Judge Finds Teacher-Student Sexual Relationship Law Unconstitutional

A judge in Alabama ruled that the law that barred teachers from having sexual relationships with students old enough to consent is unconstitutional. The legal consenting age in Alabama is 16. The law prohibits any school employee from having a sexual relationship with a student younger than 19. Violation of this law results in a felony and up to 20 years in prison and require that the convicted to register as a sex offender.

Morgan County Circuit Judge Glenn Thompson dismissed charges against 44 year old Carrie Witt, a former teacher at Decatur High School, who was accused for having sex with two students who are over the age of 16. Judge Thompson also dismissed the charges against 27 year old David Soloman, a former contract teacher at Falkville High School, who was accused of having sex with one student over the age of 16. 

Judge Thompson ruled that the prosecutors would have to prove that the teachers used their position of authority to coerce the illegitimate consent of the alleged victims. He continued to say that their may be a difference in power between the teacher and student, but it does not exist between every school employee and every student. 

Witt's attorney contended that the two students Witt is accused of having intercourse with were not under her direct authority and were capable of consenting. 

Morgan County District Attorney Scott Anderson disagrees with the ruling and says that Attorney General Steve Marshall will appeal.

Comments from Allen:  Before you get upset with the judge for making this ruling, consider the difference between firing a teacher for having sex with a student, versus sending a teacher to prison for 20 years for having consensual sex with someone who is legally old enough to consent.

I have no doubt that, for reasons of keeping order in a school, a school district may have a policy that no teacher in a school is permitted to have a sexual relationship with a student who attends that school.  Any teacher who violates that policy can be fired.

The decision to criminalize such conduct is a different matter.

Normally, if both parties arre of legal age, the State looks at whether there was some coercion or intoxication of the victim to determine if the younger person's will was overcome.  There was nothing like that in the statute criminalizing the behavior here.

The judge acknowledged that the conduct might be morally wrong, and the judge stated he did not want to encourage such conduct, but that the State had gone too far in declaring that conduct a crime.


Allen Browning is an attorney in Idaho Falls, Idaho who handles personal injury and criminal defense. He has over 30 years of experience and handled thousands of cases. Allen handles cases from all over Idaho. Call (208) 542-2700 to set up a free consultation if you are facing legal trouble or you have been involved in an accident.

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Allen Browning is an Idaho Falls attorney who can also help with drunk driving (DUI), traffic violations, Felony, Misdemeanor, Domestic Violence, Drug Crimes, Theft, Juvenile Crimes, battery and assault charges, Violent Crimes, and Probation/Parole Violations. He is one of the most experienced and successful criminal defense attorneys in Idaho.

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