Jerry Baxter, the judge presiding over the sentencing of 10 former Atlanta public school educators convicted of participating in a widespread conspiracy to cheat on state tests, ordered three of the defendants to serve seven years in state prison. However, upon reflection, Baxter had buyer’s remorse over the severity of the sentences he imposed and reduce them to three years.
Baxter noted that he changed his mind because “when a judge goes home and he keeps thinking over and over that something’s wrong, something is usually wrong.” Baxter said of his change of mind: “I’m going to put myself out to pasture in the not-too-distant future and I want to be out in the pasture without any regrets.”
During the original sentencing hearing, Baxter expressed his frustration because the defendants who went to trial didn’t admit their guilt even at their sentencing hearing (sounds like a trial tax, doesn’t it?). “Everybody knew cheating was going on and your client promoted it,” Baxter said to an attorney representing one of the defendants.
Baxter urged the defendants to engage in community service while they’re appealing. He said that might lighten the punishment if the convictions are upheld. The judge said he was tired of dealing with the Atlanta Public Schools cheating scandal, which he referred to as “this mess.” “I’m ready to move on. So, anyway, adios,” Baxter said, and ended the hearing. Sounds like he’s ready for the pasture!