Robert Hamberg, band director who had sex with student, fights court costs

— Former Gulf Coast High band director Robert Hamberg is trying to whittle down more than $6,000 in court fees and fines while awaiting an appeal of his conviction for having a sexual relationship with a student.

On Friday, Collier Circuit Judge Fred Hardt gave assistant state attorneys Mara Marzano and Deb Cunningham until Oct. 31 to file a response to a defense “motion to correct sentencing errors” filed by Hamberg’s appellate attorney, Michael Ufferman of Tallahassee.

The motion said Hamberg, 54, shouldn’t have been charged $151 per count for court costs,$1,057 for all seven — just $151 for the entire case. Ufferman also argued that because Hardt didn’t impose a fine, case law says he should not have assessed $20 in court costs.

If successful, Hamberg would cut $1,127 off $6,406 in court costs and fees. Hardt, who required only written arguments, hasn’t yet held a hearing on how much restitution should be paid to Hamberg’s accuser, who was then 15.

Hamberg wasn’t in court. He’s serving a 30-year sentence at Calhoun Correctional Institution, a state prison for males in Blountstown, and also must serve 15 years of sex-offender probation.

Ufferman, who took over the case from Hamberg’s trial attorney, Jerry Berry, is expected to file his appeal brief this month.

In April, a jury convicted Hamberg of lewd and lascivious battery involving sexual encounters with the girl at school, his car and his home. Hamberg’s wife, Dianne, was a student and drum major when he was a band director in Norcross, Ga., in the late 1980s. Her parents took out a restraining order against him, but she later married him.

© 2011 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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