After spending the past two years in “relative freedom,” Crosley Green, now 65-years-old, has been ordered to turn himself back in to authorities by April 17 so he can return to prison.
For those who might have been unaware of Green’s case—in September of 1990, “[a]n all-white jury convict[ed] Mr. Green of first-degree murder of [Charles “Chip”] Flynn, a 22-year old man in Mims, Fla., and sentence[d] him to death. Mr. Green has always maintained his innocence.”
Despite initially being offered a plea deal of seven years if he pled guilty, Green was adamant that “he could not plead guilty to something he did not do.” Unfortunately, Green would end up spending the next 19 years in prison on death row for a crime he didn’t commit.
To add insult to injury, there have been numerous, documented issues with Green’s case, including “a prejudiced photo lineup, a junk-science dog track, four witness recantations and no physical evidence tying Green” to the crime.
It finally seemed that freedom was in Green’s future, after the court vacated his conviction and in 2021 Green was released from prison after finding a Brady violation, wherein “Brevard County prosecutors withheld evidence favorable to Green from his attorneys…But late last year, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed and reinstated the conviction saying the evidence was not material to the case.”
Subsequently attorneys at Crowell & Moring, the firm representing Green, appealed to the United States Supreme Court, but were denied, and the order for Green to be back behind bars still stands.
Somehow amidst all the turbulence, Green has not lost faith in the system. “It’s bad but it ain’t enough to affect me. It can’t make me feel down or out,” he said. “I done saw a lot and I’ve done a lot…There’s a lot more I would like to do and one day I’m gonna get to do it. Right now, I just have to abide by the rules that have been set forth. It’s just another part of what I have to go through to get my freedom.”
Crosley attributes his positive attitude to faith, “If it weren’t for the Lord I would be down and out right now…I can’t let the devil come in.”
Crowell & Moring partner Keith Harrison also believes that the arc of justice can still bend towards Green, stating “It’s a fight for freedom, and the fight isn’t over until freedom is achieved…We intend to approach Governor DeSantis and the parole board. We hope to have a conversation about why Mr. Green deserves to be free. We know Governor DeSantis is a law and order governor who is passionate about justice. We believe he will see that Crosley deserves to be free.”
But one Florida Today reporter is not as optimistic about the situation, writing, “Now the state gets to win. The powers that be, much like Shylock in Shakespeare’s The Merchant Of Venice, will exact their pound of flesh. Barring an act of clemency or unforeseen mercy, the state will one day collect Green’s last breath.”