In a very shocking news an Alabama law barring teachers from making or getting sexual with their students was ruled unconstitutional.
The judge ruled that "the cases against two high school staff Carrie Witt a teacher and David Solomon, a former high school aide will be dismissed because the law used to charge the two in court violates their 14th amendment rights".
But this is where it gets sticky (for lack of a better word): Since the age of consent in the Yellowhammer State is 16 - which all three of the involved students were - Judge Thompson had to look at the letter of the law, which says that everyone involved was old enough to consent to sex, and all of them did.
"We've already been in touch with the (Attorney General's) Office and they are going to handle the appeal, which is typical when a state statute is attacked on a constitutional basis", Morgan County District Attorney Scott Anderson told AL.com. It was said by a state judge who also dismissed charges against two instructors who were facing 20 years in prison convicted of having sexual relations with their students. In so finding, this court does not endeavor to absolve any wrongdoing or to excuse the Defendants. Consent is not a defense.
Defendants were thus allowed to use consent as their defense if they did not use power to engage in sex with the students.
It's not yet clear how Thompson's ruling might affect other cases across the state. The judge said there was no testimony or evidence presented at the hearing where the court heard arguments on the law's constitutionality.
Witt was a cheerleading coach prior to the charges.
"The statute at hand embeds an irrebuttable presumption that any sexual encounter between an employee of any school and any student (without qualification as to class, school, or school system) is conclusively the result of misuse of authority", the judge wrote. Furthermore, Thompson said that there was no proof Witt used her position of authority to force the two students to have sex. "If that is the case they can not charge (her) with a crime".
However, the law is harsher on teachers and school employees than other citizens, who do not face criminal prosecution for having sex with 16-year-olds. Those include laws in Texas, Arkansas and Kansas.