A Montana judge on Tuesday ordered a new sentencing hearing after
determining that his controversial 30-day jail term for a former teacher
convicted of raping a student may be illegal.
District Court Judge G. Todd Baugh wrote that the mandatory minimum
sentence for Stacey Dean Rambold should have been two years.
Watch: Former Teacher Receives 30 Day Sentence for Raping Student
this court's opinion, imposing a sentence which suspends more than the
mandatory minimum would be an illegal sentence," Baugh stated in
ordering a new hearing for Friday afternoon, the Billings Gazette reported.
the prosecutor isn't sure Baugh has the authority to impose new
punishment, saying state law requires an appeal for illegal sentences.
Yellowstone County Attorney Scott Twito has not yet decided whether to
appeal to the Montana Supreme Court.
Rambold, 54, of Billings,
admitted raping 14-year-old Cherice Moralez, who killed herself at age
16 when the case went to court in 2010. He was sentenced to 15 years in
prison, but all but 31 days were suspended. Rambold got credit for one
day already served.
In announcing the sentence Aug. 26, Baugh
described Cherice as "older than her chronological age" and that she was
"as much in control of the situation" as Rambold. The news generated
global outrage, and Baugh later apologized for his remarks, calling them
"stupid and wrong," but he stood by the 30-day sentence.
"What I said is demeaning of all women, not what I believe and irrelevant to the sentencing," Baugh wrote in a letter to Gazette editor. "My apologies to all my fellow citizens."
mother, Auliea Hanlon, stormed out of the original sentencing hearing.
In a written statement, she said, "I guess somehow it makes a rape more
acceptable if you blame the victim, even if she was only 14."