Every once in a while we cross paths with extraordinary people. Crosley Green is one those.
The words I can use to describe him: zen, peaceful, faith-filled, chill, and unflappable really don't do him justice.
But justice has always seemed to elude the 65-year-old Titusville grandfather. Sadly, it eludes him still.
On Monday, Green's attorney - Keith Harrison of the Washington D.C.-based Crowell & Moring - announced he had filed a motion with the 11th Circuit Court of Appeal to try and keep Green out of prison until the case is ruled on by the U.S. Supreme Court.
If denied, Harrison would then petition the Middle District Court of Florida with a similar request. It was that court in 2018 that vacated Green's 1990 murder conviction, ruling that he be set free or be granted another trial because prosecutors withheld favorable evidence that could have proven Green's innocence.
Green was convicted and initially sent to death row for the 1989 kidnapping and murder of Charles "Chip" Flynn. Green was accused of carjacking Flynn and his ex-girlfriend Kim Hallock before taking them to an orange grove where a shootout occurred. Hallock drove to safety and Flynn was left to die.
The state appealed the Middle District Court's decision and last year the 11th agreed with the state. The 11th Circuit reinstated the conviction. Last week that same court denied a petition to have the case reheard. Green has been "free" on house arrest for the last 18 months while the appeal was being heard.
Now, he may have to return to prison.
"Prosecutors, their job is to seek the truth not hide the truth. Their job is to seek justice not just seek a conviction," Harrison said. "And one of the ways prosecutors are charged to seek justice is if they have evidence that's favorable to the defense, evidence of innocence, they have to share that with the defense so that the scales of justice are balanced. But for Mr. Green that didn't happen. The scales of justice were unbalanced."
More about Crosley Green: Torres: Ashley Moody says Crosley Green is safer in prison than if he were to be released
Who is convicted murderer Crosley Green? And how was he granted a new trial?
John Torres: Crosley Green, his verdict overturned, is one Black life that never seemed to matter
Harrison said he was optimistic the U.S. Supreme Court would look at the case considering the terrifying ramifications if prosecutors were allowed to determine what evidence should and shouldn't be shared with defendants.
"The government did not turn over the evidence of innocence it had. That evidence was that the two first responding officers to the scene knew it was a hoax, saw the evidence that suggested someone else and not Mr. Green had committed this crime and that truth was buried. Those are the facts."
Surrounded by teary-eyed family members Monday, the man everyone knows as "Papa" did his best to be just that - a loving father figure to his siblings, children, grandchildren and friends. Even though it is his freedom at risk, Green was more concerned with making sure family members were OK.
"It wasn't the news I wanted to hear," he said referring to last week's decision that paves the way for him to be incarcerated again. "But I know I have to continue the fight."
Then he paused and and allowed for a rare moment of public grief.
"Yes, I hurt. My hurt is something that comes through my loved ones," he said, taking a moment to wipe away tears and regain his composure. "Yes, I will be hurting if I have to go back. It's hard to carry on sometimes like this."
Then the smile came back to his face and hope to his eyes.
"I feel so at peace," he said. "I hold no anger, no grudges to those who put me away the way they did. I have no hared for anyone. Right now I feel blessed that I've got a family and friends, supporters. But the worst that can happen is to take me away from my family again. That's a feeling no one can bear."
Despite being offered a 10-year prison sentence for Flynn's murder during his 1990 trial and the fact that he has been eligible for parole for several years, Green refuses to admit to a crime he says he had no part of.
"I begged him to take the 10 years," Green's sister, Shirley White, said. "Ten years versus the 32 it's been so far. It's a lifetime. He missed out on the experience of seeing his children grow up. But my brother is unique and he is genuine. He wears many hats. They are joy, love and peace."
Incredibly, Green insisted that he still has faith in the criminal justice system, a system, it seems, that has never had faith in him.
When officers responded to the orange grove and found a dying Flynn, he refused to tell them what happened and he never asked if Hallock had made it to safety. Flynn later died on his way to the hospital.
Prosecutor Chris White did not share notes with Green's defense attorney. Yeah, that's the same Chris White who was involved in the wrongful convictions of Juan Ramos, Wilton Dedge and William Dillon. The notes indicated that responding officers believed Hallock was responsible for the shooting and that no kidnapping or shootout had taken place.
This was a racial hoax. "The black guy did it."
There was no justice when White failed to disclose the notes. There was no justice when a highly suggestive photo lineup was used. There was no justice when a man was convicted without fingerprint or DNA evidence. Green's sentence was later vacated and he was sentenced to life in prison.
There was no justice when the only bullet casings at the scene belonged to Flynn's gun despite a supposed shootout.
The list of injustices in the case goes on.
And still, Crosley Green smiles, keeps the faith and lives every moment he can with joy in his heart.
"The only that bothers me is to see my family hurting. That's the only thing that gets to me. When they hurt, I hurt. Other than that, I'm good," he said. "I tell them, 'look at me and thrive off of me. I've been through more. Thrive off of me.' If I'm handling this with no problem then that's the way I want them to handle it."
Maybe he's right. Maybe justice will win out. Maybe we need faith like his. Maybe the highest court in the land will correct this terrible injustice.
Support local journalism and become a subscriber. Visit floridatoday.com/subscribe
This article originally appeared on Florida Today: Crosley Green: keeps belief in justice even facing return to prison