What If YOU Were Wrongly Accused?

Today a man died at the age of 76.  But this was no ordinary man.  This was a man with a criminal record who got straightened out, became a successful boxer.  His career was taking a downturn but he was determined to get back in the ring.  And then, he just happened to be found in the wrong place at the wrong time.  And the rest is history.

Wrongly AccusedFormer world boxing champion Mike Tyson tweeted about this unusual man. “We lost a great man today.  Rubin ‘hurricane’ Carter, the boxer who was wrongfully accused and became a symbol for racial injustice.  Although Carter never won a world championship match, he went “27-12-1 with 19 knockouts” and even “stopped two-division champ Emile Griffith in the first round in 1963.”

It is not easy to change your lifestyle from one of petty thievery to being a substantial member of society, but Carter was doing just that.  He used his rage and hostility to fight for others’ entertainment and for his own income.  His life was turning respectable.

And then in June 1966. 2 black men shot 3 white people in a local bar in Paterson, New Jersey.  The police in that town needed to catch the perpetrators.  They did not think they needed evidence.  There was little physical evidence.  Police did not even take fingerprints at the crime scene and they did not have the facilities to take a paraffin test for gunshot residue.  And none of the eyewitnesses identified Carter or his friend Artis as the shooters.  But their car had been stopped not far from the scene of the crime and they were subsequently tried and convicted, not once but twice, 1967 and 1976.  Finally, in 1985, the conviction was overturned because there were people speaking up to defend him.  Denzel Washington starred in a movie about this unfortunate event fore which he won a Golden Globe award and the famous songwriter/singer Bob Dylan wrote a poignant song called “Hurricane.”  Muhammad Ali, the famous fighter, also spoke out in favor of Carter’s innocence.

After his final release, Carter relocated to Toronto “where he served as the Executive Director of the Association in Defense of the Wrongly Convicted from 1993 to 2006.  He received two honorary doctorates for his work.”

“This man right here is love,” Washington said while onstage with Carter at the Golden Globes ceremony in early 2000. “He’s all love. He lost about 7,300 days of his life, and he’s love. He’s all love.”  Information about Rubin Carter’s life was found in this aol.com article.

My Question To YOU Is …

  • What would YOU do if you were suddenly wrongfully accused by legal authorities or by a friend, colleague or lover?
  • What if YOUR life was suddenly turned upside down because you were wrongfully accused of something you did not do?

 

It happens every day, in small ways and sometimes in life altering and dramatic ways.

Would you be able to keep fighting the injustice, keep standing up for yourself, and in the end be described as being “all love”?  I felt compelled to write about this incredible man because he is a role model for all of us to become the most loving we can be – no matter what is happening in our life at the moment.

Please share your thoughts and personal life experiences when you or someone else you know was wrongly accused and punished.

Want to heal from something painful in your past?  Read Heal Me…Please

Contact Me for a private consultation.

Warmly,

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Dr. Erica Goodstone is a Spiritual Relationship Healing Expert helping men and women heal their bodies and their relationships through love. Having presented her comprehensive relationship healing programs throughout the U.S. and Canada over several decades, she has helped literally 1000's of men and women to heal through learning how to love. Dr. Erica believes "Where There is Love There IS a Way". When you love, accept, listen and pay attention to your body, trust your own sense of what you truly desire, and strive to understand, appreciate and really know the other people in your life, anything and everything is possible.

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52 thoughts on “What If YOU Were Wrongly Accused?

  1. What an extremely nice tribute Dr.Erica!

    I can vividly remember as a kid, whenever a prize fight would come TV, some of my Uncles would briefly mention ‘The Hurricane” and it wasn’t until i was actually grown, that I actually heard and learned more of his personal story.

    And then I saw the feature film starring Denzel Washington, that I discovered of the many detail of what supposedly happened, the night he and his friend were arrested.

    Clearly, it will take an awful lot of determination and focused energy, to go through a situation like that, and not emerge as bitter and extremely jaded!
    And yet, for the most part, that’s exactly what this incredibly humble man, was able to do!

    Which is an truly amazing feat within itself!

    My honest guess is, you could probably count the people one hand, that could go through such a mentally and physically debilitating ordeal like that and still go on to lead a productive life that sought in spite of it all, to help others!

    Thanks so much for sharing this!

    • Mark,

      What a thoughtful and sensitive response. People sometimes are put through some terrible circumstances and you need to have a strong character to emerge unscathed and able to actually give back to society.

      Warmly,

      Dr. Erica

  2. You know his is such a sad story but what is even scarier is how often we’re hearing these days about someone having spend decades behind bars only to be released as innocent. I suppose it could happen to anyone, and that surely is a scary thought, but I do believe it’s far more likely to happen to someone of color or low income – and that’s another problem all together. 🙁

    • Marty,

      Money certainly helps to get people out of trouble, even after being rightly accused. Life can certainly be unfair and it is so important to feel the gratitude for what we do have and what is going well in our lives.

      Warmly,
      Dr. Erica

  3. I had not heard that story before, Dr. Erica, and I know that, unfortunately, it happens all too often. I just saw an estimate that about 4% of the prisoners on death row are wrongly accused.

    What would I do if it happened to me? I really can’t answer that question – just hope that it never does.

    Thanks for sharing this story

    Alan

    • Alan,

      It seems as if the best thing you can do is to build solid, trusting relationships in your life so that if you are ever face with such a situation, your friends will be supportive and help you to fight the injustice. Within an intimate relationship, well that’s another story.

      Warmly,

      Dr. Erica

  4. I know I would be scared silly if I was wrongfully accused of a crime but hope that fear and anger at injustice would make me fight with all I had.

    I have needed to act as an advocate for my son and others with a disability and although I did not find it easy to begin with, I could not let myself give up. When you care about someone or something deeply, it is not an option.

    If it was a friend or lover doing the accusing I would certainly try and clear my name but if they did not believe me would find it hard to accept that I did not have their trust.

    • Sue,

      This type of false accusation happens often in a relationship where there has already been some mistrust. After someone feels betrayed, it is difficult for them to trust again. That is why it is so important to speak up and clear up communication along the way, not allowing resentments to build and fester.

      Warmly,

      Dr. Erica

  5. Great question Dr. Erica. Sadly everyday there are new stories of innocent people who have spent years in prison. If nothing else on a personal level it’s taught me to avoid judging people simply because the media convicts them in headlines. Using your example, imagine being accused of sexual assault or abuse in the headlines and then later proved innocent. Tragically in our world today the damage is done once the accusation has been made. Very, very scary. What would I do? No question I would fight it, but more importantly I’d like to think I’d rise above it. Problem is, we can never truly know how we’ll react to something like this until it happens.

    • Marty,

      So true. We need to live in integrity and build relationships based on honesty and love. And then, hopefully, we will have support if we ever run into some sort of unfair situation. But even without support, if we know in our heart we have done nothing wrong, we can feel strong inside.

      Warmly,

      Dr. Erica

  6. Hello Dr . Erica
    It is hard to say what i would do in that situation .
    but i see there is a lot of this going on .
    I would hope i had the same attitude and took the same path as
    Mr carter and used my anger in a positive way to help others.

    • Allen,
      The truth is that we don’t know how we will handle such a situation and who will be there to support us – until we are in the situation. He never gave up fighting and he eventually won his freedom. Persistence is key, even if you don’t win.

      Warmly,
      Dr. Erica

  7. That was some story Dr Erica, and I’m sure similar injustices are all around us. I am thinking about your question, and I feel that if I was wrongly accused, I would have to do what I could to clear my name. If my conscience was clear then it’s a simple case for me. I have to say I think I’m a better fighter for someone else than myself – but I’m sure my self-preservation instincts would kick-in when the going got tough.
    Whatever happened, in my heart I would know the truth.
    I have huge admiration for anyone living with injustice – I think it must be one of the hardest emotions to come to terms with because of the feeling of helplessness … but faith in God / The Universe / Angels and the Love and Support of friends seems to be the way to survive.
    An epic story, not one I was familiar with.
    Thank You
    Jacs

    • Jacs,
      Being human and alive makes us vulnerable to situations we could never imagine unless it actually happens to us. Each of us has challenges but some much greater than others. I agree that having the love and support of others and a sense and feeling of connection to a higher source can get us through all that life throws at us.

      Warmly,

      Dr. Erica

    • The good part of the story is that Carter did have people who believed in his innocence and fought for him so that he was finally released. And he went on to live a productive life.

      Warmly,

      Dr. Erica

  8. Dr. Erica,
    what a wonderful way to write about such a great story.

    I read about the incident and knew about Carter from reading here and there articles in the papers here in Toronto back when.. but it was the movie that made me understand what really had happen.. and I was in a rage (internan rage) because I start to think about other incidents that were similar to that.
    “What would YOU do if you were suddenly wrongfully accused by legal authorities or by a friend, colleague or lover?
    What if YOUR life was suddenly turned upside down because you were wrongfully accused of something you did not do?”

    I have no answers but I know that it would not be fun and as of I know my self, I would never know what I would do or how.. I just pray that I never get into that situation and no one else ever have to…

    If you remember I wrote a story about my friend Piero.. well, I lately found out that his wife did not want to press charges.. it was the “authority” who pushed her to do that and the whole family god to suffer emotionally, physically and financially.. just because what we normally call “authority” pushed to do something that was not right to do but being brainwashed by this so called “authority” everyone had to pay the price BUT not the authority.. that is truly INJUSTICE..
    Thanks for sharing this story .
    _nickc

    • Nick,
      I remember your story about your friend Piero and you were so concerned. In relationships, sometimes one person is accused by the other of something like cheating – and they are innocent but everything they say to explain seems to be a justification and further proof. Very hard to get out of that type of situation.

      Warmly,

      Dr. Erica

  9. My husband watches boxing and we saw a documentary on Carter. What an inspiring story. I don’t know what my attitude as he did with being wrongfully accused. What hurt Carter was his past and people have a tendency to believe that if your past is shady then you are guilty.

    For me I would not give up without a fight, but one never knows until they are in a situation like Carter. Hard to understand if you haven’t walked in the other person’s shoes.

    • Arleen,

      You are so right. Our past can have a huge effect upon our present. But many of us do not need outside influences; we can limit ourselves without any help because of what we believe is holding us back from our past.
      The good news is that Carter finally did get free and lived a productive life afterwards.

    • Arleen,

      You never really do know how you might respond if you were caught in a situation where you were not believed. But it is probably easier to get good support if you have built caring and authentic relationships.

      Warmly,

      Dr. Erica

  10. Hi Erica ,
    I know this story and I know there are many of this things in our world.
    I am always ready to stand up and would do for myself as well.
    But I always trust ,that the truth comes out sooner or later.

    • Erika,

      Hopefully the truth comes out in the end, but not necessarily always. Sometimes one person’s fight can lead to a future person not suffering.

      Warmly,

      Dr. Erica

  11. Great post Erica. I hate injustice. During my teaching career, I saw it all the time in the playground and also in the staffroom, I am sorry to say. I stand up for what I believe is right and stand behind those who are wrongly accused. Friends come in handy when you are down. If wrongly accused, it may hurt for some time. If you do everything correctly and strive for excellence, then these high standards, your reputation and past performances should win out in the end. Thanks for a thought-provoking post.

    • Liz,

      Your reputation does precede the event and can be helpful to keep people trusting and believing in you. And sometimes the forces are too great to fight.

      Warmly,

      Dr. Erica

  12. You would think there is safety in numbers, but in our case? No. We saw what had happened to a number of individuals, and it wasn’t pretty. So a group of us got together to make an appeal. Everything we did was done peaceably and honourably — but after six months it ended in defeat. It’s not a time I like to remember. But we gave it our best, and it is the way it is.

    I don’t think we should let people walk all over us, but there may come a time when you have to admit defeat, put it behind you in as healthy a way as possible, and move on.

    Willena

  13. I think it is painful to pay a dirty prize for something you did not do.it usually come out of jealousy, because the accused is been seen as moving to excellence on the ladder. it happends in organizations, politics etcs. it only takes GOD’s intervention to save life. Many knwledgeable people have perish through force accusation.But if GOD be at our side, who can be against us.

    • David,.

      Yes, when we are faced with something so painful and wrong and we cannot do anything about it ourself, then we need to trust in the power of something beyond our own human capability and that power is the power of God.

      Warmly,

      Dr. Erica

  14. Hey Dr. Erica,

    Great post. I actually saw a documentary on hurricane last year and it was quite inspiring. It was unfortunate for his accusation and incarceration, but some good came out of it!

    If I was wrongly accused, I would go through the motions, then make every effort to figure out why and my purpose in this world while trying to have a forward thinking mentality. I guess it’s easier said than done, but it can definitely be accomplished!

    Thanks for sharing and I hope you have a great weekend!

    • “Hurricane” Carter had a disadvantage. He had a history of petty thievery so when he was accused there must have been many people who believed he was guilty. That is one important reason to keep your reputation strong by doing what you promise and showing wisdom and fairness in all of your dealings. And even then, you can be misunderstood and wrongly accused about something, but you will have a history to help you refute the issue.

      Warmly,

      Dr. Erica

  15. Hi
    Just got very much impressed for the very first time at your blog.
    Simply a true Great story with inspirational tips.
    Thanks for sharing.

  16. Thank you for sharing this great story. If I or someone I knew were wrongly accused I would also fight to the end. Thank you for sharing.

    • Merle,

      You would fight to the end but the key is to build solid relationships with people who know, like and trust you. Then you would not be fighting the battle alone. Your friends would want to help.

      Warmly,

      Dr. Erica

  17. Ugh, injustice. I am not going to open up that can of worms. My first career calling was as a Civil Rights Attorney. After much soul searching, I passed because, at that young age, I did not know how to channel my anger at the injustices–especially suffered by Blacks even today. Even then I knew that would create a block in my energy and affect my ability to fully experience joy and abundance in my life. I still feel deeply called to serve in that area beyond my occasional fighting for people in my inner circle.

    • Rachel,

      I had no idea that you had done this type of work and that you still watch out for injustice and offer your knowledgeable assistance. This is such a noble and important task. People who have never had that type of problem usually place blame on the victim. It is not easy to get out of this type of situation. Thank you for helping in this way.

      Warmly,

      Dr. Erica

  18. Hello Dr. Erica Goodstone, It’s really wonderful experience to visit on your official Blog first time. You have Great mind & I love this great Great explanation.

  19. My gosh Erica!

    What a great story you have shared. If I was wrongfully accused, I would fight until I dropped! But then it all depends on the situation I guess. I say I would fight it, but when in an actual situation, who knows? Would I run and hide?
    Maybe?
    You have me thinking! But I know I have that spunk in me and when I strongly believe in something I can be a fighter. So I guess I would fight it to the end.

    -Donna

    • Donna,

      I have a sense that you would certainly not give up easily. And you would reach out to all your friends who know, like and trust you, so there would be lots of support. Hopefully, we never have to experience something like this.

      Warmly,

      Dr. Erica

  20. If I was wrongly accused, and had not done anything to be arrested for, then I would fight for my freedom. I understand mistakes sometimes happen, but I wouldn’t sit idly by.

    Thanks for the great post.

    • Heather,

      The problem arises when even though you do everything you can do correctly, the other people are not swayed and continue to accuse you and blame you for something you did not do. Sometimes we are helpless to protect and save our self. That is when we need to develop a strong inner sense of strength.

      Warmly,

      Dr. Erica

  21. Hi Erica.

    What an inspiring and moving post. I would like to think that if something like that happened to me, I would fight to clear my name but also work to find the positive in the situation. I can sit here and say that now and hope that’s what I would do but who really knows?

    Thanks for sharing this. Monna

    • Monna,

      It can be disheartening if everyone turns their back but if at least one other person is on your side, and you feel that support, anything is possible. Sometimes there is no other person but a sense of connection to God and a higher source that saves a person who would otherwise be in the depths of despair. As long as we are alive, anything is possible, change is possible, and even the most seemingly hopeless and dire circumstances can be altered.

      Warmly,

      Dr. Erica

  22. I would fight to protect myself. Although, sometimes you cannot prevent yourself from getting yourself in these situations. I always make it a point to make sure I make the smartest decisions when it comes to living life. Thanks for the great post!

    • Nate,
      Yes, we need to fight to protect our self and to speak up when we are being wronged, but sometimes there is nothing physical we can do to change our situation. That is where our spiritual, higher self comes into play. When we can access our connection to universal source or God and trust that all good is coming to us in due time, miraculous changes can occur.

      Warmly,

      Dr. Erica

  23. Such a powerful question Erica, and what a song by Dylan too. Injustice must be fought from a place of peace,, but until I am in that situation I do not know but I look at Gandhi, MLK, Mandela…and so many others…without peace what else is there?

    • Sarupa,
      When we are wrongly accused we need to take a stand for what we know in our heart is right – and – it works best if we can find a sense of peace within in the knowledge that we are speaking out truth. Many people have survived horrifically unfair and abusive treatment and have overcome the odds and gone on to live a highly productive life, affecting and mentoring many others.

      Warmly,

      Dr. Erica

      • Indeed…and it is about knowing when to let go and move on too…as those who we mention fought for a much greater justice than their own…

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