Court Denies Judge a Do-Over On 30-Day Rape Sentence

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Sept. 6 2013 4:39 PM

Court Denies Montana Judge a Do-Over On 30-Day Rape Sentence

84611044
A Montana judge sparked outrage when he said a 14-year-old was partly to blame for her own rape

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Montana Judge G. Todd Baugh can't do anything right.

First, he sentenced a former teacher to 30 days in prison for having sex with a troubled 14-year-old student (who would later commit suicide while the case was pending). During sentencing, Baugh absurdly described the victim as "older than her chronological age" and "as much in control of the situation" as her rapist was. In the face of the local and national backlash that followed, Baugh initially defended his comments before ultimately relenting and offering something of an apology, while still standing behind the sentence itself. Then on Tuesday, as the calls for his resignation continued, Baugh went ahead and scheduled a hearing to revisit that remarkably light sentence and determine whether it was actually even legal.

Advertisement

That brings us to this afternoon, when the Montana Supreme Court added to Baugh's ongoing professional misery by blocking the judge's attempt at a do-over. "We conclude that the stated intent of the District Court to alter the initially imposed oral sentence in today's scheduled hearing is unlawful and that the proceeding should be arrested," the high court ruled. "We take no position on the legality of the imposed sentence and will address the parties' arguments in that regard on appeal."

Highlighting just how unpopular Baugh's decisions have been lately, neither the prosecution nor the defense wanted Friday's scheduled re-sentencing hearing to take place. The defense, as you would guess, is quite pleased with the 30-day sentence, while the prosecution feared that revisiting the sentence now would undermine its formal appeal, which is currently winding its way through the state court system.

***Follow @JoshVoorhees and the rest of the @slatest team on Twitter.***

This post has been updated.

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

The Democrats’ War at Home

How can the president’s party defend itself from the president’s foreign policy blunders?

An Iranian Woman Was Sentenced to Death for Killing Her Alleged Rapist. Can Activists Save Her?

Piper Kerman on Why She Dressed Like a Hitchcock Heroine for Her Prison Sentencing

Windows 8 Was So Bad That Microsoft Will Skip Straight to Windows 10

Homeland Is Good Again! For Now.

Politics

Cringing. Ducking. Mumbling.

How GOP candidates react whenever someone brings up reproductive rights or gay marriage.

Music

How Even an Old Hipster Can Age Gracefully

On their new albums, Leonard Cohen, Robert Plant, and Loudon Wainwright III show three ways.

The U.S. Has a New Problem in Syria: The Moderate Rebels Feel Like We’ve Betrayed Them

We Need to Talk: A Terrible Name for a Good Sports Show by and About Women

Trending News Channel
Oct. 1 2014 1:25 PM Japanese Cheerleader Robots Balance and Roll Around on Balls
  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 1 2014 12:20 PM Don’t Expect Hong Kong’s Protests to Spread to the Mainland
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 1 2014 2:16 PM Wall Street Tackles Chat Services, Shies Away From Diversity Issues 
  Life
The Eye
Oct. 1 2014 1:04 PM An Architectural Crusade Against the Tyranny of Straight Lines
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 2:08 PM We Need to Talk: Terrible Name, Good Show
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 1 2014 3:24 PM Revelry (and Business) at Mohonk Photos and highlights from Slate’s annual retreat.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 1 2014 3:02 PM The Best Show of the Summer Is Getting a Second Season
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 1 2014 3:01 PM Netizen Report: Hong Kong Protests Trigger Surveillance and Social Media Censorship
  Health & Science
Science
Oct. 1 2014 2:36 PM Climate Science Is Settled Enough The Wall Street Journal’s fresh face of climate inaction.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 30 2014 5:54 PM Goodbye, Tough Guy It’s time for Michigan to fire its toughness-obsessed coach, Brady Hoke.