The Montana Supreme Court has blocked a judge's attempt to re-sentence a teacher given just 30 days in jail for raping a 14-year-old student.
Yellowstone County District Judge Todd Baugh has faced calls for his resignation after imposing the light sentence on Stacey Rambold last month.
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He's also come under fire for saying the victim was “older than her chronological age” and “as much in control of the situation” as Rambold, though he later apologized for the remarks.
Prosecutors had sought a 20-year sentence with 10 years suspended for the former Billings Senior High teacher, who is now 54.
Rambold’s victim, Cherice Moralez, committed suicide in 2010.
Prosecutors appealed the case even as Baugh set a new hearing to re-sentence Rambold, although Friday's ruling from the Montana Supreme Court put the judge's plans on hold.
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The court said Baugh lacks the authority to impose a new sentence in the case.
Baugh canceled the second sentencing hearing on Friday, but not before addressing an audience of mostly media members for about 10 minutes, explaining the legal and procedural history of the case.
Hundreds of demonstrators protested outside Baugh's office last week, observing two minutes of silence for Moralez and her mother and calling for Baugh's resignation.