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August 1, 2011

"Woman who sprayed breast milk at deputies sentenced"

The title of this post is the headline of this afternoon story from the Columbus Dispatch. Here are the details:

After generating a flurry of media attention and being fired from her teaching job, the woman who drunkenly sprayed her breast milk at deputy sheriffs will spend two years on probation after pleading guilty to two misdemeanors.

Stephanie Robinette, 30, appeared in Delaware Municipal Court this morning and was sentenced by Judge David Gormley for the misdemeanors, assault and obstruction of official business.  She will also have to pay $200 in fines and serve 40 hours of community service.  She pleaded guilty last month. Three other misdemeanor charges were dismissed.

The incident began with a domestic dispute between Robinette and her husband on June 25 at the Bridgewater Banquet and Conference Center on Sawmill Parkway in Delaware County.

That night, after fighting with her husband, Robinette locked herself in the car.  When deputies arrived, she began yelling profanities and refused to get out.  She then told them she is a breastfeeding mother, removed her right breast from her dress and began spraying deputies and the car with her breast milk.

Robinette was fired from her teaching job at Summit Academy on Columbus’ East Side less than a week later.  In the report sent to state officials for review of her license, school officials cited the media attention and included reports published online from as far away as India and Canada.

“If there is a form of punishment associated with public shaming, I think Stephanie’s case would qualify,” said her attorney, Brad Koffel.  Koffel added that Robinette has been sober — also part of her probation — and that she and her husband have filed for divorce.  The Robinettes have a 9-month-old child....

In addition to the probation, community service and fines, Gormley ordered Robinette to attend anger management classes and abstain from alcohol.  “I feel teachers are in a position of public trust and I really think you seriously violated that public trust in the way you behaved on June 25,” Gormley told Robinette. “Foul language, and obviously, the behavior that has become so infamous.  Shameful.”

Just and effective punishment, dear readers?  Does and should the fact that the defendant was publically shamed and lost her teaching job factor into the formal sentencing judgment here?  Should the judge here have ordered the defendant to stop breast-feeding in order to reduce the risk of imprisonment?  (I am just kidding with this last question.)

August 1, 2011 at 05:18 PM | Permalink

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Comments

What a way to kick off Breast Feeding Awareness Month!

Posted by: Annie - Public Defender | Aug 1, 2011 6:11:02 PM

i see we are still illegally using unconvicted conduct to enhance a sentence!

"After generating a flurry of media attention and being fired from her teaching job, the woman who drunkenly sprayed her breast milk at deputy sheriffs will spend two years on probation after pleading guilty to two misdemeanors.

Stephanie Robinette, 30, appeared in Delaware Municipal Court this morning and was sentenced by Judge David Gormley for the misdemeanors, assault and obstruction of official business."

got 2 YEARS for what was a legal conviction for 2 misdemeanors!

Posted by: rodsmith | Aug 1, 2011 6:58:35 PM

Seems teachers are held to a higher standard of behavior even when not in the classroom. Guess it seems to put them at the same level as preachers, rabbis',priests, ministers and Silver Star recipients. Above reproach for normal human infallibles.

Posted by: james | Aug 1, 2011 7:19:51 PM

Unless she had keys to the car and could drive it away, the real crime here is not leaving her alone to sleep it off.

Posted by: Dude | Aug 1, 2011 8:43:27 PM

She's lost her job and her husband. She has a young child to support. She's been publicly shamed for something that certainly could not injure anyone. Would she have received same sentence if she had SPIT at the officers? Would she have received same sentence if she was, say, a dog groomer? It would seem that apologies, a fine, and some community service would be more than enough.
It also seems like people have gotten FAR LESS for drunk driving---which endangered others. Drunk "spraying" with a non-harmful (and technically non-disgusting substance)---will most likely not be repeated--by anyone.

Posted by: folly | Aug 3, 2011 11:05:56 PM

Two years probation is a pretty common sentence in Ohio for misdemeanor assault. (She could have been placed on probation for up to five years.)

The most surprising part of this story is (or should be) that she pled guilty to assault. This is a criminal charge, not a tort. Under Ohio law, she thus pled guilty to causing or attempting to cause physical harm (any amount of harm, no matter how slight, will suffice).

How does spraying breast milk on someone cause physical harm? It's disgusting, no doubt, but not a criminal assault. Several Ohio cases hold that spitting on someone (absent evidence that the person has a disease that can be spread through bodily fluids) is not an assault. How is breast milk more likely to cause physical harm than spit?

Posted by: Donald | Aug 4, 2011 9:38:23 AM

Any bodily fluid directed at someone is an assault.

Posted by: Bill B. | Aug 5, 2011 5:20:45 PM

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