Controversial Montana Judge Sentences Man Who Brutally Attacked Woman To Writing “Boys Do Not Hit Girls” 5000 Times

220px-Ruled_paperMontana District Judge G. Todd Baugh is the subject of national criticism (again) in his handling of a criminal case. Baugh previously caused a national uproar over his treatment of a rape of a 14 year old girl who he described as “older than her chronological age” and sentenced her accused rapist to a month in prison. Baugh has now sentenced a man convicted of punching his girlfriend to write “Boys do not hit girls” 5,000 times in addition to jail time.

Pacer Anthony Ferguson, 27, was sentenced to six months in jail and to pay $3,800 in restitution for fracturing the woman’s face in three places during an August 2012 argument. He ordered him to write out the lines and specified that the lines should be numbered, signed and mailed to him by May 23rd.

A jury convicted Ferguson of misdemeanor assault but acquitted him of felony aggravated assault and felony witness tampering. The failure to convict him of felony aggravated assault is a bit surprising given the extent of the injuries, including the need for a surgery to implant a permanent mesh titanium plate in the victim’s face. The six months sentence is the maximum for the offense. However, if anything the writing assignment does not simply belittle the defendant (which may have been the intention) but the crime in my view.

Ferguson is a real winner. He was before another court this week for a hearing on a sentence for a felony attempted robbery in 2003 in which he tried to rob a man at knifepoint. That judge found that Ferguson has violated the conditions of an earlier sentence and was sent to prison for eight years.

This is not the first writing assignment handed out by a judge. It is all part of a worrisome trend toward novel sentencing around the country. I have repeatedly written against the use of shaming and novel sentencing by judges around the country (here and here and here). Judges often thrill the public by imposing their own forms of justices — departing from conventional criminal sentences to force people to clean courtrooms with toothbrushes, wear demeaning placards, or carry out publicly humiliating tasks. These judges often develop a taste for such power and the public acclaim that unfortunately comes from humiliating people.

In this case, the judge was clueless to the obviously insulting sentence of a schoolboy lines assignment for a brutal assault on a woman. He combined that lack of judgment with an inclination toward novel sentencing to produce yet another national controversy.

28 thoughts on “Controversial Montana Judge Sentences Man Who Brutally Attacked Woman To Writing “Boys Do Not Hit Girls” 5000 Times”

  1. I do not understand how assaulting someone and causing significant injuries and only found guilty of a misdemeanor. Disgusting result!

  2. $3800 in restitution? I find that to be extremely low considering the woman’s injuries.

  3. I have to agree that the judge couldn’t exactly sentence the offender easily more than he did since the jury acquitted him of the felony assaults but went instead to the misdemeanor version. The judge then handed out, from what I read, the maximum sentence. I don’t know if the judge in this state can increase a sentence beyond the maximum statutory limit due to clauses such as severity of the damage to the victim, which is one of the aggravators in my state.

    I found it rather surprising the jury acquitted him of the felony, the fracture of a bone is often enough to invoke a felony prosecution.

    As far as the writing of 5000 lines I have never been supporive of these arbitrary and novel show punishments. Judges should stay within the law. Restitution, Forfeiturures, Incarceration, Capital Punishment (where legal),Protection Orders, and Probation is all they should be limited to levy.

  4. Just as in any profession, there are those who are not fit to be leaders. By definition, a Judge is supposed to be a leader, but in the USA at this time, leaders are not elevated to that status by virtue of their acts, and the result is a judge such as this. If we were all kids, the judge would have no authority. (BTW – the fact that the writing assignment is in addition to the 6 months changes nothing regarding the “misdirection” of the writing assignment, which is that this was a crime, not some mere misbehavior by a student.) (For those that don’t get the kid reference, in my neighborhood we ignored those that tried to exercise power but who had no foundation for the same. It was honest and irrefutable.)

  5. Better idea…

    String him up with a harness, and then let the “girlfriend”, her family, and any other interested parties, whack him with a baseball bat, like a pinata, until he spills out.

    I’ll let others suggest an appropriate punishment for the wicked judge.

  6. Poorlly written and misleading post. I expect better of a respected professor – no matter his field.

  7. Thanks Waldo. The point of the post was “the obviously insulting sentence of a schoolboy lines assignment for a brutal assault on a woman. He combined that lack of judgment with an inclination toward novel sentencing to produce yet another national controversy.”
    It made it appear that it was the main sentence and easy to miss that there was jail time and fine. Thank you for pointing that out. On second reading it appears the culprit here was the jury that did not find for felony assault

  8. Waldo, thank you for pointing that out. I’ve seen at least 15 stories and posts on this sentence, and every single one treats it as if the writing were instead of imprisonment as opposed to in addition to the maximum permitted. However, one of the problems with the novel sentence concept is that only that element gets publicity creating a poor public perception.

  9. This judge needs to go, he is a real danger to women and girls. Some men are so obviously anti women and when they are in a position of power it’s incredibly scary.

  10. I wish people would follow the link and read the story. The writing assignment is IN ADDITION to the six months and jail and $3,800 in restitution. The six months sentence was the MAXIMUM allowed by law for the crime the jury convicted him of. Complain about judges doing novel sentencing if that bothers you, but complaining of the judge going easy on this particular defendant is just ignorant of what happened.

  11. Pop-quiz…. what’s the difference between Montana and Texas… Montana is further north!

  12. Well excuse me for espousing violins again…. But someone needs to shoot this ‘freakin’ Judge, right in his Ass!

  13. At least “Judge” Baugh is consistent.

    Consistent in the bad way, to be certain, but at consistent nonetheless.

  14. “Boys do not hit girls”? He’s a MAN. He attacked a WOMAN. He deserves a man’s sentence, not a boy’s. Perhaps if he’d had to pay a mature penalty when he was younger, he wouldn’t be in this situation in the first place. Maybe his problem is that for all of his life, he’s been treated like a naughty boy whose mischief got out of hand, rather than a man responsible for his actions, and responsible for not being violent toward women.

    This judge is an idiot and should be tossed off the bench.

  15. I wonder if this judge had a horrible mother? Not an excuse by any means, but on a personal and professional level I like to understand what motivates people.

    And he must have gotten the writing assignment idea from watching a Simpson’s intro.

  16. Why do I get the feeling that this judge thinks he’s living in Mayberry, USA?

  17. Women are nothing more then chattel to this judge.
    Would he have given any harder sentences of it had been an animal instead of a female?

Comments are closed.