Tags: atlanta | cheating | scandal | sentences | reduced

Atlanta Cheating Scandal Sentences of 3 Reduced by Judge

By    |   Friday, 01 May 2015 12:30 PM

Three educators convicted in the Atlanta school cheating scandal had their sentences reduced Thursday after Fulton County Superior Court Judge Jerry Baxter said he had reconsidered the fairness of the terms he originally imposed.

Baxter reduced the sentences of former Atlanta school administrators Tamara Cotman, 44; Sharon Davis-Williams, 59; and Michael Pitts, 59, to 10 years (three to be served), $10,000 fine and 2,000 hours of community service, according to WXIA-TV.

Baxter had originally sentenced the trio on April 14 to 20 years in prison each, seven to be served in prison and 13 on probation, and $25,000 in fines.

"I'm not comfortable with it," Baxter said in court of his original sentences for Cotman, Davis-Williams and Pitts, according to CNN. "When a judge goes home and he keeps thinking over and over that something's wrong, something is usually wrong."

Davis-Williams told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution after the original sentencing by Baxter that she felt the terms would change.

"I don't plan to spend seven years in prison," Davis-Williams told the newspaper then. "I do have faith our justice system will work even though it’s failed me once."

Benjamin Davis, Cotman's attorney, told WXIA-TV that Baxter likely feared having his sentences overturned on appeal.

"He recognized there's a legal mistake here," Davis said. "We filed an appeal the day after the sentencing, and then all of a sudden he's re-sentencing."

Prosecutors originally indicted 35 Atlanta-area educators in March 2013 after accusing them of falsifying test results to collect bonuses or keep their Atlanta Public School jobs, noted WXIA-TV. The charges against the educators ranged from racketeering, making false statements and theft.

The New York Times reported that 21 of the 35 indicted accepted plea deals in the scandal. One of the educators who decided to stand trial, former elementary school teacher Dessa Curb, was found not guilty.

The Times noted that the investigation, which started in 2011, initially found nearly 180 employees of the Atlanta Public Schools had conspired to improve students' test scores.

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Three educators convicted in the Atlanta school cheating scandal had their sentences reduced Thursday after Fulton County Superior Court Judge Jerry Baxter said he had reconsidered the fairness of the terms he originally imposed.
atlanta, cheating, scandal, sentences, reduced
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2015-30-01
Friday, 01 May 2015 12:30 PM
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