Florida's 'Groveland Four' exonerated more than 70 years after being accused of raping White girl

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A Florida judge on Monday exonerated four Black men who were wrongly accused of raping a teenage White girl more than seven decades ago in what is considered one of the greatest miscarriages of justice of the state's Jim Crow-era history.
The ruling in Lake County followed prosecutors' motion to vacate the convictions against Charles Greenlee and Walter Irvin and charges against Ernest Thomas and Samuel Shepherd – known as the "Groveland Four." None of the men are alive today.

Carol Greenlee, daughter of Charles Greenlee, said she remembers visiting her father in prison as a young child.


"I would not hate, but I will love and embrace all of those who did not know at the time that my father was a caring and loving and compassionate person that did not rape anybody," she said during a news conference following the hearing at the same courthouse where the original trials were held.

The men ranged in age from 16 to 26 at the time they were accused of assaulting a man and raping 17-year-old Norma Padgett in Groveland,…
Louis Casiano
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