It only took 27 years, but Michael A. Green is now a free man thanks to DNA testing. At the age of 45, Mr. Green was released from prison by a state judge two weeks after DNA tests on the rape victim’s clothing proved that he could not have been responsible for the crime. He was merely 18 when he was convicted and sent to prison for 75 years.
The state of Texas has offered Mr. Green a compensation payment of $2.2 million for being wrongly accused for 27 years. Mr. Green can either take that compensation or he can file a civil lawsuit in the hopes of exposing the truth about the investigation. In order to receive the compensation, he must waive the right to sue.
Can $2.2million make up for the loss of 27 years of your life? Mr. Green not only had to deal with the reality that he would probably be spending the rest of his life in jail for someone else’s crime, but he also suffered mental torture and physical abuse while in prison. In addition, he missed his own mother’s funeral when she died during his incarceration.
Mr. Green took a Law book from the prison library and tried furiously to find a way out of his imprisonment. After exhausting all his appeals he was told to give up and accept the fact that jail was his permanent residence. Mr. Green thought he had no other option but to accept the fact that he was a prisoner until 2001. This is when Texas passed a statute granting inmates the right to request DNA tests on old evidence under certain conditions. Mr. Green typed up his own request for a DNA test and after a few years was released from prison.
According to the Innocence Project, a Manhattan-based organization, 267 people in the United States have been exonerated by DNA testing, including 17 who served time on death row.
Thanks to the power of DNA testing many prisoners are exonerated after years of imprisonment. Michael A. Green can walk the streets a free man after 27 years of being caged up for someone else’s crime.
For more of Mr. Green story please visit NYTimes.com
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