DA, defense agree Crawford Lewis should get probation

Should Crawford go to jail? … The debate continues…

Read more here >> DA, defense agree Crawford Lewis should get probation

By Rhonda Cook
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Though on opposite sides of on his guilt and innocence when former DeKalb County School Superintendent Crawford Lewis was facing criminal charges, the prosecutor and the defense attorney agreed Tuesday in a hearing before the Georgia Court of Appeals.

Deputy Chief Assistant District Attorney Lenora Grant and Lewis’ attorney Mike Brown agreed there was an agreement between the sides for probation for Lewis if he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of obstruction to avoid risking racketeering and theft convictions and up to 65 years in prison.

But Judge Cynthia Becker breached that agreement when she said the former educator should spend 12 months in jail instead of on probation, the two attorneys said.

“It was clear this (plea) agreement would work only if the trial judge was in agreement,” Brown said. “Dr. Lewis would not have plead guilty to a crime that involved jail time.”

DSW Note: This is not exactly news. This has been an issue in the court for quite some time. The DA and defense disagree with the judge. Stand by to see who wins.

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7 Responses to DA, defense agree Crawford Lewis should get probation

  1. H.A. Hurley says:

    He destroyed and unravelled DC & DCS, harmed students & teachers, bled the system financially with endless legal funds & dragged a once top school system through the mud.
    Yes, yes, yes…lock him up and I wish we could throw away the key.
    Criminal shyster!

  2. Comment copied and moved from another thread:

    Submitted on 2014/07/22 at 10:47 PM

    It is disgusting that the prosecutors office is protecting the board members and Crawford Lewis. It was obvious that they did not hit him with hard questions during his testimony. Why wasn’t the question answered as to who the two board members were that would not allow him to fire Pat Reid/Pope.

  3. Comment copied and moved from another thread:

    Submitted on 2014/07/22 at 2:09 PM

    Ex-DeKalb school chief argues today judge must honor plea agreement
    Updated: 1:40 p.m. Tuesday, July 22, 2014 | Posted: 12:10 p.m. Tuesday, July 22, 2014
    By Rhonda Cook – The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
    Attorneys for former DeKalb School Superintendent Crawford Lewis will argue this afternoon before the Georgia Court of Appeals that a trial judge must honor a plea agreement that he would get probation — not jail time — for pleading guilty to obstructing an investigation into the district’s construction program.

    To counter his lawyer’s arguments, DeKalb County prosecutors will be in the position of defending Judge Cynthia Becker’s refusal to adhere to the agreement between Lewis and the District Attorney’s Office even though the DA agreed in court filings with Lewis’ argument that the judge breached a negotiated plea.

    Lewis was initially charged in a May 2010 indictment with racketeering. He was facing up to 65 years in prison when he pleaded guilty last fall two weeks before he was to go on trial on a misdemeanor charge that he interfered with the DA’s investigation of himself, the district’s chief operating officer, and her architect ex-husband.

    The plea agreement was that Lewis would testify truthfully against former COO Pat Reid and Tony Pope in exchange for a probation sentence. It was his testimony that contributed to the jury’s decision to convict Reid and Pope of racketeering, Reid, also convicted of theft, was sentenced to 15 years in prison and 12 years probation and Pope was sentenced to eight years in prison and 10 years probation.

    Yet, Becker doubted he honored his promise to testify honestly so she sentenced Lewis to serve 12 months in jail, instead of 12 months on probation. Becker said she was disturbed by what he said from the stand.

    “The words I heard out of his (Lewis’) mouth when he testified, and I took notes, are the basis for the court’s sentence,” Becker said on Dec. 9 when she sentenced all three.

    Lewis testified to the problems he saw with the district’s construction projects but did nothing to stop Reid from sending business to her then-husband Pope or to firms affiliated with him.

    Prosecutors insisted at the hearing that Becker had agreed to the plea deal and that Lewis had done what he promised. In a petition filed with the Georgia Court of Appeals the DA’s office again noted that “It appears clear from the record before this court that on Oct. 16, 2013, the trial court bound itself to the plea agreement.”

    When Lewis tried to withdraw his plea on Dec. 9, Becker stressed that he would again be facing a racketeering charge and three counts of theft by taking by a government official. Becker also said Lewis’ testimony against Reid and Pope could be used against him.

    She told him he was again risking 65 years in prison if he were convicted of all the felony charges.

    Becker refused to set bond immediately and Lewis was then handcuffed and taken to jail. The judge scheduled a hearing on his lawyers’ motion to withdraw the plea for more than a week later, after she returned from vacation. The Georgia Court of Appeals said, however, bond is mandatory in misdemeanor cases, and Lewis was released after spending five days in the DeKalb County Jail.

  4. anothercomment says:

    A trial judge does not have to honor a prosecutor and defense attorneys plea deal. They for many times do not. It is clearly told to anyone accepting a plea deal that the prosecution is recommending the deal, but their is no guarantee it will be accepted. It is always made clear that it is contingent up on their cooperation and testimony at trial of others.

    For example: My cousin’s son was murdered by his 18 year old girl friend. The DA accepted a Plea to Manslaughter with a sentence of 7-25 years. The Judge on the other hand, gave this girl, who had a juvenile record of stabbing her teacher with a pencil ( she was expelled from school for it) he only sentenced this cute pig tailed little innocent looking thing to 5-7 years. He obviously didn’t see these facts from the probation report, or that my 23 year old cousin was only 5’2″ and 120 lbs and she towered over him. Or that she stabbed him with one slice through the heart, breaking his ribs. She wrote about it in a diary, cleaned up the site, hid her clothes ( never found).

    Then there are other cases where the judges give the defendants significantly more time because they are not forthcoming when they testify against co-defendants. ( When I recently was called to jury duty for a Murder in Fulton gang members are sitting on the benches out side of the courtrooms clearly trying to intimidate jurors, witnesses in the murder cases., I asked the deputy about it, he said try to ignore them. But how?)

  5. no one says:

    Corruption and waste continues: Go look at the $8,000 spent on crown molding, logos and paint at the Alternative School principals office. Former transplant from the Central office.

  6. Bear in mind, this DA’s office is led by Robert James, who had this to say in October, 2013:

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

    Click the link to see the famous picture of the DA with Gene Walker glowering behind him as James refuses to investigate the board.

    (Oddly, the original AJC article has been taken down form their site. Luckily, WSB has a report online on the subject: DeKalb DA: Grand jury investigation of school board not needed )

  7. howdy1942 says:

    As I read the articles, Dr. Lewis had to present truthful and persuasive testimony which would lead to the conviction of Pope and her former husband. Apparently, Judge Becker does not think that happened. Based on these same articles, I am persuaded that Lewis offered few specifics, but only generalities none of which were germane to the conviction. There was other evidence presented that resulted in conviction.

    The District Attorney’s office in this specific case and others appears to be very weak. In a recent community meeting, I listened with great interest as leaders in our police department stated, in so many words, that criminals they arrest one day are often back on the street in short order. I’ve asked questions and learned that the cases presented by the District Attorney were often weak, poorly prepared, and judges were often left little choice.

    It is very, very clear that the DCSS is not capable of policing itself. It has been been placed on probation by SACS. Six of nine members of the school board were removed by the Governor because a majority of that board failed to govern. I’ve seen little to change my view. Despite the strong recommendations of the Grand Jury and the clear, indisputable record of failure, the District Attorney has taken no action whatsoever. (Yet he seems to have an unlimited amount of time to pursue Burrell Ellis as well as that Dunwoody lady implicated in the murder of her husband).

    I recently learned that the Dekalb County Commission voted unanimously to have an independent, outside audit of the Commission performed. I commend Interim CEO Lee May and others on the Commission for taking this step to re-establish trust with the public. Why can’t or why won’t the DCSS board take this same step?

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