One-month Rape Sentence Reversed: Judge To Be Unseated?By: Toni Matthews-El - April 30, 2014
It’s hard to fathom how a man can receive a one-month sentence in a rape trial, but that’s exactly what happened in the Stacey Rambold case.
Rambold was sentenced to a single month in prison following the 2007 sexual assault of his student, Cherice Moralez.
Montana Judge G. Todd Baugh not only credited Rambold with serving 15 years in prison minus 31 days, but he actually alleged that the victim, was “probably as much in control of the situation” as her much older teacher.
Moralez had killed herself and therefore was not available to actually speak on her own behalf about what happened.
The idea that a court judge would make such a statement and ruling was appalling to many onlookers.
On Wednesday, the Montana Supreme Court threw out the original ruling and ordered the case be re-assigned to a different judge.
Justice Michael Wheat wrote in the opinion that the “district court lacked authority to suspend all but 31 days of Rambold’s sentence”.
In a plea agreement, Rambold had admitted to committing one count of sexual intercourse without consent. He was to avoid jail time through participating in a treatment program.
The case was reinstated when he violated the conditions of the program and was thrown out.
Despite this, Baugh was willing to give all the credit to the teacher at the expense of a teenager victim.
Baugh’s actions moved the Montana Judicial Standards Commission to recommend that the Supreme Court discipline him. The high court stated that a ruling on Baugh’s conduct would come later.
The tragic mishandling of this case was a source of great anger to the people of Montana and especially the family of the victim.
Hopefully, the move to throw out the original conviction and possibly discipline the judge responsible will encourage more victims of rape to come forward and believe that justice will be served.
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