Wrongly Convicted Database Record


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Lenny Bruce (NY case)



Obsenity Related Charge


4 months

Years Imprisoned:

Year Crime:


Year Convicted:


Year Cleared:


U.S. State or Country of Crime:

New York

County or Region of Crime:

New York

City of Crime:

New York City


Pardoned Posthumously

Summary of Case:

"Lenny Bruce (birth name Leonard Alfred Schneider) was wrongly convicted for uttering obscene words and phrases at the Cafe Au Go Go, a Greenwich Village nightclub in April 1964. Acting pro se, Lenny Bruce botched his appeal, which he based on First Amendment grounds. Lenny Bruce died in 1966 at 39. On December 23, 2003, New York Governor George Pataki pardoned Mr. Bruce, saying, "I hope this pardon serves as a reminder of the precious freedoms we are fighting to preserve as we continue to wage the war on terror." (Source: Seattle Times, 12-24-03, p. A8) The also said that due to his lack of legal representation, he "never legally appealed his conviction on First Amendment grounds." (NY Times, NY Region Section, 12-23-03). It was reported to be the first posthumous pardon in New York state history."

Conviction Caused By:

Innocence Proved By:

"Lenny Bruce was posthumously pPardoned on Dec 23, 2003 by New York Governor George Pataki"

Defendant Aided By:

Compensation Awarded:

Was Perpetrator Identified?

Age When Imprisoned:


Age When Released:




Information Source 1:

"Comedian granted posthumous pardon, (LA Times and Seattle Times Staff), The Seattle Times, Dec. 24, 2003, p. A8."

Information Location 1:


Information Source 2:

"Obscene' Comic Bruce Gets A Pardon, by Josh Getlin (staff), LA Times, Dec 24, 2003, Nation Section"

Information Location 2:


Information Source 3:

"Comedian Bruce Receives Posthumous Pardon, AP, Dec 24, 2003, Arts"

Information Location 3:


Information Source 4:

"37 Years After His Death, Lenny Bruce Receives a Pardon, by Kirk Semple, NY Times, Dec 23, 2003, NY Region section"

Information Location 4:

Information Source 5:

Information Location 5:

Book About Case:

Book Information:

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Comments About Case:

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

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