Saturday, March 22, 2008

Justice served by LA Court after 25 Years

Willie Earl Green wore prison scrubs and drank bad black coffee for a quarter century in San Quentin State Prison. Green was convicted of a crime he continually denied he ever committed.

Last week, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Stephen A. Marcus threw out Green’s conviction of murder, saying the jurors could have exonerated him if they had known the full story. Four years ago, the only witness at the scene (a South LA crack house) came forward saying he wasn’t sure if he had correctly identified the shooter as he was high on crack the night of the killing.

While in San Quentin, Green worked at the library, earned his associate of arts degree and helped run a life-skills program for inmates. Green reunited with his wife Mary who waited for his release. They were introduced by a friend in 1991, six years after his conviction and were married within a year. They had never been together outside a prison, jail or courthouse.

Green enjoyed small luxuries like milk and sugar in his coffee and getting his first look at a cell phone when he was released. Green said he is not bitter—“The system that put me in here is the same system that got me out. It’s not perfect, but it’s the best system in the world.”

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