A county judge in Montana ordered a new hearing in the rape case of a Billings
school teacher, saying the 30-day sentence he imposed may be illegal.
In an order filed Tuesday, Yellowstone County Judge G. Todd Baugh scheduled a hearing for Friday to determine whether the sentence he imposed last week on Stacey Dean Rambold, who admitted to raping a 14-year-old female student who later committed suicide, should be revised, the Billings Gazette reported.
Baugh drew swift and heavy criticism, as well as calls for his resignation, for the 30-day sentence and his remarks about the victim, including comments that she was "older than her chronological years."
"In this court's opinion, imposing a sentence which suspends more than the mandatory minimum would be an illegal sentence," Baugh said in the order.
Rambold received a sentence of 15 years in prison, with all but 31 days suspended and was given credit for one day previously served.
Baugh said he imposed the 30-day prison sentence based on a memorandum submitted by the defense, and said prosecutors "did not object or otherwise inform the court on the issue of the applicable mandatory minimum."
Yellowstone County Attorney Scott Twito said Baugh's order was an "unusual occurrence" and that his office would review the issue and be prepared for the hearing Friday, the Gazette said.
Rambold's attorney, Jay Lansing, could not immediately be reached for comment.
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