Indicted deputies make first court appearance in front of magistrate

Published 10:04 pm Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Four individuals under federal indictment made their first court appearance Tuesday morning and were arraigned at the United States Courthouse in Albany. 

United States Magistrate Judge Thomas Q. Langstaff presided over the hearings.

The Federal Grand Jury indicted Wiley Griffin, IV, Elizabeth Croley, Robert Umbach, and Christopher Kines in July on accusations stemming from an incident at Bainbridge BikeFest in 2012. Croley and Kines are currently employed by the Decatur County Sheriffs Office and Umbach is a former Decatur County Deputy. Griffin, IV was employed by the Grady County Sheriffs Office at the time of the incident.

All four were arraigned and pled not guilty to the charges included in the indictments. Griffin, IV was charged with Deprivation of Rights Under the Color of Law, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment and/or a $250,000 fine, followed by three years probation.

Croley was formally charged with Deprivation of Rights Under the Color of Law and Filing a False Report. The maximum sentence, in total, for the two charges filed against Croley is 21 years imprisonment and/or $350,000 in fines.

Umbach and Kines were charged with filing a False Report and Tampering with a Witness, Victim or Informant. The maximum sentence, in total, for the two charges filed against Umbach and Kines is 40 years imprisonment and/or a $500,000 fine.

After the arraignment, the four defendants were released on their own recognizance and the court also ordered several conditions of release. None of the four may travel outside Alabama, Georgia, or Florida, must surrender any current passport and agree not to acquire a new passport and are prohibited from discussing the case with co-defendants with legal counsel being present.

Senior United States District Judge W. Louis Sands will preside over the trial of the four officers, which will be scheduled at a later date.