Last week Judge Todd Baugh of Billings, Mont., faced a public outcry after sentencing Stacey Rambold, a man accused of raping a 14-year-old girl, to only 30 days in prison. Bowing to the public protest, Judge Baugh has ordered a new sentencing hearing. In a public statement Baugh said that he misread the law and now believes that Rambold should have faced, at a minimum, two years behind bars. By stating that he misread the law, Baugh opened the avenue for prosecutors to contest that the sentence was “illegal,” and therefore open to contentions and an appeal.
Until Tuesday, Baugh had defended the sentence while apologizing for the comments he made about the victim, comments largely interpreted as putting blame upon the victim for her own rape. When passing the sentence Baugh stated that the victim was “older than her chronological age” and “was as much in control of the situation” as Rambold was. He has since called himself a “blithering idiot” for having made such comments.
More than 45,000 people have signed a petition calling for Baugh’s resignation. As of yet, Baugh has not yet indicated any intention to resign.