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Georgia Sheriff Pleads Guilty to Groping TV Judge Hatchett

Georgia Sheriff Kristopher Coody has pleaded guilty to groping TV Judge Glenda Hatchett. Coody grabbed and squeezed Hatchett’s breast at a hotel bar in 2022 during a law enforcement conference. Coody pleaded guilty in Cobb County State Court to a misdemeanor charge of sexual battery. He was sentenced to a year on probation, pay a $500 fine, perform 400 hours of community service, and resigned from his office as sheriff.  

Hatchett is an Atlanta attorney who stars in a courtroom reality drama “Judge Hatchett” and “The Verdict with Judge Hatchett.” She has also represented clients in highly publicized lawsuits. In January 2022, Hatchett was attending a conference of the Georgia Sheriff’s Association as a guest of a member.  

Hatchett was at a bar when Coody was flitting with her and eventually grabbed her left breast and began squeezing it. She reported the incident to Cobb County authorities, who obtained a warrant for Coody’s arrest. Coody had served as Sheriff of Bleckley County, a rural community of about 12,000 people, since 2017. 

Judge Pounding a GavelWhat are the Various Sex Crimes?

Sexual assault and sexual battery are essentially the same as a normal assault or battery charge, except that it involves an intimate area of that person’s body. Sexual battery is knowing, purposeful non-consensual touching of an intimate part of another individual. Some jurisdictions require that the touch be to arouse sexual desire. The touching may be either directly on the individual’s body or through their clothing.  

Sexual assault is the use of threat of contact with an intimate area of that person’s body. Rape occurs when there is penetration of sexual organs, though some jurisdictions require that the penetration be with a penis. For instance, a civil New York jury found the former 45th President liable for sexual assault, but not rape, because the victim couldn’t recall whether he had penetrated her with his fingers or his penis.  

What about a Civil Suit?

Coody has already pled guilty to sexual battery, but Ms. Hatchett could still sue him if she believes it would be worth a civil lawsuit. In fact, Coody pleading guilty would only help Hatchett in any potential civil suit against him.    

Victims of a criminal defendant can also sue the defendant in civil court. If a defendant is convicted in criminal court, they may have to serve time in prison or pay criminal fines. Only a state prosecutor can bring criminal charges, as criminal charges involve the state punishing a defendant if the defendant is convicted. Conversely, a civil suit involves private citizens suing one another. If a plaintiff, the person bringing the lawsuit, wins in court, he or she can collect a monetary judgment from the defendant.  

Civil lawsuits and criminal charges are run in two different systems, so it is possible to be charged in criminal court and sued in civil court for the same action. It is also possible for a defendant to win in criminal court, but lose the civil lawsuit. A prosecutor can only prevail if they prove to a unanimous jury that the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. A plaintiff in civil court can succeed by proving to a jury by a preponderance of evidence – i.e. that it was more likely than not that the incident occurred.  

However, plaintiffs must show how they were harmed in order to collect a large judgment. The state can afford to go after low “harm” crimes because the government can afford it to maintain law and order in the country. A plaintiff might be paying out of their own pocket, but if a case is valuable enough, a plaintiff can hire an attorney on contingency. An attorney on contingency will paid for all costs and will only receive compensation if the attorney obtains a judgment or settlement.  

Do I Need An Attorney For Sexual Harassment?

If you are experiencing sexual harassment, you should contact a skilled sexual harassment lawyer as soon as possible. An attorney can advise you regarding your legal rights and options according to your state’s specific laws and represent you in court. 


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