Friday, July 30, 2010

Innocent Houston Inmate Treated Disgracefully and Dishonorably by Judge and Law Enforcement

The Houston Chronicle documents the disgraceful and dishonorable conduct of the Texax Judge and Court in their handling of the exonerated Texas inmate who worngfully spent 27 years behind bars for a crime he did not commit and spent one more 24 hours by judicial fiat.  Be outraged, this is Brian Rogers' story:

A Houston man expected to be freed Thursday after being imprisoned 27 years for a rape he did not commit had to wait at least one more day after shouting from a holding cell and threatening bailiffs and jailers. Michael Anthony Green reacted 'emotionally' to the reality of his release, said Bob Wicoff, his attorney. 'He was threatening everybody and anybody, but nobody,' Wicoff said. Wicoff said he did not hear Green, 45, threaten anyone specifically.

Green blew up after he was put in handcuffs and leg irons for the walk to court, Wicoff said. He also said the jailer who handcuffed Green jerked his arm roughly and put the cuffs on too tight.

'There was no reason to put leg irons on a guy who is getting out,' Wicoff said. 'It's totally ridiculous[.]
In a jailhouse interview with KHOU Thursday night, Green blamed the outburst on his anger at a guard he said was hurting his wrists and forcing him to walk faster than the shackles would allow. Asked what it was like to have spent 27 years in prison for something he did not do, he said, 'Think of the most precious thing in your world, and then imagine having it taken away.'

Despite the events earlier in the day, the reporter described Green as almost jovial. Green said, 'I got over being angry a long time ago because, at some point, you realize it's just not worth it.'

Green's family members, who were in court, said he should have been released regardless of his behavior.

'This is ridiculous,'  said Green's aunt, Brenda Murray. 'The judge and everybody else should be ashamed of themselves. This is bad.'

[H]e was visited by his defense attorney from 1983, Bill Harmon. Harmon, now a Harris County court-at-law judge, said it was a 'mystery' why Green was not released.  'I can't tell you why he's not out today,' he said Thursday. 'He should have been released today because he's innocent.'

Harmon said Green was offered a five-year prison sentence for the 1983 aggravated rape of a woman who was abducted by four men in the Greenspoint area. He was convicted on faulty eyewitness identification by the victim and sentenced to 75 years in prison. Wicoff has blamed Green's conviction on shoddy police work, saying the then-18-year-old was identified by the victim in a photo array and a lineup after seeing him in the back of a police car and initially saying he was not involved.

After DNA from the victim's jeans was tested last year, prosecutors identified all four men suspected in the crime, including the three believed to have committed the sexual assault. Three of the men have gone to prison for other crimes and two still are behind bars.
[ . . . ]

After the case was reset for today, Wicoff said his client was angry and needed another day to compose himself before having bond set while the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals rules on his actual innocence.

'That wasn't really the issue, how he would act in the courtroom,' Wicoff said. 'The issue is whether he is emotionally stable enough to get out. Or did he just need a little bit more time.' Alan Bernstein, a spokesman for the Harris County Sheriff's Office, said Green threatened bailiffs and jailers on the way to his cell and in the holdover cell, which is adjacent to the courtroom. Bernstein said no charges were filed for the outbursts. He said Green was shackled hand and foot because he was brought back to Harris County from prison in Huntsville as a convicted violent offender. When processed by jailers, Green was put in administrative segregation because of the crime for which he was convicted. He also was put in a cell by himself. As part of administrative segregation protocols, Bernstein said, Green was handcuffed and locked in leg irons to go to court.

Green was expected to be granted a personal recognizance bond by visiting state District Judge Mike Wilkinson Thursday. He was not brought into the courtroom, but his shouting could be heard from the court's holdover cell.

'This has been a gross perversion of justice, and he's a smart guy and he knows it,' Wicoff said. [ . . . ]

They need to let him out,'  Taylor said. 'I can feel his pain. I know he's upset. He just wants to be free.'
Here's the thing, this poor human being has been institutionalized for 27 years with the worst of the worst.  Do you think he's equipped to stay out of trouble?  Do you think Texas authorities will ever let him alone? 

He needs to leave Texas, with his family and begin his life somewhere where he will not be under the Texas microscope.  He jaywalks, Texas will have him on death row.


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