BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A Montana judge appears intent on trying to undo his lenient sentence for a teacher who raped a student as prosecutors pressed the state Supreme Court stop him.
The office of Montana District Judge G. Todd Baugh said Friday he plans an afternoon resentencing hearing for rapist Stacey Rambold.
Baugh stoked a furor when he sent the former Billings Senior High teacher to prison for just 30 days and suggested the 14-year-old victim shared responsibility in the case.
The judge now says a two-year prison sentence appears mandatory.
But both the prosecution and defense say it’s too late for Baugh to turn back the clock, and the case must go through an appeal.
An emergency petition from the state Attorney General’s Office to block the resentencing is pending Friday before the Supreme Court.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.
An embattled Montana judge is poised on Friday to try to undo his lenient sentence in the case of a teacher who raped a student, despite warnings from both prosecutors and the defense that he doesn’t have that authority.
District Judge G. Todd Baugh stoked a furor when he sent former Billings Senior High School teacher Stacey Rambold to prison for just 30 days. The 71-year-old judge suggested in court that the 14-year-old victim shared responsibility in the case.
The girl committed suicide in 2010 while the case was pending.
After apologizing for his comments, Baugh now says a two-year minimum prison sentence appears mandatory and that his original sentence appears to be illegal. On the judge’s order, Rambold was returned from Montana State Prison for a Friday resentencing hearing in Billings.
But the state already has appealed the case, and both prosecutors and the defense say only the Montana Supreme Court has the power to fix any mistakes made at the sentencing.
On Thursday, the Montana Attorney General’s Office submitted an emergency petition asking justices to block the Friday resentencing. State attorneys said the hearing would “cause a gross injustice to an orderly appeal.”
Baugh said earlier in the week that he intended to hold the hearing even if he was the only one who shows up. His office said late Thursday that the hearing would proceed.