Fulton County Judge Jerry Baxter decided that former Atlanta Public School Superintendent Dr. Beverly Hall will not stand trial with the remaining 12 defendants accused in the APS CRCT cheating case. However Judge Baxter also ruled that the charges against Hall, including racketeering in the standardized test erasure scandal, will not be dropped.
This week Dr. Hall’s defense team filed documents that included written health concerns submitted by Hall’s oncologist stating that her condition has worsened. During the Friday hearing, the state argued to not sever the indicted Hall from the case, as her defense team maintained that Hall is simply too ill to stand trial.
According to the doctor’s statements reported by wsbtv.com, Dr. Hall has stage 4 breast cancer and it is not curable. She will remain on some form of chemotherapy all her life.
The statement said, “Dr. Hall is experiencing considerable fatigue associated with the chemotherapy. Dr. Hall is resting throughout the day and sleeping 10-12 hours each night. Given Dr. Hall’s fatigue, she would likely not be able to remain alert enough to participate for even a 6-8 hour trial day.”
The oncologist also wrote, “While psychological stress alone has not been found to cause cancer, it is undisputed that psychological stress affects a person’s overall health and ability to cope with cancer. Put simply, Dr. Hall must focus on her health right now if she is to have any chance for successful treatment.”
Originally more than 30 Atlanta Public School educators were indicted for their involvement in the 2011 standardized test erasing scandal that impacted more than half of the district’s 56 schools and was traced back to 2009. The charges included racketeering (RICO), theft by taking, false statements and writings, influencing witnesses and false swearing.
The prosecution called on the court to consider other means to keep Dr. Hall a key part of this case, even offering Skype communication be used and work within a four day trial week.
But Judge Baxter said the public is ready to hear this cheating case and stated, “I can’t put it off any longer”.
Defense attorneys tell Fox 5 News that with the Judge’s decision to remove Dr. Hall from the case, they believe it seriously weakens the prosecution’s evidence against the remaining 12 defendants.
Jury selection is expected to begin by mid-August.