Wrongly Convicted Database Record


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Charles Bernstein (bank robbery conviction)



Bank Robbery (incld. Armed)


40 years

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Year Cleared:


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Judicially Exonerated Released

Summary of Case:

"Charles Bernstein was wrongly convicted of robbing a bank in Hopkins, Minnesota in 1919 based on the erroneous identification of him as the robber by two witnesses after being shown a picture of him as a teenager - not as an adult. Two robbery witnesses said he was not the robber and two hotel detectives and the hotel clerk testified he was 20 miles away in a St. Paul hotel lobby at the time of the robbery. In 1928 a prosecutor became convinced of Bernstein's innocence and his conviction was overturned. Five years later he was again mistaken as the perpetrator of a major crime and convicted of committing a murder in Washington DC and sentenced to death, even though six witnesses testified he was over two hundred miles away in New York at the time of the murder. In May 1935 he was minutes away from being executed when President Roosevelt commuted his sentence to life in prison. In June1940 the President commuted his sentence to time served, and in April 1945 President Truman pardoned Charles Bernstein. He spent a total of 17 years wrongly imprisoned for the two crimes he didn't commit. Bernstein was also known as Charles Harris and Charles Blum."

Conviction Caused By:

False eyewitness identification by two people

Innocence Proved By:

Conviction set aside and indictment dismissed.

Defendant Aided By:

Compensation Awarded:


Was Perpetrator Identified?

Age When Imprisoned:

Age When Released:




Information Source 1:

"In Spite of Innocence, Radelet, Bedau and Putnam, Northeastern Univ. Press, 1996, p. 286"

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Information Source 2:

"The Innocents, Edward Radin,William Morrow & Co., 1964, p. 247-8."

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

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