Crosley Green embraced his family Monday in what may be his last day as a free man and then surrendered again to the Florida Department of Corrections in Orlando. The 65-year-old grandfather has already served 32 years, including 19 on death row, for a murder that he did not commit. After a federal court found that Mr. Green was wrongfully convicted, he has been free for the past two years on conditional release while his case was on appeal. He was ordered to return to prison after an appeals court overturned his win and the U.S. Supreme Court recently declined to hear his case.
“The last two years have been the best years of my life. I reunited with my family and met my grandkids for the first time. I learned a new job that I really love. I’ve enjoyed worshipping with my church in Titusville. And I’ve begun new relationships that have changed my life. I would like to live the years I have left in freedom and peace,” Mr. Green said.
“Mr. Green has thrived over the past two years. He has spent his time with his large extended family and become engaged. He has worked a full-time job and become a prominent member of a local church. He has proven his character. He is a man who should be free,” said Keith Harrison, a partner at Crowell & Moring who has led the fight for his freedom for the past 15 years.
“Today is a dark day for justice, but Crosley Green’s faith points him to the hope of a better day ahead. The only avenues left to pursue are parole or clemency, and we are hopeful that the State will see that no public interest is served by keeping Mr. Green behind bars,” Mr. Harrison said. “We will never stop fighting for Mr. Green’s freedom. Although our avenues within the court system are exhausted, we believe the State of Florida will do the right thing by Mr. Green.”
Despite being ordered back to prison, Mr. Green remains optimistic that justice will prevail in the end.
“I have faith in God that He will find a way. I believe He will show everyone who is willing to look at my case that I deserve to be free. I am not bitter. I am not down and out. I am trying to set an example of faith and hope for my family, for my church, and for my town,” Mr. Green said.
About the Case
Mr. Green has steadfastly fought for more than three decades to prove his innocence following his wrongful conviction by an all-white jury for the 1989 murder of Charles “Chip” Flynn Jr. in Titusville, Fla. Crowell & Moring has worked on Mr. Green’s case pro bono since 2008 on referral from the ABA Death Penalty Representation Project.
Crowell secured Mr. Green’s release from death row in 2009. In 2018, Crowell secured a critical victory in the case when a federal court in Orlando, Fla., granted Mr. Green’s petition for habeas corpus and ordered that he be released or provided a new trial. The court found that Mr. Green had been wrongfully convicted and his constitutional rights were violated when prosecutors in Brevard County withheld witness interview notes that stated the first two responding law enforcement officers told the prosecutor that they concluded the victim’s ex-girlfriend—not Mr. Green—committed the crime. No physical evidence ties Mr. Green to the crime, and four of the prosecution’s witnesses have recanted their trial testimony, alleging the prosecution coerced their false testimony.
U.S. District Court Judge Roy B. Dalton Jr. held that the information that the first officers at the scene evaluated the evidence as implicating another as a suspect “went to the heart of the defense strategy. It is difficult to conceive of information more material to the defense and the development of defense strategy than the fact that the initial responding officers evaluated the totality of the evidence as suggesting that the investigation should be directed toward someone other than [Green].”
In April 2021, Mr. Green was released from prison on conditional release (house arrest) while his case was pending appeal. While free over the past two years, Mr. Green has held full-time employment, became part of a church community, and spent time with family—including meeting his grandchildren for the first time. The state of Florida appealed the decision, and the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed Mr. Green’s victory. The Supreme Court declined to take up Mr. Green’s case on February 27, 2023. The U.S. District Court for the Middle District for Florida ordered Mr. Green to return to custody of the Florida Department of Corrections to complete his sentence.
On April 17, 2023, Mr. Green surrendered himself to the Florida Department of Corrections.
For more information about the case, visit the Crosley Green information page.