Man Dies Two Weeks After His Conviction Is Overturned
An inmate diagnosed with terminal cancer only two weeks after his conviction was overturned on a habeas petition died Thursday night, according to his attorney.
Ronald Kuby said his client, Thomas Green, had only a single day with his family before checking himself into Stony Brook Hospital.
Green, who had always claimed he was falsely accused of molesting three young girls in Suffolk County, served more than five years of a 35-year sentence before Eastern District Judge Arthur Spatt (See Profile) on Aug. 12 granted his writ of habeas corpus (NYLJ, Aug. 13).
Spatt found that Green's trial counsel had neglected to pursue evidence that could have undermined the prosecution's case. Kuby was more critical of the prosecution for presenting what he described as false evidence than he was of the trial attorney, Paul Gianelli of Reynolds, Caronia, Gianelli & LaPinta in Hauppauge, for failing to rebut the prosecution's claims.
On Sept. 2, while awaiting word from the Suffolk County District Attorney's office on whether it would pursue a retrial, Green was diagnosed with rampant, terminal cancer and given only weeks to live, Kuby said. Records indicate that Green had cancer in his lung, prostate, colon and blood.
The district attorney's office, which was appealing Spatt's order, at first opposed Kuby's motion for bail, but later dropped its objections. Spatt released Green on $100,000 bond, requiring him to wear a monitoring bracelet.
Green was discharged from the Peconic Bay Medical Center's prison ward on Sept. 9 to a regular patient room, where he stayed until Sept. 13. He had about a day with his family before checking into Stony Brook, where he spent his final two weeks, Kuby said.
In an interview, Kuby said he presumes the conviction will be vacated, but is uncertain if there is any other relief that could be sought by the estate.
'The only remedy for him at this point is religious or supernatural," Kuby said. "He is innocent after death. The reality is it is very difficult to prove your innocence by clear and convincing evidence when you are dead."
Green v. Lee, 12-cv-5796, the case before Spatt, stemmed from allegations that the defendant had molested his granddaughter and four of her friends between 1998 and 2003. Green was accused in 2006 when one of the alleged victims came forward, but insisted he did not even know the allegedly abused girls at the time they said they were molested.