News 07.29.10

DNA Points to Texas Man’s Innocence

After spending almost three decades in prison for a rape DNA shows he did not commit, Michael Anthony Green is expected to be released soon in Harris County, Houston, TX.  He has served more time in prison than any other Texan to be cleared through DNA testing.

Green was arrested in 1983 and sentenced to 75 years in prison for rape as a result of an eyewitness misidentification. According to court papers, Green wasn’t identified by the victim the first time she saw him. After she reported the crime, police rounded up several African-American men in the area; the victim had about ten minutes to look at Green, but she did not identify him as one of her attackers. A week later, she picked him out of a photo lineup and a live lineup.  Green was the only man in the photo lineup who matched the victim’s general description of one of the attackers.

Green filed a motion for post-conviction DNA testing in 2005 and prosecutors finally took a swab of his DNA in February 2009.  Last month, DNA results on the jeans worn by the victim during the attack excluded Green.  Green’s attorney, Bob Wicoff, a member of the Innocence Project of Texas’ Board of Directors, said bad police work played a central role in his client’s wrongful conviction. Green was expected to be freed today, but proceedings were delayed after

shouting was heard

from the court’s holding cell. Wicoff said the shouting was coming from Green. “This has been a gross perversion of justice and he’s a smart guy and he knows it,” Wicoff told reporters. “He’s angry.”

The final ruling on Green’s innocence will be made by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.  If found innocent, he could be eligible for a one-time payment of more than $2 million under the state’s compensation law.


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