In a massive injustice, a judge decides to reject the jury decision and punishes an innocent man, even though there is no evidence he committed the crime.
A black man who was found not guilty of armed robbery will still serve up to seven years in prison after a judge ruled he had breached the rules of his probation sentence for another crime.
Ramad Chatman handed himself in to police when he found out he was a suspect for an armed robbery at a convenience store in his hometown of Georgia in July 2014, reported The Independent.
“He turned himself in because he knew he was not guilty,” his grandmother Janice Chatman said.
The 24-year-old was already was serving a five year probation for his first ever offence, breaking and entering an apartment to steal a television worth $120 in 2012.
He was identified as a suspect for the armed robbery in the winter of 2014 after the shop assistant spotted his picture on Facebook. She identified him again when police showed her his driving licence picture.
When he found out officers were looking for him, he turned himself in in November 2015.
tIn February, The judge decided it was likely he did commit the robbery, even thought the jury said not guilty, and as a result Chatman was re-sentenced for the original crime of stealing a TV and ordered to serve 10-years behind bars, back dated to the day of the crime, so he could be there for another 7 years.
See video of the robbery below:
Court documents nonetheless showed he did everything asked of him during his probation, including checking in, paying restitution and finishing his community service. He also had a job.
When the armed robbery trial went to court in August, he was found not guilty.
It later emerged that ahead of the trial Chapman tried to enter an Alford plea on the charge of aggravated assault in exchange for the armed robbery charges being dropped.
An Alford plea means the defendant enters a guilty plea, but maintains his innocence. It is often used when a defendant feels like despite his innocence, he will lose at trial.
The judge refused to accept the deal, so the case was heard before a jury – who ruled he was innocent of the crime.
However, Presiding Judge John Niedrach, did not like the jury’s decision, and even though there was no physical evidence against him, the judge overruled the jury.
So despite the fact police never recovered the weapon, stolen money, or any other evidence connecting him to the robbery, he declined to release Mr Chatman, who remains in prison for violating the terms of his first probation order, reported The Independent.
Mr Chatman’s grandmother said he had worked hard to meet the requirements of his probation.
“He made sure he did right on his probation. He never violated it.”
“What Judge Niedrach has done to my grandson is an injustice,” she said. “When my grandson was proven not guilty, he should’ve been let out.”
This is a huge injustice and people should be outraged. There is no evidence against this man who the jury found to be NOT guilty.
(Article By Jeremiah Jones)