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Baker case passes one-year mark

ALBANY, Ga. -- In November 2011, Morningside Elementary Principal Gloria Baker and her husband, John, were charged with school lunch fraud and were later indicted by a Dougherty Grand Jury.

The Bakers were indicted on three counts of public record fraud, two counts of theft by taking and two counts of providing false information to obtain free school meals for a child.

One year later, the Bakers are still waiting for a trial date to be set. The case is being heard by Dougherty Superior Court Chief Judge Willie Lockette.

"If you are asking me if a trial date has been set, the answer is no." Gloria Baker's attorney, Howard Stiller, said. "I filed a demurrer (to dismiss) on Aug. 31 and Judge Lockette gave the state until Oct. 8 to respond. Well, Oct. 8 rolled around and the state did not respond, so I filed another motion and the judge set a Dec. 3 hearing date. We'll see what happens then."

Stiller said he suspects that South Georgia Judicial Circuit District Attorney Joe Mulholland, whose office is prosecuting Baker, saw Dougherty County School System Board member Velvet Riggins' acquittal earlier in a similar case and decided to rethink his strategy.

Stiller speculates that Mulholland might be trying "to re-wrap a bad present" and rework Gloria Baker's charges to present again to a grand jury.

The state's case against Gloria Baker is based on three free and reduced school meal applications filed in 2009, 2010 and 2011. Stiller says the state's problem is that Gloria Baker's name is not on any of the three applications.

John Baker's name and signature, in addition to one child, are on all three.

"The state will have to prove to a jury that she (Gloria Baker) didn't know her name was not listed on the application," Stiller said. "It's going to be tough selling a jury that she knew her name wasn't on the applications."

Stiller added the Riggins outcome also made things more difficult for the state.

"We've already had one verdict handed down in a similar case, and we all saw what happened there," Stiller said. "And we feel our case is even stronger than that one."

Shortly after her arrest, the School Board suspended Baker for 15 days without pay. The board eventually reassigned her to the South Georgia Regional Achievement Center, where Baker remains today.

A call to Mulholland requesting comment was not returned.

Comments

Sister_Ruby 1 year, 11 months ago

Just let her off. Nobody's guilty of anything in Dougherty County under certain conditions and you know what conditions I speak of.

And go ahead and make one year's worth of her Benz payments for her trouble.

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waltspecht 1 year, 11 months ago

Will Justice, once more, be nothing more than a joke? I think it is obvious to the average Citizen what occurred here, and it seems to be obvious what the outcome will be. It is a shame when morals, principles and honesty are thrown out because it is acceptable to a certain group of people.

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chinaberry25 1 year, 11 months ago

You have the fox watching the hen house. They sure did not take that Benz on her trip to the police station. What never ceases to amaze me it she should have been thankful to the good Lord for providing a good job to her and it should be a privilege to make the money to pay for such a small fee. Life is so fleeting and you can lose these privileges at a moments notice. She has learned this hard lesson. Hopefully!

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RedEric 1 year, 11 months ago

I doubt it CB gimmedats will defend her by declaring it was a racist charge. After all doesn't everyone cheat the government? It isn't like stealing. Its just gitten whats there for the takin.

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jglass 1 year, 11 months ago

They will get off "scott free". Why waste tax payers money on a trial?

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whattheheck 1 year, 11 months ago

If the story is accurate, I don't know how we wound up with such a poor case from a legal standpoint. If her name and signature are not on the application, she wins the lotto. Drop her off and continue on with only the husband if he is the one who did the deed. In the future, just get and keep lunch cheaters off the rolls, please, we don't have money to fight lost causes.

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Amazed2 1 year, 11 months ago

Been better of to have assigned her and husband to 30 days of washing dishes at her school. Would have been more justice done and more than what they will get from a trial.

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