Excerpt from his keynote speech at the inaugural AIDWYC Wrongful Conviction Day Reception, October 2, 2014, at Toronto.
John Artis was co-accused, with Rubin Hurricane Carter (in 1966) of the murder of three white men in Patterson, New Jersey. John was 19-years-old and had never been in trouble with the law previously. He and Rubin Hurricane Carter were convicted and sentenced to three life terms. After witnesses recanted their testimony, a new trial was ordered in 1976, in which both Mr. Artis and Mr. Carter were reconvicted and the life sentences re-instated.
In 1981, after spending 15-years in prison, Mr. Artis was released. His charges were dismissed in 1985 after he and Mr. Carter were successfully granted a Writ of Habeas Corpus, which was upheld by the United States Supreme Court. While in prison, he became Vice President of the Lifer’s Group at Rahway Prison and helped to form a juvenile awareness program.
Once released, he started an organization called “Creating Youth Awareness” to help troubled youth stay out of prison.
For 30-years, he worked in juvenile detention centres, group homes, psychiatric centres and residential schools.
Upon hearing that his good friend, Rubin Hurricane Carter, had been diagnosed with prostate cancer, John took an early retirement from his employment and moved to Toronto, Ontario, where aided Mr. Carter in the three years prior to his death.
Mr. Artis remembers: “Devoid of any evidence or fact, authorities attempted to have me state that Rubin Carter was a murderer, to assist in convicting Rubin and sending him to prison.”
Video used with permission