Deborah Ross Viewed Brutal Rape as 'Sympathetic' Case to Bring to Supreme Court

Teen broke into house to assault, rape woman in front of her young child

Deborah Ross
Deborah Ross / AP
October 13, 2016

North Carolina Democrat Deborah Ross argued privately that the case of a brutal 1994 rape would be "sympathetic" to bring to the Supreme Court, according to a confidential memo written by Ross that was obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

CNN reported this week that Ross used her position as a top lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union to argue to the court that a teenage boy who broke into a neighbor’s house and violently raped a women with her 20-month-old son in the room should receive leniency.

Ross issued a brief arguing that the teenager, Andre Green, should not be tried in an adult court because he was "not a street hardened, calculating and experienced and vicious criminal."

The court disagreed, ruling instead that Green’s "predatory nature toward an essential stranger" was evidence that he would not be suited for the rehabilitation approach of the juvenile system. Green was convicted for first-degree sexual assault, first-degree burglary, and attempted first-degree rape. An appeals court held up the decision.

New documents obtained by the Free Beacon show that Ross continued her advocacy for Green following his conviction, arguing in a confidential memo to the ACLU Legal Committee that Green had a "sympathetic" case that was suitable to bring to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Ross hoped that Green’s case could be used to challenge a North Carolina law that allowed teenagers to be charged as adults if prosecutors said they committed an adult felony charge.

Under the header "Why Andre Green’s Case Might be the Best Case for Challenging the Constitutionality of the Law," Ross wrote that the facts of the case were "sympathetic."

"The facts of Andre Green’s case may be the most sympathetic the Court will see in considering the constitutionality of the transfer statute," Ross wrote. "He was 13 years old when he committed the crimes, he has a 75 IQ, he has no previous criminal record, he would be amenable to treatment, and he has had no previous treatment."

"The next case that reaches the Supreme Court on this issue might involve a defendant with a more serious prior record," Ross wrote.

Ross further argued that three years of treatment in a juvenile system would be better than locking Green up in prison.

"Without the appropriate treatment, he will reenter society at age 38 having learned everything he knows about sex in prison," Ross wrote. "If he goes into the juvenile system, he still could receive three years of treatment."

Though Ross viewed these details as "sympathetic," she left many details from the police report and court documents out of her memo.

Green, who was 5’10’’ and 180 pounds, broke through a glass door into the home of a neighborhood woman he had been stalking for weeks. He ripped the phone out of the wall when she attempted call the police, attacked her with a broomstick, and punched her repeatedly.

Green then tore the woman’s clothes off and penetrated her repeatedly with his fingers and "once or twice" with his penis. He forcibly performed oral sex on her and threatened to "rip her insides out."

All of this was done with the woman’s son, who was 20-months-old, in the room. The attack concluded only when police arrived, which prompted Green to escape out the window.

Ross had voiced concerns in an earlier memo that the court was not acting with "the best interests of the juvenile" in mind. She argued that trying Green in an adult court was a decision "totally lacking in fundamental fairness."

Ross declined to be interviewed by CNN, but her campaign released a statement from Ross stating that she always believed the "perpetrator needed to be locked up."

"As I said at the time, this rape was a violent crime and the perpetrator needed to be locked up," said Ross in a statement. "I know how important it is for justice to be served in these tragedies and of course violent criminals should be put behind bars."

The Ross campaign did not respond to requests for comment from the Free Beacon.