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Screen Shot 2015-04-09 at 11.31.52 AM11 Atlanta teachers  and school administrators who were involved in the state-wide cheating scandal have been convicted and could face up to 20 years in prison. But some feel, because 10 out of the 11 are Black teachers, that they will not get a fair sentence.

Last week a prayer meeting was held  in an Atlanta church with clergy and civil rights activists appealing for leniency. 

“We are dismayed and disappointed at the actions of Judge Baxter to handcuff our educators and to haul them off to jail as if they’re hardened criminals,” said the Rev. Frank Brown, president of the Concerned Black Clergy.

Jurors in  case found 11 of 12 defendants guilty last week of violating Georgia’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, a charge that carries a prison sentence of up to 20 years. Some were also found guilty of additional felonies, such as influencing a witness, theft by taking, false swearing, or making a false statement or writing.

The judge in the case has set the sentencing to April 13th, for 10 of the 11 convicted educators for April 13. One, who is pregnant and weeks from her delivery date, is likely to be sentenced in August. All of the teachers face a minimum of five years, but the judge also has the discretion to sentence them to probation or suspend the sentences. But from comments made last week, it doesn’t seem as though he’s going to be lenient.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Jerry W. Baxter stated: “They are now convicted felons, as far as I’m concerned. I don’t like to send anyone to jail … but they have made their bed and they’re going to lie in it.”

Most people feel that because the teachers are Black, they will probably end up being sentenced to quite some time, and the calls for leniency are being ignored.

Clutchettes, do you think the judge will be fair in the sentencing?

Image Credit: AP

 

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