See copyright notice at

Carter, Rubin 'Hurricane'

Hurricane / Desire / 1975

Pistol shots ring out in the barroom night
Enter Patty Valentine from the upper hall.
She sees the bartender in a pool of blood,
Cries out, "My God, they killed them all!"
Here comes the story of the Hurricane,
The man the authorities came to blame
For somethin' that he never done.
Put in a prison cell, but one time he could-a been
The champion of the world.

Unjustly imprisoned black middleweight boxer whose cause Dylan championed in his 1975 single 'Hurricane', though he was not set free until 1986.

Clinton Heylin:"Bob Dylan: Behind The Shades, a Biography"

-----------------REPOST OF OLOF'S POST-----------------------------
rd!sunic!enea!olof Thu Aug 29 18:41:15 EDT 1991

In article ( (Jonathan
Lyness) writes:
>On the subject of the _Desire_  songs, can anyone tell me the details of
>the  case that Dylan sings about on Hurricane, and whether or not Rubin
>was ever freed?  And/or, could someone post the lyrics?
>Thanks! - jon

The Hurricane Story

06/17/66   Two men and a woman are fatally shot at the Lafayette Bar and
           Grill in Paterson, NY. Rubin Carter and John Artis are questioned
           by the police, are not identified by the surviving victims,
           pass lie-detector tests, and are released. Police declare that
           Carter and Artis "were never suspects".

06/29/66   Carter and Artis testify voluntarily before a Passaic County
           grand jury and are exonerated. Neither are they indicted by grand
           juries sitting in Aug, Sept, and Oct.

10/14/66   Alfred P. Bello, a well-known local criminal and a suspect
           himself, gives the police a signed statement claiming he saw
           Carter and Artis at the murder scene. Carter and Artis are
           arrested and later indicted for the triple murders.

05/27/67   An all-white jury convicts Carter and Artis. The prosecutor
           seeks death penalty, but the jury recommends mercy. Carter and
           Artis are sentenced to three life terms.

04/30/74   Carter is illegally transferred from Rahway State Prison to the
           Vroom Readjustment Unit at the Trenton State Psychiatric Hospital.

07/74      Carter files a federal suit against the state for inflicting cruel
           and unusual punishment. After a hearing, Federal District Judge
           Clarkson S. Fisher orders Carter's immediate release from illegal
           detention in the Readjustment Unit.

09/74      Carter's book, The Sixteenth Round, is published by Viking Press.
           Bello and Arthur P. Bradley, the only witnesses to claim Carter
           and Artis were at the scene, separately recant and state they were
           pressured by Paterson detectives to give false testimony; they were
           offered inducements of $10,000 in reward money and promises of
           lenient treatment in criminal charges pending against them.

05/75      Carter sends a copy of his book to Dylan "because of his prior
           commitment to the civil rights struggle".

06/75      Dylan visits Carter in prison. "The first time I saw him, I left
           knowing one thing ... I realized that the man's philosophy and
           my philosophy were running down the same road, and you don't meet
           too many people like that".

07/75      Dylan writes the song Hurricane together with Jacques Levy.

07/30/75   Dylan records Hurricane in New York. This version is never released.

09/10/75   Dylan performs Hurricane for the first time in the TV-program
           "The World Of John Hammond". The song is performed at every
           Rolling Thunder Revue show in 1975.

10/24/75   Hurricane is rerecorded with slightly different lyrics. CBS lawyers
           feel that the lines about Bradley and Bello "robbing the bodies"
           can lead to legitation. (Later they are sued by Ms Patty Valentine,
           who lost her suit in 1979).

11/75      Release of the Hurricane single.

12/07/75   As part of the campaign to get Carter free, Rolling Thunder Revue
           plays a show at the Correctional Institution For Women at Clinton,
           NJ, where Carter is temporarily imprisoned. Dylan again visits
           Carter, accompanied by the press.

12/08/75   Last show of the 1975 Rolling Thunder Revue Tour is a four hour
           benefit concert for Carter at the Madison Square Garden in NYC.
           The show is labeled "Night Of The Hurricane".

01/25/76   A second and last benefit concert, "Second Night Of The Hurricane"
           is held in Houston, TX. Last performance of Hurricane ever (?).

01/16/76   Release of Desire.

03/17/76   The New Jersey Supreme Court unanimously overturns the convictions,
           ruling that the prosecution withheld evidence favorable to the
           defense, and orders a new trial.
           Carter and Artis are released on bail.

12/22/76   After a second trial in which the prosecution was allowed to argue
           for the first time that the murders were motivated by racial
           revenge, Carter and Artis are reconvicted; the same life sentences
           are imposed, and they are forced to return to prison.

12/22/81   Artis is released on parole, after serving 15 years.

08/17/82   The New Jersey Supreme Court, in a 4-to-3 decision, rejects an
           appeal for a new trial.

11/07/85   Judge H. Lee Sarokin of Federal District Court in Newark,
           NJ overturns the second trial convictions after finding that the
           prosecution committed "grave constitutional violations";
           the convictions were based on "racism rather than reason
           and concealment rather than disclosure".

11/08/85   The prosecutors argue that Carter is dangerous and should remain
           in prison pending the state's appeal. Finding no evidence of
           dangerousness, Judge Sarokin orders Carter free without bail:
           "human decency mandates his immediate release".
           Carter has served 19 years in prison.

12/19/85   The prosecutors assert to the United States Third Circuit Court
           of Appeals that Carter is a danger to the community and should
           be reincarcerated pending appeal.

01/17/86   The court rejects the state's arguments, and Carter remains free.

08/21/87   The US Court of Appeals upholds Judge Sarokin's decision throwing
           out the convictions.

01/11/88   The US Supreme Court denies the state's appeal, thus affirming
           Judge Sarokin's rulings.

02/19/88   The Passaic County's Precutor's Office announce that they will
           not seek a third trial, and they file a motion to dismiss the
           1966 indictments against Carter and Artis.

02/26/88   A Passaic County judge signs the order dismissing the indictments.

Sources: The various Dylan biographies and "Outside The Law", Look Back 1988.
Olof Bjorner -

Date: Sat, 7 Oct 1995 13:24:55 -0400 From: "Matthew E. Borgmeyer" (borgy@MINERVA.CIS.YALE.EDU) Subject: Re: Hurricane On Fri, 6 Oct 1995, just like sunday morning wrote: > > In the light of the OJ verdict, I was wondering if anyone here knows > of any old or new news about what became of Hurricane Carter? > Still doing time? Finish his sentence? Successful appeal? Any > subsequent evidence proving his innocence? Pardon? In the fall of 1992, Rubin "Hurricane" Carter spoke to a class at Yale Law School. Turns out that the professor of the class had helped Carter get his sentence overturned. Luckily, I had a chance to sit in on this class and hear him speak. He spoke mostly on how the original case was based on flimsy evidence and how the appeal process was so torturous. One of his eyes was damaged as a result of something that happened to him during his imprisonment. Carter was very eloquent and also thankful for the support he got over the years from people like Dylan. Incidentally, I was lucky enough to shake the hand that "could knock a man out with just one punch."
Date: Thu, 12 Oct 1995 16:08:54 -0400
From: "Matthew E. Borgmeyer" (borgy@MINERVA.CIS.YALE.EDU)
Subject: Re: Hurricane

On 11 Oct 1995, Mike Satenberg wrote:

> Didn't Rubin Carter admit his guilt in the early 80s?
> MikeS
According to the a great article in the April 13, 1992 edition of Sports Illustrated, Rubin "Hurricane" Carter currently resides in Canada. He has never admitted guilt and continues to be a strong advocate for prisoners' rights. The decision of U. S. District Court Judge H. Lee Sarokin to grant Carter the writ of habeas corpus that secured his release included this quote:

"The extensive record clearly demonstrates that the petitioners' convictions were predicated upon an appeal to racism rather than reason, and concealment rather than disclosure . . .

To permit convictions to stand which have as their foundation appeals to racial prejudice and the withholding of evidence critical to the defense, is to commit a violation of the Constitution as heinous as the crimes for which these petitioners were tried and convicted."

On Feb. 26, 1988, a Passaic Country judge formally dismissed the 1966 indictments.
Date: Sun, 11 Feb 1996 15:50:39 EST
From: David Florkow (FlorkoD_at_MET15MF1@CCMAIL.EDU.GOV.ON.CA)
Subject: Hurricane update

The following item -- in its scintillating entirety -- appeared in the Toronto entertainment weekly Now Magazine (issue dated Feb 8 - 14, 1996, p. 67):

     "Where Do We Go From Here?" was the hard philosophical question asked
     by former world middleweight boxing championship contender and the
     Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted (AIDWYC)'s executive
     director Rubin "Hurricane" Carter.

     A trim, elegantly tux-clad Carter, who spent 20-odd years in a New
     Jersey prison for murders he didn't commit, inspiring Bob Dylan's
     anthemic Hurricane, gave a high-energy keynote address Sunday [Feb
     4/96] at A Night Of Consciousness, a loving fundraiser for AIDWYC at
     Club Tropicana.

     Seen soaking up the togetherness vibes were AIDWYC prime mover Wim
     Wahrer, major founder Peter Meier with Rosemary Meier, lefty lawyer
     and board member Paul Copeland, stained-glass artist Pattie Walker,
     painter/potter Meri Collier, and astrologer Alanna McDonagh -- who,
     with Peterborough glass artist Denise Therrien formed Artists Against
     Injustice to help sponsor the event -- plus the Star's Harold Levy,
     guerrilla poet Clifton Joseph, drummer Quammie Williams, Citytv's Jo
     Jo Chintoh and former John Lee Hooker photographer Allana Haradyn."
-- end of quoted material --

(And NO, I didn't make this up; nor did I steal it from Tom Wolfe. Remember Juvenal:"difficult it is not to write satire.")

Date: Sat, 13 Apr 1996 02:58:04 GMT
From: Jerry Tenenbaum (jerry.tenenbaum@UTORONTO.CA)
Subject: Ruben "Hurricane" Carter

Here's a little excerpt from The Toronto Star, April 12, 1996... an interesting event that happened only last night here in Toronto..

        "Hurricane Carter Arrested by Mistake"
  A man who has become the subject of book and song for serving time
for murders he didn't commit was arrested last night by Metro police
-- wrongly.

  Police said they were looking for a black man wearing a brown and
white jacket, and that former boxer Ruben 'Hurricane' Carter, who was
taken into custody for alleged drug trafficking fit half that
description.  Carter was wearing a black and white lumberjack coat.

  "I am so furious that what happened happened simply because I was
wearing a jacket, and I am black," Carter told the Star after being
released last night.

  "It was a drug buy in a dark area, and he resembled the suspect,"
said 12 division Staff Sergeant Mike Pinfold.  "It was a case of
mistaken identity."

  Pinfold said events "pretty much went down" as Carter related them.
Police said Carter was under arrest about 10 minutes.  Carter said he
was handcuffed for about a half-hour.

  The incident comes in the wake of a provincial commission on
systemic racism in Ontario's justice system, which was highly critical
of police for stopping blacks more frequently than whites.

 Carter, executive director of the Association in Defense of the
Wrongly Convicted, said he was arrested just after 9 p.m., after
leaving the Allegro restaurant on Bloor St. W. near Landsdowne, where
he was dining with friends.

  Pinfold called it an honest mistake.
All I can do in response to this is quote Bob...
"It's unbelievable! Is there anyone that knows? Is there anyone that cares?"
Subject: Hurricane Article
From: Brian James (
Date: Fri, 13 Nov 1998 23:35:03 -0500

Ex-Boxer `Hurricane' Speaks Out

CHICAGO (AP) - Former boxer Rubin ``Hurricane'' Carter came down
from Canada on Friday to warn Americans that it's time to abolish
the death penalty.

Carter, now a Canadian citizen after spending nearly 20 years in
a New Jersey prison following his conviction for three murders,
spoke before more than 700 people during a panel discussion at
the National Conference on Wrongful Convictions and the Death

``I am not pleased to be here under these circumstances. If it
hadn't been for a quaint Latin phrase, habeas corpus, I would
have been some place else - due to a prior commitment,'' Carter
said to laughter, referring to the legal principal that allowed
him to be freed.

In 1985, the former middleweight boxer convicted twice of a
triple murder in 1966, was released after 19 years from Rahway
State Prison. U.S. District Court Judge H. Lee Sarokin ruled
Carter and his co-defendant were denied their civil rights by
prosecutors during trials in 1967 and 1976.

Carter gained international fame with rocker Bob Dylan's song
``Hurricane,'' which helped the former boxer win his freedom

``This conference is a wakeup call for everybody,'' said Carter,
who now lives in Toronto, where he is a writer, teacher and head
of the Association in Defense of the Wrongly Convicted.

His hair thinning and wearing eyeglasses, Carter urged the crowd
in Northwestern University's law school auditorium to fight
recent efforts to erode the appeal process for those convicted.
More than 30 men and women in the audience were former inmates
who had been spared from death row.

``Wrongs can be righted. Our presence here today is living proof
of that,'' Carter said.

``There is a rush to death in our society, a killing climate of
fear,'' Carter said. ``Fear feeds prejudice and inflames passion.

``When you fear someone, anything is possible from slavery to
anti-Semitism to racism to the McCarthy witchhunts. Blinded by
our fear of crime, we focus only on the symptoms.''

He said the causes of crime - poverty, illiteracy, unemployment,
drugs and racism - are ignored.

Also on the panel was Mike Farrell, an actor who starred in the
popular TV show ``M.A.S.H.'' and is now an anti-death penalty

Referring to those inmates-turned-advocates in the audience,
Farrell said ``these people stood up and said 'I'm going top see
this doesn't happen to anybody else.'''

The conference continues through Sunday.

Subject: Rubin Carter today From: Martin Abela ( Date: Mon, 28 Jun 1999 17:08:41 GMT > As a side note, at a show in Toronto (I think) last fall, he said hello to > "Hurricane Carter" from the stage. That's the closest he's come to playing the > song since 1976. The Toronto concert was Thursday October 29, 1998. I was in front of the stage, but I did not see Mr. Carter. Bob did acknowledge him from the stage, with a comment close to: "My friend Rubin Carter is here tonight". I do have a tape if anyone is interested in a trade. I also have a long radio interview Mr. Carter did in Toronto several years ago. He mentions that the judge did not appreciate Bob's efforts and this may have added time to his sentence. I am also willing to trade for this if anyone is interested. In the long run it did help, since the final court efforts to release him were initiated by a few Canadian men who were inspired by Bob's song. Of course, Mr. Carter is now very active in a group called "Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted". They were instrumental in getting several men released from Canadian prison who were convicted of terrible murders, but in fact were completely innocent. Mr. Carter is often seen in Canadian media speaking about this issue. He seems like an articulate intelligent (although angry) man. Here is a link to a recent article in the Toronto Star which mentions this work: R27.html -Martin Abela "And she takes your voice And leaves you howling at the moon"
Newsgroups: Subject: Meeting Hurricane at the Toronto show From: Michele Simpson Date: Fri, 09 Nov 2001 17:51:51 GMT Hurricane was sitting in the stands right beside us...the ushers went up and got him and brought him backstage about 15 minutes before showtime, he stayed back there about 10 minutes and came back to his seat. I told my family that Hurricane was just brought back stage. When he was coming back to his seat, my oldest son said hi to him and they shook hands. Hurricane stood beside our seats for a bit and talked...then after the show in the lobby, both of my boys shook hands with him, Shane for the second time. He is not very tall, I was really really surprised. Both boys commented on his solid handshake and thought it was a fine highlight for the evening. Hurricane was very spiffily dressed, black overcoat, black hat...wide brim, cool looking cat. He spoke to everyone and was very personable. Michele "pass the tree of smoke, pass the angel with four faces"....b.dylan

Dylan at Clinton State Prison - pictures

Who's Who