Former DeKalb Co. Schools superintendent fighting prison - CBS46 News

Former DeKalb Co. Schools superintendent fighting prison sentence

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Dr. Crawford Lewis Dr. Crawford Lewis
DEKALB COUNTY, GA (CBS46) -

For the first time since he was sentenced to a year in jail, former DeKalb County Superintendent Dr. Crawford Lewis breaks his silence.

"This has been very difficult on me and my family," said Lewis. "This has been almost four years now waiting for this process to end.

Lewis' troubles are far from over.

He was in court Tuesday fighting Judge Cynthia Becker's decision to send him to jail for a year instead of sentencing him to the state's recommendation of 12 months on probation.

"The court sat as fact finder. I made a decision about the credibility, the believability, probability, or improbability of the testimony I heard," said Becker. "I used that fact finding piece and made a decision and sentenced accordingly. I stand by that ruling, so the motion to reconsider is denied."

Lewis worked out a plea deal with prosecutors, instead of facing felony racketeering charges, he plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge of obstruction and agreed to testify in the trial against Patricia Reid Pope and Tony Pope. He did and a jury found them both guilty. When Becker sent Reid and Pope to prison, she also surprised everyone and sent Lewis to prison.

Michael Brown, Lewis' attorney filed three motions. He asked Becker to recuse herself from the case. She denied the motion. He also asked her to honor the plea deal and reverse her decision to send Lewis to prison. Becker also denied that motion.

She did, however, granted Lewis' motion to have an appellate judge to review her decision.

"We think there was no question this was a negotiated plea. It was said three times at the plea hearing and never challenged by anyone, including the court," said Brown.

"Even if it's a negotiated plea, where in any part of the agreement was the court bound to accept the recommendation?" Becker asked.

Becker remained defiant when she allowed Lewis to request an appellate court to review her ruling about his prison sentence.

"I'd like to see the court of appeals or any other appellate court tell me I'm bound by that [the plea agreement]," said Becker.

Lewis said all he can do now is wait.

"At this time we are going to take some time and study what we have requested today, and then we will go forward for there," said Lewis.

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