Special to SEGAZINE
An unusual footnote in an order by the Georgia Court of Appeals has created uncertainty about who will preside over the trial of a blockbuster criminal case.
The footnote in the order issued by the appeals court indicates that Fulton Superior Court Judge Jerry Baxter called the appeals court’s clerk “urging quick action” on an appeal by a defendant charged in the Atlanta Public Schools’ cheating scandal. The disclosure has led defendants in the APS cases to call for Baxter’s recusal, saying he effectively took a side before the appeals court.
Baxter told the Daily Report on Wednesday that he thought the appeal was frivolous and that he needed guidance from the appeals court on whether to proceed with preparations to call in hundreds of prospective jurors for a trial then set for this month. “I just wanted direction, and I wanted something pretty fast, and I wasn’t trying to influence anybody to do anything one way or another,” said Baxter. “I just wanted to know.”