Powered by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution


Updated: 12:32 p.m. Friday, July 11, 2014 | Posted: 10:42 a.m. Friday, July 11, 2014

Beverly Hall won’t face trial next month in Atlanta cheating case


Beverly Hall won’t face trial next month in Atlanta cheating case photo
Fulton County prosecutor Fani Willis spoke Friday during a hearing on former Atlanta Superintendent Beverly Hall’s health as defense attorneys David Bailey and J. Tom Morgan looked on. (MARK NIESSE)

By Mark Niesse

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The Atlanta schools cheating trial will go on without former Superintendent Beverly Hall, who is undergoing treatment for Stage IV breast cancer.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Jerry Baxter said in court Friday that he couldn’t delay the trial any longer, and it will begin Aug. 11.

“This community is ready to have this decided one way or another,” Baxter said. “I don’t see how there’s any way that this trial can proceed with Dr. Hall with the condition she’s in.”

The charges against Hall are still pending, and she would face a separate trial if her health improves.

Hall and 12 other former Atlanta Public Schools employees are accused of participating in an effort to correct students’ standardized test score answers in 2009 to make their schools’ results appeal better than they were.

Twenty-one other defendants have already pleaded guilty.

Assistant District Attorney Fani Willis asked the judge to allow Hall to attend the trial through a video service such as Skype. Defense attorneys objected to that idea, saying it would infringe on Hall’s constitutional rights.

“We’re in 2014. It’s not 1986 where we don’t have the benefit of all this technology,” Willis said. “The state thinks it’s more prudent to try all the defendants at once.”

But Baxter said he didn’t believe Hall was faking her illness, and she wouldn’t be able to participate in the upcoming trial.

One of Hall’s defense attorneys, David Bailey, said he couldn’t predict how long Hall will live.

“If we start a trial here, it’s inconceivable to me that this trial would finish,” Bailey said. “To think that she could come in here and deal with a trial of six-to-eight hours in length on any day or successive days is difficult for me to comprehend.”

Hall and other defendants are facing racketeering charges that allege they either knew about or ignored widespread cheating on the Criterion-Referenced Competency Test.

A state investigation completed in 2011 said that 185 educators, including the defendants, participated in cheating at 44 schools, often by erasing students’ wrong answers and bubbling in correct answers.

More News


Today on MyAJC.com

  Craigslist crime perfect? Not for suspect’s, victim’s families

Craigslist crime perfect? Not for suspect’s, victim’s families

Kayla Dixon and Nathaniel Vivian thought they had the perfect plan to secure a PlayStation 4 gaming system, a Sandy Springs police detective testified Tuesday.

A 90th celebration for Jimmy Carter in Plains

A 90th celebration for Jimmy Carter in Plains

Plains — The party had all the right festive touches: Colorful balloons. “Happy Birthday” sung loudly, if not exactly on key, by all the guests.

Comments  (1)  

Transplants free patients of Type 1 diabetes

Transplants free patients of Type 1 diabetes

For most of their lives, Rob Allen and Laura Cochran struggled mightily with this truth: They had Type 1 diabetes, a chronic condition in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin.

Subscribe to the AJC on your device

24-hour Digital Pass: Flashback

See Flashback Fotos on myajc.com for only 99 cents. Visit the MyAJC archives for a historic look at Atlanta from Midtown in the 70s to Auburn Avenue and even life here before traffic jams on the interstates.

In your community

Annual Woofstock event in Suwanee

Volunteering in Atlanta

Learn how to volunteer in Atlanta and north Georgia, browse volunteer events and search local groups who need volunteers in the arts, community, food programs, housing, animal rescue and more.


Mark Arum Weekend Construction Outlook

Updated every Friday, Mark Arum tells us where we can find construction, events and anything else to slow us down on the roads this weekend.