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Is effort to replace judicial watchdog needed or political payback?
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Wendell Willard, R-Sandy Springs. BOB ANDRES / BANDRES@AJC.COM

10:54 a.m. Friday, Oct. 14, 2016

Georgia voters on Nov. 8 will decide whether to amend the state’s Constitution to tear down and rebuild the commission that oversees judges’ conduct. The supporters of Amendment 3 say it’s a sensible effort to gain control of a power-drunk Judicial Qualifications Commission that answers to no one and unfairly ...
Charges brought for $4K check forged with DeKalb CEO May’s name
DeKalb County Interim CEO Lee May, former Chief of Staff Morris Williams and homebuilder Doug Cotter, who did a home repair job for May. Cotter wrote a check to refund $4,000 to May. Cotter said he gave the check to Williams and that Williams returned the endorsed check a few days later. Cotter said he took the check to a liquor store that his family owns, cashed it and then handed the money to Williams. Lee said he never saw the check and the money never made it to the county. Photo illustration by Josh Wade / Channel 2 Action News.

7:10 p.m. Tuesday, July 19, 2016

A grand jury on Tuesday indicted two men who allegedly used Interim DeKalb CEO Lee May’s name to steal $4,000 in public money. Former Chief of Staff Morris Williams and contractor Doug Cotter face felony charges of theft and conspiracy stemming from repairs at May’s home in 2011. Cotter also ...
How Sherry Boston won DeKalb’s DA race
DeKalb DA candidate Sherry Boston celebrates with former prosecutor Bob Wilson at a watch party where she celebrated her win over incumbent Robert James during Tuesday’s primary. KENT D. JOHNSON/kdjohnson@ajc.com

6:08 p.m. Wednesday, May 25, 2016

By casting District Attorney Robert James as part of DeKalb’s problems, Solicitor Sherry Boston was able to win a resounding victory Tuesday and replace him as the county’s top prosecutor. Boston doubted James’ ability to eliminate corruption and questioned his personal integrity, citing missteps with his official spending, dealings with ...
DeKalb elects new chief prosecutor; Thurmond wins CEO primary
Incoming DeKalb County District Attorney Sherry Boston celebrates with former prosecutor Bob Wilson at a watch party where she celebrated her win over incumbent Robert James during Tuesday’s primary (Kent D. Johnson / AJC)

Updated: 11:13 p.m. Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Disgruntled voters ousted DeKalb District Attorney Robert James on Tuesday, replacing him with Solicitor Sherry Boston, who promised to lead the county into a new era of honesty and even-handed prosecutions. Boston questioned James’ ability to handle the job of cleaning up DeKalb, arguing that residents need a strong but ...
DeKalb Solicitor Sherry Boston wins district attorney race
DeKalb DA candidate Sherry Boston celebrates with former prosecutor Bob Wilson at a watch party where she celebrated her win over incumbent Robert James during Tuesday's primary.

Updated: 10:55 p.m. Tuesday, May 24, 2016

DeKalb Solicitor Sherry Boston defeated District Attorney Robert James in the race Tuesday to become the county’s top prosecutor. Boston ran a campaign saying that DeKalb needs a new district attorney whom residents can trust to prosecute crimes and clean up the county. James argued that he had a record ...
DeKalb DA candidates at odds over prosecutions, leadership
DeKalb County District Attorney candidates Sherry Boston and Robert James participate in forum presented by DeKalb For Seniors Inc. at Salem Bible Church in Lithonia on May 5. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

Updated: 2:17 p.m. Thursday, May 19, 2016

As DeKalb County’s chief prosecutor, District Attorney Robert James has secured the convictions of corrupt politicians, gang members and murderers during his five years in office. But has he done enough? His opponent in Tuesday’s primary election, DeKalb Solicitor-General Sherry Boston, says no, arguing he hasn’t meted out justice evenly ...
Fate of DeKalb in voters’ hands this month
DeKalb County CEO candidates Michael Thurmond and Connie Stokes greet during candidate forum presented by DeKalb For Seniors Inc. at Salem Bible Church in Lithonia on Thursday. The May 24 primary election will give voters an opportunity to elect a wide variety of candidates to represent the county. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

2:00 p.m. Tuesday, May 10, 2016

After all of DeKalb’s scandals, criminal prosecutions and corruption investigations, the future of the county’s government is in the hands of voters this month. Will a disgusted electorate throw out county officials or stick with those they know to govern the county of 735,000 people? The May 24 primary election ...
No further charges expected from DeKalb corruption report
DeKalb District Attorney Robert James and Senior Assistant District Attorney Cynthia Hill presented the findings of their review of a special purpose grand jury report on Thursday. The report uncovered suspicions of widespread wrongdoing in county government, but the prosecutors’ review didn’t find evidence to bring further charges beyond those that resulted in the conviction of suspended DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis. MARK NIESSE / MARK.NIESSE@AJC.COM

12:00 a.m. Sunday, April 17, 2016

In a damning report issued by a special grand jury three years ago, suspicions of corruption in DeKalb’s County government ran deep. A yearlong probe had uncovered possible cronyism, shakedowns and irregular spending from the top of the personnel chain to the bottom. Jury members pointed out instances of county ...
Judicial watchdog chairman resigns, cites political interference
The State Capitol in Atlanta, home of the Georgia Legislature. (John Spink / jspink@ajc.com / 2011 file photo)

5:14 p.m. Tuesday, April 5, 2016

The chairman of the board that serves as a watchdog over the state’s judges resigned Tuesday, writing that the work of the Judicial Qualifications Commission is threatened by political and other outside forces that are interested only in protecting jurists connected to the right people. In a letter to the ...
Chair of judicial watchdog resigns
Lester Tate resigned from the Judicial Qualifications Commission

1:17 p.m. Tuesday, April 5, 2016

The chairman of the board that serves as a watchdog over the state’s judges resigned Tuesday, writing that the work of the Judicial Qualification Commission is threatened by political and other outside forces that are interested only in protecting jurists connected to the right people.In a letter to the Board ...
Suspended DeKalb CEO Ellis granted parole after 8 months
JULY 8, 2015 DECATUR Embattled DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis is led out of the courtroom after he was sentenced to 5 years, to serve 18 months in prison, Wednesday July 8, 2015. Ellis was found guilty of attempted extortion and perjury a week ago in his retrial before Superior Court Judge Courtney Johnson. KENT D. JOHNSON /KDJOHNSON@AJC.COM

In the last few years, I’ve probably been tasked with more courthouse assignments than the rest of the staff. It takes some planning and a lot of patience to be able to navigate the judicial system and the concerns of the various judges. You have to know when you can shoot, how you can shoot and just what each judge will allow. Fortunately, I’ve worked with those that are very aware of the intersection of justice and the media works.

Taken on Wed, July 8, 2015 with NIKON D3, on Shutter Priority, 1/320 sec, 70.0-200.0 mm f/2.8 lens at 70mm, f/2.8, 6400 ISO

6:49 p.m. Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Suspended DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis is free from prison after serving eight months of his 18-month sentence for perjury and attempted extortion. Ellis, convicted last July, was granted parole as soon as he was eligible, said Steve Hayes, a spokesman for the Georgia Parole Board. The board examined Ellis’ ...
Investigations target DeKalb bribery, payments and extortion

1:17 p.m. Friday, Feb. 19, 2016

There may be more corruption charges to come involving DeKalb County’s government. Federal and local authorities are still investigating allegations of vote buying, mysterious payments to officials and extortion. Already, at least 40 people have been convicted on DeKalb corruption-related charges in recent years, including CEO Burrell Ellis, Commissioner Elaine ...
DeKalb corruption crisis might not be over

11:26 a.m. Friday, Feb. 19, 2016

The report on corruption in DeKalb County was explosive. With allegations of illegal spending, mismanagement and bribery, Gov. Nathan Deal ordered the GBI to get involved. Agents huddled with the FBI, U.S. Attorney’s Office and Georgia Attorney General’s Office on Oct. 30 to decide what to do. They quickly reached ...
GBI won’t further investigate DeKalb corruption
Jerry Clark, right, former DeKalb Zoning Board of Appeals member, and his attorney Gary Spencer walked to federal court on Feb. 19, 2015 before Clark pleaded guilty. BEN GRAY / BGRAY@AJC.COM

Updated: 6:40 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2016

The GBI revealed Wednesday that it will launch no further investigations into corruption allegations raised in an explosive report on DeKalb County, saying they don’t amount to crimes. While some of the conduct detailed in the report by special investigators Mike Bowers and Richard Hyde might be unethical, it doesn’t ...
Fulton school leaders search for new superintendent
Fulton County Schools Superintendent Robert Avossa speaks during the Fulton County School Board meeting at Dunwoody Springs Elementary Thursday evening Sandy Springs, Ga., November 21, 2013. Fulton County is still searching for a permanent replacement for Avossa, who stepped down as superintendent in June 2015.

4:09 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 17, 2015

Fulton County school board members have launched a national search for a new superintendent, though leaders aren’t ruling out the interim replacement as a major contender despite his lack of experience educating children. If Kenneth Zeff, who has served as interim superintendent since Robert Avossa stepped down as superintendent in ...
DeKalb prosecutor’s meal spending questioned
DeKalb District Attorney Robert James has repaid $1,915 to the county for his meal expenses, an action that his critics say could undermine his ability to prosecute officials for allegations of misspending. KENT D. JOHNSON /KDJOHNSON@AJC.COM

12:00 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 6, 2015

DeKalb District Attorney Robert James, who recently prosecuted a former county worker for misusing a government Visa card, himself repaid $1,915 for meals charged while on trips. But James said there was nothing improper about his spending, which he reimbursed out of an abundance of caution. The ex-employee rejects James’ ...
School superintendents in metro Atlanta, Georgia seldom last long

Updated: 1:25 p.m. Friday, Nov. 27, 2015

Once a month, about two dozen men and women drive hours to a hotel conference room in Macon to learn how to run a school district.With the average tenure of a superintendent in large American school districts being just three years, some of them joke about the perils of their ...
Ga. Supreme Court returns former DeKalb school chief’s to trial court
Crawford Lewis

8:38 a.m. Monday, Nov. 16, 2015

The Georgia Supreme Court today returned to the trial court the case against former DeKalb County School Superintendent Crawford Lewis, saying a judge should decide if he truthfully testified against his former co-defendants.If Lewis did, the justices said, then he honored the plea deal with prosecutors and should be punished ...
Hope, derision greet corruption report
Interim DeKalb CEO Lee May denounced a report on DeKalb corruption at a news conference Wednesday afternoon Sept. 30, 2015. BEN GRAY / BGRAY@AJC.COM

8:42 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2015

The findings of a report on DeKalb government corruption left the county right where it was before: at the mercy of ongoing criminal investigations. Several residents and elected officials said they hope prosecutors use the report as a launching pad for more indictments. Others, including Interim DeKalb CEO Lee May, ...
Cityhood movement boosted by DeKalb’s problems
Yard signs in favor of a city of LaVista Hills say that “It’s too late to wait!”. BOB ANDRES / BANDRES@AJC.COM

12:00 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015

Residents who want to form the new cities of LaVista Hills and Tucker say their motivations go beyond taking control of parks, business licensing and community planning.They also want to get as far from DeKalb County’s scandals as possible.Voters will decide whether to incorporate the communities Nov. 3.“It has gotten ...
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