G. Todd Baugh

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G. Todd Baugh
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Current Court Information:
Montana 13th Judicial District Court
Title:   Judge
Service:
Active:   1984-2014
Past position:   Attorney, Private practice
Past term:   1967-1984
Personal History
Born:   10/21/1941
Undergraduate:   Rice University, 1964
Law School:   University of Texas, 1967



G. Todd Baugh is a judge for the 13th District Court in Montana. He was elected to a new seat in 1984 and ran unopposed for re-election in 1990, 1996, 2002 and 2008. He plans to retire at the end of his current term, in December 2014.[1][2] Baugh stated that his decision to retire has nothing to do with his controversial sentence of Stacey Rambold (see story below).[3][4]

Education

Baugh received his B.A. degree in economics from Rice University in 1964 and his law degree (LL.B.) from the University of Texas at Austin in 1967. He was admitted to the bar in 1967.[5][6]

Career

Baugh spent seventeen years as an attorney in general practice before his election to the District Court in 1984.[6]

In the news

Teacher sentenced to 30 days in jail for rape of a student

August 26, 2013
Judge Baugh issued a controversial ruling on August 26, 2013, sentencing former high-school teacher, Stacey Dean Rambold to 30 days in jail for the rape of student Cherice Moralez.

Rambold was charged with three counts of sexual intercourse without consent in 2008. At the time of their relationship, Rambold was 49 and Moralez was 14. However, while the case was still pending, Moralez committed suicide, just prior to her 17th birthday. This put the case on hold and an agreement to dismiss the charges was made if Rambold met certain conditions, including the completion of a treatment program for sex offenders. Rambold did, however, admit to one of the rape charges.

The case resurfaced at the end of last year, after Rambold was terminated from the treatment program. He was kicked out after breaking a number of rules, including unsupervised visits with minors (even though they were his family members) and failing to inform his counselors about his sexual relations.

Chief Deputy County Attorney Rod Souza asked for a sentence of 20 years in prison with 10 years suspended. Instead, Judge Baugh sentenced Rambold to 15 years in prison, with all but 31 days suspended. One of those days of jail time was credited back to Rambold for time already served.

Judge Baugh has stated that he thought Moralez was "as much in control of the situation" as Rambold and that she seemed "older than her chronological age."[7][8] He defended his ruling, explaining:

This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.

Obviously, a 14-year-old can't consent. I think that people have in mind that this was some violent, forcible, horrible rape...It was horrible enough as it is just given her age, but it wasn't this forcible beat-up rape.[9]
He went on to explain that Moralez's death made the case more complicated than it seemed on the surface.[9]

Re-sentencing shot down by Supreme Court

On September 3, 2013, amidst national uproar, Judge Baugh said that he'd made a mistake in his sentencing of Stacey Rambold. He explained that he had misread state law, which would have made his 20-year jail sentence, with all but 30 days suspended, illegal. A new sentencing hearing was scheduled for September 6.[10]

Prosecutors asked the Montana Supreme Court to overturn Baugh's sentence.[11] Less than one hour before the second sentencing hearing was to start, on September 6, the supreme court ruled that Baugh could not modify the decision he had already handed down. This stopped the rehearing. The court's ruling explained:

This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.

We conclude that the stated intent of the District Court to alter the initially imposed oral sentence in today’s scheduled hearing is unlawful...We take no position on the legality of the imposed sentence and will address the parties’ arguments in that regard on appeal.[12]

Baugh faces censure for remarks

According to the Associated Press, Baugh admitted his comments regarding a 14-year old rape victim, during a sentencing hearing, violated judicial ethics rules in the state. However, he asserted the proper punishment for his misconduct was censure, not removal from the bench. Baugh noted the Montana Judicial Nominating Commission will recommend to the Montana Supreme Court that he be censured for his comment. Baugh went on to say,

This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.

I can understand the appearance of impropriety, but I wasn't trying to blame the victim. . .[13]

Baugh allegedly stated in a letter to the Judicial Standards Commission that he believed the sentence for the rapist in the matter, Rambold, was "fair".

Appeal

The Montana Attorney General's Office filed an appeal to vacate the 30-day sentence and have the case sent back to district court for re-sentencing.[13].

See also

External links

References

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