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Mom's promoting prostitution sentence stands

December 30, 2008

The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the 17-year sentence for a woman convicted of prostituting her daughter, finding her sentence was appropriate and that an even longer sentence could be justified.

In Tina Sue Day v. State of Indiana, No. 36A05-0804-CR-219, the appellate court made it clear it found Tina Day's sentence to be appropriate for someone "who accepted cash in exchange for allowing multiple men to molest her twelve-year-old daughter," wrote Judge Melissa May.

Day pleaded guilty to promoting prostitution and the judge imposed the 17-year sentence after finding four aggravators: her daughter's age, the great harm caused to the child, Day's position as mother, and her daughter being no match for the people to which she was sold. The only mitigator was Day's lack of criminal history.

Day challenged her sentence, claiming the trial court failed to consider her "poverty, mental illness, personality disorders, and alcoholism" when it determined her character. Even though she failed to develop an argument and waived her appeal, the Court of Appeals still found nothing about her sentence to be inappropriate. The Department of Child Services had investigated Day several times in the past for neglect and removed a child from her home due to medical neglect, wrote Judge May.

"Accordingly, despite any other problems she may have, Day's abuse of her twelve-year old daughter reflects a pattern of behavior, not a mere misstep by a woman with otherwise good character," she wrote. "No amount of poverty, physical illness, or mental illness can justify selling a child's body for men's sexual pleasure, and the character of any person who could do so justifies a sentence of seventeen years, if not more."

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