A black man jailed for more than 30 years for a crime he says he did not commit has been released from prison nearly three years after his conviction was overturned. Crosley Green was convicted in 1990 of the murder of a 22-year-old Florida man – although there is no physical evidence linking him to the crime.
Federal Judge Roy B. Dalton allowed a motion from Green’s lawyers asking for his immediate release on Tuesday, citing the coronavirus pandemic, health concerns and the reversal of his conviction. Green’s lawyers have said he is at increased risk of contracting COVID-19 due to his age, recent exposure to tuberculosis for which he is being treated and his other health issues.
The state of Florida opposed Green’s release. After Dalton overturned Green’s conviction in 2018, with ruling prosecutors withholding defense attorneys’ evidence in his initial trial, the state appealed the decision. The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has not rendered a decision in the case, which has kept Green in jail so far.
Denying the state’s request to keep Green, 63, incarcerated, Dalton spoke about the pandemic and how long Green was in detention. Dalton also noted that Green was described as a “model prisoner” by the director of the Calhoun Correctional Facility, where he was held.
“In addition, the public has a keen interest in the release of a prisoner who the court has found to be incarcerated in violation of the Constitution,” Dalton wrote, adding that Green “poses no danger to public safety.”
Green will stay with a family member and be under house arrest pending the outcome of the appeal, Dalton said.
Green’s lawyers, Keith Harrison and Jeane Thomas,for using false evidence and pressuring witnesses in the prosecution of the murder of Charles “Chip” Flynn, who was found shot dead on a Florida citrus grove in 1989.
Flynn’s ex-girlfriend Kim Hallock was with him that night and told investigators they were robbed and Flynn’s truck was hijacked while they were sitting in the vehicle late in the night. Hallock told investigators the suspect was a black man, but some investigators said his story did not match.
Flynn’s family and friends told “48 Hours” in 1999 that Flynn had a new girlfriend and Hallock was upset by the breakup. Hallock, who has never been a suspect in death, chose Green, who had recently been released from prison, from a series of photos.
Green was arrested and charged with kidnapping, theft and murder, although there is no direct evidence linking him to the shooting. Green said he was at a party at the time of the murder.
In 1990, he was convicted by an all-white jury and sentenced to death.
“48 Hours” spoke with Green in April 2020, pending a decision on the appeal. When asked what he thought of the possibility of a release, Green replied, “It’s amazing. It’s amazing. … I just hope and pray that that day comes soon. . ”