Black Man Faces Six Years In Jail After Acquittal

| by Michael Allen
Photo of a jail cellPhoto of a jail cell

Ramad Ahshad Chatman was found not guilty of armed robbery by a jury in Floyd County, Georgia, on May 9, but the African-American man may still spend close to six years in jail.

Chatman is currently incarcerated in Rogers State Prison because his probation was revoked over a crime that he didn't commit, notes the Rome News-Tribune.

The 24-year-old man was put on a five-year probation after he pleaded guilty to felony burglary on July 6, 2012.

Chatman was arrested on Nov. 18, 2015, for allegedly robbing the Lucky Lotto store on July 9, 2014.

After Chatman was arrested, Superior Court Judge Jack Niedrach revoked Chatman's probation, which means Chatman will be sitting behind bars until 2022.

"What Judge Niedrach has done to my grandson is an injustice," Chatman's grandmother, Janice, said.

She added that her grandson turned himself in after hearing that police saw him as a suspect because "he wasn’t guilty and refused to be hunted like he was."

"When my grandson was proven not guilty, he should’ve been let out," Janice stated.

According to retired Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Norman Fletcher, a judge has to be 51 percent sure of someone's guilt to revoke probation, but a jury has to be 90 percent of guilt to convict someone of a crime.

Chatman's lawyer, Bryan Johnson, filed a motion for a new probation revocation hearing after Chatman was found not guilty by a jury, but Niedrach turned it down because of a lack of new evidence to prove Chatman's innocence.

The store clerk reportedly said that Chatman was the robber after seeing his picture on Facebook over a year after the crime.

While eyewitness testimony is considered highly credible in a courtroom, it's not always the most credible in the field of science, as Scientific American noted in 2010:

The uncritical acceptance of eyewitness accounts may stem from a popular misconception of how memory works. Many people believe that human memory works like a video recorder: the mind records events and then, on cue, plays back an exact replica of them. On the contrary, psychologists have found that memories are reconstructed rather than played back each time we recall them.

The journal Science reported that a 2014 study found that jurors often find the confidence of an eyewitness to be strongly credible, but studies have proven that confident eyewitnesses still have confidence even after evidence proves their recollection is not true.

Sources: Rome News-TribuneScientific American, Science / Photo Credit: Andrew Bardwell/Flickr

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