Court Sentences Montana Man to 225 Years for Indecent Exposure

In an extraordinary sentencing, Montana Judge James Haynes has sentenced Robert Stearns to 225 years for three felony counts of indecent exposure.

It is clear that Stearns deserved a heavy sentence. He was on parole for indecent exposure when he exposed himself to women in December 2006. It is equally clear that he is a sick individual. However, Haynes put his sentence at over three times the average for most murders by having the 75 year sentences run consecutively rather than concurrently. Even 75 years would have been a radical departure from sentencing norms. Most courts would have imposed a 5-10 year sentence for such conduct. An appeal is obviously in order.

In 1978, Stearns was charged with an attempted sexual assault on a 63-year-old woman and was on parole for a 1997 conviction of two counts of indecent exposure and one of sexual intercourse without consent. Obviously, this history should have pushed the sentence dramatically higher. However, he was sentenced on indecent exposure violations. Given his past conduct, this might have pushed the sentence about ten years but 225 years is akin to a serial killer.

However, his best bet may in the state courts. The U.S. Supreme Court has recently gutted the protections under the Eighth Amendment for excessive sentences. This should be such a case for federal review, but the Court has allowed effective life sentences for property offenses under three-strike laws.

For the full story, click here

12 thoughts on “Court Sentences Montana Man to 225 Years for Indecent Exposure”

  1. Well, pattern of recidivism are relevant to sentencing. It is not the same as being punished twice for the same crime because the increase is only within the discretionary range of the current offense or offenses. History can be a factor in showing risk to society and culpability.

  2. “Obviously, this history should have pushed the sentence dramatically higher.” If the history “should” cause a higher penalty doesn’t ring of double jeopardy? I mean he served his time for those past crimes, yes? Personally I think the single count of “sexual intercourse without consent” should have kept him in jail for life.

  3. Thank you for saying that.

    While we were both right AND wrong, about the facts, I believe we can all agree there’s more to this story – as is so often the case.

  4. I should have included the assaults and I have now added the information. However, it does not change he problem. He was sentenced on counts of indecent exposure. While past conduct should increase the sentence (perhaps even above ten years), he was given a sentence akin to a serial killer. There is no question that he is a danger to society. Yet, the law must strive for some uniformity in sentencing. If he were charged as a serial rapist, we would not be having this discussion. A person should be sentenced according to his charges with possible increases for past conduct.

  5. You failed to include that he is also a rapist. One conviction 30 years ago for attempted sexual assault and one of the recent victims was orally raped. In addition, he refused to submit to treatment. There is a very large difference between what you have presented – over-reaction by a judge – and what the article states – he is a pathological deviant and threat, demanding of being locked away for good. Also the previous commenters should really read the article before making such broad and pc statements as they have.

  6. You failed to include that he is also a rapist. One conviction 30 years ago for attempted sexual assault and one of the recent victims was orally raped. In addition, he refused to submit to treatment. There is a very large difference between what you have presented – over-reaction by a judge – and what the article states – he is a pathological deviant and threat, demanding of being locked away for good.

  7. Even though 225 years is excessive – you didn’t read the story.

    This guy has been assaulting woman since he was 15 – for 30 years. Just last year he the forced one of his latest three unwilling participants to perform oral sex – while he was on probation for other sexual offenses.

    He is not just a harmless pathetic flasher. He is a repeat visual sexual offender who has not responded to rehabilitation and whose behavior appears to be escalating.

  8. Oh, and if fairness even matters in this case (which, apparently it doesn’t and didn’t), how does this man’s sentence square with the recent brouhaha over Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe failure?” If length of sentence is in part based on scale of harm, and public exposure is in fact harmful, wouldn’t Ms. Jackson’s exposure to millions of people be the far greater harm? Oh My God, a bare breast seen everywhere! I mean, I for one have never gotten over it… (j/k, of course).

    Not only did Ms. Jackson not get jailtime, she was never even charged, yet from the furor over the incident you’d think she’d committed a crime on par with the Kennedy assassination. But come to think of it, nobody was charged in that one either… đŸ˜‰

    Facetiousness aside, this case demonstrates the hypocrisy and lunacy run amok in Amerika today. Sigh…

  9. War on Drugs, War on Terror, War on Sex. All phony, all equally damaging to what’s left of so-called Amerikan freedom.

    While nobody supports flashers, what is it about seeing a naked body that throws Amerikans (as opposed to so many other people around the world) into a complete tizzy? I would argue that it’s our Victorian past, which still festers and oozes intolerance, bigotry and wrong-thinking over a century later.

    This poor bastard deserved a few years in the clink (at most, in my opinion). I mean, as distasteful as exposing oneself in public may be, it is simply a human body he is exposing. We’ve all got one and they come in two models. It’s not like anybody should be all that shocked by what they see. He didn’t actually hurt anybody, except perhaps someone’s sense of propriety…

    The best way to deal with a flasher may be to laugh at them and ridicule them, rather than send them to prison. Imagine if instead of being shocked, people said something like: “Hey pal, nobody wants to see your little shriveled-up pee-pee anyway…” From what I understand, flashers do what they do ’cause they get off on the shock value. If nobody was shocked, they wouldn’t do it.

    More nudist beaches, I say! đŸ˜‰

    This is just a further example of the rightest insanity that characterizes so much of our “modern” Amerikan legal system.

    Amerika 2007: Commit a Victimless Crime, Goto Prison for Life!

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