Powell v. Alabama: 9 young black men were accused of raping 2 white women on a
train in Alabama.
turned out that the two women who cried rape were actually prostitutes who lied
about the charges. The 9 men were initially not even given lawyers until the very
last minute, and the efforts of their defense team were risible. Those accused
were quickly convicted and given the death sentence. There was an appeal.
trial notes showed what a laughable trial it had been and the Supreme Court quashed
the charges. However, the state of Alabama insisted on retrying the defendants.
having the finest legal defense of its day (in the form of Samuel Liebowitz) the
all white jury convicted them again.
convictions and appeals went on for about 10 years, all defendants were eventually
cleared for the nonexistent crime.