Convictions of Black Soldiers Overturned — 63 Years Later

In an unexpected move, the U.S. Army is close to overturning the convictions of 63 black soldiers 63 years ago in Seattle after rioting of POWs at Fort Lawton. The Board of Corrections of Military Records based the decision on the denial of counsel and investigative records to the accused. In 1944, POW Guglielmo Olivotto was found hanging on wires after rioting in what is now Seattle’s Discovery Park.Forty-three black soldiers were tried in one of the largest courts-martial of World War II. Of those, 28 were found guilty of rioting and sentenced to as many as 25 years in prison. For the full story, click here

It is a very interesting decision because at the time, there was no guarantee of a public defender in criminal cases and the modern rules of access to evidence had not been written.

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