Smiling Mug Shot Produces Backlash Against Texas Teacher

We often discuss the dilemma of clients in deciding whether to smile and appear callous on mug shot or not to smile and look guilty.  Most people try to thread the needle with a neutral expression.  Texas teacher Sarah Fowlkes went for the full smile option and has triggered a backlash of people saying that she cared little about her charge of having relations with a 17-year old student at Lockhart High School.

Fowlkes, 26, was an anatomy and physiology teacher at the high school.  She is charged with engaging in “sexual contact with the intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire” of the student.

Her lawyer tried to defuse the tension by saying that she was smiling because she knows that she is innocent.

What do you think?  Would you encourage a client to smile for their mug shot?

87 thoughts on “Smiling Mug Shot Produces Backlash Against Texas Teacher”

  1. Any arrest is a terrifying and humiliating event in the life of a normal human being. Regardless of the truth of the allegations in this case, trying to understand the emotions that produced this woman’s mug shot is an exercise in pure speculation.

  2. Teachers should not be sleeping with students. 1/3 of states 16 is legal, 1/3 17, and the other 1/3 18 is legal. A national age of consent might be a good start. Being 26 and a teacher she should have known better, but people do make mistakes and that doesn’t make them pedophiles. The avg sex offender is 14 years old in this country. google it. not the avg victim but the actual avg age of a sex offender, ruining an 18yo life with a felony and lifetime sex offender registration is not right either, these laws are out of control,

    1. A national age of consent might be a good start.

      Why? That aside, the federal government does not have general police power, so has no franchise to impose one except in the Code of Military Justice, in territorial waters, and in dependent territories.

  3. The controversy of whether to “smile for the camera” is ended when the state makes booking photos not subject to public disclosure.

  4. My, my, my. Astounding to read this blog’s version of high-fives and first bumps accorded to this predatory individual, who, undoubedtly, betrayed the trust of both the school and the parents, by engaging in sexual contact with this young man who was a STUDENT. Yes, you bunch of morons. This was a 17 year old STUDENT. What part of that don’t you get? If, instead, we saw a photo of a handsome male, smiling, gleefully, in a mugshot, accused of having sexual contact with a 17 year old student–student–at his school, would we be reading the same congratulatory remarks? How he really got some great a$$? No f’ng way. He would be roundly condemned for violating the trust bestowed upon him by the school district. He would be excoriated for taken advantage of a much younger and vulnerable individual with whom he has been charged to care, guide and teach. Amazing to see that the double standard is still alive, well and thriving on this blog. Congrats.

    1. My, my, my. Astounding to read this blog’s version of high-fives and first bumps accorded to this predatory individual, who, undoubedtly, betrayed the trust of both the school and the parents, by engaging in sexual contact with this young man who was a STUDENT.

      Do you ever suspend judgment about anything?

      Many years ago my aunt served a term on a grand jury, and was the body’s foreman. She said one problem they had was there was a man on the jury whose response to testimony was to say something along the lines of ‘he’s obviously guilty’. There were another four who invariably voted with him. My aunt had to remind the jurors that under New York law, it was not their job to determine that, just to determine if there was sufficient evidence to proceed with the case. If that jury was representative,, I’d say north of 20% of the populace should not be trusted with decisions where you actually have to apply inductive reasoning and process fragments of information.

      1. This isn’t about suspending judgment. It’s about using your good judgment–something that i suspect you haven’t done in decades. It’s about applying the rules and regulations equally, regardless of someone’s gender or dimples. It’s about a widespread and fallacious belief and mistaken assumption that women can’t be predators. That smiling blond dipsh@ts can’t possibly violate the rules and conditions that they refrain from f’ng around with students in high school. Who gives a f what she looks like? It’s not about her looks. It’s about a teacher, yes, a TEACHER, charged with being sexually involved with her STUDENT. The comments on this thread would be drastically different had the suspect been a male. The comments on this thread would be drastically different if any of the contributors had, per chance, had a daughter who was seduced by a teacher in high school. I didn’t expect you to get it. You never do. Your oddball comments never cease.

        1. bam bam – innocent until proven guilty. Even for the cute ones. 😉

          1. You aren’t questioning her guilt or innocence, Paul. That’s a cop-out. We’re talking about someone CHARGED with a wrong. We are not determining her guilt or innocence. However, the bizarre comments seem to indicate that she committed no wrong, regardless. That the jury will give her a pass and congratulate the student. After all, she is, by some accounts, cute. Blond. Nice cheesy smile. Your comments indicate that the kid was lucky, if, in fact, this transpired. That he, the student, scored. Scored, and, scored big time. How inappropriate! Would you be claiming that a male teacher, who seduced his student, was a winner? That the female student, involved, hit the jackpot? I think not.

            1. bam bam – girls have crushes on their male teachers. I think males are more aware of the problem than females. I never met in a room with a female student that did not either have an open door or a clear glass window, where I could be seen at all times.

              1. Wrongs don’t necessarily only occur in the classroom, Paul, during school hours. You should know that.

    2. bam bam – the only ones who are ‘vulnerable’ are the ones who come from the homes of snowflakes. The rest know more about sex than you and I.

      1. Paul

        You have described yourself as a teacher or as a former teacher?

        Did you have sex with your students? If no, why not?

        1. bam bam – I came to teaching late, as a second career, so they were way too young for me. And it was illegal. However, I did have a fellow teacher fired for having sex with a student (he was just a few years older that she was). And then there was that whole going to jail thing.

          1. Did you high five him? Wink at him? Tell him, that the purported victim, never had it so good? That she wasn’t a victim, but, instead, more like a lottery winner? Huh? Cause that’s what you, along with some other unevolved individuals, are indicating would be the correct reaction. You are intelligent enough to know that her looks and gender, or the looks and gender of any other perpetrator, are irrelevant to the discussion. At least, that’s what I thought.

            1. bam bam – all I know about it is that suddenly he was gone. Like, left in the night, gone. His desk was cleared and a substitute was there to replace him. I did not find out what actually happened for a couple of years. And I have no idea who the student was.

              1. Obviously, my comments, to you, have whizzed right over your head. I was trying to make a point. You don’t get it. I was attempting, fruitlessly, to prove the disparate treatment of male offenders and female offenders.

                1. bam bam – I clearly missed your point. You clearly do not want me on your jury. 🙂

                2. The question should be why we treat males harsher than females, not why females lighter than males.

                  And that the (overall) punishment for a consensual relationship with a willing, mature teenager is harsher than selling drugs to or beating half to death the same teenager…. that should be the question.

    3. How about if the teacher was a gorgeous male, and the student was a 17 year old male? Talk about a double standard, if the situation had been gay…

      1. Gender is irrelevant–of either party. I was under the assumption that those who commented here understood the concept of a law. A rule. A prohibition. One that applies across the lines of gender. Her looks are irrelevant. Her smile is irrelevant. Her blond hair is irrelevant. She was a teacher. He was a student. This was, if proven to be true, improper conduct. He may have been a willing and an eager participant. Again, irrelevant. Some kids are also willing and eager participants in child molestation cases. The crime, regardless, still exists.

        1. bam bam – there is something called the ‘halo effect’ that works for people that a pretty/handsome, tall, etc. Live goes better for them. IMHO if she goes to trial, if she keeps that smile on, there is not a male on the jury who will convict her.

          1. Only if the jury is stacked with morons and the prosecutor isn’t smart enough to make the members comprehend that looks are deceiving. That evil can be committed by the ugliest of people and by the most beautiful of people. It’s all in the presentation. Good lawyers, like good salesmen, know how to sell. Sell. Package. Persuade. Convince. The only jury members who look at appearance, alone, are the ones who haven’t been sufficiently convinced to ignore her looks.

              1. Been practicing law for quite some time, Paul. More than one way to skin a cat.

                1. bam bam – there have been studies of teachers that show that they seem to get very comfortable with their job/career about year 8. Then about year 15, they think they ‘know it all’ about their profession and have nothing more to learn. This continues until years 25-30 (usually some young whipper-snapper turns out to be better than they are), so they kick it into gear again and become ‘all that they can be.’ They quit phoning it in.

        2. You are absolutely correct, Bam Bam, that an older female sleeping with a teenage male is viewed very differently than an adult male sleeping with a teenage female, especially when the adult is a teacher.

          1. It goes beyond that, Karen. Way beyond a simple difference in perception. From most of the comments posted, it appears as though she did this kid some kind of a favor. What crime? That the victim, er, I mean kid, enjoyed this. Won the lottery. Why is this considered more egregious when this happens to a 17 year old student who happens to be female? It’s not in my book. I don’t send my little Johnny or my little Mary, off to school, to get f’d by the teacher. I don’t send my little Johnny or my little Mary, off to religious school, to get molested by a priest or a nun. Certain individuals are vested with the unique responsibility to guide, protect, supervise and teach our children. When they so violate that responsibility and, instead, engage in sex with those under their supervision and control, no penalty is too strong. Better wish that I am never on one of these juries. The blond hair and the smile do nothing for me.

            1. How about you don’t send your little 17 year old Johnny or Mary off to school to f the teacher? Why should little 17 year old Mary or Johnny be treated like little 7 year old Jimmy or Susie? Nowhere else in life does this happen.

            2. bam bam – when I was a sophomore in high school we had a student teacher for 6 weeks who (to my 15 yo mind) was beautiful. I just to walk by her room between all classes, having to run to get to my next class. I had her for biology and I am not afraid to say that I fantasized about her. 🙂

              1. Quite normal. Nothing wrong with that.

                What ISN’T normal is a teacher, who is supposed to know better than a pimple-faced teen in high school with braces, engaging in that fantasy. That’s where the cute story, about fantasizing about the hot teacher, drastically changes. You could fantasize all you wished, but it takes two to tango. The object of your affection wasn’t, I assume, trolling for sex partners at your school.

                1. bam bam – well, my grades sure took a hit. However, she left after six weeks and the regular biology teacher was male. Just wasn’t the same. 🙁

        3. Yes it is a crime and yes it should be a crime. But what is absent is any kind of differentiation per the details of the case. A 17 year old willingly sleeping with a teacher is not the same as a 7 year old. Yet both are “child molestation” cases. Both will result in sex offender registration. The details ARE relevant. To make this sort of thing a strict liability crime is absurd.

    4. This is a person old enough to legally operate a 2-ton motor vehicle, legally hold employment, be prosecuted for any crime, easily as an adult, get married and join the military with parental permission. Regardless of gender.

      That males get harsher punishment… that is the problem. Not that females get lighter sentences.

    5. That is EXACTLY what the problem is. All this inability to comprehend why these “ladies” should not be behaving in this manner constantly.

  5. When the country runs out of people who are of the legal age of consent then teachers will get a break, until then off to court for her and her ilk.
    I’m sure she’ll smile in court too.

    1. Of course. That’s exactly what women do if they’ve been caught with their pant(ie)s down!

  6. The anatomy and physiology teacher offers extra credit and house calls!

    That’s over the age of consent in New York, so it’s difficult to regard this as a crime (rather than a breach of trust or employee misconduct). If she’s guilty, she needs to be dismissed and find a new line of work and refrain from supervising youths until she’s of an age where concupiscence is not much of an issue.

    She’s quite handsome; she should be satisfied with her natural hair color, however.

  7. I must admit, she smiles better than most people do for a diver’s license photo. As for smiling for a mug shot, you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

    The more important issue is that people here and elsewhere assume that because somebody made a charge against her that the charge must be true.

    It doesn’t matter that there have been cases before where a teacher has exactly the sort of thing that this particular teacher is accused of here. Each case is different and the teacher shound not be presumed guilty. How do we know that the student didn’t do poorly in school and then made the accusation when the teacher didn’t accede to his request for a higher grade? We don’t. How do we know that the student didn’t make a move on the teacher and when rebuffed made the accusation? We don’t. How do we know that this is not just a case of a teenager with an overactive imagination? We don’t.

    Yet, many are quick to assume that the teacher did exactly what she is being accused of doing. Unfortunately, more and more people are assuming guilt or innocence based on the MSM’s presentation because we’re living in a society where facts don’t matter. So why wait for something that doesn’t matter? That is the attitude today.

    1. It’s more fun to assume she’s guilty! Seriously, even if she is guilty, one or more jurors might vote to acquit because the prosecution is a stupid waste of taxpayer dollars and the “victim” has suffered no harm.

      1. On second thought, the 17 y/o male victim may suffer harm from his peers if he actually testifies against her, lol.

        1. If I were the “victim” (still can’t type that with a straight face), they’d get no testimony out of me.

        2. Frozen Trucker – the “victim” is clearly going to need to be placed in protective custody. This does not bode well for the young man.

    2. Very true post, Ralph. Sometimes we all forget to wait until all the information is in.

      I know the general response is great going for the guy. But how will this affect him? How does he feel being the topic of all the gossip at school? Are the parents of girls his own age going to let an infamous teenager date their daughters? What if she got pregnant and sued him for child support? Gave him an STD? That’s happened before with older women sleeping with students. Too young to give consent but yet saddled with a child support order. Teenage sex happens. And there is definitely a debate about what the age of consent should be, and how being a few months shy may affect such circumstances. None of us parents send our kids to high school to have sex with the teachers.

      1. Plus this kid will be forever known as the guy who slept with a teacher who is now in jail because of it, if she is convicted of the crime.

        1. If she is convicted she will have to register as a sex offender. Her life will be ruined. This young man (a 17 year old is NOT a child) will, for the rest of his life, have to live with the fact that his willing and voluntary actions have destroyed someone’s life.

          This is a burden I would not wish on my worst enemy and must be far more damaging than any non-forcible student / teacher relationship could ever have been. My 2 cents.

          1. Causing these promiscuous “lady” teachers public embarrassment as SO’s for life is the only way that scandals of this type can be stopped!

  8. She’s an anatomy and physiology teacher at a high school. Maybe she’s smiling because this 17 year old is a validation of her teaching skills.

  9. “Fowlkes, 26, was an anatomy and physiology teacher at the high school.”

    The jokes just write themselves.

  10. She comes across as very young and self-absorbed. The smile might indicate her level of emotional maturity, which helps explain the situation she’s in, but doesn’t help her legally.

    1. No, she comes off as immodest (in ways which are quite banal in this day and age). You cannot tell much else about her.

  11. Very sad. She is married. And completely clueless. Destroyed her career. Her home and her life.
    And she thinks the mug shot is just another selfie.

    1. Have you considered the possibility that the complaint against her is cock-and-bull? Why do we have these fact-finding procedures?

      1. Your right of course, and hopefully she didn’t live stream the encounters on face book,
        Otherwise it’s game over.
        But she should still wipe the @&$” grin off her face.

  12. I am with David Noe. If she smiles like that at the male members of the jury, they will acquit. 🙂 And she will get at least half the women.

    1. She’ll get none of the women with that. Unless they’re particular friends, or see themselves in a given situation, women are hard on each other, often gratuitously. (What was disconcerting about the Mary Winkler case was the realization that 5 of 10 randomly selected women in one county in Tennessee could see themselves killing their husband while he slept).

        1. Who?

          The men on the jury (and one of the 10 women) knew a murderer when they saw one. In deliberations, they were able to bring 4 of the 9 remaining women around. The 5 holdouts were adamant she deserved no punishment.

    1. 17 is the age of consent in TX. The only reason this is a crime at all is because she’s a teacher. I would agree that she should be kicked out of that profession, but to prosecute it as a crime is a waste of everyone’s time.

  13. I think there’s a way we can test the claim that she was smiling because she knew she was innocent; . Review all the mug shots of arrested people who were later conclusively proven to be actually innocent. How many of them are smiling?

    They did not identify the sex of her “victim.” If it was a male student–isn’t there something ridiculous about the prosecution?. He wasn’t a rape victim; he was a rape beneficiary. But sex-equality laws have painted society into a corner that compels a charade that the student’s sex doesn’t matter.

      1. A 17 y/o male? C’mon……he was undoubtedly willing, and old enough to be in the military. I’m sure the only two people who see him as a victim are you and his mommy.

  14. MEH*10e100
    Her pic will be around for generations.
    There apparently was no coitus.
    The pic was perhaps taken before she had counsel.
    Were the student 12 and she 21 , then possibly we should chase her with torches.
    Had she unintentionally KILLED the student in Columbus, Ohio, she could get 60 days on an involuntary manslaughter charge.

  15. She’s a “sexpot”, no doubt about it. With all the sexual perversion in our society, I would call this a very minor offense. She’s probably a nympho, which makes her exceptionally weak, so I wouldn’t call her a predator or “child rapist”. That’s ridiculous. What she did was immoral, but again, very much on the low end in comparison with the sexual behavior of millions today in our society. I think prosecuting her makes the sexually guilty feel like they’ve got standards. She’s a scapegoat. Isn’t cheating on a spouse far worse? Yet, there’s no penalty for that.

  16. Why should she not smile? What difference does it make? She knows this is going out on the airwaves.

    That a teacher who is convicted of a relationship with a willing 17 or even 16-year-old will soon see their ENTIRE life destroyed – much more so than if they got the student hooked on drugs, or beat them unrecognizable – is what is worth a column… she will find out soon enough.

    1. She also knows that she will receive little or no prison time. Let’s prove the wretch wrong!!

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