Interview with Rubin Carter, Clinton State Prison, December 1975


This interview was arranged by Bob Miller of WABC-TV in New York. Investigative reporter Cal Deal was brought along to assist Miller because of his familiarity with the case and because Deal’s approach to the story was a lot tougher on Carter than the "cream puff questions" the rest of the press was throwing at Carter, according to Miller.

Four months earlier, Reporter Jim Lanaras and Cal Deal had interviewed Carter in Trenton State Prison and had offered to give him a lie detector test, which could have helped him prove his innocence. Carter vehemently refused to take the test. Deal took advantage of this interview to follow-up on that line of questioning (This excerpt from the interview is unedited.) -- Cal Deal, 2/11/00

DEAL: You've refused to take another lie detector test, is that right?

CARTER: Why should I take another lie detector test? I took a lie detector test in 1966 hours after the crime took place.

DEAL: The authorities say that you failed that test.

CARTER: Bring that test forward.

DEAL: If you want that test to be made public, all your attorney has to do is write a letter to the prosecutor....

CARTER: Bring that test (inaudible) forward.

DEAL: Ask your attorney to write a letter to the prosecutor.

CARTER: Why should I ask the attorneys....

DEAL: Because that's the only way it can be released. If that story was inaccurate, that you failed a lie detector test, all your attorney has to do is write a letter to the prosecutor and get the report himself.

CARTER: Do you have the chart? Do you have the report?

DEAL: I do not.

CARTER: Well then, how could you say I failed it if you don't have the report? That's another vicious lie of yours.

DEAL: Well you could easily disprove it if your attorney would get the report.

CARTER: Well why should I have to disprove it if you cannot prove it?

BOB MILLER: OK, Cal, what I think you told me before when I asked you the same question he's asking you is that you had talked to another reporter who had seen it. Is that correct?

DEAL: Uh, well I don't want to get into that, but we have reliable information, very reliable information, that both Rubin Carter and John Artis did fail the lie detector test. I talked to Mr. Carter's attorney and he said he was going to speak to the prosecutor about that and, as far as I know, he never has. And I understand that, if they wanted that report to be released, they would simply have to write a letter to the prosecutor and it would be turned over to them.

MILLER: OK, getting back to the idea of taking another test, why not? Could it be harmful to you?

CARTER: Why should I? Could it do me any good?

MILLER: If you pass it with flying colors, sure.

CARTER: Oh no, no. You got evidence right here. What we're talking about here, what we're talking about here is what's right and what's wrong. We're talking about whether men received a fair trial after being accused of a crime. That's what we're talking about. All the evidence shows, today, that there's no way in the world that John Artis and Rubin Carter received a fair trial. There's too much suppression of evidence. Even the prosecutions's own witness, Bello and Bradley, said that they lied, that they were coerced into lying. That they were promised deals and rewards. That they told lies. If Bello's and Bradley's testimony is the only testimony that they had to convict us, then in equal justice, as the system is supposed to be, then their testimony is enough to give us a fair trial free from the perjured testimony. We have enough in front of us right here, right now to deal with, which nobody is dealing with. The United State Supreme Court again says, in (unintelligible) vs. Illinois in 1959 decision, says that if deals, rewards and promises are made, that these things should be brought to the attendion of the jury, by the prosecutor, if the prosecutor allowed perjured testimony to be introduced at trial, then the conviction cannot stand.

MILLER: However, Cal and I, at least certainly on my part, I don't think we're questioning whether you should get a new trial. I think we're questioning your innocence or your guilt.

CARTER: Well, in court, I questioned my innocence or guilt too, because I know that I am not guilty of this. I know that I did not commit the crime. However, again, on June 17, 1966, when John Artis and I were at this police station for 17 hours, when they asked us if we would take a lie detector test, and I told them that I would take a lie detector test as long as no Paterson police officer gave it to me. And they brought in Sgt. McGuire from somewhere else to come and give us the lie detector test and this man gave us a lie detector test and then sat down there and told the police why John Artis and Rubin Carter could not have been involved in this crime. And at that point, the police give me my car keys and let me go. Isn't it inconceiveable that if John Artis and Rubin Carter would have failed that test the very same day that this crime took place and, isn't it inconceivable that, a year later, the police come to court and said that they found two live bullets in my car on that very night. Isn't it inconceivable that if two black men committed this crime and the police said they found two live shells in the car and the police -- that I failed the lie detector test, isn't it obnoxious to think that they would let me walk out of there?

MILLER: It seems inconceivable to me...

CARTER: Of course it is.

MILLER: It also seems a little inconceiveable to me that you wouldn't want to prove your innocence beyond any shadow of a doubt and take another test.

CARTER: I want to prove my innocence beyond any shadow of a doubt, but why should I give you extraneous matter when you have law matters right here at hand that says that we did not receive a fair trial. That's what I'm talking about. You have that. you have laws into effect today that says that. If people didn't receive a fair trial, then they ought to get a fair trial. Now if you're not moving on that, how am I gonna assume that you're going to move on something else? Let's deal with what we got here.

Interview moves to another subject.