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Myron Beldock Papers

 Collection
Call Number: MS212

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Scope and Contents

This collection contains the Rubin Carter defense files. The bulk of the materials consist of legal files including copies of court transcripts, briefs, photographs, and witness statements; there is also a smaller body of correspondence, newspaper clippings, and handwritten notes. The “Defense File Drawers” contain materials dated from approximately 1966 to 1976, which largely have to do with Carter's 1976 trial. The “Cityside Archives” boxes date to approximately 1979 to 1986, and mainly relate to the defense’s subsequent motions and appeals. This grouping also includes a manuscript of "Lazarus and The Hurricane" by Sam Chaiton and Terence Swinton. Notably, there are also ten audio cassettes from circa 1976 related to interviews and testimonies given at the trial.

Dates

  • 1966 -- 1986

Creator

Language of Materials

English

Access

This collection is open for research. This collection may require review before it is available for use. Please contact DCA for further details.

Conditions Governing Use

Some material in this collection may be protected by copyright and other rights. Please see “Reproductions and Use” on the Digital Collections and Archives website for more information about reproductions and permission to publish. Any intellectual property rights that the donor possesses have been transferred to Tufts University.

Extent

78.25 Linear Feet (66 boxes)

Biographical / Historical

Myron Beldock (1929-2016) was a civil rights lawyer who specialized in wrongful convictions and judicial misconduct. He represented a number of high profile clients, including George Whitmore Jr., Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, John Artis, and the Central Park Five.

Myron Beldock was born on March 27, 1929 in Brooklyn, New York, to George and Irene Beldock. He graduated from Erasmus Hall High School (1946) and Hamilton College (1950) before serving in the United States Army from 1951-1954. He went on to graduate from Harvard Law School in 1958. Beldock served several years as the Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of New York, before becoming an associate at a small firm and a single practitioner. In 1964, he started the law firm Beldock Levine & Hoffman with friends and fellow former Assistant U.S. Attorneys Elliot Hoffman and Larry Levine.

During his tenure at Beldock Levine & Hoffman, Beldock litigated a number of high profile criminal defense and civil rights cases, specializing in wrongful convictions and judicial misconduct. In 1965, he won the dismissal of an attempted rape charge against George Whitmore Jr., a Black teenager who was also falsely accused of the Manhattan Career Girl Murders in 1963. The charges were dropped after Beldock challenged the accuser’s identification of Whitmore, when it was revealed he was the only Black man in the police lineup. It also became apparent that Whitmore was beaten by police into signing his confession after several days of interrogation. This fact would later be central to the 1966 Supreme Court Miranda decision, in which police officers are required to inform suspects of their right to remain silent and their right to legal representation.

Beldock also famously represented boxer Rubin “Hurricane” Carter and John Artis after they had been wrongfully accused of a triple homicide in New Jersey, which again was attributed to misidentification of the suspects and racial bias. The case became the subject of a song by Bob Dylan, a number of best-selling books, and the 1999 movie “The Hurricane.”

Beldock also defended Yusef Salaam. Salaam was one of the Central Park Five, a group of men wrongly convicted for the beating and rape of a woman known as the Central Park Jogger in 1989. The men had been coerced into making false confessions, but were all convicted of various charges including rape, assault, robbery, riot, and attempted murder. Their convictions were overturned in 2002 after serial rapist Matias Reyes confessed to the crime.

Beldock married Elizabeth Pease in 1953, with whom he had four children. Beldock and Pease were divorced in 1969. Beldock was remarried in 1986 to Karen Dippold, a lawyer with his firm and later, his legal partner. They had one son. Beldock died on February 1, 2016 in Manhattan, New York.

Processing status

This collection is minimally processed.

In April 2021 this finding aid was reviewed for offensive description by Collections Management Archivist Adrienne Pruitt. The word “Black” was capitalized when used to refer to an identity or race.

Repository Details

Part of the Digital Collections and Archives, Tufts University Repository

Contact:
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Tufts University
Medford Massachusetts 02155 United States
617-627-3737