Great News! A Chattooga County Superior Court Judge has granted Devonia Inman’s habeas corpus petition, finding that he was wrongfully convicted.
Judge Kristina Cook Graham determined that Devonia’s constitutional rights were violated, including by the prosecution’s failure to disclose evidence suggesting a different man committed the crime. Each violation, according to Judge Graham, “demonstrates the fundamental unfairness of Mr. Inman’s trial, undermines the Court’s confidence in the outcome of the trial and related conviction, and justifies granting habeas corpus relief.”
Two years ago, the current Chief Justice of the Georgia Supreme Court urged prosecutors in Devonia’s case to exercise their discretion to stop defending an apparently unjust conviction:
“Everyone involved in our criminal justice system should dread the conviction and incarceration of innocent people…. Of the multitude of cases in which a new trial has been denied, Inman’s case is the one that causes me the most concern that an innocent person remains convicted and sentenced to serve the rest of his life in prison,” wrote then-Presiding Justice and now-Chief Justice David Nahmias. “Let justice be done.”
The Georgia Attorney General’s office now must decide whether it will continue to defend the conviction by appealing Judge Graham’s decision up to Georgia’s Supreme Court. If there is no appeal, Devonia likely will be transferred from prison to the local jail. The Alapaha Judicial Circuit District Attorney will then decide whether to seek dismissal of the underlying criminal charges (exoneration) or try to secure a new conviction through a trial or plea.
Read more about the decision in the Atlanta-Journal Constitution and check out Judge Graham’s decision in its entirety below.
You can learn more about the details of Devonia’s wrongful conviction by reading more on our website or listening to one of the podcasts featuring his case: Breakdown, Season 4 from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Murderville from the Intercept.