A Fulton County prosecutor has been disciplined after sending a reply-all email to dozens of lawyers and other staff involved in the Atlanta Public Schools test-cheating case.
Late Wednesday, a lawyer for former APS superintendent Beverly Hall sent a report on Hall’s health to the office of the judge in the case, copying lawyers involved in the case. Hall has Stage IV breast cancer and the report detailed her worsening condition. In the report, Hall’s doctor said she would be unable to stand trial on Aug. 11 as scheduled. A hearing in the case is scheduled for tomorrow.
Assistant District Attorney Lori Canfield replied to the group, writing “Surprise, surprise.”
Canfield was “frustrated with the consequences of this potential delay,” and inadvertently hit reply-all, Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard said in a written statement. She immediately attempted to recall her message.
“Even though this comment was made out of frustration, as District Attorney, I cannot ignore the appearance of insensitivity to Dr. Hall’s condition,” Howard said in a written statement.
He removed her from the cheating case trial team and suspended her without pay for three days.
Read his full statement below:
Last night, my staff received email notification asserting that the state of Beverly Hall’s health would render her unavailable for trial. Frustrated with the consequences of this potential delay, one of the assistant district attorneys wrote, ‘Surprise, surprise.’ This response was inadvertently sent to all the parties associated with the APS indictment. She immediately recognized that this comment might be perceived by others as insensitive and attempted to recall her words.
This attorney herself is a cancer survivor currently in remission and has lost several family members to this insidious disease. She would never demean the deadly effects of cancer. She is deeply apologetic for her actions and is sorry if Beverly Hall or others may in any way be offended.
Even though this comment was made out of frustration, as District Attorney, I cannot ignore the appearance of insensitivity to Dr. Hall’s condition. Therefore, I have decided to remove this attorney from the APS trial team and will suspend her without pay for three days.
It is my hope that we can put this regrettable incident behind us and continue our task of preparing this case for final disposition.
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