Former APS school reform team executive director Director Tamara Cotman and several of the former Atlanta Public Schools educators, among them Dana Evans (from left, seated), Sharon Davis Williams and former APS Dobbs Elementary teacher Angela Williamson, speak during a 2015 press conference. 

State’s top court won’t hear appeals for 2 convicted in APS cheating case

The Supreme Court of Georgia will not hear appeals sought by two former Atlanta Public Schools educators who were convicted three years ago in a district cheating conspiracy. 

The supreme court on Monday rejected Tamara Cotman and Angela Williamson’s petitions for an appeal, meaning that an August ruling from the Georgia Court of Appeals that upheld their convictions still stands. 

Cotman’s attorney Benjamin Davis filed notice Tuesday that he plans to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to consider the case. 

It was not immediately clear what will happen next for Angela Williamson. Her attorney could not immediately be reached for comment, and a spokesman for the Fulton County District Attorney’s office said he was working on answering questions from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. 

Cotman and Williamson were among 11 former educators convicted of racketeering in the APS test-cheating conspiracy in which educators corrected student answers on standardized tests and received bonuses and raises based on fake scores. 

Cotman was sentenced to three years in prison, while Williamson was sentenced to two. They were the only two of the 11 convicted who went directly to the appeals court.  Seven others filed preliminary motions for a new trial in Fulton County Superior Court. Those appealing their convictions have been free on bond. 

Cotman and Williamson had filed appeals based on procedural grounds, including an argument that the judge erred in his instructions to jurors about how they should decide the racketeering conviction. The Georgia Supreme Court denied Cotman’s petition and dismissed Williamson’s petition, which the court said was filed late.

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