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Hypothetically speaking ...

Tammy Teacher is charged with Improper Relationship Between Educator/Student. Ms. Teacher and Steve Student continue to communicate with each other and have sexual contact before case comes up for trial. Mr. Student (victim) is a 17- or 18-year-old senior and a "willing" participant in the continuing relationship.

Should Tammy Teacher be charged with witness tampering? Why or why not? What would you do?

[This message was edited by Shannon Edmonds on 04-19-10 at .]
 
Posts: 2419 | Location: TDCAA | Registered: March 08, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Don't see how that is witness tampering. Where is the benefit offered to change or prevent testimony?

It certainly is the continuation of the original crime. So, you could arrest for additional counts of improper relationship.

If you got conditions of bond that prohibit contact or warn defendant against committing new crimes, you could file a motion to revoke the bond and deny bail (based on relatively new laws authorizing denial of bail).

If you don't have conditions of bail, you could file a motion to increase bail, alleging it is currently insufficient based on repetition of the crimes.

You also could give notice of intent to prove those new crimes at punishment.

The ongoing relationship points out the difficulty of this relatively new offense. The crime is based on the teacher/student relationship. It is not an age-based or lack of consent situation. Whether 12 jurors will share the Legislature's view on the matter has not yet been fully explored in the courtroom.
 
Posts: 7860 | Location: Georgetown, Texas | Registered: January 25, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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But are we seriously saying that we can't conceive what 'benefit' might be conferred from an adult woman upon a 17 year old male?
 
Posts: 40 | Location: Nacogdoches, Texas | Registered: August 08, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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And you can prove that the benefit is being offered to induce the victim to avoid testifying? Isn't that a lot harder to prove than just charging a new improper relationship case?
 
Posts: 7860 | Location: Georgetown, Texas | Registered: January 25, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I concede the point, and confess I was going for the cheap laugh
 
Posts: 40 | Location: Nacogdoches, Texas | Registered: August 08, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I did indeed laugh.
 
Posts: 79 | Location: Williamson County | Registered: August 24, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Tammy Teacher is no longer teaching because of the charges. Therefore, you can't indict her for new Improper Relationship charges (right?).

Additionally, would anyone consider taking the case to the Grand Jury if the facts lead you to believe that the defendant's continued contact with the (ex-)student (physical, sexual, and via telephone and text messaging) was an effort to convince the victim to discontinue the prosecution, withhold information or testimony, or abstain from the prosecution?

Also, would anyone's answer be different if, during three post-indictment sexual encounters, the defendant mentioned to the victim things about the case, such as the penalty being faced and the potential impact on her family, and requested a meeting between victim and defense attorney?
 
Posts: 2419 | Location: TDCAA | Registered: March 08, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Given the status and age disparity, it seems the facts might exist to support coercion under sec. 36.05. Doesn't emotional coercion/manipulation count?
 
Posts: 444 | Location: Austin, Texas, USA | Registered: January 06, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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