Deal’s Marlow panel meeting today in Atlanta
by Michelle Babcock
November 14, 2013 12:34 AM | 1609 views | 0 0 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Gov. Nathan Deal’s panel to determine whether or not Cherokee School Board member Kelly Marlow should be suspended from office following her felony indictment is set for today at 9 a.m. at the State Judicial Building in Atlanta.

The Cherokee County District Attorney’s Office and Marlow will each have a chance to present their sides of the case.

The panel, appointed by Deal on Nov. 5, is required to make a recommendation to the governor by Tuesday on whether or not Marlow’s indictment would impact her ability to serve as a school board member, Attorney General’s Office spokeswoman Lauren Kane said.

“They’ll listen to both sides, and then they’ll meet privately,” Kane said Wednesday. “Then they will send a recommendation to the governor.”

The panel to review Marlow’s indictment includes Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens, Cobb County School Board member Tim Stultz and Forsyth County School Board member Ann K. Crow.

Kane said representation from both sides of the case can choose to attend the meeting and present their argument to the panel. The meeting is open to the public, but the private session will not be, Kane said.

“The indicted individual — the defendant — can choose to be there with their attorney, and they can present their side of the case, their argument,” Kane said. “The prosecutor, the district attorney can also choose to appear and present his or her argument, and they present it before the three panel members.”

Cherokee County District Attorney Shannon Wallace said Wednesday “the prosecutor assigned to the case, Chief Assistant District Attorney Rachelle Carnesale, will attend the meeting.”

Marlow and two of her associates, political adviser Robert Trim and GOP Secretary Barbara Knowles, were indicted last month in Cherokee County on multiple felony counts of making a false statement.

The indictments are related to a June 13 incident when Knowles allegedly called 911 and reported to the Canton Police Department that Cherokee Superintendent of Schools Dr. Frank Petruzielo almost ran them over with his car after a school board meeting.

If the panel decides Marlow’s indictment does not relate to and adversely affect school board administration, then the panel will not recommend suspension, according to the state law. But if the panel decides the indictment does adversely affect Marlow’s ability to serve on the school board, they will make a written recommendation to the governor.

Once Deal receives the recommendation, he will “review the findings and recommendations of the commission and may suspend the public officer from office immediately and without further action pending the final disposition of the case or until the expiration of his term of office, whichever occurs first,” according to Georgia code.

If suspended, Marlow can petition the governor for a review and Deal can reappoint the panel to review the suspension. If the panel then recommends the official be reinstated, the official will be immediately reinstated, the law states.

Marlow could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Marlow, Trim and Knowles are scheduled to appear before Cherokee County Superior Court Judge Jackson Harris for arraignment Nov. 21 at 9:30 a.m., according to the Cherokee County Clerk of Courts office.

Marlow has filed a motion asking her indictment be overturned, and that request is expected to be considered at the hearing.

Meanwhile, State Department of Education spokesman Matt Cardoza confirmed his office had received Marlow’s appeal of her ethics violation sanction from the local superintendent.

Marlow was sanctioned by the Cherokee School Board on Oct. 2, for violating board policy by sending a letter to the school accrediting agency AdvancEd, calling for an investigation. On Nov. 1, Marlow filed an appeal of her ethics code violation sanction to the local superintendent.

“Yes, we have received it but it’s hard to say what the next step is right now. Every case is a little different and this one is definitely different from student and teacher appeals we normally get,” Cardoza said Wednesday. “Our general counsel will be taking a look at it over the next few days to see what the next step is.”

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