St. Louis Co. Atty. Mark Rubin Supports Pardon Of Man Convicted In 1920 Duluth Rape Case Connected To Lynchings

DULUTH, Minn. – St. Louis County Attorney Mark Rubin says he is fully supportive of pardoning a now-dead former circus worker Max Mason who was one of six black men accused of raping a woman in Duluth, which ultimately lead to three historic lynchings downtown of Isaac McGhie, Elmer Jackson and Elias Clayton.

On Friday, the Minnesota Board of Pardons will hear the case Mason — the only person convicted in the rape case from 1920.

This is the first time in Minnesota’s history that the state will take up a pardon case involving someone who is no longer alive.

The three-member board includes Gov. Tim Walz and Attorney General Keith Ellison.

County Attorney Rubin is involved because pardon cases require the opinion of the top prosecutor in a county where the case happened.

For Rubin — a 40-plus year prosecutor — the evidence against Mason was insufficient.

“As a prosecutor, if that case came to me today, there’s no way we’d charge it,” Rubin said. “The investigation was horribly flawed. Basically he was arrested, he was accused because he was a black man — one of six that they said was involved in this.”

The petition to review Mason’s case was made late last year before the current unrest across the country came to a head involving racial injustice and police reform.

But Rubin says he hopes the actions to potentially pardon Mason will help some people put hope and trust back into the judicial system.

A decision could be made as soon as Friday.

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