Sex, lies, and AUDIOtape . . . but is it LEEEEEEGAL?

Riddle me this, bLAWgonians: how does a seemingly private tape recording make its way into the public eye? Seems that our poor, misunderstood, saucy biology teacher (***bLAWgger note: what’s the irony of her being a biology teacher???), Stephanie Ragusa, has had her conversation with her accuser (***bLAWgger note: I HATE the term victim – accuser is so much better unless and until there is a conviction) blasted across the ‘net. A defense nightmare. NIGHTMARE, I say!

It seems as if the gendarme (***bLAWgger note: that’s Frenchy-talk for the po-po) were one step ahead of Steph. Apparently they had the accuser in their pocket, and got him to agree to make the call and . . . this is soooooo sneaky . . . record it! Bad for the defense, but, as much as I hate to admit it, good police work. I guess they were counting on her continuing her rather, er, uh . . . odd . . . behavior, and her making contact with him. What’s a 14-year-old to do, say no to the cops? I guess he was bright enough to know that being arrested for obstruction of an investigation is not worth any booty-call. Anyway, waiting for her to incriminate herself on tape was not like shooting fish in a barrel . . . it was like giving the gun to the fish and letting them shoot themselves.

You see, under Florida law, a otherwise private conversation can be recorded if it is a the direction of law enforcement. Florida Statute section 934.03(2)(c) permits “an investigative or law enforcement officer or a person acting under the direction of an investigative or law enforcement officer to intercept a wire, oral, or electronic communication when such person is a party to the communication or one of the parties to the communication has given prior consent to such interception and the purpose of such interception is to obtain evidence of a criminal act.” “Booya!”, sayeth the coppers!

If the accuser had recorded it on his own, and given it to or played it for someone, he would have committed a third-degree felony! (If you dont believe me, read F.S. 934.03).

So, heed your friendly neighborhood bLAWgger’s advice: stay off the phone! And, Stephanie, for poor Bobby Herce’s sake, stay off the jail phones. THEY’RE RECORDED, TOO!!!!!!!


Stephanie Ragusa: OK class, who can spell PREDATOR?

I have got to do it. I need to have a special bLAWgger category for Stephanie Ragusa, a.k.a. Debra LaFave on steriods. Or quadruple estrogen shots.

At first, I laughed about this lady like everyone else, lumping her in with the seemingly constant wave of other teachers who apparently don’t have TV and internet and know that you can actually go to prison for having sex with underage students. Then, oops, she did it again. And again. Then she mugged for the jailhouse camera. Then she went back to the scene of the crime for some mo’. Then she talked to the kid on the phone about the situation. And the word on the street is that when talking to attorneys about the case, she wanted to hire a publicist as a part of her defense team.

Wow, I slowly came to realize, she’s not just stupid, she has serious mental issues. Let’s see, what’s the math here? One sociopatic teacher, plus a lesson not learned, plus being free on bail, plus doing the same criminal act repeatedly, equals . . . . a sexual predator. Yo, teach, I think I get extra credit for this one.

Sexual predators take on all different shapes. By the Ragusa standard, Debra LaFave and Jaymee Wallace are not predators, they are simply offenders (the Florida Statutes may say different, but common sense screams that neither of those ladies was anything like Ragusa). And both LaFave and Wallace showed remorse and evidenced that remorse by changin their lives and not repeating the behavior. Ragusa is in a class by herself.

Why the publicist? That is classic hearsay, but it is consistent with her grinning for the booking photos and her running to the reporters upon her release on bond. That plan backfired, eh, Stephanie? You’re still in jail this time, and you can’t ignore the law, the conditions of a bond, or common decency while you’re in the hoosgow.

So now what for Ragusa? Her tape with the victim is out there, showing her deviousness and planning. She has umpteen SERIOUS charges coming her way. By the way, are there more boys out there? I’ll take the over on that bet. And she ain’t gettin’ outta jail. Good job, Steph. Way to try to make the State look like buffoons. I’m also betting that they have the last laugh in this . . .


UPDATE: Justin Cox "sleepwalking" to acquittal

The bLAWgger stands corrected. Apparently there WAS expert testimony in the case, and the jurors had opinioins from both the State and the defense. As I always say, “good prosecution, good defense, and let the jury sort it out.”

But don’t try this at home, folks. You can’t just commit a crime (or any act) and expext to have a jury (or your parents, or spouse) excuse you because you say you were sleepwalking. As exemplified here, you have to be able to put your money (in the form of expert witness fees) where your mouth is, and be able to back it up.

What a way to start the bLAWg: a courthouse shooting.

I just read where a guy pulled a gun and shot at courthouse security deputies in St. Pete earlier today.

What the hell is wrong with people? Why does an innocent deputy, trying to protect the rest of us, have to get injured, and other deputies have to live with the trauma of having to cap this jerk? Thank God there were no civilians hurt by this nutcase.

I go in and out of courthouses every day. I have been in that courthouse many times. I take it for granted that there are deranged whackadoos who can just go nuts at any time out there. The lesson for all of us: be aware of your surroundings. Know where you are at all times, and know what is happening around you. We live in a strange world. Please be careful, and don’t hesitate to tell authorities about anything unusual. Being aloof could cost you your life.