The effort to free a Selden grandfather whose conviction for molesting three girls was reversed took on new urgency Tuesday when his lawyer told a federal judge that his client has cancer and has just weeks to live.
U.S. District Judge Arthur Spatt last month threw out the 2008 sexual abuse convictions of Thomas Green, 67, ruling that evidence corroborating the girls' stories could not have existed at the time the crimes supposedly happened in the late 1990s. Two of the girls said at the time they made a "pinkie swear" to seek justice.
Spatt gave the Suffolk district attorney's office 90 days to free Green from his 35-year prison sentence or retry him. Last week Suffolk County Court Judge Barbara Kahn refused to set bail for Green, ruling she didn't have the authority. So Tuesday defense attorney Ronald Kuby of Manhattan returned to Spatt's courtroom in Central Islip, with grim, new information.
He gave Spatt a report from Dr. Stephen John in the county jail that said Green had nine medical issues, each of which could be fatal on its own. They include lung clots, lung cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer and blood in his urine, John's memo said.
"It is my considered medical opinion that Mr. Green has a few weeks to live at this time," John wrote, recommending he be released for hospice care.
Suffolk Assistant District Attorney Karla Lato asked Spatt to wait until her office has had Green examined by an oncologist and reviewed his CT scans. "We have been burned in the past" by defendants who got released for similar reasons and weren't that sick, she said.
Kuby said Green should never have been in prison at all and there was no time for prosecutors to review medical reports.
"Mr. Green is going to be dead before that process concludes," Kuby said. "If the worst happens, and Mr. Green doesn't die on schedule, we'd be happy to come back here and revisit it."
Spatt said the district attorney's office was entitled to verify Green is as ill as Kuby says, but he noted that John is a county doctor and not someone hired by the defense. He ordered prosecutors to have Green examined by Wednesday, and said he would rule on the issue Friday.
"If the oncologist concurs, I am sure the county of Suffolk would want him home, immediately," Spatt said.
"Yes, we would consider that," Lato said.
Kuby said afterward he was unhappy with the delay.
"The DA has consistently tried to wring every last day out of Mr. Green," he said. "Very soon Mr. Green is going to run out of days."