Posted at 3:25 p.m.:
Here's the breakdown:
The sentencing score sheet recommended a minimum 60 years and a maximum of life. Hardt sentenced Hamberg to the following:
Counts one through four: 10 years on each count, concurrent to one another.
Counts five, six and ten: 10 years, concurrent to one another but consecutive to the sentence for counts one through four.
Count seven: 10 years, consecutive to the other 20 years.
Count eight: 15 years of sex offender probation, consecutive to the prior 30 years.
Remember, count seven alleges penis-in-vagina penetration.
Posted at 3:11 p.m.:
Hardt sentences Hamberg to 30 years state prison, followed by 15 years sex offender probation.
Posted at 3:11 p.m.:
The state argues for a harsher sentence.
Sentencing is intended to be punitive and rehabilitative, Assistant State Attorney Mara Marzano tells Hardt.
However, "A sex offender in denial cannot be rehabilitated," she says.
Marzano says Hamberg "groomed" the victim for her role in a sexual relationship. And the effects of that relationship will be long-lasting, she says.
"She's isolated, she's unable to attend school and she's without friends," Marzano says.
Berry asks for leniency, and he appeals to Hardt's discretion to sentence outside the guidelines. The relationship, he says, should have been charged as one count, not eight.
"In my humble opinion this is one crime," he says.
Posted at 2:57 p.m.:
The defense calls several character witnesses.
First is a former band parent, Frank Abenanti, tells Hardt that Hamberg helped his son and was a model teacher.
The defense then calls George Hawn, whose wife is Hamberg's first cousin. Defense attorney Jerry Berry says Hawn will represent Hamberg's family.
Hawn says he and his family often traveled with Hamberg, and that Hamberg let Hawn's daughters carry the banner for the band one season.
"I think he's a fabulous band director, a fabulous person," Hawn says.
Terry Lamaine then speaks on behalf of Hamberg. A board member for a local charity, Lamaine tells Hardt that Hamberg often supplied band members to play at charity events.
She called him "a good asset" for her organization.
"No, I have nothing negative to say about Robert Hamberg," Lamaine said.
And that's it for the defense. Berry is now arguing for a departure from sentencing guidelines.
Posted at 2:40 p.m.:
"This has robbed me of a normal teenage life," the victim tells Hardt, reading from a written statement.
She talks about going through therapy, and she tells the judge she realizes now the immaturity of her emotions at the time of the relationship.
Hamberg watches her, and at one point he closes his eyes and shakes his head.
The victim ends with a warning to other young girls. She tells them to beware of authority figures who begin taking special interest in their lives.
"Because they could be luring you into a sexual con game," she says.
Posted at 2:33 p.m.:
The victim's mother tells Hardt that Hamberg turned her family's life into a "nightmare."
"He has had power over this family, creating sadness, anger and fear for the past two years," she says, fighting tears. "We're no longer under that power."
The victim's father speaks next.
He tells Hardt his daughter has been isolated for the past two years.
"(The victim) has lost all the social interactions teenagers want and need," he says.
The victim speaks next.
Posted at 2:27 p.m.:
We're back, and prosecutor Steve Maresca presents his argument, and the most recent case law on the topic. Hardt agrees with the argument, and the issue is resolved: The points will be added.
We're back on track, and the victim's mother is set to give a victim impact statement.
Posted at 1:54 p.m.:
There's disagreement on the sentencing score sheet. At issue is whether a specific finding of penetration on each count was necessary to add extra points on the sheet, or if penetration is an element of each count, meaning it is already proven.
At stake is the sentencing range for Hamberg, which is calculated on a score sheet.
It's a little convoluted, and it appears that the upper sentencing range under either calculation is life in prison. Yet Hardt and attorneys agree they want an accurate score sheet before proceeding.
We've taken a 30 minute recess to figure the issue out.
Hamberg mouths "I love you" to his wife as he exits.
Posted at 1:42 p.m.:
The defense argues Collier Circuit Judge Fred Hardt erred in several points during the trial.
One is Hardt's admission of cross-examination on Hamberg's prior tenure at a Georgia high school. But the judge rejects the argument.
He recalls Hamberg telling jurors he was "naive" to possible perceptions of a close relationship between a male teacher and female student.
"At that time the court felt, and the court feels the same way, that (Hamberg's) testimony was, in a light most favorable to the defendant, misleading to the jury," Hardt says.
He denies the motion.
Posted at 1:35 p.m.:
Hamberg is brought out from the holding cells. He wears the orange jumpsuit of the Collier County jail, and he raises his eyebrows in greeting to his wife, Dianne.
He promptly takes his seat, and the defense begins its argument for a new trial.
Posted at 1:26 p.m.:
We're about five minutes away from the hearing's start, and the courtroom is filling up.
Notably, the victim in the case, now 17, is sitting on the front row of the gallery, about two or three people down from Dianne Hamberg, Robert Hamberg's wife.
Posted Wednesday evening:
Two years after his arrest on sexual battery charges, former Gulf Coast High School band director Robert Hamberg will face the music, so to speak.
A Collier Circuit judge is set to sentence Hamberg, 53, this afternoon, weeks after jurors determined the once-popular teacher maintained a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old student.
Thursday’s hearing could be as compelling as Hamberg’s April trial. Family members and supporters are expected to appeal for a lenient sentence from Judge Fred Hardt, while supporters of the victim will push for a firm penalty.
Hamberg, believed to have no prior criminal convictions, faces a maximum 15 years in prison for each of his eight convictions on lewd and lascivious sexual battery of a minor under the age of 16.
Hardt will refer to a pre-sentence investigation into Hamberg’s background and a sentencing score-sheet to make his determination.
Collier Sheriff’s detectives arrested Hamberg in May 2009 after the victim, a 15-year-old freshman band member, told detectives she and the teacher had multiple sexual encounters since February 2009.
She told detectives about encounters in a school changing room, in Hamberg’s car and at his home, which she described at length. Hamberg resigned from the school a month after his arrest.
At trial, prosecutors portrayed Hamberg as a man assured by his own importance at Gulf Coast High School and eager for the attention of his female students. The band director cultivated the callow emotions of his victim, they told jurors.
“The man who should have protected her took advantage of her teenage emotions,” Assistant State Attorney Mara Marzano said in her closing statement.
Prosecutors pointed to the victim’s detailed testimony about Hamberg’s body and the hours of phone conversations between the pair.
Hamberg testified he was the naive one, unaware his efforts to help a troubled student would be miscast as something more intimate. In a surprising turn, he also claimed he was medically “tongue-tied” and thus unable to perform oral sex on the victim.
Prosecutors undermined both claims by pointing to Hamberg’s past. His ex-wife, Jacqueline Rush, testified that her ex-husband knew how to use his tongue. Prosecutors also noted out that Hamberg resigned from a Georgia high school in 1988 after his relationship with a student was revealed.
That student, now his current wife, Dianne Hamberg, remained by her husband’s side through the recent trial.
Defense attorney Jerry Berry will also argue Thursday for a new trial, claiming Hardt erred in several matters of law, including his decision that prosecutors could question Hamberg on his resignation from the Georgia high school.
Hamberg remains in custody at the Naples Jail Center.