Judge stays on APS test-cheating case

A Fulton County judge has denied motions filed by the 13 remaining defendants charged in the Atlanta Public Schools test-cheating scandal to remove fellow Superior Court Judge Jerry Baxter from the case.

Superior Court Judge Shawn LaGrua ruled that Baxter can stay on the case, which is set to go to trial in August.

The APS defendants had cited a state Court of Appeals opinion that disclosed Baxter had made calls to clerk of the state Court of Appeals about a pending appeal filed by APS defendant Tamara Cotman and comments Baxter gave to the news media after the first motion to disqualify him had been filed. Baxter’s actions, the defendants said, showed improper bias.

But LaGrua said she did not believe the judge’s actions were enough to cause “a fair-minded and impartial person to form a reasonable inference that Judge Baxter is biased or partial.”

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