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The Georgia Supreme Court has thrown out the 2007 murder and arson conviction of Justin Chapman.
In a unanimous decision announced Monday, the state’s top court found state prosecutors withheld evidence that could’ve led to Chapman’s acquittal. That violates a 1963 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, known as the Brady case.
Chapman is now eligible for a new trial.
“The evidence that we uncovered in the post-conviction proceedings in this case I think demonstrably proves Justin’s innocence,” says Michael Caplan, part of a team of attorneys who worked on the appeal pro bono.
Caplan believes Justin Chapman soon will be released from prison.
WABE legal analyst Page Pate says it’s surprising prosecutors wouldn’t turn over the required evidence, but he says they won’t have to answer for their actions.
“There are no civil sanctions provided by the Brady case – no discipline to the prosecutors,” says Pate.
It’s now up to the Tallapoosa Judicial Circuit whether to retry Chapman.
District Attorney Jack Browning wasn’t available for comment.