The man to the left, Michael Anthony Green, was freed last week after spending 27 years in prison for a crime he didn't commit. Green was convicted of Aggravated Sexual Assault and sentenced to 75 years in prison. This has to be a potential nightmare for a criminal defense attorney.
Try to put 27 years in perspective. I was in the 6th grade 27 years ago. Think of the time you spent with your family. The good times you had with friends. The family you may have started. The joyous holidays spent. The opportunity to be with your parents as they grow old. Green lost all of that locked up behind bars for a crime he didn't commit. That is a picture of his mother he is holding. She passed away while he was in prison. He wasn't able to attend her funeral. Credit must go to the Post Conviction Review Section of the Harris County District Attorney's Office who found and tested the evidence that cleared Green.
Green was 18 years old when a 31 year old woman using a pay phone was abducted and raped by 4 men. Green has admitted that he used to steal cars at the time of incident. He was in the general area when and was later stopped by police after fleeing from the police in a stolen car. The police had the victim have a look at Green to determine if he was one of the rapist. She did not identify him as one of the rapist.
The victim who said Green was not among the men who attacked her changed her mind eight days later. She identified him in a photo array and after that in a live lineup. That persuaded a jury to find him guilty of aggravated sexual assault and to send him to prison for 75 years. There was no physical evidence tying him to the assault, nor witness testimony, other than the victim’s, placing him at the scene of the crime.
Green's terrible experience is an example that standards should be created for live and photo lineup methods to minimize instances in which victims are inadvertently tipped to suspects by investigators. Research has repeatedly proved that sloppy ID methods lead to false IDs. As a criminal defense attorney this is our job to keep this from happening.