Crosley Green has spent more than two decades in prison for a crime he insists he did not commit. Volunteer attorneys from Crowell & Moring have represented Crosley through multiple stages of his case, first providing life-saving representation that removed him from death row and continuing to provide representation as he seeks to clear his name.
In 1990, Crosley was convicted by an all-white jury of kidnapping and killing Chip Flynn of Titusville, Florida, and was sentenced to death by a vote of eight to four. Before trial, the State offered Crosley a plea that would have spared his life, but he refused to take it, insisting that he would not admit to something he did not do.
A team of pro bono investigators, along with the attorneys from Crowell, reinvestigated the case. Several of the State’s major witnesses against Crosley have now recanted. In addition, eight witnesses have come forward to support Crosley’s alibi. The sole eye witness who testified against Crosley was the victim’s former girlfriend. She picked Crosley out of a photo lineup where his picture stood out as smaller and darker than all the others. Her ability to identify Crosley was suspect given that the crime happened at night in an area that was not well-lit. Responding police officers initially suspected her of committing the crime, but the State failed to disclose this information to defense counsel. The details in her testimony changed over time and did not match the physical evidence—for example, she claimed that “the black guy” climbed in and out of the victim’s car several times, but Crosley’s fingerprints were never found at the scene, and the police found no other physical evidence to connect him to the crime. One juror has now come forward to say that her testimony at trial sounded like “a made-up story.”
Three other witnesses who claimed that Crosley confessed to them have now recanted. One of those witnesses, Crosley’s sister, says that she testified against her brother with the hope of receiving leniency for drug charges she was facing at the time.
Crosley may soon have the opportunity to present all of this evidence at a new trial thanks to Crowell’s steadfast commitment to vindicating his claim of innocence. Crowell won a challenging procedural victory in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, which cleared the way for consideration of the merits of Crosley’s claims. On remand to the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida in July 2018, a federal judge granted habeas relief to Crosley due to the State’s failure to disclose potentially exculpatory evidence in violation of Brady v. Maryland. The court gave the State 90 days to retry Crosley or release him from custody.
Crosley’s struggle to overcome unreliable testimony and clear his name may finally be reaching its end; fortunately, with Crowell & Moring by his side, he did not have to face this fight alone.