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Like These Tactics Would Work With a Man

Debra Lafave, a 24-year-old middle school teacher in Temple Terrace, Fla., has rejected a plea bargain agreement because it would have resulted in “significant prison time,” her lawyer says. She stands accused of multiple counts of unlawful sex with one of her 14-year-old students, including once in her classroom. Her attorney, John Fitzgibbons, isn’t protesting her innocence. Rather, he says, his blonde client is just too pretty for prison. “To place an attractive young woman in that kind of hell hole,” he says, “is like putting a piece of raw meat in with the lions.” The case will now go to trial, and she faces up to 15 years in prison on each count. Fitzgibbons plans an insanity defense. (RC/Tampa Tribune) ...After all, not firing her lawyer pretty much proves she’s insane.
Story Update: Since CourtTV planned to televise the trial, and refused to guarantee the boy would not be identified, his parents begged prosecutors to give LaFave a plea deal to avoid such a trial. As the result of new negotiations, she was sentenced to 3 years of “community control” plus 7 years of probation. On September 22, 2011, LaFave moved to end her probation four years early, on account of having completed all other obligations, as well as recently becoming a mother. Her petition was granted and her probation ended immediately. Which, presumably, cured her “insanity.” She was also required to register as a sex offender.
Original Publication Date: 14 August 2005
This story is in True’s book collections, in Volume 12.

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