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The trials of the Scottsboro Boys, arose in Alabama during the 1930s, when a group of black boys were accused of raping two white girls on a train. The men were sentenced to death, despite the fact that one of the girls later denied being raped. They were all eventually paroled, freed or pardoned, some after serving years of a prison sentence.
After a lynch mob erupted, the Alabama Governor, Benjamin Meeks Mille, was forced to call the National Guard to protect the jail. On March 30th, the Scottsboro Boys were endicted by a grand jury and in April, all were convicted and sentenced to death. In April, The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the International Labor Defense both took up the case, but the NAACP dropped the case in January, 1932. Despite the fact that a letter surfaced in which Ruby Bates denied that she was raped, the Alabama Supreme Court affirmed the convictions of seven of the boys in March, 1932.
The U.S. Supreme Court
On November 7, 1932, in Patterson v. Alabama, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the defendants were denied the right to counsel, which violated their right to due process under the Fourteenth Amendment. On April 1st, 1935, in Norris v. Alabama, the United States Supreme Court ruled that the exclusion of black jurors violated the boys' fourteenth amendment right.
The end of the case
In July, 1937, Clarence Norris was convicted of rape and sentenced to death, Andy Wright was convicted of rape and sentenced to 99 years, and Charlie Weems was convicted and sentenced to 75 years in prison. Ozzie Powell pleaded guilty to assaulting the sheriff and was sentenced to 20 years. In addition, three of the boys, Roy Wright, Eugene Williams, Olen Montgomery and Willie Roberson, were released after all charges against them were dropped. Later, Alabama Governor, Bibb Graves reduced Clarence Norris's death sentence to life in prison. Norris was later pardoned. All of the Scottsboro boys were eventually paroled, freed or pardoned.