Although the woman who was raped in 1983 initially told police Michael Anthony Green wasn’t one of the four who hurt her, she later changed her tune when Green was in a lineup. This changed account would end up sending Green, then 18, to prison for 27 years.
It wasn’t until science caught up with the courts that Green had the opportunity to prove his innocence. He was released recently after DNA found on the victim’s jeans proved he wasn’t one of the men who raped her on that fateful night.
Now he spends his time working to tell his story and hopes to assist others who may be wrongfully incarcerated and serving sentences based on faulty eyewitness testimony.
Although the testimony of an eyewitness is said to have the greatest impact on a jury, it’s repeatedly been shown to be far from error-proof. The human mind and memory is prone to mistakes and though eyewitnesses rarely intend to help put an innocent person behind bars, it does happen.
According to the Associated Press, 265 people have been exonerated by DNA evidence since 1989. Interestingly, however, according to the Innocence Project, eyewitness misidentification played a role in about 75% of those initial convictions.
When you are accused of committing a crime and there is a witness or alleged victim willing to come forward and identify you, it can be difficult to overcome in court. Despite evidence showing how faulty eyewitness identification is, a jury tends to believe someone who saw a crime happen. And this can be a major hurdle in a criminal case.
It is the job of a criminal defense attorney to evaluate the reliability of eyewitness testimony and find flaws in the account of the eyewitness. The main goal is to show the jury there is“reasonable doubt” to the defendant’s guilt.
Green speaks to teens telling them to watch out and don’t get caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. “It can happen to anyone.” He was walking down a Houston street the night that woman was raped. He was stopped by police but allowed to go after the woman said he wasn’t involved.
Just a few weeks later Green was arrested for stealing a car. It was then that the same woman looked at him again and decided it was him that raped her, choosing him from a line-up and sealing his fate for the next 27 years.
If you’re facing criminal charges in Texas for rape or any offense, whether there is an eyewitness who puts you at the scene or not, your defense attorney is your advocate in the courts—there to help dig through the evidence and represent your best interests in court.
Contact our offices today for a free consultation on your case and to discuss what you’re up against in the Texas criminal courts.