Innocent Man Released after 27 Years in Texas Prison

Wednesday, August 04, 2010
Michael Anthony Green (photo: Texas Department of Criminal Justice)

When asked what kept him going through nearly three decades in prison for a crime he did not commit, Michael Anthony Green credited his anger. Green is now a free man, after DNA tests showed he did not rape a woman in Houston in 1983. But it took 27 years for the justice system to decide he was not guilty. The long wait took its toll on Green, who became agitated just prior to his release when he was put into handcuffs and leg restraints one last time while being transported from the county jail to the courthouse, during which a deputy allegedly threatened him. His outburst delayed his release by a day, but on July 30, Green, now 45 years old, was finally set free on a no-cash bond. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals will rule on his official innocence.

Green was an 18-year-old petty car thief when, on the night of April 18, 1983, he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. A woman had been abducted at a pay phone, driven to a secluded spot and raped by three black men. Green was walking in the area when he was stopped by police and placed in the back of a police car. The rape victim was shown Green, but said he was not one of her attackers. However, eight days later, she picked him out in a photo display and then in a lineup. Four months later, she identified him again in court.
Green, whose only previous conviction was a misdemeanor for evading arrest, always denied his involvement in the rape and repeatedly filed appeals.
It wasn’t until this year that attorneys and investigators in the Post Conviction Review Section of the Harris County District Attorney's Office found in a warehouse the pair of jeans worn by the victim on the night of the rape. DNA test results excluded Green, but did identify three other men, two of whom are currently incarcerated for other crimes. One of the three confessed to the 1983 rape and confirmed that Green was not involved.
Green has served the longest prison sentence of any Texas prisoner who was later proven innocent. Only a week earlier, another Harris County prisoner, Allen Wayne Porter, was released after serving 19 years for a rape he did not commit.
-David Wallechinsky, Noel Brinkerhoff
Innocent Prisoner Freed after 27 Years (by Mike Tolson and Brian Rogers, Houston Chronicle)
Waking up after a 27-Year Nightmare (by Mike Tolson, Houston Chronicle)
DNA Clears Houston Man 27 Years after Conviction (by Brian Rogers, Houston Chronicle)


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