After Tuesday's hearing, Lafave's attorney, John Fitzgibbons, said the plea was "a fair resolution of this case." Asked how she felt afterward, Lafave said "tired."
Debra LaFave pleaded guilty to two counts of lewd and lascivious battery, on count one, 2 years community control and on count two, one year community control with 7 years of probation.This means she will avoid any jail time.
Her charges run consecutively, with a total of probation for 10 years. After she serves the two years of community control, she can come back to court and ask the court to convert her third year of community control to probation.
The Hillsborough County Prosecutor Mike Sinacore says they state agreed to this deal at the request of the victim's mother who wanted to spare her son from testifying.JudgeTimmerman went over the conditions of the community control and probation, which are standard for convicted sexual offenders.
Debra LaFave now has a curfew from 10pm to 6am. She must stay at least a thousand feet from schools, daycare centers etc., and anywhere kids congregate.Thirty days from today, she must enroll in an outpatient sex offender program at her expense.
A therapist must certify she has completed the program within 4 years from start to finish. LaFave is to have no contact with boy, either indirectly or directly.After the boy turns 18 years old, only the court may determine whether LaFave and the boy can have contact and that would be after the court, after consulting with therapists, determine if it's in the best interest of the victim.
LaFave can have no unsupervised contact with any child under the age of 18 without another adult present and also the approval of the court.The judge also said LaFave cannot possess any pornographic, sexual or obscene martial (tapes, computer, books etc.) She must submit a DNA sample to the state sex offender database.
LaFave must also pay for the psychological treatment and related expenses for the boy. While she is on probation, she must also have a polygraph every year.
(New York, N.Y.) – Sept. 12, 2006 – In an exclusive interview with NBC's Matt Lauer, Debra Beasley LaFave speaks out in her first television interview about the 2004 criminal case that made her one of the most infamous school teachers in America. LaFave, the young, attractive teacher who became an international sensation, pleaded guilty to lewd and lascivious battery and is currently serving a sentence of house arrest. She recounts her sexual relationship with a 14-year-old student step by step to Lauer, revealing new details about the affair and saying that behind her good looks, there was a deeply troubled woman suffering from bipolar disorder. The exclusive interview will air on "Today" (7:00 AM/ET) and on "Dateline NBC" (9:00 PM/ET) on Wednesday, Sept. 13.
Below are excerpts from the interview, mandatory credit to "Today" and "Dateline NBC":
RE: Why she garnered so much attention:
LaFave: I don't know.
Lauer: I'll say it. Do you think it's because you're pretty?
LaFave: I think so. And sex sells.
RE: How the affair began:
LaFave: I think he just became very flirtatious and you gotta remember that at that period in my time or in my life I didn't feel like an adult. I was crashing fast. Lauer: I would imagine there are parents watching right now Debbie and…they're saying, "Wait a minute. She just said that he became very flirtatious." You know a) is she blaming him for how this started? So the answer to that is?
Lauer: And b) She was the older one…She was the teacher. She was the role model.
LaFave: I did. I crossed the line that never should've been crossed.
RE: Her lack of consciousness during this time:
Lauer: Did you and this student have open conversations about the fact that you two might be getting into very dangerous territory?
LaFave: You know there was very little conversation to be honest with you. You know looking back he was 14, you know what is there really to say to a 23-year-old...
Lauer: … At any point during sex with this student or after sex with this student did you say, "In the eyes of the law, I just committed rape" ? LaFave: No. I never said that.
RE: How she thinks this may impact her victim's life:
LaFave: I think he's gonna have a hard time trusting women one day. I'm sure he has to be living with the guilt of quote, unquote ratting me out.
RE: Being bipolar:
LaFave: I don't want to blur the lines between doing something as heinous as what I did, and being bipolar. But, yes, symptoms of bipolar definitely contributed to my mind frame.
RE: What she wants people to know about her:
LaFave: That I committed a sex offense. But I'm not a sex offender, even though I'm labeled as that. I made a really, really, really bad choice.
Lauer: You don't see yourself as a predator?
LeFave: It's hard. It is so hard because I lived 23 years of my life, you know, knowing who I was. I was a kindhearted person who loved children, who would never, you know, do anything to break the law. I was a good person. And then now everything has just changed. So it's just really hard for me to accept that.
Hernando: Lafave trial decision was the honorable choice.
Popular belief is that a child can testify in private, does not have to face the defendant, can have an adult testify in his place or testify by video. This is not the case.
Only in extremely rare and limited circumstances are these steps permitted. The Lafave case does not meet any of the standards to allow the victim to testify outside the presence of the jury, defendant or courtroom. The victim's identity cannot be altered or hidden.
In child sex-abuse cases, the victim must take the witness stand and tell in graphic detail all matters related to the sexual encounter. Often victims have to describe sexual acts, discuss facts related to their own genitalia, the genitalia of the defendant and describe in explicit detail every aspect of the sexual encounter. The victim is forced to describe a sexual experience that has become the most embarrassing moment of his or her life.
Who would willingly choose to do that?
A 34-year-old [Delaware] teacher ... has been charged with having a sexual relationship with a 13-year-old student. New Castle County police spokesman Cpl. Trinidad Navarro said the woman allegedly had sex with the boy 28 times
during one week in March.
Debra Lafave Puts a Pretty Face to an Ugly Issue.
Debra Lafave would have you believe that it was an intense psychological cocktail of bipolar disease and anorexia which motivated her to have sex with her student.
But since neither of these conditions is linked with predatory sex, Lafave has left us to interpret her acts as a deviously creative way to garner attention. And it's working. Oddly enough, becoming a pedophile is a very effective way to turn heads.
"No doubt there was no shortage of indignant harrumphing and lip-pursing in the nation's newsrooms with the revelation that Debra Lafave aspires to one day become a journalist.
"Well, you have to admit that for whatever news organization would hire her, it could be one darn fine office Christmas party." --Daneil Ruth, Tampa Tribune
|Documents reveal LaFave’s dark secrets and intimate details|
Tampa, Florida - The conversations come from some 900 pages of sworn testimony released today. We have to warn you some of this is sexually explicit because of the nature of this case. It is significant. Also we usually have a policy of never identifying the victims of a sexual assault, but because in this case because Debra LaFave is the perpetrator as well as a victim, we felt it was significant. |
Sworn depositions show Debra LaFave had a lesbian relationship when she was in high school.
Her lover Casie Martinez testified, "She seemed very comfortable with girls, I mean she seemed that she had a slight preference, You know it seemed comfortable and natural to her."
The state asked, "Were you ever sexually active with each other?" Yes we were Martinez says. "Okay was it more than just kissing then?"
"Oh yeah. Oh yeah"
"But she told me it has taken place at her middle school… and I guess the majority of the occurrences it happened >
|in the school and he would pen her into corners in the classroom and that type of thing." |
Owen LaFave told prosecutors, "I am aware she’s been diagnosed with I think bipolar disorder. She is anorexic."
And he says, she started acting strange and depressed at home. "And she would come home from work, strip down completely naked and have popcorn and just lay on the couch, eat popcorn and go to sleep."
Meantime, LaFave says the couple’s sex life went from one extreme to the other
"There were periods of hyper sexual relationship and there were periods when it shut down completely."
But after the arrest LaFave says Debra changed.
"She started to spend a lot of, a significant amount of time in Christian books stores and reading you know religious related scripture and books and that sort of thing."
We also learned that Owen LaFave was suspicious of Debra’s time away from home, but he never imagined she was a having a relationship with a student, but instead accused her of having a relationship with a student’s father; it was a charge she angrily denied and clearly one that wasn’t true.
To be sure, we're addicted to beauty in America, the superficial kind, anyhow. We're always giving beautiful people breaks, too, so it's only fitting the hot-looking teacher got off.
It's over, folks. You know the LaFave story has jumped the shark when the loons begin explaining her actions through their deluded fantasies.
God Intervenes for Debra Lafave
Meanwhile, back in the real world....
Even though the charges have been dropped in Marion County, Lafave will still serve out the terms of the plea deal accepted by the Hillsborough County judge.
Lafave struggled to get a job for a while. In December, her officer wrote "she is trying to find a job with little to no public contact, as she gets death threats as well as unwelcomed contact because of her case." But by a few weeks later, Lafave was apparently over that concern. She got a job as a waitress in a Sun City Center restaurant
OCALA, Fla. (WJRT/AP) - (03/22/06)-- When Debra Lafave, the former Tampa, Fla., teacher accused of having sex with her 14-year-old student, learned that state prosecutors had dropped charges against her, she called her ordeal "a bump in the road."
Debra Lafave: Free to Pursue Therapy/Journalism
Her hair was stylishly slicked back behind her girlishly pretty face and colored a hue which has become her signature platinum blonde. Dressed in a patterned skirt and a black blazer opened to a deceivingly conservative blouse, Debra Lafave marched self-assuredly beside her attorney into a Florida press conference this afternoon. She sat arrogantly stone-faced while the public learned that the sexual molestation charges involving her 14 year old student had been dropped. Her attorney hopes that she will eventually 'fade to a foot-note', but such is something that sexual predators rarely do.
Lafave smirked carelessly as she unfolded a piece of yellow stationary which held words she ultimately delivered in a fashion more like an Oscar-winning acceptance speech than a gratefully humble acknowledgement of heavily pardoned guilt. While consistently citing her dedication to prayer, she spoke of herself as a crusader of truth, a scapegoat in the battle to prove that 'mental illness is real' and can cause 'good people to do bad things.'Eventually said illness was identified as bipolar disorder, a disease characterized by dramatic shifts from depressive to manic moods, an illness not directly associated with any sexually predatory or deviant behavior.
During the question and answer period with the press, she criticized the media for under-reporting and misunderstanding her alleged disease. 'I challenge you (the media) to read a book or an article on bipolar illness.' When asked about her greatest regret, Lafave briefly mentioned her guilt for sleeping with her 14 year old student before blaming the media for being an invader of the boy's privacy. It may well have been that Lafave was not married during the time of her offense. She never mentioned her ex-husband during her comments today, and an apology for the devastation and embarrassment she cause him seemed to be the least of her now greatly reduced concerns. She's looking to an unmarred future despite the turmoil she is responsible for. Apparently, it's an online journalism course that has currently stuck fancy with the ex-teacher. 'God has given me a great outlet to write.' Elizabeth Licorish ElitesTV Charges dropped in teacher sex case
House arrest for LaFave begins today
Tampa, Florida - The world won't see much, if any, of Debra LaFave over the next three years. Community control means house arrest, confinement at home with the flexibility to leave for work, school and the grocery store.
The plea agreement was reached in part to lift the overwhelming amount of publicity LaFave got since her arrest, and it was one of the determining factors for the victim's family who agreed to this deal.
Without question, all the media attention on this case helped Debra LaFave in the short run. But in the long run, it'll be up to LaFave to make sure she complies with the terms of her probation. If she violates seriously, then she could wind up in the Florida State Prison.
Young? Female? Criminal? Thank God It's Florida!Lafave's life will never be the same.
The biggest complication for Lafave could be a requirement that she place her name on the state's sex offender registry. The database contains the names and addresses of sex offenders and some details of their charges. It is available to the public on the Internet.
Many sex offenders manage to remain relatively anonymous. But for a woman whose image has been beamed around the world and plastered on the front pages of newspapers, the registry could prove not just invasive but dangerous. "Debbie and my office have received literally hundreds of letters from all over the country, and some of these letters are disturbing," Fitzgibbons said. "I really don't want to get into the details, but that could be a concern if people know where she lives."Are There Double Standards With Women Sex Offenders?
Is there really a double standard? Prosecutors in San Diego say justice should be blind, but cases of female sex offenders present challenges.Of the roughly 4000 registered sex offenders in the county, only 50 are women -- about 1 percent. Prosecutors say going to trial often means going uphill.
"And jurors are a part of that. (They) don't view women as traditional sex predators (or) someone to fear," said Summer Stephan with the district attorney's office.The public may not view women as threats because violent offenders are rare, but there's another explanation.
Sociologists say the undelying perception is the victim is not really being victimized.A SDSU sociology professor told 10News we live in a culture where males are encouraged to have as much sex as early as possible.
Experts say those social perceptions then make it tougher on a victim to testify. In the Lafave case, sources say the mother of the victim agreed to a plea deal, so her son wouldn't have to go through a trial.
OCALA, Fla. - Prosecutors are dropping the latest charges against Debra LaFave, the Florida school teacher accused of having sex with a 14-year-old student, WESH-TV, NBC's Orlando affiliate, reported Tuesday.
The decision came just hours after a judge in Marion County rejected a second plea deal in the case, saying “Quite frankly, if the allegations against the defendant are true, the agreed-upon sentence shocks the conscience of this court.”
In the Marion County case, prosecutors promised the teen's mother that he would not have to testify. But because Circuit Judge Hale Stancil rejected the second plea deal, the only other option for prosecutors would have been a trial, which would force the boy to take the stand.
Sources told WESH that prosecutors had planned for several weeks to drop the charges against LaFave, who earlier agreed to a plea deal in a second court in a case in which she lost her teacher's license and was sentenced to three years of house arrest.
TAMPA - (Mar 21) An Ocala judge rejected a plea deal that would have given house arrest to Debra Lafave, a former Greco Middle School English teacher accused of having sex with a 14-year-old student.
LaFave is scheduled to go on trial on April 10. A Marion County judge Tuesday said accepting the plea for Debra Lafave, the teacher accused of having sex with a 14-year-old, would erode the public's confidence in schools.
"You have to understand that this is a woman who can't live with boundaries," the boy's mom said. "I would be stunned if she doesn't violate her probation. I would pray that Judge Stancil would take the plea deal and then he would have the opportunity to immediately throw her in jail and give her 16 years."
As if enough print hasn't already been dedicated to Debra Beasley Lafave, a longtime author and award-winning film writer has a book in the works. Bill Simon, writer and producer of the Emmy-nominated Setting Sail, a PBS documentary with Walter Cronkite, is supposed to turn the Lafave book in to publishers within the next few months, according to Lafave's ex-husband, Owen Lafave.
Tampa, Florida - She is the most infamous registered sex offender in Florida. She also appears to be a registered bride. According to Thursday morning's St. Petersburg Times, Debra LaFave is confirmed to be engaged.
We'd noticed in court recently she was sporting a ring.
The Times reports the ring is from LaFave's high school sweetheart Andrew Beck. No wedding date is set. As for LaFave's other big date, an appearance regarding a plea deal in Marion County, that remains uncertain.
Tampa Bay 10
"Testifying in court is not what's going to cause him harm, and I think the therapist and the prosecutor and the judge need to put the blame where it belongs, on the sexual predator who preyed on this child," said ABC News legal contributor Lisa Bloom.
I'm thinking it over, says judge of possible 17 year sentence.
Child-sex cases raise questions of gender bias
Rene Stutzman Sentinel Staff Writer Mar 11, 2006
Dang Van Dinh, a male chemistry teacher at Orlando's Boone High School, was ordered to prison for five years for having sex with a 15-year-old girl. But Debra Lafave, a female teacher who had sex with a 14-year-old student in suburban Tampa, was merely placed on house arrest for her crime. Dinh and Lafave were both in the news this week, calling attention to their contrasting punishments. It's a familiar pattern, according to a national expert on classroom sexual abuse: Female teachers who sexually abuse students get far less punishment than male teachers who do the same thing. Robert J. Shoop, professor of education at Kansas State University, has studied teacher sex abuse for 15 years and has written a book on the subject.
He said his review of five years of news reports shows that male teachers are likely to get 15 to 20 years in prison, while female teachers typically are placed on probation or go to prison for one to three years. He said the disparity reflects society's wrongheaded view that adolescent boys are not harmed by having sex with older women. "No, it's not fair," said David DeMond, president of the Orange County Classroom Teachers Association. "A predator is a predator is a predator, whether they wear a dress or whether they wear a pair of pants." But prosecutors, including the one who negotiated the plea deal with Lafave, say they work just as hard to get tough sentences for female teachers who are sexual abusers. There is "absolutely not" any disparity, said Michael Sinacore, Lafave's Hillsborough County prosecutor.
Lafave now faces similar charges in Marion County because of incidents involving the same victim on a trip to that county. Prosecutors there were in court Wednesday hoping to persuade a judge to accept a plea deal for Lafave similar to the deal -- three years' house arrest and seven years' probation -- she struck in Hillsborough County. That same day, Dinh made headlines in Orlando because Orange Circuit Judge Bob Wattles has floated the idea of having him speak to young teachers about the dangers of becoming too close to students. Sinacore said Hillsborough prosecutors had previously offered Lafave a plea deal that would have sent her to prison for three years. Then the victim's family stepped in and said they didn't want the youth to have to testify at trial. That weakened prosecutors' hand, and forced them to offer Lafave a more lenient deal. Such problems often crop up in teacher sex cases involving both male and female teachers, Sinacore said. "These cases are very difficult to prove," he said.
Sometimes evidence doesn't hold up, a witness changes an account or new evidence contradicts old. When that happens, rather than go to trial and lose, prosecutors will accept a weaker plea deal, he said. Assistant State Attorney Phillip Havens, who manages sex-crime prosecution in Volusia County, watched as a 2004 case unraveled against former middle-school teacher Paula Cantrell, now 41. She was accused of sexually abusing a 14-year-old boy, but before the case went to trial, the boy changed his story and denied they had had sex, Havens said. So Havens made the best deal he could, he said: Cantrell entered a plea to interfering with child custody, was placed on probation and ordered to stay away from the boy. A few months later, though, authorities found him at her home, and she was rearrested. She's now in state prison for violating the terms of her probation.
"Our office looks for the maximum sentence we can get in every case," Havens said. Lafave wasn't sent to prison and Cantrell wasn't initially locked up, but prosecutors and judges do send female teachers to prison. Last month, Carol Flannigan, an elementary-school music teacher in Palm Beach County who had sex with an 11-year-old boy, agreed to a five-year prison sentence. And in one of the nation's best-known teacher-student sex cases, Mary Kay Letourneau spent 7 1/2 years in prison for having sex with a 12-year-old student, in Seattle. Last May, nine months after she was freed, she married the boy, Vili Fualaau, then 22. Winter Park psychologist Deborah Day has evaluated male and female teachers accused of sexually abusing students. "There is a continued societal belief that female perpetrators are not perpetrators," Day said Friday.
"There's also this perception that male adolescents can't be damaged by having sex with older females." Neither is true, she said. Just like girls who've been sexually abused, boys suffer guilt and shame, she said. Women should be punished as harshly as men, she said. "It's the same behavior from a different gender," she said. The emotional damage done to boys is the same as what's done to girls, she said. So what is the right sentence for a teacher, male or female, who sexually abuses a child? "I think the punishment that men are getting, 15 to 20 years, seems to be reasonable to me," Shoop, the Kansas State professor, said.
"Witnesses don't enjoy testifying," said Circuit judge Hale Stancil, who postponed Lafave's sentencing for seven to 10 days. "I need to give it a little more thought."
Stancil is seriously considering ignoring the plea arrangement which required three years of home confinement plus probation, instead sentencing Lafave to 16.9 years, in accordance with Florida guidelines.
Lafave's Plea Deal Back In Court
Debra LaFave will appear in court at 1 pm this afternoon. Also expected at the hearing will be the mother of the victim. The mother is expected to ask the judge to accept the plea deal so her family can put the case behind them.
TAMPA - A Marion County judge faces a decision about Debra Lafave's fate that is weighted down with politics and could have legal ramifications in two counties. In a case that made headlines in newspapers across the country - and was discussed on nationally broadcast legal affairs shows, talk shows and tabloid television - prosecutors of the former teacher accused of having sex with a 14-year-old student are expected to argue today that Lafave should not go to trial. Lafave, now 25, came to a plea agreement with Hillsborough County prosecutors in November that included house arrest rather than prison.
The deal hinged on a similar agreement in Marion County that would resolve charges that she also had sex with the teen in Ocala. Marion County Circuit Judge Hale Stancil surprised the prosecution and defense when he told them in December that he was not inclined to approve a deal unless it included prison. When prosecutors said the teen's mother did not want her son to testify, Stancil ordered a psychiatric evaluation of the teen to determine whether testifying would be detrimental to his emotional health. A doctor is expected to testify today about his findings. Lafave's attorney, John Fitzgibbons, declined to talk about today's hearing. Marion County prosecutors did not return a call seeking comment. A Pinellas County defense lawyer and legal analyst who has no ties to the case said the prosecutors today actually will argue for the defense. Jeff Brown said the prosecutors represent the teenage victim.
If they think it is not in his best interest to testify and they think the plea deal is sound, they must say so to the judge. The defense might say little. If the judge does not agree to the deal, the state attorney could drop charges against Lafave, taking the judge out of the equation, Brown said. Legally, little would change. The plea deal in Hillsborough would stand. Political implications, however, might create problems, Brown said. State Attorney Brad King - who handles Marion, Citrus and three other counties - is up for re-election in 2008. Brown said he has spoken to defense attorneys in Marion County who say King has political pressure against dropping Lafave's charges. Perceived problems with another well-publicized case - involving the slaying of 9-year-old Jessica Marie Lunsford in Citrus County - already have caused King some negative publicity, Brown said. If charges are not dropped and a trial is set, the teen's mother will have to allow her son to testify or face contempt charges, Brown said. "I think the judge has set this down a road it should not be going down," Brown said.
Another possibility, should Stancil not agree to the plea, would be a request from the defense that the judge recuse himself. In Florida, Brown said, a defense attorney is allowed one opportunity to ask for a new judge. If Fitzgibbons points out reasons Stancil cannot be fair and impartial, the judge will not be able to keep the case, even if he disagrees, Brown said. Lafave is serving house arrest in Hillsborough County after pleading guilty to charges that she performed a sex act on the student in her Riverview town house and had intercourse with him in her classroom at Greco Middle. Lafave also is accused of driving the teen to Ocala, where his cousin drove a sport utility vehicle as the two had sex in the back. The cousin's mother saw the pair standing in a parking lot and called the teen's mother, prompting a criminal investigation. If the Marion County agreement falls through, Fitzgibbons could withdraw his plea deal in Hillsborough County, sending it to trial there as well. Brown said that regardless of Stancil's decision, the judge might take today's hearing "under advisement" and issue his ruling in writing within a few days or weeks.
Why do women paedophiles get off so lightly?
Teachers' Pets? Are teachers who sleep with boys getting off?
By William Saletan Updated Monday, Jan. 16, 2006, at 1:22 PM
Move over, Mrs. Robinson. The new public enemy is the bespectacled babe who teaches our kids math in the classroom and sex in the parking lot. Dozens of female teachers have been caught with male students in recent years, and the airwaves are full of outrage that we're letting them off the hook. On cable news, phrases like "double standard" and "slap on the wrist" are poured like pious gravy over photos of the pedagogue-pedophile-pet of the month. "Why is it when a man rapes a little girl, he goes to jail," CNN's Nancy Grace complains, "but when a woman rapes a boy, she had a breakdown?"
. Leave Debra Alone, Already
LewRockwell.com December 15, 2005 Last week, a Florida county judge rejected former teacher Debra LaFave's plea bargain, raising the specter of a trial in the sensational case – a trial no one wants
In late November of this year, a plea bargain was reached between the district attorney's office and her common sense-less defense attorney, who had previously been videotaped stating that Debra was too attractive to go to prison, implying that she’d be, at minimum, figuratively eaten alive by packs of burly prison-mates. This may, in fact, be a realistic assessment, but announcing it to the world – while your pretty client is standing right there at your side – shows a severe lack of judgment. Debra was there again by his side, smiling sweetly, when he announced the plea deal, which was almost certain to outrage her detractors. (Lightning strikes twice....)
The plea bargain wasn't much of a bargain, in my opinion. Ms. LaFave would have had to lose her teaching license forever, endure three years of house arrest, and then seven years of probation. She would have had to register with the state as a sexual predator, and not have any contact with any children on the planet. She wouldn't be allowed to profit from the sale of her story or personal appearances. How is this a great deal for the woman? Yes, she avoids incarceration, but how is she supposed to earn a living?
The claws of cable TV's newswomen sprang out like those of jungle cats last week, at the news of the junked plea bargain. Nancy Grace of CNN, in particular, had nothing but hysterical venom for Debra, as if she were evil incarnate: "... This grade school teacher had a schoolboy in the back of an SUV, having full-blown sex with an underage child. She went across the county lines from Hillsborough to Marion. OK. The Hillsborough judge swallowed the deal, again, like it was chocolate pudding. It tasted great going down. The Marion County judge said, Oh, no, no, no, no, no. No, no. This is sex with a minor. You`re not getting straight probation."
I'm not saying that I approve of sex between an adult and a minor, but keep in mind that this minor was of the opposite gender, and well into puberty. Inasmuch as a 14-year-old can give consent, he obviously gave it. Okay, Debra seems a little wacky, but like it or not, being seduced by a young blonde bombshell is not the same as a 300-lb. middle-aged spinster forcing herself on a timid "bookworm" type of adolescent. To me, it seems fairly obvious that your gender pretty much determines your view of this case.
Sure, Debra made a serious mistake; she had sex with a boy. She is obviously not a sexual predator, however, and a few years of probation would be penalty enough for her. Instead, a year-and-a-half after the misconduct, she continues to be hounded, because of a little tyrant on a bench somewhere in Florida. By the way, I haven't seen or heard any information about the "honorable" judge. I wonder what crimes he's committed over the years, in the name of justice or not, with the impunity provided by his black robe? Why aren't the news media saying anything about him?
It was all settled; case closed. Then some local judge, with a bug up his butt or a Puritanical streak in his spine, decided in petty fury he wouldn't accept the deal. This was the first time I, and doubtless other Americans, learned that judges have the power to disapprove of plea bargains. Whether or not you approve of plea bargains, I fail to understand why the judge, essentially a third party, should have any input into these commonplace negotiations. In any case, he is a fool if he thinks any jury with half a dozen normal men on it will convict Ms. LaFave.
Even the victim's mother has come out against a trial, fearing that it would hinder her son's potential for a normal life going forward. So no one wants it, except some obscure, minor league jurist, sitting behind the aegis of a judicial bench (who, I suspect, secretly wants to get a look at the nude "evidentiary" photos and pound his gavel) and, of course, the entertainment/news media, and voyeurs like myself.
The only thing that can emerge from this trial, should it come to pass, is another exposé of the pathetic nature of our legal system. This would be the biggest farce since the O.J. Simpson trial, and everyone on Earth would once again see how stupid and broken our criminal justice system really is. The only way to avoid it is to leave Debra alone, already.
Andrew S. Fischer [send him mail] is a controller for an investment advisory firm in Pennsylvania. But it's quite an innovation in jurisprudence if those of us fortunate enough to be fetching can count on being punished more lightly should we commit a crime. Frankly, we're not sure it comports with constitutional principles of equal justice.v On the other hand, it does open up some intriguing possibilities in insult humor. She's so ugly, when she robs a bank she has to wear a mask!
--James Taranto WSJ Best of the Web
Media is to blame for Lefave mess[The LaFave case] may have everything to do with gender bias but
it is a bias that originated in the media - not in the court system. Because of that, prosecutors have been forced to salvage whatever they can to make sure that a child molester is held responsible in some fashion.
Get angry about it, but direct that anger at the overzealous, self-righteous talking heads who now hypocritically seek to find fault with the prosecutors and judges. Put the blame squarely where it belongs. ________ Bridget Kiefer works as a victim-witness counselor in the state attorney's office and resides in Ocala.
"I want to make sure the facts are clear," the victim's mother wrote. "She DID NOT `GET OFF.' " If Debra can fake insanity, she could have at least faked an orgasm or two. Sheesh. No wonder the boy doesn't want to go public.
REJECTED: Debra LaFave's plea deal shot down
A judge in Marion County has rejected Debra LaFave's plea deal. A trial is now scheduled in Marion County for April 10. Marion County Circuit Judge Hale R. Stancil on Thursday said he wanted to hear more evidence before signing on to a plea agreement Lafave had reached with Hillsborough prosecutors. Lafave's fate is in Stancil's hands. A Stetson University College of Law graduate, the 59-year-old judge is a 12-year veteran of the bench with a reputation for being tough on defendants. "When you go before Judge Stancil, sometimes he will appear harsh. . . . He is a man of mercy, but his mercy is tempered by his reason," Charles Holloman, who has tried cases before Stancil for 20 years, said. "He's not going to give you some sort of political milquetoast decision, even in a case where the victims might claim that's what they want."
"The agreement went below the guidelines, and I'm not willing to go below the guidelines," Judge Hale Stancil told CNN. The Judge is asking for psychological evaluation of the boy and his cousin, who drove the two around as they had sexual relations in the back seat. Both the male victim's mother and Lafave, 25, teared up when the judge announced his decision. "Because of the media coverage of these cases, I fear that proceeding to trial will negatively affect my son's emotional and psychological well-being," the boy's mother said in an affidavit filed in Hillsborough County. LaFave, a former schoolteacher, is accused of having sexual relations with one of her students. She faced separate charges in both Hillsborough and Marion counties. A plea deal was made for the Hillsborough charges, but today's ruling has had the plea deal rejected for only Marion County.
The trial is expected to go forward in Marion, despite the family of the victim's wishes.
It is not yet known how this will affect the case in Hillsborough County
Owen LaFave tells CBS that deal sends the message that sex with minors isn't so bad. And, he says she still doesn't realize "how wrong it really is" to have sex with a child.
Ridgeway said the attorneys would take a new plea deal to the judge.