A 24-year-old Georgia man remains in jail despite a jury finding earlier this year he was not guilty of committing a robbery.
According to the Rome News-Tribune, Ramad Ahshad Chatman could be forced to serve a six-year jail sentence after being arrested in connection with the July 2014 robbery.
Chatman was in the midst of serving a five-year probation term for his first offense, a burglary in 2012. When he was arrested last November, Superior Court Judge Jack Niedrach to revoke his probation.
But despite being acquitted of the charges in May, Chatman remains imprisoned. His attorneys filed a motion seeking Chatman’s release at a new probation hearing, but the motion was denied at Niedrach’s discretion because there was no new evidence to provide in the case.
“What Judge Niedrach has done to my grandson is an injustice,” said Chatman’s grandmother, Janice Chatman. She added, “When my grandson was proven not guilty, he should’ve been let out.”
The News-Tribune reported that Niedrach has not commented on the case. But Norman Fletcher, a former state Supreme Court Chief Justice, said that under state law, Niedrach had more discretion regarding revoking Chatman’s probation.
Fletcher explained that Niedrach only had to be “about 51 percent” sure that Chatman was guilty to do so, while a jury had to be “about 90 percent” convinced of his guilt to convict him.
“You want a system — no matter how bad someone may look — you want it to work fairly for everyone involved in it,” Fletcher said. “I’d like to see a statute that would cover this situation so that (release) wouldn’t be discretionary, but mandatory.”