Judge 'Misread Law' in 30-Day Rape Sentence

Teacher will get new sentencing hearing

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Sep 4, 2013 2:03 AM CDT | Updated Sep 4, 2013 5:03 AM CDT

(Newser) – Looks like Montana's Judge Todd Baugh might be better suited to a career that doesn't involve sentencing people. After apologizing and calling himself a "blithering idiot" for remarks he made when sentencing a teacher to just 30 days for raping a 14-year-old student, Baugh has ordered a new hearing after admitting that he believes he misread state law and the teacher should have been sentenced to a minimum of two years, the Missoulian reports.

Baugh—whose remarks sparked protests and demands that he step down—says his error means the 30 days he gave 54-year-old Stacey Rambold "would be an illegal sentence," reports NBC. The county attorney says Baugh's order is an "unusual occurrence" and he has been working to determine whether the case can be appealed to the state's Supreme Court. The mother of Rambold's victim, who committed suicide before the case could go to trial, has refused to accept the judge's apology.

Protesters gathered on the Yellowstone County Courthouse lawn in Billings, Montana last week calling for Baugh's resignation.   (AP Photo/Matthew Brown)
Montana District Judge G. Todd Baugh reads a statement apologizing for remarks he made about a 14-year-old girl raped by a teacher in Billings, Montana.   (AP Photo/Matthew Brown)
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