Montana Judge's Sentence of 30 Days for Rape Appealed by State

Image: Montana Judge's Sentence of 30 Days for Rape Appealed by State District Judge G. Todd Baugh, left, and Stacey Rambold.

Thursday, 05 Sep 2013 08:54 AM

By Clyde Hughes

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State attorneys have appealed a Montana judge's controversial 30-day rape sentence for an ex-teacher who admitted having sex with a then 14-year-old girl who would later go on to commit suicide.

Stacey Rambold's 30-day sentence and District Judge G. Todd Baugh's comments during the hearing on Aug. 26 which he said the girl, Cherice Moralez, was "older than her chronological age" unleashed a firestorm of nationwide criticism over the proceeding weeks.

Baugh ordered a resentencing in Rambold's case for Friday, according to The Associated Press, but prosecutors filed a notice to cancel the resentencing so their appeal of the original 30-day sentence can proceed. ()

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"We believe that the sentence Judge Baugh imposed on Stacey Rambold is illegal," Attorney General Tim Fox said in a statement. "Using the means provided by state law, we are appealing his sentence and working diligently to ensure that justice is served."

Chief Deputy Yellowstone County Attorney Rod Souza said Baugh lacked the authority to take back his original sentence, the AP reported.

Baugh seemed to admit an error in his original 30-day sentence on Tuesday while ordering a re-sentencing of Rambold, according to CNN.com.

"The defendant shall be present at argument as the Court, if necessary and appropriate, will amend the mandatory minimum portion of the sentence," read a court order from Baugh, addressing that the original sentence was well under the rape conviction's mandatory minimum of two years.

"In this Court's opinion, imposing a sentence which suspends more than the mandatory minimum would be an illegal sentence," the order read.

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CNN reported that Rambold and Moralez first came into contact with each other in 2008 when she was a student at Billings Senior High School and Rambold, then 49, was a teacher. Rambold resigned when school officials found out about a sexual relationship between the two.

Authorities originally charged Rambold with three counts of sexual intercourse without consent, CNN reported. Moralez committed suicide shy of her 17th birthday while the case was still in court.

Rambold was ordered to complete a sex-offender treatment program but he later admitted violating the rules of the program, according to CNN.

Related stories:

Stacey Rambold Rape Case: Judge Sorry For Comments, Not 30-Day Sentence

Judge: Jesus Statue Can Stay on Montana Mountain


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