Court in Montana Blocks New Rape Sentence

On Friday, the Supreme Court of Montana ordered a judge from county court to cancel a hearing that was scheduled to reconsider a prison sentence of 30 days.

The judge gave the sentence to an ex-high schoolteacher, who had been convicted of raping a student who was just 14, with whom the former teacher had had an intimate relationship for a number of months.

With the new emergency order, which was sought by the attorney general for the state, four justices ruled that Judge G. Todd Baugh did not have the authority to reconsider the sentence he had originally set forth on August 26 for the former teacher Stacey Rambold.

Just after hearing the state’s high court decision, Baugh said he had imposed a new prison sentence of 15 years in writing against Rambold and had suspended all but 24 months. He said it was the mandatory minimum that state law required.

Baugh had been vilified for the 30-day sentence he originally handed down and for calling the victim older than her real chronological age and for saying she had been in as much control of the situation as had been Rambold.

Rambold was charged originally in 2008 and the victim killed herself two years later prior to the case going to trial.

The victim’s mother, Auliea Hanlon, bolted out of court following the sentencing saying it somehow made rape acceptable if the victim were blamed, even if she had only been 14.

Baugh made an apology for the remarks he made, but defended the original sentence, but said it might have been illegal and announced the hearing that had been scheduled for Friday.

Baugh sentenced Rambold originally to a term of 15 years with all but just 31 days suspended.