A former Georgia Supreme Court Justice said a Fulton County judge “stepped over the line” in an interview with an Atlanta high school newspaper.
Former Chief Justice Leah Ward Sears, now back in private practice, said in an interview on “A Closer Look” that most judges are “loath to talk to members of the media” because “most are fairly suspicious.”
Ward Sears said that’s what made Fulton County Superior Court Judge Jerry Baxter’s interview with Grady High School’s newspaper so surprising.
Prosecutors Fani Willis and Clint Rucker speak during a news conference following sentencing for 10 of the 11 defendants convicted in the Atlanta Public Schools test-cheating trial. The appeals process for the eight defendants who didn't take plea deals could still take years.
Credit Kent Johnson / Atlanta Journal-Constitution
The sentencing hearing will continue Tuesday for 10 of the 11 former Atlanta Public Schools educators convicted for their roles in the test cheating trial, with the defendants poised to make a decision that will determine the next few years of their lives.
The ex-educators, who are charged with racketeering, are due back in court at 10 a.m. to tell the judge whether they choose to take a lighter sentence negotiated by the district attorney’s office in exchange for waiving their right to appeal and an apology.
Ten former teachers and administrators convicted of racketeering will be sentenced Tuesday instead of Monday. After hearing last-minute witness testimony, Judge Jerry Baxter pushed the sentencing back.
Character witnesses – friends, family members, and co-workers – all lined up and vouched for the defendants and plead for light sentences. Some defendants, like former testing coordinator Donald Bullock, spoke on their own behalf.
“My livelihood is gone,” Bullock said. “My license is gone, all because I told the truth.”
Longtime Georgia State Representative Tyrone Brooks, D-Atlanta, pleaded guilty to one count of filing a false tax document and no contest to five counts of mail and wire fraud in federal court on Thursday. Brooks also resigned from his House seat.
A sentencing date has not been set, but legal analyst Page Pate has a few ideas on what Brooks might face when he goes before a judge.
Pate also makes a few predictions on what the Atlanta Public School educators will face when some of them learn their fate in the test cheating trial on Monday.
Eleven former Atlanta Public Schools educators were found guilty of racketeering – some also were found guilty of lesser charges – in the APS test cheating trial. The verdicts marked the end of an investigation that began in late 2008, when reporters for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution noticed some suspiciously-high test scores in five area schools.
After six months of testimony and nearly eight days of deliberations, the verdicts from the Atlanta Public Schools cheating trial are in. Eleven out of 12 educators have been convicted of racketeering.
The lone person acquitted of all charges was former Dobbs Elementary School teacher Dessa Curb. Former school superintendent Dr. Beverly Hall was going to stand trial separately. She died last month.
Former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Leah Ward Sears says she thinks the jury will take its time deliberating and will probably dismiss the charges that there was a pattern of organized criminal activity.
Credit Kent Johnson / Atlanta Journal-Constitution
The jury will continue to deliberate in the Atlanta Public Schools cheating trial on Monday.
Former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Leah Ward Sears says she thinks the jury will take its time deliberating and will probably dismiss the charges that there was a pattern of organized criminal activity, under a federal statute called RICO.
Sears spoke to Denis O’Hayer and Rose Scott on "A Closer Look" on Friday.
Attorneys began closing arguments Monday morning in the Atlanta test cheating trial.
Twelve former APS educators face up to 20 years in prison for charges including racketeering and making false statements. Jurors have listened to six months of testimony, and now state attorneys are trying to convince them former educators conspired to cheat.
Fulton County prosecutor Clint Rucker argued cheating was systemic. He said teachers who changed students’ tests answers on the 2009 Criterion Referenced Competency Test corrupted students’ minds and spirits.
In this file photo, former Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Beverly Hall stands as her attorney presents a motion at the Fulton County Superior Court hearing for several dozen Atlanta Public Schools educators facing charges alleging a conspiracy of cheating on the CRCT standardized tests in Atlanta on May 3, 2013.
Former Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Beverly Hall died today from complications related to stage four breast cancer according to her defense team. Hall had been at the center of the APS cheating scandal.
In March 2013, she was indicted along with 34 other former school officials on charges of racketeering, theft by taking, influencing witnesses, conspiracy and making false statements. Those charges stemmed from an alleged systematic process of changing students’ answers on the 2009 Criterion Referenced Competency Test (CRCT).
The prosecution in the Atlanta Public Schools cheating trial rested its case Wednesday morning, but it's not over yet.
Since September of 2014, the state has been calling witnesses and presenting evidence. But now the defense gets to make its case. There are 12 defendants, so it could take a while.
First up: Dana Evans. She’s the former principal of Dobbs Elementary School. Evans is accused of making false statements as well as racketeering. Her former colleague, Mario Watkins, testified on her behalf. He was asked to describe what kind of principal she was.
The cheating trial of 12 former Atlanta educators has been going on since last September.
All of the defendants face charges related to racketeering, under a statute known as RICO.
WABE’s Martha Dalton spoke with RICO attorney David Hungeling to talk about the chances of getting such a conviction. The conversation starts with a definition of RICO.
In the extended version of this conversation Martha Dalton and David Hungeling go deeper into examining RICO cases and evaluate the potential impact of this case if the state does get a RICO conviction.
The defendants in the Atlanta Public Schools cheating trial are charged with racketeering, under a statute called RICO. The law was enacted to catch mobsters and serious criminals. So, can the state convince a jury that former educators deserve a RICO conviction?
Former Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Beverly Hall, right, waits for motions at a Fulton County Superior Court hearing for several dozen Atlanta Public Schools educators facing charges alleging a conspiracy of cheating on the CRCT standardized tests in Atlanta on May 3, 2013.
The former Atlanta Public Schools human resources chief says the district's former superintendent ordered drafts of a report on the investigation into standardized test cheating allegations to be destroyed.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Thursday that Millicent Few said she was told it was legal to destroy the drafts because they weren't final.
A private investigator hired by the Atlanta Public Schools says his 2006 probe found cheating at Parks Middle School. That was the testimony heard today as week two of the cheating trial continues. Prosecutors focused on evidence alleging district officials purposely ignored that report.
In 2006, Reginald Dukes, an outside investigator was asked to look into allegations of cheating and corruption at Parks. It came after anonymous letters cited misconduct under Principal Christopher Waller. Duke’s findings were revealed in his report about cheating on an 8th grade writing test.
A testing expert took the stand Wednesday in the Atlanta Public Schools cheating trial. Some defense attorneys questioned the state’s investigation. That was triggered after an analysis found an unusual number of erasures on state tests at several APS schools.
Gregory Cizek has written books about preventing and detecting cheating. Defense Attorney Benjamin Davis, who represents a former key administrator, questioned Cizek about the use of data.