
head with a bottle and then stabbing him?
The reality of this is not known. However, other evidence
suggests that Carter was not a child hero. The following
is an excerpt from the Passaic County Prosecutor's Office
brief (1985): "On June 25, 1951, Rubin Carter, at age
14, was charged with Assault and Robbery resulting from
the stealing of $55 and a wristwatch from a man who was
struck over the head with a bottle. The victim's injury
required four sutures." Before he was 22, Rubin Carter
had attended reform school, and had been imprisoned for
committing two brutal street muggings.
Have Rubin Carter and John Artis (pictured below) ever
been found "not guilty" of the Layfayette Grill
No. The case was tried twice, and each time Rubin Carter
and John Artis were convicted of the murders. The convictions
were set aside each time however, on the grounds that the
men didn't get a fair trial. In the first trial, Alfred
Bello, a key witness for the prosecution, changed his story.
The state of New Jersey decided not to try them a third
time after so much time had passed, and withdrew the indictments
Did Rubin Carter ever pass a lie detector test?
A Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article (found
here) by staff writer Milan Simonich talks about evidence
accumulated against Carter by Cal Deal, a reporter who covered
Carter's case for two years and changed his own mind about
Carter's innocence after interviewing him. Milan writes
"One of Deal's criticisms of Carter is that he tells
gullible audiences he passed a lie-detector test soon after
the three murders at Paterson's Lafayette Grill, but white
prosecutors took him to trial anyway.
Carter, 62, made that very claim Saturday
when he appeared at an NAACP event in Pittsburgh.
On his Web site, Deal has reproduced 33-year-old documents
purporting that Carter failed a lie-detector test.
Perhaps more compelling are later letters from prosecutor
Burrell Ives Humphreys, who offered to throw out the charges
against Carter if he took and passed a second polygraph
test. This occurred before Carter was retried in 1976. Humphreys
said he would dismiss the murder charges against Carter
if he was cleared in a lie-detector test administered by
an independent expert.
Carter declined the test. He went to trial and was convicted
a second time."
What happened to Carter's friend, John Artis?
John Artis served fifteen years in prison for the Layfayette
Grill Murders. He was paroled in 1981. He was back in prison
five years later, on charges of conspiracy to distribute
cocaine and illegal possession of a handgun. John Artis
is a free man today, and works the lecture circuit with
How much would it cost to have Rubin "Hurricane"
Carter motivationally speak in front of your organization?
According to the Speakers' Spotlight page, Rubin Carter's
fee range is +$10,000.
Rubin 'Hurricane' Carter Interviews and Related Video
Watch a 1963 Rubin Carter boxing match where he takes on opponent Emile Griffith in Pittsburgh. View interviews and watch a segment that looks at the controversy surrounding Carter and The Hurricane movie.