The following has been reported to us by one of our blog supporters - many thanks.
On Wednesday, April 27, 2011 the Court of Appeals heard oral arguments related to the DCSS Construction Corruption case (on appeal from DeKalb Superior Court, case number IOCR2861). Specifically, Crawford Lewis' attorneys argued that DeKalb County Superior Court Judge CJ Becker had abused her discretion in ruling that Alston & Bird, the firm representing Lewis in the criminal matter, was disqualified due to a conflict of interest. Parsons Technology Group is the program management company that took over the running of the DCSS construction department after P. Pope was reassigned after the 10/2009 search warrants. An employee of Parsons is now the interim CIT Officer and is essentially the new Pat Pope. This employee, according to the prosecutor's argument at the Court of Appeals, will be a major State's witness against P. Pope and C. Lewis at the criminal trial. The conflict stems from the fact that Parsons Technology Group is a longtime, multi-million dollar client of Alston & Bird. In more specific terms, Lewis' attorneys will inevitably be in a position to cross-examine a high-ranking employee of very large client. This is a built-in basis for an eventual "ineffective assistance of counsel" claim by Lewis once convicted. Such a conflict may be waivable in a civil matter, but not in a criminal matter.
The Court of Appeals hearing was set to start at 10:00. It did not get underway until about 10:40. Tom Bowen, current DCSS Board Of Education Chairman, showed up to the proceeding prior to its start. He made his way to Crawford Lewis and his family. He hugged Lewis and members of Lewis' family. After exchanging hugs and pleasantries, Chairman Bowen then sat behind the Lewis family (on the Appellant/Lewis side of the courtroom) in a blatant show of support for the indicted former superintendent who was fired nearly a year ago.
Why in the WORLD would Tom Bowen show up to this proceeding? And in support of Crawford Lewis? Why isn't he supporting the District Attorney's Office that did the difficult and right thing and pursued the criminal charges against Lewis? Could it be due to the need to protect the outcome of the school system's $100 million lawsuit against Heery/Mitchell Construction? A conviction on the indictments of Lewis and Pat Pope would certainly harm the school system's civil case – a case that they have already spent over $15 million on King & Spalding and other legal entities.
Tom, are you with DCSS OR are you with the former superintendent who was indicted for running a criminal enterprise? Do you support DCSS OR do you support indicted Lewis? You can't have it both ways.
Were you there on your own ...OR on behalf the entire Board?
Either way – it was irresponsible of you and certainly sends a disappointing message to DeKalb County residents about you, the board you represent and your intentions.