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Anthony Michael Green

Other Ohio Cases with Mistaken Witness Identifications
On May 29, 1988, a 33-year-old white woman, was attacked and raped in her room at the Cleveland Clinic Inn, in Cleveland, Ohio, where she was staying following treatment for liver cancer at the Cleveland Clinic Hospital.

The woman reported hearing a knock at her door. When she opened the door, a hand reached inside and grabbed her by the throat. The assailant held a knife near her face, pushed her into the room, and demanded money. After the victim gave him $40, the perpetrator ordered her to sit on the bed and to undress. The assailant then told her to put her clothing back on and went toward the door.

When he got to the door, however, the assailant turned around, walked back over to the victim, and ordered her to undress again. He pushed the victim onto the bed and raped her. After ejaculating, the assailant grabbed a washcloth from the bathroom and cleaned his penis. The assailant then threw the washcloth on the floor and left the room, taking her radio.

Immediately after the attack, the victim went to the bathroom two times, squatted in the tub, and washed her vagina with soap. She then attempted to reach the Rape Crisis Center, but her call went unanswered. Approximately an hour and a half after the perpetrator left her room, the victim called the Cleveland Clinic security, who notified the Cleveland Police Department. Both agencies responded to the scene.

The victim’s initial description of the assailant was a Black male, around 23 years old, 5’8,” 165 pounds, medium build, brown eyes, black short afro, pock-marked face with pimples. She said he was wearing a black ski cap type hat and a “doo rag,” a black t-shirt with cut-off sleeves, and gray pleated pants. The victim told police that during the attack, the perpetrator said his name was Tony.

The police collected the washcloth and took the victim to Mount Sinai Medical Center, where a rape kit was prepared and pubic hair samples were collected.

Twenty-two-year-old Anthony Michael Green, a former employee of the Cleveland Clinic, became a suspect in this case after a Cleveland Clinic security officer said Green resembled the victim’s description. A few days after the attack, the victim was shown a photo array which depicted young Black males and included Green’s former work identification photograph. After viewing this first array, the victim stated that she saw one person that resembled her attacker, “but just not enough.”

The following day, she was shown a photo array which consisted of booking photographs. Green’s photograph was the only photograph repeated in both arrays. The booking photographs contained biographical placards on them, including the individual’s height, weight, and age. The height, weight, and age on Green’s photograph matched the victim’s description. She identified Green as her assailant from this second photo array. Approximately one week after the crime, after Green learned that he was wanted in connection with the investigation, he voluntarily went to speak with Cleveland Clinic security. He then was arrested.

On June 22, 1988, a Cuyahoga County, Ohio grand jury indicted Green on charges of rape and aggravated robbery.

On October 13, 1988, Green went to trial in the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas.

The prosecution’s case hinged on the cross-racial identification made by the victim, as well as serological testing of the washcloth that the assailant had used to wipe his penis.

After the victim testified and identified Green as her attacker, the prosecution introduced the washcloth into evidence, and called Joseph Serowik, a civilian scientific examiner for the Cleveland Police Department Forensic Laboratory, to establish Green’s identity as the assailant. (Serowik also was referred to as Serowick in some court records.)

Specifically, Serowik testified that he examined the washcloth and conducted acid phosphatase and P-30 tests that revealed the presence of seminal fluid. He then performed conventional serological testing on the biological evidence. Results revealed that both Green and the victim were type B secretors. Serowik also testified that he was able to determine, with scientific certainty, that the source of the seminal fluid was a type B secretor. He testified that included Green as a source of the seminal fluid, although serological testing could not allow him to separate the victim’s profile from the assailant’s. He also testified that 84 percent of the male population were eliminated as potential sources for the seminal fluid on the washcloth.

Serowik also testified about his analysis of a hair found on the washcloth. He found the hair inconsistent with Green's pubic hair. Trace evidence expert Max Houck would later state in a 2004 affidavit that “this should have precluded further examinations” of Green’s hairs. Determining the somatic origin of a hair (which part of the body it came from) is considered an easy task. By comparing the washcloth hair to Green’s pubic hair, Serowik should have already determined that the washcloth hair was a pubic hair, according to Houck. However, instead of ceasing examination, Serowik requested samples of chest and head hair from Green and compared the washcloth hair to those samples. Serowik then reported that the washcloth hair was “found to be consistent with the known hair sample” from Green “with respect to all of the characteristics considered.”

But this was false. Serowik’s notes stated that the medullae of the washcloth hair and Green’s hair “did not match” and that the washcloth hair and Green’s head hair samples “appear to be similar in all respects except root, length, and perhaps color.” Houck later stated, “Color is one of the most discriminating characteristics for hair comparisons and for [Serowik] not to be able to compare the hairs’ color invalidates his analysis and conclusions. . . . [Serowik] failed to exclude a questioned hair that exhibited, by his own casework notes, significant differences from a known hair sample.” Houck also stated that “to report that the hairs were consistent in ‘all of the characteristics considered’ when the case notes declared the hairs ‘appear’ to be similar ‘except for’ certain traits is professional misconduct.”

Serowik told the jury that he found the hair "consistent with" the sample of Green's head hair. He characterized the probability of hairs from different people being found consistent as 1 in 40,000 and "extremely remote." On further questioning, he claimed the hair analysis "eliminated a large percentage of the population." During cross-examination, when asked about the number of people who might also have similar characteristics to the hair from the washcloth, he would only say that there was a "good possibility that someone in this United States has a similar pattern."

On October 21, 1988, when the jury announced that it had reached a verdict, the jurors were brought to the courtroom. At the request of the defense, the jurors were polled. The judge said, “The question the Court will ask is ‘Are these your verdicts.’ The answer will be yes or no.”

When he asked juror number one, she replied, “No.”

“Are these your verdicts? Yes or no,” the judge repeated.

“No,” she replied.

“Not your verdicts,” the judge said. “The jury will retire and continue deliberating.”

Forty-five minutes later, the jury returned with a unanimous guilty verdict on both counts.

On October 26, 1988, Green was sentenced to consecutive prison terms of ten to twenty-five years on each count, a total of 20 to 50 years in prison.

In March 1990, the Eighth District Court of Appeals of Ohio upheld the conviction. The appeals court said that a defense motion for a mistrial based on the first juror’s response had properly been denied by the trial judge.

The appeals court also rejected the defense claim that the photo arrays were suggestive because Green was the only person in both lineups. The court said the procedure was not unduly prejudicial. The victim’s identification “was reliable and overcame any questions of the photographs being tainted or suggestion,” the court held.

The court also rejected the defense argument that the trial prosecutor had committed misconduct during closing argument by pointing to the defense failure to call alibi witnesses and calling Green a “fraud, a phony and a liar.” The court said that the defense had waived that argument by failing to object at trial, and further that the remarks, while “intemperate,” did not deprive Green of a fair trial.

In 1997, Green contacted the Innocence Project and requested assistance with challenging his conviction. Green insisted that he was innocent and that DNA testing would exonerate him. With the help of Green’s father, Robert Mandell, the relevant physical evidence was located, and the Innocence Project ultimately negotiated the release of the evidence for DNA testing. On May 22, 2001, Judge Anthony O. Calabrese Jr. granted Green’s motion for testing based on an agreement signed by Green’s attorneys and the prosecution.

On July 9, 2001, Dr. Edward Blake, of Forensic Science Associates, received the washcloth collected from the victim’s room at the Cleveland Clinic Inn. A large stained area on the washcloth had been marked and sampled in three areas during the original evidence examination at the Cleveland Police Department Forensic Laboratory. Dr. Blake selected five discolored areas within the marked stain for examination and removed a small portion of fabric from each of these stained areas.

The DNA profile obtained from the spermatozoa recovered from these five areas excluded Green as the source of the spermatozoa found on the washcloth. Aside from the DNA results, Forensic Science Associates detailed the ways in which Serowik’s trial testimony was scientifically irresponsible and misleading. The victim had reported that the assailant ejaculated during vaginal intercourse and then wiped off his genitals with a washcloth. Thus, “this scenario painted a clear expectation for the presence of semen commingled with [the victim’s] vaginal secretions on the washcloth,” Blake reported.

Blake noted that Serowik, in his trial testimony, gave the impression that the semen stain on the washcloth was a semen stain alone rather than a stain comprised of semen and the vaginal secretions of the victim. Blake said Serowik knew or should have known the opposite to be true. Serowik had also said that 16 percent of the population were possible contributors of the stains, because 16 percent of the population is blood type B. Since Green and the victim were B secretors, any B or O secretor, or a nonsecretor of any blood type, a much larger percentage, could have deposited the sample, Blake reported.

Green was released on October 9, 2001. On October 18, 2001, based on the DNA test results, the prosecution agreed to vacate the conviction and dismiss the case. Green had been wrongfully incarcerated for thirteen years.

After his release, the real perpetrator of this crime confessed and was convicted. In June 2004, Green reached a $1.6 million settlement of a federal lawsuit filed against the city of Cleveland.

In the course of that civil suit, Houck wrote an affidavit stating that Serowik had committed “professional and scientific misconduct in failing to accurately document, report, and corroborate his observations and conclusions in his hair casework.” Houck added, “This is true not only in the case at hand but in all of the cases I have reviewed of [Serrowik's].”

The city agreed not only to compensate Green, but to create and conduct the “Anthony Michael Green Forensic Laboratory Audit” of the city police laboratory to address the causes of faulty and falsified forensics, which played a large part in Green’s conviction. Serowik was fired.

In 2007, Jim Wooley, a former federal prosecutor who led the audit of Serowik's work, said, "I haven't sent (prosecutors) a single thing that made me think they [should] act on this."

Faulty work by Serowik also was linked to the wrongful convictions of Thomas Siller and Walter Zimmer.

In 2003, Green was awarded $552,000 in state compensation.

In September 2017, Green, 52, graduated from Cuyahoga Community College's Peace Officer Basic Training Academy.

– Simon Cole and Maurice Possley

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Posting Date:  Before June 2012
Last Updated: 3/2/2023
Most Serious Crime:Sexual Assault
Additional Convictions:Robbery
Reported Crime Date:1988
Sentence:20 to 50 years
Age at the date of reported crime:22
Contributing Factors:Mistaken Witness ID, False or Misleading Forensic Evidence, Official Misconduct
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:Yes