APS trial delayed due to Beverly Hall's cancer treatment

ATLANTA – A judge has postponed the trial of those accused in the Atlanta Public Schools test cheating scandal at the request of Dr. Beverly Hall's lawyers.

Hall is fighting Stage IV breast cancer. Hall's lawyers filed a motion last Monday seeking a delay of the trial. The motion says she is "physically and mentally unable to attend trial" for at least six to eight months while she undergoes enhanced cancer treatment, namely chemotherapy, and adds that her trial should only continue after her treatments are done.

"She's under a great deal of stress. She wants to go forward and try and vindicate herself if her body allows and if her strength allows. But this is something that her doctors have made clear – that she just was in no position to go forward," lead attorney Richard Deane said. "We've filed a motion seeking to delay the trial."

With Hall's weakened immune system and fragile state, the motion went on to say the court is putting her life at risk, and that the stress of trial would prevent her from fighting the cancer.

Hall was not in court during Monday's hearing. In court, her attorneys said that Hall's condition is getting progressively worse.

Hall's oncologist, Dr. Laura Weakland, testified that her cancer has worsened dramatically and spread to her liver and bone.

Weakland said that she'll start Hall on aggressive chemotherapy beginning next week -- delayed only because of the hearing.

A witness for the state, Dr. James Stark -- a retired oncologist from Virginia -- dismissed the need to treat Hall any further, saying that he didn't see the wisdom of it.

"If she were my patient, I'm not sure that I would treat her at all anymore," Stark said. "This idea of giving somebody who is this ill more chemo I think is fraught with difficulty."

Hall was hospitalized late last month. She and 12 other educators were set to go on trial at the end of April. The trial will now begin in August.

Twenty-one other educators have taken plea deals in the case.

Hall's supporters included civil rights icons Andrew Young, the Rev. Timothy McDonald of First Iconium Baptist Church and the Rev. Joseph Lowery. Judge Jerry Baxter threatened to kick Young out of the courtroom after an outburst from the former U.N. Ambassador and Atlanta mayor.

"It's a waste of taxpayer's money. She's got to stand before God before law. Both sides say let God judge her," Young said.

In the end, Young was allowed to stay, and Baxter delayed the trial until August.

But for parents like Shawnna Tavares-Hayes, the decision was a slap in the face.

"Hey, guess what, I'm stressed too," she told 11Alive's Blayne Alexander. "I'm stressed with having to work with my child every day to catch up on what he was probably cheated on."

Tavares-Hayes, a recent candidate for Atlanta School Board, says three of her four children are still struggling to regain their academic footing after their elementary schools were implemented in the scandal.

"As a human being, I feel sorry for her, of course," she said. "But as a parent in Atlanta Public Schools and as an advocate, I have no sympathy whatsoever. And I think she should be held accountable."


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