Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, who died of prostate cancer Sunday, left a legacy as a forerunner of the American focus on wrongful convictions and racial injustice in the nation’s court system, reports USA Today. Carter, a former boxer who spent 19 years in prison in New Jersey until a federal judge ruled in 1985 that he’d been wrongfully convicted of three murders, was a founder of the Toronto-based Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted.
Carter’s story was told in books and a film, “Hurricane.” After his exoneration, he spent a decade advocating for other wrongfully convicted prisoners. His group has assisted with the exonerations of 18 Canadians, most of whom had been convicted of murder. “Of all the wrongful convictions, I would think that Rubin’s is probably the best known worldwide,” said Win Wahrer, his cofounder in the Toronto group. “Certainly, there are a lot of cases that make it into the news. But the thing is you read them today, do you remember them tomorrow? Rubin’s is one of those (you remember).”