Background - Practices (Details)

Crosley Green: A 34-Year Fight for Justice

Crosley Green with his grandchildren

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

Latest Development

On February 27, 2023, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that it will not hear the case of Crowell & Moring pro bono client Crosley Green, a 65-year-old Florida man who has steadfastly fought for more than three decades to prove his innocence following his wrongful conviction by an all-white jury for a 1989 murder in Titusville, Florida. With no physical evidence linking him to the crime and key witness notes withheld by prosecutors pointing to another suspect, Green may now be ordered to return to state prison despite having spent the past two years working and living as a model citizen surrounded by family in a Florida community.

About the Case

On September 5, 1990, an all-white jury convicted Mr. Green of first-degree murder of Charles “Chip” Flynn, Jr., a 22-year-old man in Titusville, Fla., and sentenced him to death. Mr. Green was convicted on the testimony of a single eyewitness, the victim’s ex-girlfriend, who identified Mr. Green as the perpetrator.

In 2009, Crowell won Mr. Green’s release from death row, and he was resentenced to life in prison. On July 20, 2018, Crowell secured a critical victory in the case when a federal court in Orlando, Fla., granted Mr. Green’s petition for habeas corpus and ordered that he be released or provided a new trial.

The court found that Mr. Green’s constitutional rights were violated when Brevard County, Fla., prosecutors withheld witness interview notes that said the first two responding law enforcement officers told the prosecutor that they concluded the victim’s ex-girlfriend—not Mr. Green—committed the crime.

The notes stated that the officers “suspect the girl did it,” and that she “changed her story a couple of times,” including about who tied the victim’s hands. The notes were not handed over to the defense prior to trial.

The federal district court ruled in Mr. Green’s favor, writing it is “difficult to conceive of information more material to the defense… than the fact that the initial responding officers evaluated the totality of evidence as suggesting that the investigation should be directed toward someone other than” Green.

But the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed Mr. Green’s victory, ruling that prosecutors did not need to disclose material exculpatory evidence to defense counsel because it would not have been admissible at trial.

“The Eleventh Circuit failed to consider, as required by Brady and its progeny, whether those notes might have led to the development of admissible evidence favorable to Mr. Green. His original defense attorney never knew about this evidence when he prepared his defense or when he cross-examined one of the very same officers on the stand,” said partner Keith J. Harrison.

“The 11th Circuit decision creates uncertainty about a bedrock principle of justice, and it undermines the public’s trust in the justice system. If this ruling is allowed to stand, it will encourage prosecutors to make strategic choices about which pieces of exculpatory evidence they turn over or withhold based on whether they think courts will later determine they are material,” said partner Jeane A. Thomas.   

The Crowell & Moring pro bono legal team with Crosley Green

The Crowell & Moring pro bono legal team with Crosley Green.
From left: Keith Harrison, Crosley Green, Jeane Thomas, and Vincent Galluzzo

Mr. Green served 32 years in prison, including 19 years on Florida’s death row, while maintaining his innocence. He was conditionally released in 2021 and remains on house arrest. On February 27, 2023, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that it will not hear Mr. Green’s case. Crowell continues to represent Mr. Green.

“It’s a fight for freedom, and the fight isn’t over until freedom is achieved,” said partner Keith Harrison. “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.”

Mr. Green’s pro bono legal team includes: Crowell & Moring partners Keith J. HarrisonJeane A. Thomas,  Vincent J. Galluzzo and counsel Drake Morgan.

Read the Crosley Green Fact Sheet.

Media Coverage

Key Case Developments

  • February 27, 2023: Press Release: U.S. Supreme Court Will Not Hear Crosley Green Case (release)
  • February 24, 2023: Press Release: Prominent Law Professors, Former State-Court Judges, Current and Former Prosecutors, and Others File Amicus Briefs at U.S. Supreme Court in Support of Crosley Green (release and briefs)
  • January 23, 2023: Press Release: Crosley Green Petitions Supreme Court (release and brief)
  • January 20, 2023: Press Release: Crosley Green Petitions Supreme Court (press release and petition)
  • April 28, 2022: The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law files amicus brief at U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit in support of Crowell & Moring pro bono client Crosley Green (release and brief)
  • April 25, 2022 - Press Conference (Live Streaming): Crosley Green and Lawyers Seek Justice as Deadline Looms for 11th Circuit Decision
  • March 14, 2022: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit rules against Crowell & Moring pro bono client Crosley Green (press release and ruling)
  • April 21, 2022: Crowell & Moring files amended petition for rehearing en banc (petition)
  • April 8, 2021: Crowell & Moring Client Crosley Green freed from prison (press release)
  • April 18, 2019: Mr. Green’s brief to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in response to the State’s appeal (brief)  
  • July 20, 2018: News release: “Federal Judge Declares: Grant New Trial to Crowell & Moring Client Crosley Green or Set Him Free,” and the federal court’s order