By Joe Johnson
A man who was accused of posing as an Uber driver when he sexually assaulted two University of Georgia students in 2018 has been granted a new trial.
Emerson Redd, 57, of Greensboro in October pleaded guilty to two counts each of criminal attempt to commit rape and sexual battery, according to the memorandum of plea agreement filed in Clarke County Superior Court.
Redd was arrested in April 2018 for assaulting the students after picking them up in downtown Athens, according to Athens-Clarke County police.
Police said that the man was posing as an Uber driver to lure victims into his car.
Redd was subsequently indicted for rape, criminal attempt to commit rape and two counts of sexual battery, according to court records.
As part of a negotiated agreement, Redd pleaded guilty to lesser charges and Western Judicial Circuit Judge Lisa Lott sentenced Redd to serve eight years in prison and 22 years on probation.
On Dec. 19, Redd’s defense attorney filed a motion “for reconsideration of sentence or, in the alternative, motion to withdraw guilty plea.”
In the motion, attorney Kirk Cheney Jr. stated that the agreement Redd struck with the Western Judicial Circuit District Attorney Office called for his client to serve just two years in prison and 28 years on probation.
He said that after hearing “the colloquy of facts and lack of provable facts from the Assistant District Attorney” Lott rejected the plea agreement and gave Redd a harsher sentence.
In the motion, Cheney discussed evidentiary problems with the case that called for a reduced sentence and argued that the judge meted a harsher sentence than what had been agreed upon “due to outside circumstances which were not relevant to the case at hand.
"The Court stated as follows: Mr. Redd, in considering the presentations made by your lawyer and the State, it is very clear to me that a young woman, drunk or not, getting into what she thinks is a taxi or (an) Uber, and getting into the wrong car, is one of the most frightening things that a parent would have to hear about. There was a case recently several months ago in South Carolina where a young woman had the misfortune of getting into the wrong car and they found her on the side of the road.”
Cheney argued that judges must be "impartial arbiters of the law and the provable facts and/or lack of provable facts so that legal disputes are decided free from the influence of personal bias and/or outside circumstances.”
Lott on Jan. 24 issued an order that vacated Redd’s guilty plea and sentence,
The judge scheduled a new trial for May 26.
Redd was subsequently released on a $50,000 security bond.