A Twitter summary of APS sentencing today. Wild moments. Stiff sentences.

Folks, I tweeted the APS sentencing proceedings and am about to start writing a summation.

In the meantime, here are the morning events in digest form. These tweets include some of the strongest quotes from the judge, who fired off strong reprimands and sentences.

Maureen Downey @AJCGetSchooled  ·  5m 5 minutes ago

Expect APS cheating story to continue as eight defendants likely to appeal. Only 2 took DA deal.

Maureen Downey @AJCGetSchooled  ·  7m 7 minutes ago

Judge on APS community service: Wants them working with prisoners or children. ‘These are capable people who can teach.’

Maureen Downey @AJCGetSchooled  ·  8m 8 minutes ago

Judge advises defendants to right of appeal within 30 days. Needs to know lawyers staying on with clients.

Maureen Downey @AJCGetSchooled  ·  10m 10 minutes ago

Pam Cleveland takes deal: Gets year home confinement, 1000 hours of community service & fine. First offender status.

Maureen Downey @AJCGetSchooled  ·  12m 12 minutes ago

Pam Cleveland takes deal: Reads statement of apology for involvement in 2009 CRCT test administration. I am guilty of crimes charged

Maureen Downey @AJCGetSchooled  ·  14m 14 minutes ago

Baxter sentences Copeland: 5 years to serve 1; 1,000 hours community service, $1,000 fine. First offender.

Maureen Downey @AJCGetSchooled  ·  15m 15 minutes ago

Attorney for Theresia Copeland: Spending money to be here. Not going to represent his client in appeal. She’s indigent.

Maureen Downey @AJCGetSchooled  ·  18m 18 minutes ago

Judge: Many people out there involved in cheating. But likely not enough evidence on them. “Sickest’ thing to ever happen to city

Maureen Downey @AJCGetSchooled  ·  19m 19 minutes ago

Judge now says give first offender to all but 3 administrators. Pitts attorney points out that his boss, Kathy Augustine, not indicted.

Maureen Downey @AJCGetSchooled  ·  21m 21 minutes ago

Baxter on Buckner-Webb: Five years to serve 1. 1,000 hours community service, $1,000 fine, First offender treatment.

Maureen Downey @AJCGetSchooled  ·  24m 24 minutes ago

Judge Baxter: I would not take an Alford Plea for Beverly Hall even though people wanted me to and she was sick.

Maureen Downey @AJCGetSchooled  ·  26m 26 minutes ago

Anybody watching APS sentencing have any sense of victory? Whole thing is sad for everyone.

Maureen Downey @AJCGetSchooled  ·  28m 28 minutes ago

Attorneys telling judge: DA’s office wanted to give us words we have to say to you. Put words in our mouths.

aureen Downey @AJCGetSchooled  ·  29m 29 minutes ago

Judge to Buckner’s attorney: I want the children who were shortchanged and cheated to have an apology. I don’t want an apology

Maureen Downey @AJCGetSchooled  ·  31m 31 minutes ago

Diane Buckner-Webb’s attorney: No record. Mother, grandmother. I do not think prison is appropriate sentence.  Maureen Downey @AJCGetSchooled  ·  35m 35 minutes ago

Judge Baxter argues with Tabeeka Jordan’s attorney on whether he promised first offender status in court Monday.

Maureen Downey @AJCGetSchooled  ·  36m 36 minutes ago

Judge Baxter tells Jordan’s attorney: None of the educators willing to take responsibility.

Maureen Downey @AJCGetSchooled  ·  37m 37 minutes ago

Judge sentences Tabeeka Jordan: Five years to serve 2, 1,500 community service & $5,000 fine.  Maureen Downey @AJCGetSchooled  ·  40m 40 minutes ago

APS defendants must believe they have strong appeals ground to pass on DA deal & risk these jail sentences.

Maureen Downey @AJCGetSchooled  ·  41m 41 minutes ago

Baxter sentences Angela Williamson: Five years to serve 2. 1,500 hours of community service & $5,000 fine.

Maureen Downey @AJCGetSchooled  ·  43m 43 minutes ago

Angela Williamson’s attorney asks for first offender status. ‘Temper justice  with mercy.’

Maureen Downey @AJCGetSchooled  ·  44m 44 minutes ago

Judge Baxter on mercy request for Williamson: Evidence overwhelming that she cheated.  Maureen Downey @AJCGetSchooled  ·  45m 45 minutes ago

Williamson wants to be able to raise her kids. Judge asks, ‘Why didn’t she think about that 18 months ago?”

Maureen Downey @AJCGetSchooled  ·  47m 47 minutes ago

Teacher Angela Williamson: Attorney notes trial witnesses said she was top teacher & her students are succeeding.

Maureen Downey @AJCGetSchooled  ·  49m 49 minutes ago

Judge: Believe Dana Evans knew what was going on in 4th grade. 5 years to serve 1; 1,000 hours community service & first offender.

Maureen Downey @AJCGetSchooled  ·  52m 52 minutes ago

Attorney: Dr. Evans came to school where cheating had been occurring. Only there for short time yet being held responsible

Maureen Downey @AJCGetSchooled  ·  53m 53 minutes ago

Attorney Rubin speaking on behalf of Dana Evans: Kids at Dobbs did get tutoring, help. CRCT scores didn’t matter. Help provided.

Maureen Downey @AJCGetSchooled  ·  56m 56 minutes ago

Judge Baxter not swayed on Pitts: Sentences him 20 years to serve 7. $25,000 fine. 2,000 hours community service.

Maureen Downey @AJCGetSchooled  ·  60m 60 minutes ago

Incredulous Baxter to PItts: You had no idea there was blatant cheating at that school?

Maureen Downey @AJCGetSchooled  ·  1h 1 hour ago

Judge to Pitts: How could you believe Parks Middle made such leaps? Pitts: I turned around a failing high school. Can be done.

Maureen Downey @AJCGetSchooled  ·  1h 1 hour ago

Michael Pitts to judge: Came to APS when Carver graduating only 23 students. Improvements were made.

0 Maureen Downey @AJCGetSchooled  ·  1h 1 hour ago

Judge’s sarcastic response to lawyer comment that APS is better school system now. ‘Everything is great, thank god, Dr. Hall came’

Maureen Downey @AJCGetSchooled  ·  1h 1 hour ago

Judge: Everybody starts crying about these educators. There were thousands of children harmed in this thing, This is not a victimless crime

Maureen Downey @AJCGetSchooled  ·  1h 1 hour ago

Attorney for Pitts; His client supervised many other schools & teachers. Convicted on what he should have known, not what he did.

Maureen Downey @AJCGetSchooled  ·  1h 1 hour ago

Baxter tells Pitts’ attorney: Your client was at epicenter of cheating at Parks Middle. He was in charge of that school.

Maureen Downey @AJCGetSchooled  ·  1h 1 hour ago

Attorney for Michael Pitts: 20 years to serve 7 is unfair & unjust sentence.

Maureen Downey @AJCGetSchooled  ·  1h 1 hour ago

People who wanted APS cheating trial defendants to serve serious time are getting wish. Angry judge is sending folks to jail for 7 years.

Maureen Downey @AJCGetSchooled  ·  1h 1 hour ago

Defendants paying high price for refusing DA’s offer: Judge sentences 2 so far to serve 7 years in jail & pay $25,000 fine

Maureen Downey @AJCGetSchooled  ·  1h 1 hour ago

Judge sentences Tamara Cotman to 20 years to serve 7; 2,000 hours of community service & $25,000 fine.

Maureen Downey @AJCGetSchooled  ·  1h 1 hour ago

Baxter said Cotman fired educator who questioned high scores by students who couldn’t read.

Maureen Downey @AJCGetSchooled  ·  1h 1 hour ago

Cotman’s attorney: No one saw Cotman cheating or directing cheating.

Maureen Downey @AJCGetSchooled  ·  1h 1 hour ago

Baxter to Cotman’s attorney speaking for his client: ‘I know more of Cotman than I ever want to know.’

Maureen Downey @AJCGetSchooled  ·  1h 1 hour ago

Tenor of APS sentencing going bad fast. Baxter’s angry defendants not taking deals & still challenging verdict.

Maureen Downey @AJCGetSchooled  ·  1h 1 hour ago

Furious Baxter lecturing Cotman’s attorney. Says Cotman at ‘top of the food chain’. She ran off good educators.

Maureen Downey @AJCGetSchooled  ·  1h 1 hour ago

Wow. An angry Baxter sentences Sharon Davis Williams to 20 years to serve 7 years and $25,000 fine.

Maureen Downey @AJCGetSchooled  ·  2h 2 hours ago

Judge and attorneys arguing. Baxter warns 1 lawyer to sit down or risk jail.

Maureen Downey @AJCGetSchooled  ·  2h 2 hours ago

Attorney for Sharon Williams: Only convicted of 1 charge. No record. Asking for 5 years probation & first offender. Allow appeal.

Maureen Downey @AJCGetSchooled  ·  2h 2 hours ago

Miffed judge tells attorney Davis trying to make legal argument on charges to stop talking. ‘I’ve listened to you for 3 years.’

Maureen Downey @AJCGetSchooled  ·  2h 2 hours ago

APS defendants apparently maintaining they unjustly convicted. Only 1 took deal sparing him jail & giving him first offender status

Maureen Downey @AJCGetSchooled  ·  2h 2 hours ago

Most APS defendants unwilling to take deal & admit guilt. Long road to appeals court will begin. Jail time runs 1 to 3 years

Maureen Downey @AJCGetSchooled  ·  2h 2 hours ago

For APS defendants not taking deals: Jail time: 3 years for Pitt, Cotman; 2 years for most others including Evans & Jordan.

Maureen Downey @AJCGetSchooled  ·  2h 2 hours ago

Judge Baxter to Bullock: ‘Thank you for accepting responsibility and relieving me of a harsh sentence for you. Good luck.’

Maureen Downey @AJCGetSchooled  ·  2h 2 hours ago

Bullock: 5 year probation, 6 month weekend jail, $5,000 fine,1500 hours of community service teaching inmates. First offender status

Maureen Downey @AJCGetSchooled  ·  2h 2 hours ago

Bullock apologizes for my involvement in what happened in CRCT ‘administration.’ I accept responsibility. He reads the charges.

Maureen Downey @AJCGetSchooled  ·  2h 2 hours ago

Bullock’s attorney starts giving reasons why client taking deal. Judge interrupts: He has to fess up. If not, don’t waste time.

 

Reader Comments 0

22 comments
atln8tiv
atln8tiv

I'm glad that Judge Baxter stuck to his guns and gave stiff sentences to the worst offenders (Pitts and Cotman in particular). I am finding the hubris of these people unfathomable. Loved this quote from Baxter: ‘I know more of Cotman than I ever want to know.’ Indeed.


One thing I'm unclear on with regard to this thread...the article first said 7 years for the most egregious offenders, but later said 3 years. I hope 7 is correct, but even if it's just 3, as long as they serve it, I think it will give them plenty of time to 'search their souls,' assuming of course they can overcome their own hubris.

MaureenDowney
MaureenDowney moderator

@atln8tiv The three top folks got the maximum 20-year sentences with seven years to be served in prison, 13 on probation and fines of $25,000..

irishmafia1457
irishmafia1457

As a vendor who worked with APS for more than 20 years, this is just the tip of the iceberg , on the corruptness and incompetence within the system

irishmafia1457
irishmafia1457

It'll be like a family reunion when they get to prison. They are sure to know lot's of people there!

Astropig
Astropig

Judge Baxter delivered on the inside of his courtroom today what is promised on the outside: Justice and equality before the law.



LookbeforeIleap
LookbeforeIleap

One thing learned from watching the proceedings the last 2 days, it is probably not a good idea to maintain the same air of arrogance that got you into this mess in the first place when asking the judge for mercy.

Astropig
Astropig

@LookbeforeIleap


Very good point.Most of them wanted mercy for crimes that they couldn't bring themselves to admit.

bu2
bu2

@Astropig @LookbeforeIleap 

Tiger can't change his stripes.  They've been bullying and denying all along.  They aren't going to change now.  Maybe after the first 6 months in prison.

Astropig
Astropig

@bu2 @Astropig @LookbeforeIleap



It will really hit them Thanksgiving week (if they are not out free on an appeal bond). By Christmas, I can assure you that their bluster and arrogance will be gone.

LookbeforeIleap
LookbeforeIleap

Point of clarification Maureen.

The judge would have refused an "Alford" plea from Beverly Hall, not an "offered" plea.

Meaning he would not have let her plead guilty without admitting guilt.

Cayce
Cayce

It looks to me like some of these people got really bad advice from their attorneys...I can't imagine an appeal is going to go much differently.

Astropig
Astropig

"It looks to me like some of these people got really bad advice from their attorneys"


Amen. Remind me never to hire any of these attorneys. I was absolutely speechless when one barrister asked how his client was going to come up with $5000 (her fine). That's a question you NEVER,EVER,EVER ask the judge. I mean, that's first week of law school stupid. God help her on appeal with an attorney that dumb.

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@odelljones 

By law, all Georgia public educators must belong to the Teachers Retirement Services (TRS).  I'm a retired TRS member and just searched their "Members' Guide" for an answer to your question, for I wondered the same thing.

I couldn't find any provision for cancellation of pension because of criminal record. I've read of several national cases where this was disallowed anyway because the defendant had contributed to the pension, and so it was ruled his/her money.


But full retirement for vested members is only allowed after 30 years; partial retirement, after 25 years (with lower benefits); and retirement with benefits after 10 years of service and attainment of age 60. So that may rule out many right there.


Otherwise, I don't see any retirement options for them. 4-year "Leaves of Absence" from TRS are allowed but only if they return to active status, and none of them will be teaching in GA. school systems after prison, I sure hope!

EdUktr
EdUktr

I doubt many parents of children victimized by these convicted felons will regard the sentences as "stiff." 

Nor will bamboozled taxpayers. 

EdUktr
EdUktr

@OriginalProf @EdUktr

Appeals which will be championed by this newspaper column.

How much culpability does Get Schooled share for its years of open contempt for achievement testing in public schools? 

Astropig
Astropig

@EdUktr @OriginalProf


They may well ask that this column clam up. After all of the unsolicited advice on sentencing here,they got the book thrown at them by the judge.Clearly, he wasn't influenced by the special pleading for leniency in the local paper.

living-in-outdated-ed
living-in-outdated-ed

What shocked me the most was even during sentencing, these defendants were indignant.  I just could not believe they were arguing with the judge. Clearly, he lost his patience with these folks.  They could have gotten lighter sentences if they just accepted responsibility.   It was very, very sad to watch.   No one is happy with the way this ended, but perhaps APS can finally move on, although the appeals may get even uglier.   I just ask once thing:  PLEASE don't use the race card.   It really makes me sad when people inherently believe that there was any racial discrimination.