Defendants file appeals to prison sentences

Published 6:07 pm Friday, April 8, 2016

Former Decatur County deputies Robert Wade Umbach and Christopher Kines have both filed an appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals after receiving prison sentences last month.

Umbach and Kines were found guilty in June 2015 for Tampering with Witness Evidence in the wake of an altercation with civilian Ronnie Aaron Parrish at Bikefest 2012. The deputies were convicted of a cover up in relation to the incident and sentenced to 15 months in prison by Judge W. Louis Sands.

“We are standing on the objections that we made in trial,” Kines’ attorney Kermit Dorough, Jr., said. “We have raised in our motion for new trial our objections to the ruling of the court, and also we challenge the efficiencies of the evidence.”

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Dorough was Kines’ counsel throughout the trial process and will remain onboard as his appellate counsel.

Appellate counsel for Umbach has switched from Tina Hunt, who represented him throughout the trial process, to Jonathan Dodson.

Dodson was contacted, but chose not to provide a comment. Both Hunt and Dodson are part of the Federal Defenders of the Middle District of Georgia, Inc.

The third convicted deputy in the case, former DCSO captain Elizabeth Croley, filed a waiver of her right to appeal on March 25. She faces an 18-month prison sentence.

Croley was found guilty on two counts: Deprivation of Rights Under the Color of Law and False Reporting. The jury’s verdict was that Croley deprived Parrish’s rights to a fair criminal trial for his conduct at Bikefest by writing false reports.

The losing party in a decision by a trial court is allowed to file an appeal within 14 days of the sentence.

According to, the court of appeals is made up of a panel of judges that will focus on the legal principles in dispute. Some cases are submitted in writing, but others are done orally, in which case the appellate counsels will be given a designated amount of time to present their arguments and argue for the reversal of the original court’s decision.

The court of appeals’ decision is usually the final word in a case.