Friday, October 19, 2001

Court grants acquittal for man cleared by DNA

Wrongly convicted, he served 13 years

By Paul Singer
The Associated Press

        CLEVELAND — A man imprisoned for 13 years for rape was acquitted Thursday based on DNA evidence from a dirty washcloth that showed he was innocent.

        Prosecutors and Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Anthony O. Calabrese Jr. apologized to Anthony Michael Green.

        Judge Calabrese said the case shows that the judicial system is imperfect but can fix its mistakes.

[photo] His ordeal ended, Anthony Michael Green gets a hug from his sister Sharon Pascol (right) and friend Patricia Everson on Thursday at the courthouse in Cleveland.
(Associated Press photo)
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        Mr. Green said he holds no malice toward those who convicted him, because he is choosing to focus on the future instead of the past.

        Mr. Green, who turned 36 on Thursday, was convicted of raping a nurse in 1988. He had been freed on a $10,000 bond this month, pending Thursday's court hearing.

        At the time of Mr. Green's release Judge Calabrese noted “there is strong evidence of this person's innocence.”

        The nurse was being treated for liver cancer at Cleveland Clinic Hospital. She died after testifying at Mr. Green's trial that he was the attacker.

        Mr. Green's stepfather, Robert Mandell, tracked down a piece of forensic evidence — a dirty washcloth used by the attacker and found at the crime scene. The washcloth had been stored in the courthouse basement.

        Tests done by the defense showed that DNA on the washcloth did not match Mr. Green's.

        Prosecutors conducted their own DNA test and agreed that Mr. Green could not have been the assailant. There are no new suspects. On Thursday, prosecutors endorsed the defense motion to free Mr. Green.

        The defense DNA results were obtained with the help of lawyer Barry Scheck, who helped win acquittal for O.J. Simpson in his 1995 murder trial, and the Innocence Project at Cardozo Law School in New York.

        The nonprofit organization helps obtain analysis of DNA evidence for people who might have been wrongfully convicted.


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