The Mother, Her Teen Lover and Their Baby

[Moxley Confidential] Appeals court rejects decision to give custody of an infant to a 10th grader

In a final, unsparing shot at local government bureaucrats in the case, Bedsworth concluded that they'd been "so busy demonizing Debra" that they'd "abandoned" their "role as protector of children and preserver of families."

Bedsworth has a history of making controversial rulings. Late last year, the justice—until recently also a National Hockey League referee—authored an opinion that a dissenting colleague blasted as an unprecedented reduction of First Amendment freedoms. That case, which was covered in this column (see "Crying Racist," Nov. 25, 2010) involved Latino activist Nativo Lopez and his claim that a Los Angeles food-packing company's officials had committed racism when they fired more than 100 workers who could not prove U.S. citizenship.

Bedsworth slammed Lopez's actions as illegal, demonstrably false defamation of a corporation and determined he was liable for damages. In the minority, Justice Richard D. Fybel adamantly disagreed, noting that Lopez was constitutionally entitled—as is any member of the media—to publicly assert his view of the company's conduct.

In 2007, Bedsworth—appointed to the appeals court by Governor Pete Wilson 14 years ago—wrote a strongly worded majority opinion that rebuked the city of Garden Grove in its aggressive attempts to destroy 8 grams of marijuana it had confiscated from a motorist qualified to possess the narcotic under the state's Compassionate Use Act.

 

This column appeared in print as "The Mother, Her Teen Lover and Their Baby: Appeals court rejects decision to give child custody to a 10th grader."
 

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21 comments
Silence Dogood
Silence Dogood

I would love to file a lawsuit against the idiot social workers who made that call. Boneheaded isn't even the right word...perhaps asinine is more appropriate....I'm not sure. Need to dig out my dictionary.

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Bill T.
Bill T.

I'm puzzled about the significance of Mrs. tapia's weight and hight, help me out?

Sarah G.
Sarah G.

Bill T:first I thought the height and weight were a racist stab at Ms Tapia's heritage. But on second thought, I think her weight and height were included to juxtapose against Miguel, who is described as a football player (also a seemingly extraneous fact). That is, to bring to mind the image of a hulking teenage boy and a slight woman, an image that doesn't exactly match the stereotype of victim and rapist. Reality, I'm sure, is way more complicated.

Alexmaressfhs
Alexmaressfhs

who cares about that!!! she molested a kid!!!! and u want to know why her weight is in the article! she needs to be locked up for life!

Turnbu11
Turnbu11

So perhaps that was my point, "who cares about that!!!". I still don't see the significance, and why it's not reasonable to ask for clarification. Just because you, or I, don't understan doesn't mean there's nothing to get. Methinkks thou doth protest too much (to misquote).

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ocman
ocman

My thoughts on this is the women should not beable to gain custody of the baby. She is obviously an unfit mother. What kind of mother gets drunk everynight and does things with other kids! The baby is better off with the boys family and is in better hands. WHo knows what that women will do when she is alone with the baby! She also should have got more time in jail! Who cares if she is a women! She is still a sex offender and child molester! She wont beable to provide for ths hild after she is released because nobody would want to hire a sex offender! Her husband is alos dumb for bailing her out of jail after she cheated on him multiple times! what a desperate man! Not even worth caling a man

ocman
ocman

that women doesnt deserve to see anyof her kids again!

john
john

Justice Bedsworth is a brilliant jurist and we are lucky to have him in the system. Believe me, we could do MUCH worse. As to the moral fitness of the mother - only time will tell. I am sure the court will stipulate some sort of monitoring or court supervision of the condition of the baby, living conditions at the home, etc. In the end, the best decision is the one that provides the best outcome for the baby.

kuewa
kuewa

It was certainly NOT a brilliant decision to commit a child to be raised by a convicted pedophile! This child will later find great joy in learning that she was conceived via pedophilia and her mother was the perpetrator. As for the moral fitness of the mother, time has already told on her. What more do you need?

RobE
RobE

One aspect of this that is being ignored by the commenters here and in Moxley's story is that it ignores the issue of Miguel's mother. Did the judge feel that Miguel's mother was more unfit than a woman convicted of three counts of child rape? Surely, the baby would be mostly raised by Miguel's mom and not Miguel himself and if the judge is too stupid to know that then he should be disbarred immediately. Since we get no indication of what the judge may or may not have thought of Miguel's mother we don't know the answer to that question.

Come on Scott, this should have been an easy thing for you to pick up on.

R Scott Moxley
R Scott Moxley

RobE,

The appellate justices did not address the fitness of Miguel's mother for BT's custody and so it was not a factor in their ruling. You raise an interesting point. Perhaps she should have been considered.

R. Scott Moxley

kuewa
kuewa

Debra Tapia is guilty of 3 felonies, including rape of a minor. The fact that she was sentenced to only 1 year is an example of unequal treatment of male and female pedophiles. Bedsworth''s characterization of Debra Tapia's pedophilic offense as a consensual relationship is beyond belief. In addition, the repeat offense risk should not have been assessed in relation to her own child; the risk in this case is for other underage boys. The fact that Miguel displays inadequate parenting skills and knowledge is irrelevant--- he is a minor and should not be awarded sole custody, but this does not make it correct to place the child with the criminal parent. A more appropriate placement in this case might have been with Miguel's parents or other adult relatives.

Silence Dogood
Silence Dogood

C'mon get with it. What 15 year old boy would not jump at the opportunity. This was not an case of rape. Read the case. In several instances the woman was drunk to the point where she was almost passed out. The kid took advantage of the situation. The only mistake he made was too brag about it to his friends. If he had kept his mouth shut, he could have milked that along for years. Regardless, Bedsworth is one smart fellow. He made the right decision.

Blah
Blah

that is BS people who have done less serious crimes have gotten more time in jail. she should loose all her kids. in order to get her kids back she should prove to the state that is a fit rehabilitated parent

Bruce6053
Bruce6053

I wonder if Judge Bedsworth would feel the same if the adult was a male and the minor was female

kuewa
kuewa

If it was a male adult and female victim, the adult would be in prison and the child would be with the female victim's family. Judge Bedsworth is obviously thinking with his extracranial male "brain." If he was thinking with his intracranial brain, he would realize that a child should not be placed with a rapist, male or female.

myeviltwin
myeviltwin

Yes, because a 10th grader is so much better equipped to be a father. What's better for the child? As stated, the original decision was absolutely a case of misplaced moral outrage, and Bedsworth made the right - and brave - choice here.

kuewa
kuewa

My comment says nothing about the 10th grader being fit to be a father. Obviously, the appropriate legal guardian would be a related adult, such as the child's grandmother or other relatives. But that adult should not be convicted pedophile. The Bedsworth decision is wrong on multiple levels. This child was conceived via rape of a minor and the child has now been sentenced to grow up in the care of the rapist.

 
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