DeKalb DA Robert James: “It’s the board’s job to police themselves”

DeKalb County District Attorney Robert James (front) and DeKalb School Board Chair Eugene Walker discuss the grand jury presentment.

DeKalb County District Attorney Robert James (front) and DeKalb School Board Chair Eugene Walker discuss the grand jury presentment. (Bob Andres, bandres@ajc.com)

According to a news post by the AJC, there will be NO investigation on the horizon by the DeKalb DA, Robert James.

Click here to read the post in its entirety.

However, according to the AJC, District Attorney Robert James said that, in the absence of a full-blown investigation of suspected improprieties, he believes he negotiated satisfactory safeguards that should put taxpayers at ease.

(He’s kidding, right?)

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60 Responses to DeKalb DA Robert James: “It’s the board’s job to police themselves”

  1. momfromhe11 says:

    “Is it common for a DA to meet with potential targets of a grand jury – then have those targets stand with him at the press conference announcing the investigation is over?”

    Definitely the question I had. This just doesn’t seem like anything I have ever seen.

  2. momfromhe11 says:

    Has anyone else asked their board member whether the DA spoke with them?
    I did, and mine said no.

  3. Ned says:

    “It’s the board’s job to police themselves.”

    Well as long as it’s everybody’s job to police themselves, I guess we have no need of your services Mr. James, and I assume you’ll relinquish that generous salary Monday.

  4. dekalbdoyenne says:

    Let’s put together a list of which BOE members Robert James spoke with in lieu of empaneling a special grand jury, as requested by the November-December 2011 DeKalb County Grand Jury. Readers and commenters: Please contact your BOE member, ask if s/he was invited to meet with DeKalb District Attorney Robert James about empaneling a special grand jury regarding BOE wrongdoing and if the meeting ever happened.

    I’ll go first …

    My BOE member is Nancy Jester. She was never contacted by Robert James, nor has she spoken with him about empaneling a special grand jury regarding BOE wrongdoing.

    Momfromhe11: You said your BOE member was not contacted by Robert James. Please name your BOE member.

  5. Trackboy1 says:

    I will do everything I can to support Robert James’ opponent when he is up for re-election.

    Gwen Keyes was credible and respected. She may not have been the toughest prosecutor, but she would have never caved like Robert James caved to Walker. Bowen and all the other longtime DeKalb power brokers who knew a grand jury investigation into DCSS would have exposed a monsterous amount of corruption, nepotism, waste, fraud, etc.

  6. The DA should have bigger fish to fry than meddling into the day to day operations of the City or County School System. Robert James is a very professional and thorough attorney. I support him 100 %, so move on James and let us get the big trials out of the way so the DCSS can really move forward. The next time you get a GRAND JURY, make sure they respresent the entire county not a bunch of lawyers and bloggers who have a bone to pick. Ninty percent of that bias report had been addressed by SACS and was being addressed by the Board.

  7. dekalbschoolwatch says:

    FWIW, there were no bloggers on the Grand Jury that we’re aware of. Lawyers, yes.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Jackie Harris (@HarHarris)

    Right Jackie,

    James is credible? He’ll prosecute Pope and Lewis as rigorously as he looked into the complaints of the Grand Jury. Plea deal for both, guaranteed. The taxpayers will be screwed yet again and the black power brokers will still be left unchecked.

    Remember the caring embrace of Lewis by Bowen in the courtroom? The question is when will we see James at a news conference flanked by Lewis and Pope to let his friends know all is well in DeKalb County Georgia.

  9. dekalbdoyenne says:

    Gwen Keys was not all she seemed to be. She was a very close friend of Crawford Lewis and she was certainly not aggressive in pursuing the case against Lewis or Pat Pope. The scuttlebut was that she asked to be transferred to a different job so she did not have to prosecute Lewis. This move enabled the puppet master in DeKalb County to insert a person who did not have an apparent close relationship with Lewis, but who could be trusted to be sure that Lewis (and Pope) would never go to trial and would never see the inside of a jail cell.

    Take a look at the AJC photo of abashed “schoolboy” Robert James with Gene Walker glowering over his shoulder at the called press conference on Friday, February 10, 2010. Who’s running that show? Body language does not lie.

    I had an opportunity to closely observe Robert James’ actions as DeKalb County Solicitor when Ron Ramsey and his minions attempted to frame and fire a DCSS employee — repeatedly and brazenly denying the employee due process. The “case” against the innocent DCSS employee was “randomly selected to prosecute” (according to James) by one of his employees whose job title and stated sole responsibility was to prosecute truancy. The trumped-up case against the DCSS employee had NOTHING to do, in any way, shape or form, with truancy. Although James admitted that DCSS did not have a case when the employee hired an attorney and fought back, it was clear that James felt obligated (to Puppet Master Ramsey?) to hand down some “slap on the wrist” punishment — and he did so. The employee (family’s sole support) had used a child’s college funds to pay for defense and had no additional funds to pursue DCSS for malicious prosecution.

    As AtlantaMediaGuy said, James is “one of them.”

  10. Currently, pursuant to a regulation issued by the Superintendent, school councils play a significant role in the interview and recommendation process for principals. Parents, teachers and a business representative now hold a majority of 5 out of 7 positions on each Interview Committee, which interviews all candidates selected by Human Resources and recommends two candidates to the Superintendent, who makes the final decision. The recommendations are advisory only.

    The proposed Board policy (we assume the corresponding regulation will be changed) eliminates the Interview Committee. The Superintendent would only be required to ask for very general input from the school council about the traits the new principal should have, but only if the principal is to be hired from outside current DCSS personnel. The school council would have no input if someone is to be reassigned from within DCCS.

    We believe this change is counter to an open, accountable and community-based model for governance of our schools. Significantly reducing or eliminating the role of school councils potentially undermines the sense of community which is a critical element of a school’s success.

  11. Amen Jackie! Let’s not change a thing! I can’t imagine why we didn’t just make Gene Walker superintendent? He seems to know it all and has all the answers! If he was so good how come nothing has changed while he has been on the BOE? How come our Title 1 kids, the very kids he represents, are failing more? The numbers don’t lie Gene. No matter how hard you try. Unless you want to become an APS and just simply cheat!

    I know one thing for sure, I am now FOR the annexation of Brookhaven/Ashford, it’s time we bring our tax dollars back to our own community and hold our own elected officials responsible. I know we’re stuck with the school system, as it is. But it will be nice to get out from under the thumbs of our corrupt leaders, who reside elsewhere and reap the benefits of friends and family in high places.

  12. Just Watch says:

    The DA will still be your DA.

  13. Anon says:

    We need a constitutional amendment to split up the school system and we also need the additional towns and cities. The corruption is very deep. It may go back to Derwin Brown…. it continues. The system really isn’t about education. We just think it’s about education and we want it to be about education and education provides the premise upon which they take the tax money away from us. But it really isn’t about education.

  14. bettyandveronica says:

    Thank you Just Watch for the information. I agree with your statement on the correct question to ask MMO, why isn’t the Gene being sunsetted? He seems to be politcally protected now especially with his chairmanship. I appreciate you post!

  15. bettyandveronica says:

    Yippee! I fixed it. I don’t know how, but I did it.

  16. We now know that neither Nancy Jester nor Don McChesney were contacted by District Attorney Robert James before he made his “independent” decision to NOT empanel a special grand jury (as requested by the November-December 2011 DeKalb County Grand Jury) to investigate the DeKalb County School System Board of Education (BOE).

    Please contact your BOE member TODAY and ask if s/he was contacted and interviewed by District Attorney Robert James about wrongdoing on the BOE. If the answer is “yes,” please get as many details as possible:
    1. when (date, time);
    2. where (place);
    3. how (individually, in a group, on the phone, via e-mail).
    In last Friday’s press conference Robert James said he spoke with BOE members (plural), intimating he spoke with all BOE members.

    If you reside in a district “represented” by Walker, Bowen, Copelin-Woods, Cunningham, Edler, Speaks or Womack, but maintain that you are not happy with the state of DeKalb County School System, this is your opportunity to step up and make a difference.

    Please send your BOE member’s response to dekalbschoolwatch@gmail.com. While we will keep your name confidential, please provide contact information (phone number) so that we may confirm the content of your e-mail.

  17. bullet says:

    I’m curious what crimes you think should be investigated. The DA’s office has to prioritize. I was on a jury where they clearly gave too little resources to the prosectuion and failed to get a conviction on a horrible crime. I’m not in favor of spending mass amounts (see Barry Bonds) on prosecuting bad behavior. We have many other priorities.

    Nepotism, leaking board information to discredit people, getting overly involved in day-to-day school affairs are not things that should be a priority for the DA. They should be a priority for the accrediting agency. I would like to see the DA put a priority on prosecuting Lewis.

  18. I Agree says:

    I agree. There’s a fine line between incompetence and fraud. Hard to tell the difference at times. Very hard to prove one over the other.

  19. dekalbschoolwatch says:

    DeKalb DA won’t probe school board, wants reports
    By Mary Swint For The Crier

    At a press conference at the courthouse last week, the DeKalb County school board acknowledged there were leaks during the superintendent search that lasted from February 2010 to August 2011 and announced new guidelines in response to a DeKalb grand jury’s request for further investigation into leaks and hiring practices.

    “After a thorough and extensive review of the facts, I have found that no laws have been broken regarding the spending of SPLOST dollars,” District Attorney Robert James said. “However, we have identified presumed practices that must change in regards to the school system’s board members improperly attempting to influence personnel decisions and leaking confidential information which compromised the recent national search for a superintendent. These actions were against board policy and hindered the process in securing a new superintendent in a timely manner.”

    James said he had discussed with school officials over the last two months new safeguards to prevent “obstruction and appearance of inappropriate board engagement“ related to personnel issues, leaking information, and “double dipping.”
    James said he decided not to seek a special grand jury at this time but the school board will have to report to the grand jury every two months on its progress and the district attorney always has the option to call a special grand jury investigation later.

    Click to read the rest

  20. lpdekalb says:

    There are no “bigger fish to fry” in DeKalb County than the public school system! 60% of all our state and local taxes go here. $100,000,000 per year for the next five years will be forced from anyone buying anything in the county, including groceries, gasoline and utility bills, just because of the November vote. For the DA to not investigate these matters amounts to deriliction of duty, and to stand with the very people who need to be investigated should make it obvious to all that Robert James’ loyalties are not with the taxpayers of the county.

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