b>Submitted by Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor
We previously reported HERE and HERE what many believe to be a grave miscarriage of justice where Montana School Teacher Stacey Dean Rambold was sentenced to Fifteen Years in prison with all but thirty one days suspended after being convicted of the child rape of a fourteen year old student. The victim later committed suicide.
After a public outcry and pressure placed upon the former judge and the prosecutor’s office Judge Randal Spaulding resentenced Rambold, this time to 15 years in prison, with five years of suspended, according to a prosecutor in the case. The court remanded Rambold to custody. He will receive credit for time served under his original sentence.
The presiding Judge in the trial, G. Todd Baugh, garnered intense opposition to his decision and for comments seeming to belittle the crime and essentially that of the child victim. The Montana Judicial Standards commission ruled in February that he “eroded public confidence” in the judicial system and “created an appearance of impropriety.” Judge Baugh said the victim looked older than her years and was “probably as much in control of the situation as was the defendant,” according to the Montana attorney general’s office.
State Supreme Court Justice Michael E. Wheat wrote in ruling in April that Baugh’s comments reflected an improper bias and “cast serious doubt on the appearance of justice.”
The Montana Supreme Court prevented Judge Baugh from resentencing Rambold.
According to CNN, Judge Baugh announced his retirement effective at years end. He stated his retirement was unrelated to the sentencing controversy. He apologized for the comments but defended his initial sentence. Writing to a judicial review board, he said: “I am sorry I made those remarks. They focused on the victim when that aspect of the case should have been focused on the defendant.”
At least now a measure of justice was served for the child victim and her family.
By Darren Smith
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