Wrongly Convicted Database Record


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Joseph Franz Arbeiter



Second Degree Murder


40 years

Years Imprisoned:


Year Crime:


Year Convicted:


Year Cleared:


U.S. State or Country of Crime:


County or Region of Crime:

St. Louis

City of Crime:

St. Louis


Judicially Exonerated Released

Summary of Case:

"Joseph Framz Arbeiter was wrongly convicted of second-degree murder in the death of a mother of two on December 2, 1963 in St. Louis Missouri. Arbeiter was 15 at the time of his arrest in 1963. He was charged with first-degree murder based on a statement he gave to the police after his arrest. The trial judge denied the objection by Arbeiter's lawyer to the admissibility of his statement. Arbeiter was convicted by a jury in 1964 based on his statement, and he was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. In October 1966 the MIssouri Supreme Court overturned Arbeiter’s life sentence and ordered a retrial, on the basis his statements to police were inadmissible because the officers failed to take him “immediately” to the juvenile court, as the law required given his age. Arbeiter was retried. The prosecution's case was based on Arbeiter’s juvenile records that the trial judge had allowed them to subpoenaed over his lawyer’s objections. After Arbeiter was convicted by a jury second-degree murder, he was sentenced to 40 years in prison. On January 12, 1970 the Missouri Supreme Court overturned Arbeiter's conviction on the basis that Arbeiter’s juvenile records should have remained sealed and that without them, the state did not have sufficient proof of his guilt. Arbeiter was released after more than six years in custody."

Conviction Caused By:

Prosecution's illegal use of sealed juvenile records.

Innocence Proved By:

"On January 12, 1970 the Missouri Supreme Court reversed Arbeiter's conviction on the basis the prosecution introduced insufficient admissible evidence to prove his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt."

Defendant Aided By:

Compensation Awarded:

Was Perpetrator Identified?

Age When Imprisoned:


Age When Released:





Information Source 1:

"State v. Arbeiter, 449 SW 2d 627 (Mo: Supreme Court, 1st Div. 1-12-1970) (Reversing conviction based on insufficient admissible evidence.)"

Information Location 1:


Information Source 2:

"Human remains found on property of man whose life sentence in St. Louis murder was overturned, By Jennifer S. Mann (Staff reporter), St. Louis Post-Dispatch, May 6, 2014"

Information Location 2:


Information Source 3:

"Missouri murderer dies while serving sentence; he had been accused in 1963 St. Louis case, By Associated Press, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, June 23, 2015"

Information Location 3:


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Innocents Database Created and Maintained by Hans Sherrer innocents@forejustice.org

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