Judge to defendants: Work out a deal

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The judge in the Atlanta Public Schools test-cheating trial urged prosecutors and defense attorneys to hammer out a sentencing agreement — or the convicted former educators could face potential prison time.

“I’ve got the fair sentence in my mind and it involves going to jail,” said Judge Jerry Baxter.

Baxter gave both sides a break until 3 p.m. before reconvening the hearing.

Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard has discussed reduced sentences for the 10 convicted defendants. The former educators face up to 20 years in prison for their racketeering conviction.

A sticking point between the two sides is whether the defendants will have the right to appeal if they agree to deal. Defense attorney want their clients to have an option of an appeal. Prosecutors have proposed the defendants waive any appeal rights in exchange for a lesser sentence.

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