Posted by: birdsongslaw | September 25, 2008

Is This Too Much Prison Time?

Birdsong’s first year criminal law class just finished studying about crime and punishment.  Birdsong has now come upon a local crime story that begs the question: “Is this a case of too much punishment?”

The case was reported in the Orlando Sentinel and involves the sentencing,in Sanford, Florida, of 33 year old Kelly Lumadue.  A Sanford jury had convicted her of having sex with a 5 year old boy.  The judge in the case then sentenced her to life in prison without the possibility of parole!

During her trial the jury watched videotape of the sex acts, which happended twelve years ago when Lumadue lived in Longwood, Florida with her husband, a professional pornographer who recorded the seesion.  The husband has since died.

Lumadue took the witness stand in her own defense and testified that she performed the sex acts under duress from her husband.  She wasn’t arrested until 2003, seven years after the videotape was made, when a garbage collector found the tape at the curb outside Lumadues’s Volusia County home.

The tape was among a number of videotapes she had thrwon out.

Birdsong believes that child pornography is bad and that sex abuse of a 5 year old is reprehensible, but life in prison without the possibilty of parole is too harsh.  A 40 year sentence would have been enough!

What do you students think?

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Responses

  1. well…that abused kid is going to have to live with what happened to him for the rest of his life….so may she should have to live with it for the rest of hers? I don’t know. My jury is out on this. Now, would it be different if the victim were a little girl?

  2. Prof. Birdsong – I agree, a little strong on the sentence here. One thing I am beginning to appreciate is the application of mitigating factors (through discussion, debate, and allocution exercises). 30-40 years plus supervision as a sex offender throughout the rest of her natural life.

    Lexie – boy or girl, equal justice under the law.

    Just my .02

    Rodz

  3. I took a look at http://www.sentencing-guidelines.gov.uk/docs/advice-sexual-offences.pdf
    and guess that this woman would have received between 3 – 8 years depending on circumstances.
    Given the unlikelihood of reoffending I think a sentence along these lines would be more appropriate.
    Just 2cs from across the pond!

  4. Punishment for sex offenses are extreme and more often than not way too harsh – disproportionate to the crime, as we learned. America in general and Florida specifically hops on the sex offender bandwagon and rallies behind it whenever news is slow. The sentencing does not fit the crime, more often than not. I do not condone such offenses, but what these people (and they are still people, regardless of what you might feel) have to go through after conviction is ridiculous. A sex offense is the only crime in the country where you never finish paying for it. There are no “murderer” or thief lists on the Internet warning you that they are living in your area. I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather be raped or stolen from than murdered…


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