Disgraced Florida teacher Debra Lafave has been ordered back on probation, eight years after she admitted to having sex with one of her 14-year-old students.
Lafave, who became a household name after her case emerged due to her striking looks, was released from probation last year by a retiring judge – but now an appeal court has deemed the act too lenient.
The 2nd District Court of Appeal ruled that Circuit Judge Wayne Timmerman’s reduction of Lafave’s 10-year probation was ‘an abuse of judicial power resulting in a gross miscarriage of justice’.
The ruling means that Lafave, 32, will have to resume the four remaining years of sex-offender probation, the Tampa Bay Times reported.
‘This is not over,’ her attorney John Fitzgibbons said, adding he may take the case to the Florida Supreme Court.
Lafave was 23 when she had sex on four occasions with one of her students from Angelo L. Greco Middle School in Temple Terrace, where she taught English.
She was arrested after authorities were alerted by the boy’s mother and conversations between Lafave and the teenage student were recorded.
She was newly married when she committed the offenses. Following the court case, she and Owen Lafave divorced and she now has baby twin boys with new love, Shawn Haverfield, 36.
The disgraced teacher avoided jail entirely, despite facing up to 30 years behind bars if convicted.
As the teenage victim’s family wanted to avoid a trial, the State Attorney’s Office offered offered to let her plead guilty, then serve three years of community control and seven years of probation.
The terms included no unsupervised contact with children, keeping a curfew, counseling and completing the probation in exchange for a dismissal of the charges.
She agreed to the plea deal.
But in 2009, Circuit Judge Timmerman said Lafave could have unsupervised contact with children after she completed sex offender therapy.
And last September, Lafave convinced Timmerman to drop her final four years of probation, telling him she had completed the community service, had two jobs, had two sons and was engaged.
On Wednesday, Assistant State Attorney Mike Sinacore said he was unaware of a judge allowing the dismissal of probation when it was not allowed in the plea deal.
If the decision had been upheld at the appeal court, it could have ’caused a great deal of uncertainty’ in the implication of plea deals across Florida, he said.
‘If you make an agreement, a deal is a deal,’ he said. ‘The courts are required to enforce that deal.’
‘The implications of such an order are extremely prejudicial to the State,’ the appeal court agreed, the Tampa Bay Times reported.
If Lafave does not challenge the rejection, she will have to appear before a judge in Hillsborough County over the details of her probation over the next few weeks.
Lafave, who garnered nationwide interest for her striking looks and provocative modelling shots after she committed the crime, is banned from ever teaching in Florida again.