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Judge delays ruling in Lafave case

The Marion County judge considering charges against the former teacher accused of having sex with a student said he will take up to 10 days to decide whether to accept a plea deal.

Staff writer
Published March 8, 2006

 

Marion County Circuit Judge Hale Stancil said he will take a week to 10 days to decide whether he should accept a plea deal or move forward with the trial of Debra Lafave, the former Greco Middle School teacher accused of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old student.

In December, the longtime judge rejected a deal that would have let Lafave avoid prison by pleading guilty to two counts of lewd and lascivious battery and one count of lewd and lascivious exhibition.

In a move that surprised many, Stancil said he wanted to hear more evidence before signing on to a plea agreement Lafave had reached with Hillsborough prosecutors. The deal, agreed to Nov. 22, gave Lafave house arrest and probation in exchange for pleading guilty to charges of lewd and lascivious battery. Hillsborough prosecutors said the deal would cover charges against the former Greco Middle School teacher in both Hillsborough and Marion counties.

Marion County prosecutor Stacy Youmans said in December that the Hillsborough plea agreement was separate from a deal her office negotiated, but the reasons for the agreement were the same. In Marion County, Lafave was accused of having sex with the boy in the back seat of a sport utility vehicle while his friend drove around.

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