"Rubin Carter is a Substantial Threat to the
Filed by the Passaic County Prosecutor's Office in
Note: After Judge Sarokin set aside Carter's
conviction in November 1985, the Prosecutor's Office filed this
document in an attempt to keep Carter behind bars. That effort
failed. This is the portion of the document that reviews Carter's
record. This information is being provided to counter the false
depiction of Rubin Carter in the movie.
Part I, INTRODUCTION: A profile
of violence, dangerousness and extreme hostility
Part II, JUVENILE RECORD: "His
early school records make reference to threats, retaliation and
an abhorrence for conformity with the rules of society."
Part III, MILITARY: After 21
months and four courts-martial, he was separated for "unfitness."
Part IV, CRIMINAL RECORD: After
eight months in reformatories, "a walking, ticking, short-fused
time bomb" explodes.
Part V, PRISON RECORD: "A
well-defined picture of consistent, long-standing belligerence,
hostility and refusal to adhere to even minimal rules."
Part VI, PSYCHIATRIC AND PSYCHOLOGICAL
RECORDS: "'A strong paranoid orientation' projecting
responsibiity for his failures on society and the law."
Part VII, THIS COURT SHOULD ORDER PSYCHIATRIC
EXAMINATIONS: As of 1970, the record shows "a violent
and very dangerous person," and a new examination is urged.
Part VIII, CONDUCT DURING PRIOR RELEASE:
"This physically powerful man carried out a brutal attack
upon an adult woman of slight physical stature." (the Carolyn
Part IX, CONCLUSION: The
Prosecutor's Office is concerned "that Rubin Carter's liberty,
in all likelihood, will cause great harm to the community.:
The appellants contend
that more important, for the purpose of this application,
than the fact that there is a substantial basis for and appeal
of the District Court's decision, is the fact that there is every
reason to believe that the defendant Rubin Carter is a violent
and dangerous person and that thereby his liberty during the
tendency of the appeal most certainly poses a threat to the community.
Appellate Procedure Rule 23(c) provides that:
Pending review of a decision ordering the release of a prisoner
in such a proceeding, the prisoner shall be enlarged upon his
recognizance, with or without surety, unless the court or justice
or judge rendering the decision, or the court of appeals or the
Supreme Court, or a judge or justice of either court shall otherwise
This rule was amended in 1967 to recognize that there are
circumstances under which a prisoner should not be given liberty
pending the appeal of his release order. The District Court refused
to exercise its discretion in this regard and ordered the release
of Rubin Carter over the objection of the appellants.
Appellate Procedure Rule 23(d) provides:
An initial order respecting the custody or enlargements of
the prisoner and any recognizance or surety taken, shall govern
review in the court of appeals and in the Supreme Court unless
for special reason shown to the court of appeals or to the Supreme
Court, or to a judge or justice of either court, the order shall
be modified, or an indecent order respecting custody, enlargement
or surety shall be made.
The appellants of course, recognize that under ordinary circumstances
there is a strong presumption in favor of the release of a prisoner
pending an appeal of an order granting a writ if habeas corpus.
The applicants contend that the "special reasons" present
in this case require that the customary procedure not be followed.
It is evident from the record reviewed heretofore and collected
in toto in the appendix submitted herewith, that for almost 30
years Rubin Carter has presented a profile of violence, dangerousness
and extreme hostility. There is nothing to suggest that this
well-entrenched disposition and behavior should be any different
now while the defendant is at liberty pending a review which
has the potential to reinstate these murder convictions. The
appellants contend that this view of Rubin Carter is well supported
by an examination of the record which exists and is available
to us concerning every area of Mr. Carter's background, including
his juvenile record, his military record, his criminal record,
his psychiatric record, his record for the brief time he was
at liberty in 1976 pending his re-trail and the record of Rubin
Carter's self-proclaimed perception of himself. The appellants
suggest that this Court should enter "an independent order
of respecting custody."[Top]
While the record available to the appellants suggest that
Rubin Carter's childhood had the benefit of a stable and supportive
parental and family environment, nonetheless, his early school
records make reference to threats, retaliation and an abhorrence
for conformity with the rules of society.
The defendant attended Public School #6 in the City of Paterson
to the seventh grade. He was referred several times to the Adjustment
School for school misbehaviorism. Records from these institutions
no longer exist, however, excerpts from these school records
were incorporated in a 1957 Passaic County Probation Department
report. (Exhibit H). Rubin Carter's referral to the Adjustment
School is noted on page two of that report. The Adjustment School
at that time was Public School #22 to which students were referred
from each of the other city schools when the students behavior
became a problem that no longer could be delete with at the initial
The Probation Department reports that the defendant's school
adjustments was "very poor." The report quotes the
school records describing Ruben Carter as "very wild"
with a "bullying attitude". The school's records state
that he "terrorized boys and girls in class so that they
were afraid to report him to the teacher."
These school records are remote and talk about a child. The appellants
suggest no significance to them other than that they are at least
worthy of note here since the earliest records available to us
show the seeds of violence, threats and retaliation, which is
totally consistent with the record that emerges in later years.
The records of the Juvenile Court with respect to Rubin Carter
are not available to the appellants since they have been either
destroyed or stored away under conditions which makes them practically
inaccessible for the purposes of this application. However, references
to the defendant's juvenile record are contained in various reports
submitted to state courts over the years But the Passaic County
Probation Department. The 1957 report (Exhibit H, p. 2) states
that the defendant was referred to the Children's Bureau in 1946
and 1949. At that time, the Children's Bureau was the Juvenile
Division of the Paterson Police Department. In 1946, the defendant
was nine years old. No records are available with regard to the
1946 juvenile complaint.
A Probation Department report prepared in 1977 (Exhibit I) states
on page three that Ruben Carter was arrested on March 21, 1949
as a juvenile charges with larceny of T-shirts from a downtown
Paterson store. The defendant was given two months probation
for this offense.
In May of 1951, a third juvenile complaint was filed against
the defendant charging him with breaking into parking meters
and stealing the contents. The defendant was place on probation
as a result of this complaint.
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. A copy of this juvenile complaint
is marked Exhibit J. The defendant was sentence to the State
Home for Boys on July 3, 1951 as a result of this complaint and
paroled on December 13, 1952. He was returned on a parole revocation
on September 18, 1953. See Exhibit H, p. 3a. Although on their
face these juvenile complaints might suggest profit as the motivation,
a study of the records show the defendant's parents to be working
people who provided well for their son.
The defendant escaped from the State Home for Boys on July 1,
According to prison records (Exhibit K) the defendant entered
the U.S. Army on August 27, 1954. He was separated on May 29,
1956 with the designation: "Unfitness." During his
21 months in the military, he was convicted by court-martial
on four occasions. The charges are described as "disobeying
a lawful order (three times), failure to make reveille, disrespectful
in language to a non-commissioned officer and treated his superior
officer with contempt." (Exhibit K, PPS. 2-3).
In 1973, while serving a sentence for the Lafayette Bar murders
after the first trial, the defendant, Rubin Carter authored a
book entitled The Sixteenth Round. (Exhibit L. The appellants
have included in this exhibit only the pages excerpted.) The
appellants contend that certain facts are not accurately recorded
in this book. However, the appellants present this document to
the Court because we contend it is relevant as an exposition
of the defendant's perception of himself and his relationship
with society. He repeatedly portrays his deep hatred and bitterness.
The defendant discusses his military experience and at one point
records his reflections while traveling from Fort Jackson to
America the dirty white racist bitch....I was mad at my mother,
my father, at all the niggers who held themselves in contempt
of their color.... "Fuck those crackers!"....
I notice something else, too: all these honkies were wearing
guns, every last one of them. I decided I would have to get me
one too. This Army life was not making me any nastier than what
I was, but it wasn't making it any easier for me either. It just
made me care a little less than usual, which wasn't really a
helluva lot in the first place. pps.119-120.[Top]
Rubin Carter was separated from the military on May 29, 1956.
He was arrested on July 23, 1956 in Paterson on the escape charge
after he fled from the State Home for Boys at Jamesburg. His
account of his feelings at the time two police officers came
to his home to make this arrest is stated this way:
I couldn't understand why they were doing what they were doing.
Hate burned through me like a million torches. I wanted to destroy
something, and my strange mental fog drove me towards the two
cops. I wanted to get my hands around their necks and squeeze
until their eyes popped out of their skins like grapes. (Exhibit
L, The Sixteenth Round, p. 138).
After his arrest, Rubin Carter was returned to Jamesburg.
He was then transferred to Annandale Reformatory. This is how
he records his feeling at that time:
My urge for revenge now almost choked me up with its bitterness.
Somebody would have to pay for putting me back in jail. Even
more than that, somebody would have to pay for destroying my
self respect. For mutilating the "newly found" Rubin,
the "at-peace-with-himself" Rubin. Somebody had to
pay for that!
I wanted to see this insidious juvenile labor system demolished
from stem to stern and I wanted to see it happen out of pure
hatred and vengeance at atonement for the crimes committed against
me, and other just like me who have never had the nerve to voice
their legitimate grievances as members of the human race. I wanted
to be the Administrator of Justice, the Reveler of
Truth, the Inflicter of All Retribution. I gloried
in these thoughts. (exhibit, The Sixteenth Round, p.139).
Rubin Carter was paroled from Annadale on March 29, 1957.
He describes his feelings at the time of his release this way:
On that Tuesday morning when Annadale set me free, they might
not have known it (or maybe they did) but they had just unleashed
a walking, ticking, short fused time bomb set to explode
on contact with an unsuspecting public. A society which fooled
itself into believing that this miniature penitentiary sitting
in the hills of its community was really an honest-to-God rehabilitation
center. (Exhibit L, The Sixteenth Round, p. 156) [Emphasis added].
The "time bomb exploded in just over a month. On July
2, 1957, he was arrest and charged with two counts of Robbery
and one count of Assault with Intent to Rob. (A woman's purse
forcibly was taken from her and in two unrelated incidents, two
men, ages 61 and 30, were struck, knocked down and suffered head
injuries.) The defendant was sentenced on September 20, 1957
on these three charges to a term totaling two to six years in
State Prison. Rubin Carter's account of this incident to the
prison authorities is recorded in Exhibit K, p.2.
We snatched a pocketbook off a woman June 30th, on the street
in Paterson. Then we seen a man and got him too, a young fellow
about 30, got his money-he was knocked down. We was running away
from the last fell and another fell was standing in the middle
of the sidewalk and I hit him and he fell up against a tree and
we kept running. Harris got caught about ten minutes later and
I got picked up about 2 a.m. that night-was lead man in a plastic
place, an extruder operator. It was unnecessary. I had
$9 or $10 in my pocket and the next day was pay day. It just
come on the impulse. I met Harris after I got out of Annadale.
He was on parole from Bordentown. We were going with girls that
were friends of each other. We were drinking that night. [Emphasis
According to prison records the defendant's conduct, during
the time he spent at Trenton State and Rahway State Prison, serving
these sentences, was tumultuous. For that reason, he was ordered
to serve out his maximum sentence and was mandatory released
from State Prison on September 16, 1961.[Top]
Rubin Carter's confinement at New Jersey State Prison covers
three time periods. They are as follows"
1. October 10, 1957 to September 16, 1961;
2. October 1, 1967 to March 20, 1976; and,
3. February 10, 1977 to November 8, 1985.
The appellants have collected the available records as to
the defendant's comportment at the correctional institutions
and have submitted them here as Exhibit M. The appellants apologize
to this Court for the poor quality of the photocopies of some
of the documents contained in Exhibit M. We have compared our
file with that of the correctional institution and have submitted
to this Court the clearest copy of each document.
The appellants contend that this record is exceptional. A study
of this record in its entirety unquestionably presents a well-defined
picture of consistent, long-standing belligerence, hostility
and refusal to adhere to even minimal rules of day-to-day conduct
and procedure at the institutions.
The first nine pages of Exhibit M appear to be a form of log-book-type-entries.
The remaining pages consist mainly of reports dealing with specific
instances of disciplinary problems.
The appellants were not able to locate any individual reports
which pertain to the first period of incarceration. That incarceration
occurred as a result of the Robbery and Assault convictions referred
to previously. Nevertheless, certain of the log-type-entries
pertaining to this period are relevant.
January 25, 1958 Out of place and suspicion of immoral act.
February 21, 1958 Refusing to report for work.
October 10, 1958 Refusing to obey orders.
December 1, 1958 Fighting with inmate.
May 17, 1959 Refusing to go to his cell.
July 23, 1959 Insolence-disrespect to an officer.
June 23, 1960 Insolence.
January 3, 1961 Disobedience, causing disturbance and stealing.
January 3, 1961 Inciting to riot, participating in major disturbance
April 1, 1961 Out of place.
The second term of incarceration covered by these records
occurred as a result of Rubin Carter's first convictions for
the murders at the Lafayette Bar. These records cite numerous
violations involving disobeying a direct order, destroying property,
fighting, contraband, out of place and inciting.
PSYCHIATRIC AND PSYCHOLOGICAL RECORD
During this period, specifically in April 9, 1970, Rubin Carter
assaulted an inmate named Wallace. The defendant apparently had
an unnatural fear of this inmate and did not hesitate to flatly
state to the Disciplinary Court that "he would kill Wallace"
and that "if he had a weapon today Wallace would be dead."
(Exhibit M, pps. 15-16) In addition to the indication of threats
and violence, this incident along with many others joints out
the presence of mental problems. The available psychiatric records
of Rubin Carter will be examined hereafter. However, it should
be observed at this point that the references to grandiose paranoia
in the psychiatric reports are consistent with the numerous manifestations
of solutions of superiority and inferiority contained in these
prison records. See, for example, Exhibit M-42, Rubin Carter's
reference to himself as "God" at Rahway prison. See
M-44, Rubin Carter tells Captain Hassell that Carter plans to
make him Superintendent of the Prison.
The records that pertain to this period also document Rubin Carter's
major involvement in efforts to incite a disturbance at Rahway
in April 1974. (Exhibit M-44 to 60). It is interesting that according
to the records, Rubin Carter claims racism at the prison as motivation
for his call of violence. The defendant proclaimed, that through
violence, racism would be wiped out forever and that he would
be the first to lay down his life and kill or be killed in this
effort. (Exhibit M-48).
The second period of confinement covered by these records terminated
when the defendant's first convictions for the Lafayette Bar
murders were reversed. Approximately one month after his release,
Rubin Carter assaulted a prominent black woman, who was, at the
time, the National Director of the Carte Defense Fund. This incident
will be examined hereafter.
The third period of confinement referred to in this exhibit deals
with Rubin Carter's incarceration after a second jury convicted
him of the Lafayette Bar murders. These records are consistent
with the records for the prior terms, in that they contain numerous
citations for disobeying orders, refusing to work or accept program
assignments, conduct which disrupts, behavior which threatens
the running of the institution and refusing to appear.
These periods of institutionalization have permitted the opportunity
to monitor the defendant's conduct. The reports here span many
years. They maintain a consistency year after year, in that they
project an unchanging image of hostility and contempt. It seems
that on every occasion in Rubin Carter's past, whether it be
in prison or otherwise, when circumstances were such as to require
someone to report about him, the statements memorialized in each
instance support the view that Rubin Carter has always been a
violent and dangerous person. In the face of this record, what
reason is there to believe that he will be a different person
while at liberty now pending this appeal.[Top]
During the periods when Rubin Carter was incarcerated as a
result of various convictions of crime, professional people in
the area of psychiatry and psychology examined him and reported
their findings. These reports seem particularly relevant with
respect to the issuer of the defendant's disposition for violence
and his potential dangerousness to the community while he is
at liberty. The various professionals who have had the responsibility
to examine Rubin Carter and report their findings about his mentality,
uniformly state in the strongest possible terms, that his is
a man who presents a great threat to the community.
It appears that many of these mental examinations were done for
purposes of parole board consideration. Consequently, these examinations
were conducted with the specific purpose of focusing on the ver
issue of dangerousness which is before this Court. The typewriter
print on the earlier mental status examinations is faint. For
this reason, the appellants have retyped the reports verbatim
and have captioned them to show retyping. The retyped reports
are included here as Exhibit N. The original reports are attached
hereto and designated Exhibit N(a).
In one of the earliest reports conducted by a psychologist named
Farrell on September 26, 1958, observations are noted regarding
the defendant's involvement in certain incidents referred to
earlier (see Criminal Record) where Rubin Carter and a man named
Harris assaulted a woman and, in the course of their flight from
that crime, assaulted and seriously injured two men in separate
incidents. The defendant had explained thereafter that he acted
on impulse and not out of financial need. It is noteworthy that
this psychologist recorded his observation that it was Rubin
Carter as opposed to Harris who was primarily responsible for
This psychologist describes Rubin Carter as "an emotionally
unstable and aggressive individual." He concludes that the
defendant "manifests a total lack of insight" and a
strong paranoid orientation," projecting responsibility
for his failures on society and the law. The psychologist sees
Rubin Carter as " a seriously disturbed individual"
who "will always be a poor parole risk" and
pose "a potential threat to the community." (Emphasis
It is interesting that this psychologist observed then that temporarily
the defendant's boxing career provided a socially acceptable
means for venting his hostility. However, he further states that
when "Rubin's ring aspirations do not exist, he will
become more aggressive and it is predicted that a
repetition of present involvement will occur." If
the judgement of two separate juries, ten years apart, was correct
when they decided that Rubin Carter murdered the people in the
Lafayette Bar in 1966, then, in effect, psychologist Farrell
predicted it eight years earlier.
Some note should be made here regarding this psychologist's connection
between Rubin Carter's waning ring aspirations and the consequence
of a tendency for greater aggression. The District Court in its
opinion (p.3) states that at the time of the murder (June 1966),
Rubin Carter was "at 30 years of old reaching the peak of
his career, a contender for the middleweight crown...."
It certainly appears that the District Court was misinformed.
Rubin Carter's boxing record is summarized in his book The Sixteenth
Round. (Exhibit L, pps. 338 and 339). From 1961 to 1964, he fought
25 fights. He won 21 and lost four. He lost his fight for the
middleweight title on December 14, 1964. In 1965 and 1966, he
fought 15 matches and won only seven of those. This presents
quite a contrast with his record before the title fight in 1964.
Undoubtedly, at the time of the murders in June 1966, Rubin Carter
was not "reaching the peak of his career" as the District
Court stated. His boxing career was in sharp decline and, obviously,
he was not " a contender for the middleweight crown"
at that time. Consequently, the condition which psychologist
Farrell predicted would produce greater aggression--waning boxing
aspirations--was in place at the time of the Lafayette Bar murders.
According to the records, just over a year later, another psychologist
named Gorlin examined Rubin Carter and reported his findings
closely paralleling psychologist Farrell's view and perhaps presenting
an even more frightening evaluation. This man's professional
opinion was that Rubin Carter was "very unstable" and
"extremely aggressive." He described the defendant
as "almost completely lacking in controls" and a person
prone to act out "the tremendous amount of hostility and
aggression that is continuously boiling within him." This
psychologist concludes: "This man appears to be extremely
dangerous. Prognosis is very poor." (Emphasis added).
Again, assuming that two juries were right in finding Rubin Carter
killed the people in the Lafayette Bar, was not his psychologist's
report, in effect, a forewarning of the murders Rubin Carter
was to commit at the Lafayette Bar in 1966.
On August 30, 1960, Doctor Henri M. Yaker (Director of Psychology)
reported that in his professional judgment, Rubin Carter "continues
to be assaultive, aggressive, hostile" and "sadistic."
Exhibit N. (Emphasis added). It is evident that Doctor Yaker
believed Rubin Carter's condition to be long-standing. "This
individual is as dangerous to society now as the day he was incarcerated."
Doctor Yaker diagnosed the defendant as a sociopath who "thinks
he is superior." He has grandiose paranoid delusions about
himself." Exhibit N. Is not the diagnostic impression recorded
here in 1960 remarkably consistent with the picture of Rubin
Carter which emerges from a review of the prison records of the
mid-1970's? (See Exhibit M-42, dated March 7, 1974, where Rubin
Carters refers to himself as "Rubin 'Hurricane' Carter 'God'
at Rahway Prison." See, also, Exhibits M-43 to 56 for Mr.
Carter's references to removing the superintendent of the prison
as well as the prison doctor, to resolving future inmate problems
by direct contact with the Governor and to killing or dying for
the cause of fighting racism at the prison.)
The defendant's autobiography, authored in the mid-1970's, also
presents much to suggest (as shown by various excerpts submitted
herein) that the defendant's self-perception is distorted by
delusions of superiority. While discussing his youth and a position
of leadership he supposedly held with a street gang called the
Apaches, the defendant, in a chapter entitle "The Birth
of Vengeance," expresses feelings of superiority even with
I was proud of my position. It made me feel like a god. In
my mind, I was vaguely recalled some misbegotten slogan that
went "Equality for all under God." I couldn't accept
that. What was the position I held, and the gangs dependence
upon my fighting skills, I felt uniquely superior. In the Apaches
I was, in fact, accepted as a god, and there could be no equality
in the world that I lived in--a world of conflict and confusion,
where only the strong survived. (Exhibit L, The Sixteenth
Round, p. 16).
Mr. Carter gives further expression to these grand delusions
and feelings of superiority in another chapter entitled "Vindictiveness,"
when the philosophizes his view of total unaccountability to
society regardless of his actions.
I believe that everything I had done in my life had been the
natural and logical thing for me to do, under the circumstances.
If by chance I performed a gracious deed, I laid claim to no
credit. If I committed a crime in the eyes of society, I took
no blame. I felt no more responsible for my actions than for
the winds. I believed that the omnipotent entity, the capricious
ruling power, that had fiendishly set cyclone and hurricane forces
free on this earth with the same fickle energy that had created
me. If I overturned a basket of social concepts, or violated
a few rigid conventions in pursuit of my destiny, it was not
my fault, but Fate's. I felt no compunction for the act that
I had been forced to commit, which, according to society's standards,
was a crime. (Not a reference to Lafayette Bar murders).
At the time it happened, my behavior seemed to me to
be natural, just as natural as a cyclone wind will demolish a
building standing in its way. (Exhibit L, The Sixteenth
Round, p. 78). (Emphasis added).
The appellants content that the record submitted here must be
viewed in its totality. We suggest no significance to references
such as those presented above (from the book and the prison record)
when viewed in isolation. They must be viewed in the context
of the entire record. In that sense they are significant because
they are insightful and consistent with a diagnostic impression
recorded over a dozen years earlier.
In addition to the fact that the mental status examinations remain
consistent over many years, it is significant that each examination
as conducted by a different professional. When Doctor Hubert
Hoffman (Consulting Psychiatrist) examined Rubin Carter on April
20, 1970, he stated that the "inmate's hostility and aggression
are easily triggered....." Doctor Hoffman also concluded
that: the psychological examinations of 1958 and 1960 "sum
up this man very well." Exhibit N. (Emphasis added). Consequently,
this psychiatrist believed that the impressions and diagnoses
rendered over a decade earlier were just as valid at the time
of his examination.
The examination performed by Doctor Hoffman was the result of
the incident referred to earlier involving Rubin Carter's assault
on an inmate named Wallace and the defendant's threat to kill
Wallace. See Exhibit M-15 to 17. It is true that Doctor Hoffman
also states that he did not detect psychotic symptomatology.
However, in an examination conducted four days later (April 24,
1970) by Doctor Sidney G. Fine (Acting Medical Director), Doctor
Find stated that Rubin Carter "is beginning to show psychotic
behaviour....." Exhibit N.
Doctor Fine prescribed 150 mgs. of Thorazine three times a day
indefinitely. Thorazine is a psychotherapeutic drug which was
used in treating mental disorders at that time. This prescription
was for a high dosage.
Doctor Fine's report concludes with this statement:
I'd like to see this inmate in about two or three weeks. I
feel certain that something will probably take place. (Exhibit
Consequently, there is good reason to expect that further examination
or examinations of Rubin Carter were performed. However, the
appellants were unable to recover any further reports of mental
examinations of the defendant and were repeatedly told of poor
or non-existent recordkeeping at the correctional institutions
and various state offices at that time.
When Rubin Carter was returned to prison in 1977 after the second
convictions, he repeatedly refused to submit to psychiatric examinations.
On each date listed, Rubin Carter refused to submit to a psychiatric
evaluation by the particular doctor designated below:
|October 19, 1977
|| Miguel Perez, M.D.
|July 6, 1978
|| Martin H. Weinberg, M.D.
|January 16, 1980
|| R. G. Morales, M.D.
|August 8, 1983
|| Pedro Garcia, M.D.
|November 14, 1983
|| Pedro Garcia, M.D.
The reports relating to the above-mentioned refusals are legible
and have not been retyped. They are included in chronological
order in the exhibit containing the documents in their original
form. Exhibit N(a). [Top]
THIS COURT SHOULD ORDER
OF RUBIN CARTER
CONDUCT DURING PRIOR RELEASE
The last record of a professional evaluation of Rubin Carter's
mental status dates back to 1970. However, in 1970, Doctor Hoffman
concluded that the frightening reports of 1958 and 1960 "sum
up this man very well." The total record presented here
shows that for decades, Rubin Carter was a violent and very dangerous
person. The psychological and psychiatric examinations conducted
over a period of a dozen years consistently advise us that this
is an "aggressive," "assaultive," "hostile"
and "extremely dangerous" man "almost completely
lacking in controls." If these assessments were valid at
the time and persist today, then the District Court has set at
liberty a person who poses a serious threat to the community
and a person who in all likelihood will act out violence. In
the terms of Rubin Carter's earlier description of himself, is
the "short-fused time bomb "ticking" now?
Is there anything in the record of Mr. Carter's behaviour after
the last available recorded psychiatric evaluation to suggest
that these projections are no longer valid. Certainly not in
the prison records (Exhibit M) discussed previously. And certainly
not in the record of his conduct while he was briefly at liberty
in 1976 prior to the second trial. At that time, about a month
after his release, he assaulted a woman associated with his defense.
This incident will be discussed hereafter.
On the one hand, there is strong spanning decades to show violence
and dangerousness. All that can be pointed to on the other hand
is the absence of recent mental status evaluations. As shown
above, a void has emerged over recent years by the systematic
refusal of Rubin Carter to permit psychiatric evaluations. Should
the defendant now be permitted to argue for some benefit by reason
of a void in the records which he methodically created?
The appeliants contend that under the circumstances, the long-standing
psychological and psychiatric evaluations persist today. We contend
that in light of the total record, this case presents a compelling
and exceptional situation so as to require the defendant to remain
in custody while this appeal is pursued.
Should this Court be inclined to some reservation regarding the
currency of these existing mental status assessments, the appeliants
strongly urge this Court to order an independent psychiatric
examination of Rubin Carter. After examining the existing psychiatric
reports, this Court must want to know the nature of the defendant's
present psychiatric picture. If this Court can not reach a conclusion
in that regard based on all the surrounding circumstances as
suggested by the appellants, then it seems there can be no reason
why this Court should not appoint its own psychiatrist to independently
advise the Court in this regard. [Top]
The defendant's behavior when last at liberty seems a natural
consideration in the process of projecting how the defendant
will conduct himself while at liberty now. Rubin Carter was last
at liberty for a brief time in 1976 following the reversal of
the first triple murder convictions. Rubin Carter was released
on bail on March 20, 1976. In the space of about a month, i.e.
April 29, 1976, the time bomb exploded again--Rubin Carter assaulted
a woman named Carolyn Kelley.
Prior to the assault, Carolyn Kelley was actively involved in
the defense of Rubin Carter. She was a prominent community leader
in the Essex County area and had been actively involved in various
issues concerning the black community. She had been a Muslim
for many years. She knew and had worked with various community
and political leaders as well as with Mohammed Ali, a well-known
heavyweight boxing champion. At the time of this assault, she
had become the head of what was called the Carter Defense Fund--Freedom
For All Forever.
The assault occurred on April 29, 1976 in Maryland. Rubin Carter,
Carolyn Kelley and others associated with the defense were there
to view a heavyweight boxing match involving Mohammed Ali. Very
soon after the attack, the incident became known to counsel for
the defense and to certain media people and others sympathetic
to the defense. The Prosecutor's Office did not learn that any
incident had occurred until the end of May 1976. In the interim,
Carolyn Kelley later testified that efforts were made to pacify
her and persuade her not to disclose the matter.
This assault was the subject of a bail revocation hearing conducted
in camera at defense requests by the Honorable William J. Marchese.
The hearing was conducted from June 29, 1976 to July 12, 1976.
The Court concluded that Rubin Carter did assault Carolyn Kelley
and ordered that the terms of the defendant's release on bail
be modified. (A copy of Judge Marchese's opinion is attached
as Exhibit O). Notwithstanding the judge's finding, the Maryland
authorities chose not to pursue criminal charges stemming from
this assault. The assault had occurred within the context of
a pending trial involving triple murders. The case had received
national attention and the defense at that point had the vocal
support of numerous celebrities.
This bail revocation hearing was extensive. It involved testimony
from 23 witnesses. Transcripts of the hearing have never been
ordered by either side.
On June 7, 1976, Carolyn Kelley made a public statement about
the assault. By that time, news of the incident had begun to
circulate and she decided to respond to inquiries from the press.
Carolyn Kelly made this statement from the Crippled Children's
Hospital in Newark, New Jersey. Investigators from the Prosecutor's
Office were assigned to respond to the hospital and tape-record
her statement once it was learned that Carolyn Kelley intended
to respond to the inquiries. The transcript of that tape recording
is included here as Exhibit P.
In this statement, Carolyn Kelley said that at one point while
in Maryland, she had tried to speak with the defendant by telephone
from her hotel with regard to financial arrangements at the hotel.
She was surprised that the defendant hung up on her and went
to see him. She described the circumstances of the assault this
So I immediately got dressed got in my car drove around the divider
to the Sheraton, knocked on his door, and he asked who was it.
I told him. He opened the door, I went in. He just started laughing,
just laughing, laughing. So naturally I relaxed. I thought it
was some kind of joke or something, just laughing. Then he went
into the bathroom, he left the door open, and I walked to the
edge of the door, and I was asking him what the hell is the matter
you, what's wrong. At that point he was gargling with a bottle
of Charlie cologne (inaudible) he spit the cologne out, he came
out of the bathroom and I was standing by he edge of the bed
and he just burst out laughing again. The next thing I knew he
had hit me in my face and spun me around, I felt myself turning
and spinning and I felt myself going down and fighting to hold
on to consciousness because the walls, I went in between the
wall and a regular sized bed in the room. And then he raised
his foot to kick me, still laughing all the time and I managed
to turn over, and he started kicking me in my back. Things were
vague at that point and then I remember saying to myself, is
this for real. I guess I must have turned back over, and he wasn't
laughing then, but he was in a stooped position with his hands
around my throat telling me he was going to kill me. (Exhibit
The appellants contend that this incident is significant obviously
because of the defendant's display of violence. This physically
powerful man carried out a brutal attack upon an adult woman
of slight physical stature. This kind of violence is more disturbing,
we suggest, because it was not prompted by any possible perceived
physical threat to the defendant. Was this beating like those
described earlier, that the defendant explained by saying: "It
was unnecessary....It came on the impulse." (See Exhibit
This incident is also significant, the appellants contend, in
connection with our alternate application for independent psychiatric
examinations of Rubin Carter. Aside from the business of gargling
with cologne, the inappropriate laughter and abrupt mood shift,
the assault itself suggests questions about Rubin Carter's mentality.
In that latter sense, are there not comparisons here between
the defendant's assault of this slight woman and the assault
and expressed intent to kill the slight and severely retarded
inmate named Wallace six years earlier? The later assault was
discussed previously. (See Exhibit M,pps. 15 and 16). Does not
this incident suggest that perhaps the earlier diagnostic evaluation
of severe emotional instability still persist or at least held
true in 1976? Does not this incident in the context of the total
record, at least require that the Court find out what the current
mental status shows? Rubin Carter himself has never denied or
presented any different version of this incident. [Top]
Liberty is precious to every American and it is the special
responsibility of our judicial system to be circumspect about
the protection of that American right. However, the appellants
contend that this case is exceptional. The appellants are concerned
that Rubin Carter's liberty, in all likelihood, will cause great
harm to the community. The appellants have made every effort
to produce for this Court to believe that Rubin Carter will act
out of violence while outside the environment of a correctional
The appellants contend that there is good reason to believe that
the District Court ruling will be reversed.
The appellants contend that in retrospect, the mental status
evaluation of Rubin Carter done prior to the murders, in effect,
constituted a forewarning of the slaughter at the Lafayette Bar.
The appellants contend that Rubin Carter cannot fairly respond
that the reports of mental examinations submitted to this Court
are remote since it is Rubin Carter who is exclusively responsible
for the absence of current psychiatric examinations. The appellants
contend that, at the least, this Court should satisfy itself
about Rubin Carter's present mental status by appointing its
own psychiatrists to examine him and advise the Court.
JOSEPH A. FALCONE
PASSAIC COUNTY PROSECUTOR