MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - FOX10 News is seeking answers about the decision to grant an appeal bond to Sherman Tate.
Tate was convicted for sodomizing two young girls he was paid to mentor through the Strickland Youth Center. He was sentenced to eight and a half years in prison in February but is already out of jail.
Assistant DA Niki Patterson said, "If you're sentenced to anything under 20 years, an appeal bond is in the discretion of the judge."
Patterson said people convicted of heinous crimes are less likely to be released while awaiting appeals.
"Especially in the cases I prosecute, which are child abuse and child sex abuse; most of the time, people are not released by appeal bond," she said.
FOX10 News Reporter Candace Murphy went to Judge Lockett's courtroom to find out why he decided to issue Tate an appeal bond but Lockett wasn't available to speak with us.
Patterson said we couldn't have talked to him anyway, because Lockett is off limits until the final appeal.
"The judges cannot comment on a particular case that's before them. In a way that's unfair because the judge can't go on TV and explain something he and she has done," Patterson said.
She said the judges take multiple things into account when determining whether bond should be awarded.
Patterson said, "The statue suggestions the judges take into consideration, the danger to the community and the likelihood the defendant would turn himself in at the end of the appellate decision."
In a sex abuse case like this one, Patterson thinks it's best for the community if Tate is locked away.
Tate, however, isn't in prison. He is out running a business on Facebook.
So what can be done to prevent judges from issuing appeal bonds? Patterson said the legislature can change that.
Another interesting note is Tate isn't registered as sex offender yet. FOX is looking into that.
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