Morgan judge dismisses sex-with-student cases; appeal planned
14 August, 2017, 05:59 | Author: Valerie Burke
Until the ruling goes up for appeal, it will not be binding for other cases in the state.
In a very shocking news an Alabama law barring teachers from making or getting sexual with their students was ruled unconstitutional. Solomon, 27, was accused of having sex with a 17-year-old student.
In Alabama, the age of consent is 16, though the law prohibits teachers from having sex with students under the age of 19. But Thompson said that the language of the law make it hard for court to determine whether both parties are consulting adults, whether the school employees are in a position of authority over the student and whether those employees used their authority to coerce the student into letting them hit it.
"This court acknowledges that a disparity of power may inherently exist in a teacher/student relationship, but it clearly does not exist in every school employee and every student regardless of where that student is enrolled", wrote the judge.
Witt's attorney had argued that the two students Witt is accused of having sex with weren't under her direct authority and were capable of consenting, reports The Decatur Daily.
Judges have been asked to dismiss the charges based on unconstitutionality in other cases, but they have declined to do so. State prosecutors, AL.com reported, have argued the law is constitutional and created to protect students.
Thompson hedged his ruling, however, by saying it does not excuse the defendants' conduct.
The court held that prosecutors must prove a school employee "was actually in a position of authority over the victim/student and that the position of authority was abused to obtain consent".
The key for Judge Thompson, however, was the fact that the law specifies that legal consent doesn't matter, even if the person was of legal age - which is 16 in Alabama. "Until the appellate courts address the issue, each circuit judge will have to make their own decision on whether it's constitutional or not". "It is a well written well thought out decision and I believe the statute as drawn is unconstitutional". Violators could be charged with a Class B felony, carrying a punishment of up to 20 years behind bars.
"Solomon was pursuing a career in teaching and knew this behavior was unacceptable", McDearmond said.
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