A federal appeals court says Crosley Green’s disputed murder conviction can stand, but the 64-year-old has no plans to give up the fight

Although he remains under judicial supervision, he works at a mechanical transplant center, attends church every Sunday and spends as much time as possible with his family and friends, especially nieces, nephews and grandchildren. -children who he missed so much in prison for almost 32 years. years. He’s not letting any court ruling bring him down as he rebuilds his life, he said.

“I have great lawyers. I place my faith in the Lord. They do everything they can for me. I sit down and worry about nothing. I just go on with my life, everyone’s life days,” he said during a videoconference on Wednesday.

Green’s defense team says he spent nearly 32 years in prison after a prosecutor failed to provide exculpatory evidence to his original attorneys, namely that two of the investigators into the scene of the murder named another suspect. Allowing a conviction to stand in such circumstances could have disturbing ramifications, Green’s attorneys say.

“If prosecutors are allowed to conceal and conceal evidence pointing to defense counsel’s innocence, it could impact all future defendants throughout the 11th Circuit – Florida, Georgia and Alabama “said attorney Keith Harrison in a press release.

The 64-year-old was convicted of killing Chip Flynn in 1990, based largely on testimony from Flynn’s girlfriend Kim Hallock, who told police Green shot Flynn while that she was escaping from the scene in Flynn’s truck. Prosecutors also alleged that Green admitted to the crime to others, that Hallock identified Green in a police line, and that shoe prints and a tracking dog linked Green to the crime.

In 2018, U.S. District Judge Roy Dalton ruled that the original prosecutor withheld from Green’s defense that police officers Diane Clarke and Mark Rixey told prosecutors they suspected Hallock of shooting Flynn. Dalton viewed the omission as a violation of Brady, overturning Green’s conviction — meaning the state could either try Green again or set him free.
The state attorney general upheld the original conviction and appealed the ruling, keeping Green in jail for nearly three years until Dalton issued a ruling last year ordering Green’s release. Not only did Green face heightened risk during the Covid-19 pandemic, Dalton ruled, but he had also been a model prisoner and posed no danger to the community.

Attorney General Ashley Moody unsuccessfully countered that Green was safer in jail, given that there were no active cases of Covid-19 at Calhoun Correctional Facility. Moody’s office did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment.

patience game

Green was placed under house arrest, living with a relative in Titusville, Florida, while the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals took more than two years to hear his case.

During an interview last year, Green told CNN he was glad for his freedom, even though he couldn’t leave his brother-in-law’s court at the time. He spent his time feeding squirrels in the garden, enjoying strawberry ice cream and his sister’s homemade oxtails, and visiting family and other visitors.

“There are a lot of other freedoms there, but look, this little bit of freedom I have here is a lot compared to no freedom at all,” he said at the time.

He added that he wanted nothing more than to visit his sister’s grave in nearby Mims, where he was born, to pay his respects. Not being there for her when she died was one of the most painful parts of her imprisonment, he said.

On Wednesday, he said he was lucky enough to visit Selestine Peterkin’s grave during a memorial service last year.

“She was one of the strongest supporters I’ve ever had. She was my rock. She was everything to me,” he said. “I feel great. I would feel much better if she was still here. It was the day she was looking forward to. She always said to me, ‘I can’t wait for you to come home.'”

Although he maintains a rather sunny demeanor, he feels “a bit disappointed” knowing that his house arrest prevents him from taking the young people of his family to a park or a fast food joint, “you know, what do parents with children”. Some of his relatives live about 20 miles away, so it’s hard to connect as much as he wants. Still, he took immense joy in playing Santa Claus on his first Christmas as a discharged man last year – although some loved ones felt he had gone too far with the gifts, he said. he says laughing.

Green said he was confident last year that the Federal Court’s decision would stand, he said. After all, he says, he is innocent, so he leaves the matter in God’s hands. He has complete faith in the justice system, despite spending decades behind bars for something he didn’t do, he said.

But last month, after two years on the docket, a panel of three 11th Circuit judges ruled that his original conviction would stand. Dismantling the lower federal court’s decision, the panel concluded: there were no significant inconsistencies in Hallock’s story; two witnesses who retracted their initial testimony were not credible; there was no evidence that the witnesses had been coerced; Green’s alibi witnesses were not credible; the evidence found in Flynn’s truck “undermines the value” of post-trial DNA evidence, and the evidence regarding the fatal bullet was not new.

Additionally, a hair found in the vehicle at the scene may have come from Green, the panel said, stating, “Analysis revealed that the hair could not have come from 99.58% of the population. However, Green is member of the 0.42% of the population from which he could have come.”

The judges concluded: “After reviewing the new evidence of Green’s innocence alongside the evidence of guilt, Green has failed to demonstrate that it is more likely than not that no reasonable juror would have convicted. (Green).”

“Nothing Sticks”

Lawyers Harrison and Jeane Thomas of Crowell & Moring, an international law firm that has been fighting pro bono for Green since 2008, have long cited a litany of problems with the evidence.

Four witnesses recanted their testimony, they told CNN. In addition to the alibi witness who testified at trial, they found nine others who say Green was doing drugs at a party in Mims, 2 miles from the crime scene, when the murder took place, a Harrison said.

Green poses with attorneys Jeane Thomas and Keith Harrison the day after his release.

Other issues raised by the defense include: Green’s fingerprints were not found at the scene; Green doesn’t know how to drive a shifter like the one in Flynn’s truck; a canine officer used a questionable method to track shoe prints at the scene; shoe prints found did not match Green’s only pair of Reeboks; and the photo series presented to Hallock positioned Green’s photo, darker and smaller than five others, top center, said Harrison, a former prosecutor.

“Nothing adds up. Nothing goes together,” Harrison said last year. “There are a lot of facts in this case, and most of the facts point to Crosley’s innocence.”

In a press release last month, Harrison said he was “deeply disappointed” with the 11th Circuit’s decision and insisted the lower court’s decision to overturn the conviction was correct. Green “deserves a new trial, and this time a fair trial,” he said.

“Our fight for justice for Mr. Green will not be over until he is exonerated. We can appeal this decision in a number of ways, and we plan to do so,” he said.

Green is now in another phase of his long waiting game, but for him nothing has changed. He is focused on family and learning to be a strong friend and family man, the father of three said.

“Like I said, I’m still moving forward. I have no reason to turn around and look over my shoulder,” he said.

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