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08th Apr 2023

Man freed from prison after serving 30 years for murder now ordered to return to jail

Steve Hopkins

A court earlier ruled that police had withheld evidence that they had another suspect

A man who spent almost half his life in jail for a crime he says he didn’t commit has been ordered to return to prison just two years after his conviction was overturned.

Crosley Green served more than 30 years for murder, before being released in 2021 after he won an appeal.

In 2022, the conviction was reinstated and a judge has since ruled the now 65-year-old must return to prison later this month.

US District Judge Roy Dalton ruled this week that Green must turn himself in to the authorities by April 17 to continue serving life in prison.

Green, who was convicted in the 1989 shooting death of 21-year-old Charles Flynn, was allowed to leave prison on conditional release in 2021, three years after his conviction was overturned by a federal court in Orlando, CNN reported.

The state of Florida appealed and won the decision last year, and Green’s conviction was reinstated.

Green was allowed to remain free until he exhausts his legal options, but a judge then ruled that freedom would only last until April 17.

His legal team unsuccessfully petitioned the US Supreme Court in February and now his only options are clemency or parole, CNN said.

“We are in strategy mode right now, with respect to parole and clemency,” Green’s attorney Jeane Thomas told CNN Thursday. “There is a commission within the state of Florida that considers both options. In the case of parole, they make a decision. In the case of clemency, they make a recommendation to the governor.”

Green’s attorney Jeane Thomas made clear to the outlet that clemency isn’t the same as exoneration, as it is simply allows the state to decide if someone has served enough time to be released.

Green has been employed since his release, attends church, and spends time with his grandchildren, all while wearing an ankle monitor.

He has been a “model citizen”, according to Thomas, who added to CNN: “For 15 years now, we have believed wholeheartedly, 100 per cent in the innocence of our client.

“As lawyers, we have to believe that the justice system will get it right. We’re going to keep fighting. This is a grave injustice. And we just believe that eventually we will get it right.”

Green, who is Black, was sentenced by an all-white jury, the outlet noted, then re-sentenced to life in prison in 2009 due to a technicality related to the sentencing phase of his trial. Prosecutors had withheld evidence that police at one point suspected someone else was the shooter.

Late last year, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed and reinstated Green’s conviction, saying the withheld evidence was not material to the case.

Green remains optimistic despite his freedom, once again, being in the hands of the courts.

In a statement shared by his lawyers with CNN, he said, “To me, it’s just another part of what I’m going through now to get my freedom. That’s all it is.”

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