Libertarians Making a Difference in Arkansas – Casey Copeland, Attorney

Photo courtesy of Andy Shupe with (Copeland on the left)

Casey Copeland, Treasurer for the Libertarian Party of Arkansas, attorney and Alderman in Prairie Grove, AR, brought a case to the Arkansas Supreme Court that led to the overturn of the law banning sexual contact between teachers and adult students. The Arkansas Supreme Court found that people over the age of 18 have a constitutional right to engage in a consensual sexual relationship.

The case was about Elkins High School history and psychology teacher David Paschal, who admitted to having a consensual sexual relationship with and 18 year old student.

“Regardless of how we feel about Paschal’s conduct, which could correctly be referred to as reprehensible, we cannot abandon our duty to uphold the rule of law when a case presents distasteful facts,” wrote Chief Justice Jim Hannah.

Paschal, who is serving a 30-year sentence, will have his convictions reversed and dismissed. His attorney, Casey Copeland, said his client was “vindicated by the Supreme Court.”

“I think that this case does not necessarily say a teacher can do that and keep their job,” said Copeland. “I think the loss of job and loss of teacher’s license might be appropriate for that, but it’s not appropriate to put someone in jail for 30 years.”

Several states have laws banning sexual content between teachers and students. Earlier this week, a Republican assemblywoman in California introduced a bill to create a law similar to what was just struck down in Arkansas. If the bill is successful, she said, California would be the 24th state to ban student-teacher sex. In some states, such affairs are a felony.

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