Scottsboro Cases, U.S. legal cases involving nine black youths accused in 1931 of raping two white women on a freight train in Alabama. Indicted and tried in Scottsboro, all the youths were found guilty, and eight were sentenced to death. They had no defense counsel until two lawyers volunteered to aid them on the day of the trial. The first Scottsboro case, Powell v. Alabama, reached the U.S. Supreme Court in 1932. The court reversed the convictions on the ground that failure to provide adequate counsel for the boys violated the due process clause of the 14th Amendment. Three years later the second case, Norris v. Alabama, reached the U.S. Supreme Court; it reversed the convictions because blacks had been excluded from the grand jury that indicted the youths. By 1976 all of the youths but one (who had escaped in 1948) were released from prison.