The judge who sentenced educators to jail for as long as seven years changed his mind.

“Before sentencing on April 14, Baxter had urged the convicted educators to accept an offer from prosecutors that would have allowed them to avoid extensive time behind bars in exchange for taking responsibility, apologizing and waiving their right to appeal. Only two accepted.

“Clearly rankled that the majority refused to accept the last-minute deal, Baxter sentenced the remaining eight educators to prison, reserving his harshest punishment for the highest-ranking educators. Sharon Davis-Williams, Michael Pitts and Tamara Cotman, all regional supervisors with Atlanta Public Schools, each received seven years in prison, 13 years of probation and a $25,000 fine.

“But a few days later, Baxter had second thoughts and notified the trio of senior administrators that he had scheduled another hearing. On Thursday, he reduced the administrators’ sentences to three years in prison and seven years of probation, with a $10,000 fine and 2,000 hours of community service.

“I’m going to put myself out to pasture in the not-too-distant future, and I don’t want to be out in the pasture with any regrets,” the judge said.”