Montana Judge Who Sentenced Rapist To 30 Days Now Contesting Jail Term

Montana Judge G. Todd Baugh was pilloried nationally for sentencing the man charged with the statutory rape of a 14-year-old who later committed suicide to a stunningly short 30 days of jail time, but the justice is now opposed to his own ruling, it would appear.

Judge Baugh didn’t only allow Stacey Rambold, a teacher who stood accused of rape after already having been warned to not be alone with or touch female students, to skate off on a light punishment — he also stated during the hearing that the victim, 14, was “older than her chronological age” and was “as much in control” of her own rape as the man accused of raping her.

In a new and somewhat unexpected development, Judge Baugh ordered a new hearing after the outcry, and the Billings Gazette chronicles the “unusual occurrence” of a potential re-sentencing.

The paper quotes an order in which the Montana judge says that Rambold’s sentencing may be revised, where he indicates that “[i]n this court’s opinion, imposing a sentence which suspends more than the mandatory minimum would be an illegal sentence.”

The paper adds of the new hearing scheduled for today that “he imposed the 30-day prison sentence based on a memorandum submitted by the defense, and prosecutors ‘did not object or otherwise inform the Court on the issue of the applicable mandatory minimum.’ “

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Calls for Baugh’s unseating have been loud and pervasive online, where nearly 50,000 people signed a petition demanding the judge leave the bench following the outrageous sentence and comments he made regarding the victim and her alleged culpability.

Local protester Kate Olp said that Baugh’s decision reflected the Montana judge’s misconceptions about sexual assault and rape, and did not accurately reflect the legal ramifications prescribed for such an offense:

“Judge Baugh’s original decision in this case was clearly influenced by his personal misconceptions regarding rape and sexual abuse. While I’m not normally one to push for longer prison sentences, I feel that it is important in this case to ensure that the right decision was made.”

If the Montana judge’s rape reversal sentencing bid sticks, Rambold could be imprisoned for two years.