Paying for the Crimes You Don't Commit

5 years ago a young 19 year old was convicted of stealing a $150 TV.

According to The Independent, in 2012 Chatman was convicted of breaking and entering for stealing a television worth $120. It was his first offense, but because he was—again, you know why—Chatman was sentenced to five years’ probation. You read that right. He was 19, and a judge thought it necessary to make him property of the state for half a decade.

Then, in 2016, after 4 years of immaculately conforming to the stipulations of his probation, he became aware that he had been identified as a suspect in the robbing of a convenience store. Despite the fact that he had been meeting with law enforcement monthly, it took a year for him to be made aware of the situation. 

In 2015 Chatman learned that he had been accused of the crime, so, like most thug gangsters who need to be removed from society for the safety of the good citizens, Chatman did what any criminal would do after evading law-enforcement officers for a year: He turned himself in. Chatman said that he only turned himself in for the crime because he knew he was innocent.

Seems like a noble guy.

When he was arrested, Chatman offered to plead guilty to assault in exchange for having the armed robbery charge dropped, but the judge rejected the deal. Chatman wanted to enter an “Alford plea,” which means the defendant pleads guilty but maintains his innocence, but the judge wasn’t having that.
So Chatman went to trial. It turns out that during the trial, the police had no evidence for the case. They didn’t find a weapon. They didn’t recover any money. There was no video. In fact, the clerk who identified Chatman ID’d him on Facebook over a year after the robbery. So the jury found Chatman not guilty of all charges.

Meanwhile, the judge had other plans.

Niedrach still thought Chatman was guilty, so he revoked Chatman’s probation and sent him to jail. Now Chatman must sit in prison until 2022.

I'm not even aware of a dystopian novel where someone found innocent is sentenced.