This week marks the ninth anniversary of
Anthony Michael Green’
s exoneration in Ohio. Green served 13 years in prison before DNA tests obtained by the Innocence Project proved that he didn’t commit the crime and led to his release.
Green was convicted of rape and aggravated robbery in 1988 and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. He was arrested after a Cleveland cancer patient was raped in her room at a clinic. Based on her description of the attacker, a clinic employee identified Green, a former employee.
Although the victim initially expressed uncertainty, she finally identified Green as her assailant after his picture appeared in two consecutive group photograph lineups. More than three-quarters of the 261 people exonerated through DNA testing in the U.S. were convicted based, at least in part, on an eyewitness misidentification. Improvements to the identification procedures commonly used by police agencies can prevent these injustices.
Read more about misidentification and wrongful conviction
. Nine years into his sentence, Green contacted The Innocence Project, which negotiated for the release of evidence for DNA testing. Tests were conducted on the spermatozoa left on a washcloth the rapist used to clean himself after ejaculating, and the DNA recovered from the samples excluded Green as the source.
Since Green’s release in 2001, the true perpetrator – a former Cleveland Clinic Inn employee – confessed and was convicted. In June 2004, the city of Cleveland created the Anthony Michael Green Forensic Laboratory Audit in efforts to address the causes of faulty and falsified forensic evidence, which is a contributing cause in more than 50% of wrongful convictions later overturned through DNA testing. Green said at the time that he hoped the audit would prevent similar injustices from happening in the city.