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crimes and misdemeanors

Montana Judge Barred From Do-Over in Outrageous Rape Case

Montana District Judge G. Todd Baugh reads a statement in his Billings courtroom on Friday, Sept. 6, 2013, explaining his 30-day sentence for a teacher who raped a student. Baugh had sought a re-sentencing hearing for defendant Stacey Rambold, but was blocked by the state Supreme Court.

Things in Montana are a mess. The State Supreme Court today blocked a judge from attempting to reconsider his ridiculous 30-day sentence in the case of a teacher who repeatedly raped a 14-year-old student. Stacey Dean Rambold took a plea deal after his victim killed herself, but he then violated the terms of his sex-offenders' agreement; prosecutors sought a twenty-year sentence, and Judge G. Todd Baugh decided on 30 days. (To make things worse, Baugh also said the girl seemed "older than her chronological age.")

Following a national "WTF," Baugh was prepared to bump the sentence up to two years, the mandatory minimum, at a hearing today. But a last-minute decision by the Supreme Court said Baugh's oral judgement was final and a new hearing would "cause gross injustice to an orderly appeal," along with "confusion and uncertainty for all parties." It's now up to the standard appeals process. Rambold remains in jail, either for a few more days or a few more years.

May this poor girl's mother find peace.

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Photo: Matthew Brown/AP/Corbis