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Appellate Court Rules Against Crowell & Moring Pro Bono Client Crosley Green

Firm Vows to Continue 14-Year Battle to Prove His Innocence

Mr. Green

Crosley Green with his grandchildren.
Photo courtesy of CBS News “48 Hours.”

Washington – March 15, 2022: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit has ruled against Crowell & Moring pro bono client Crosley Green, overturning a 2018 landmark victory that declared his conviction “unconstitutional” and ordered the state of Florida to set him free or grant him a new trial. Lawyers for Mr. Green will appeal the ruling and fight to secure a new trial for their client, who spent more than three decades in prison for a murder he did not commit.  

“We are deeply disappointed that the Eleventh Circuit overturned the District Court’s ruling that Crosley Green was unconstitutionally convicted. We believe that the District Court was correct. Mr. Green is innocent; he was wrongfully convicted and deserves a new, and this time, a fair trial. Our fight for justice for Mr. Green will not be over until he is exonerated. There are various ways we can appeal this ruling, and we plan on doing just that,” said Keith J. Harrison, a partner at Crowell, which has fought for Mr. Green’s release for the past 14 years.

Mr. Green was released from prison on April 7, 2021 when U.S. District Court Judge Roy B. Dalton granted a motion filed by Crowell’s pro bono team to release Mr. Green from the Calhoun Correctional Institution in Florida, citing health risks stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic and the fact that Mr. Green’s conviction in the 1989 shooting death of Charles "Chip" Flynn Jr. was overturned nearly three years prior by the same court. In addition, Judge Dalton found that Mr. Green had been a “model prisoner” who would pose no danger to the public, based on a declaration from the prison’s warden obtained by Crowell.

“Since Mr. Green’s conditional release in April 2021, he has found full-time employment, and he is spending his time with his large, extended family. Judge Dalton granted Mr. Green release as the case remained on appeal at the Eleventh Circuit. There is a mandatory period of time before the Eleventh  Circuit's ruling becomes final. Our hope is that Mr. Green will remain under his current conditions of release while the court proceedings continue,” Harrison said.  

A copy of the ruling may be found here.

Background on the Case

On September 5, 1990, an all-white jury convicted Mr. Green of first-degree murder of Charles “Chip” Flynn Jr.in Titusville, Florida, and sentenced him to death. Crowell took Mr. Green’s case pro bono in 2008. One year later, the firm won Mr. Green’s release from Florida’s death row.

In 2018, Crowell secured a landmark victory for Mr. Green when the federal court in Orlando granted his petition for habeas corpus, ordering the state to set him free or grant him a new trial. The court found that Mr. Green’s constitutional rights had been violated when Brevard County prosecutors withheld key exculpatory evidence of Mr. Green’s innocence in his original trial. Additionally, four of the prosecution’s witnesses have recanted their testimony since Mr. Green was originally convicted, alleging prosecutorial misconduct occurred at the time of their original testimony. Ten alibi witnesses have stepped forward asserting that Mr. Green was elsewhere at the time of the crime.

The court’s ruling in favor of Mr. Green pointed to statements made to the prosecutor by the police officers who first responded to the crime scene that were withheld from Mr. Green’s defense at trial. The officers independently concluded that the key witness’s description of the events lacked credibility and that it was the witness, not “a black guy,” who killed Mr. Flynn. Judge Dalton found that the prosecutor’s failure to disclose the evidence constituted a Brady violation that undermines “confidence in the outcome of the trial.”

The court wrote that information that the first officers at the scene evaluated the evidence as implicating another suspect “went to the heart of the defense strategy. It is difficult to conceive of information more material to the defense and the development of defense strategy than the fact that the initial responding officers evaluated the totality of the evidence as suggesting that the investigation should be directed toward someone other than [Green].”

The Florida Attorney General appealed the ruling and fought Mr. Green’s release while the case was pending, despite the fact that no physical evidence ties Mr. Green to the crime.

For more information on the case, visit the firm’s Crosley Green information page.

Contact(s):

Nicole Quigley
Senior Communications Advisor
+1.202.624.2849
Email: prteam@crowell.com