Billings Judge Tries Various Apologies; Demonstrations Planned

A few more points on the Billings verdict.

First, Judge Baugh today apologized for saying that a fourteen year old statutory rape victim was “older than her chronological age” and “was as much in control of the situation” as her 54-year-old assailant.  He stands by the sentence (30 days in prison), which is less a slap on the wrist than a high five. And said he will soon be issuing an addendum to bis decision, an explanation of why he ruled as he did.

It did take him two tries to apologize.  His first was a non-apology apology–saying,  “It was horrible enough as it is just given her age, but it wasn’t this forcible beat-up rape.”  He was then forced to issue a second apology later the same day.

There has been much speculation as to Baugh’s politics.  I’ve been contacted by numerous Billings persons who say he is very conservative, a chummy old boy in the Yellowstone county club of crusty old right-wingers.   Baugh has also run unopposed three times since 1984, and is up for election again in 2014.  He is originally from Texas and, for all of you NFL bluffs, is the son of hall-of-fame quarterback Sammy Baugh of the Washington professional football team some refer to as the Pigskins.

As for the ruling, realize that the sentence was for a violation of the terms of a deferred prosecution agreement.  The original sentence was for no jail time whatsoever–just treatment.

You see, amid the original prosecution for statutory rape, Cherice Moralez, the 14-year-old victim, killed herself.   According to today’s press, the prosecution felt that they would not be able to get a conviction without her live testimony.   They made Rambold a deal–go to treatment for three years, but sign a confession first.  Rambold went to treatment but violated the terms (for example, he failed to report to his counselor that he had sex with another adult), and these violations, minor though they were, effectively re-empowered prosecutors, who held a signed confession of his crimes, to get the judge to issue a stiffer sentence commensurate with the original crime.

But, Judge Baugh decided that 30 days in prison is enough.  One question which I raised yesterday is whether the race or ethnic origin of the victim, who appears to be a Latina girl, played a factor in the lenient sentence.  That was speculation on my part, but it remains an open question, which will likely not be answered.  Neither the context of the 30 day sentence, the original “no jail time” sentence, nor the girl’s ethnicity was reported by the initial Gazette “30 days” story, which was a big mistake.

Demonstrations are being planned by women’s groups in Billings for tomorrow, and petitions are being circulated for the judge’s removal.  The judge, technically, could be recalled, impeached, or disciplined within the court system.


48 Comments on "Billings Judge Tries Various Apologies; Demonstrations Planned"

  1. Forgive me for being skeptical of Montanans outrage on this guy. This is the judge you elected over and over again. One feels for the girl and her family, but it’s harder to sympathize your voters who keep electing him. Ask yourselves how your outrage is helping, and consider running a replacement candidate instead of “protecting.”

  2. The ‘apology’ was on TV tonight, and not convincing, and kind of an ‘aw shucks’ kind of Texas flip, after all in Texas, all them ‘wetbacks’ don’t matter much. Who speak for the DEAD? Liberty and Justice for all??

  3. Rape is about power. Justice means not only that Judge Baugh goes, but that the structure that put him there be torn down as well.

  4. Drunks for Aguare | August 29, 2013 10:59 AM at 10:59 AM |

    Well, now that I know that the judge is the son of the immortal Slingin’ Sammy, I am inclined to accept his apology and move forward.

    • I’m not. Slingin’ Sammy Baugh may have won a title his rookie season, but he did so playing for the most racist owner in the history of professional sport (and yes, I am even including Marge Schott in that comparative.) Besides, I hear that talent tends to skip a generation …

    • Im amazed that the ardent feminist author of this blog is such a football fan as to find a reference to slinging Sammy baugh to be noteworthy.

      • Really? I now I can name all the players of the forty niners for the last five years, and also most all of the breeders cup and triple crown race winners……since when was it ever taboo for women to not know and love the sports we care about?????

  5. I’d say he does need to resign, and soon.

  6. We are getting attention all over the world for this. Not in a good way, either.

  7. It’s rare that blog-authors put de-railers in their own post, but since you brought it up …

    Sammy Baugh played for the Washington Redskins. That is an attribution that is owed to history, not some modern sensibility. From somebody who has joined the effort to get that name changed I can tell you that avoiding it, and avoiding history, simply doesn’t help. Even if the name changed tomorrow, and RGIII plays for the Washington Potomacs, the bust of Sammy Baugh in Canton will still read “Washington Redskins”. Please remember that the the first step in fixing a problem is recognizing that there is one, and not shying away from it.

    • Drunks for Aguare | August 30, 2013 9:37 PM at 9:37 PM |

      Ummmm…….I think I can support your efforts for changes, but some may find the team name “Washington Squaws” to be offensive as well. Just sayin’.

  8. Why we fight.

  9. Cowgirl, I hope you will indulge me with a link back to 4 & 20’s comments on this issue. This one is concise and particularly relevant. But please folks, read them all.

    I’m somewhat disheartened to see YCA Twito *now* reviewing the ruling and agreeing that Rambold should have gotten a minimum of 2 years for the very crime he admitted to in the initial plea. The job of the prosecution, every bit as much as the defense, is to zealously represent their client. In this case, that means the County Attorney was representing *the people* to enforce the laws of the state of Montana concerning rape. Maybe I’m being overly harsh, but I certainly don’t see that zealous representation here. Instead, what I see is the CA’s office distancing themselves from a lightning rod, pointing the finger at Baugh. I’m not sayin’ that Baugh isn’t to blame; he surely is. But if he incompetently or willfully violated the judicial precedence and stricture as he so obviously did, then the ones leading the charge for his censure and/or removal should be those in the Yellowstone County Attorney’s Office, not just wonderful progressive activists like Sheena Rice.

    For the record, I do find it awful how this reflects on Montana. But frankly that’s not terribly important. This crap happens all the time, in many states. At least we mountain folk notice and make a hue and cry about it, so Yay us. No, what I find most grievous about Baugh’s actions aren’t his stupid comments. It’s that he, and until they stand up the YCAO, have managed to prove the point favored by the right that our judiciary is prone to bias, and justice itself is suspect. Every single thinking person in this country is convinced that ‘our advocates’ are far too willing to make an easy deal, and that we are not represented in the courts.

    Even if Rambold had been sentenced to life, Morales would not get justice. She’s dead, by this man’s action is my opinion. But that isn’t the point of our justice system anyway. The point is supposed to be that the people will get and see justice under the rule of law. Cases like this give more evidence that judges/lawyers have too much power, and undermine faith that justice can be had at any time by the very people who count on it. Just look at the media that presents the fantasy of defense attorneys who always triumph against those insurmountable odds that the innocent go free, and next to none show the same heroism on the part of the people. That same worship of ‘innocent until proven guilty’ (beyond a reasonable doubt which often gets forgotten) saved OJ, and could well exonerate Aaron Hernandez. But think about it. We all know that tilts the scale too far towards the bad guy. Part of the mythology built here is that our advocacy has no power in the face of a justice system that doesn’t care about us.

    Then comes this case which proves it beyond any doubt. Rambold admitted to the rape of a 14 year old, and gets sentenced to 30 days because he didn’t attend meetings. Where in the hell is our advocacy in this? Yes, we can remove Baugh, eventually. But Rambold still walks after a month in county. Our advocates say, “Gee, that’s not how it should have been”. Are they stupid? Of course that’s not how it should have been, and we pay them, elect them, and trust them to make sure it shouldn’t be that way … Yet of course it is. We’ve made it that way because we’ve replaced trust in law with trust in the mythology that we can’t trust law. And I guess we’re okay with that, as long as we can blame a judge or 5 along the way.

  10. Thanks, Max. Can we just all vote for John Lewis now? I think not.

    • p.s. Now, Max wants to do one more thing before he rides off into the corporate sunset. Re-do the tax code. Hey, why not? He’s got at least one good screw job left in him! (maybe another wife or groupie or two too!) Thanks, Max, for all you’ve done for your corporate pals. With friends like you and your underling, john lewis, who needs enemas? You folks are as bad as the Teat Tards. You know, the folks suckin’ large off the gubmint teat but hatin’ the gubmint all the while. ‘Cept that YOU two dudes are suckin’ offn’ BOTH teats, the gubmint AND the corporate teat! Thanks, Max.

      • Yep Max is a sap for being USED by teabag US Senators for Max’s STUPID comment that ACA was a train-wreck…MAX, WTF!!!?? Where were you in all this for your DECADES of experience, duh????

        • Max was/is part of the Teat Party, or Teatbaggers if you prefer. You see, he has been sucking off both the hated gubmint AND the coporations. As with all good Teatbaggers, Max knows where to suckle. Any good Teatbagger will tell you that they’ve got theirs, and to hell with everyone else. There are only so many teats to go around. And besides, the military industrial complex has enough teats for everyone who can pass a physical. Three hots and a cot and a teat for life.

  11. Todd put Billings on the map for sure.

    Montana is the new Texas. Jurisprudence is relative, relative to the backwards back water culture in which it originates. When I was a kid, I think that murder got you about two years in Alaska. Of course, it wasn’t yet a state. Maybe this is our first step in secession. Create laws commensurate with your Tea Party beliefs. Works for Slingin’ Sam’s kid, Tossin’ Todd. He may have fumbled on this one though. The jury’s still out. Tossin’ Todd may have been playing a little too long without a helmet!

  12. The cases of Baugh and Lenington are not related in subject matter, but both men do have something in common. They’re getting older. Baugh is 71, Lenington somewhere in that neighborhood. Set aside for a moment the substance of their arguments and look at their prose and logic. Neither is close to acceptable for professionals. I find myself wondering whether current events have exposed life long deficiencies in their powers of analysis and explanation, or whether aging has begun to diminish their faculties and their current predicaments are indicators of their decline. In both cases, however, retirement is the option that best serves the public.

  13. “In both cases, however, retirement is the option that best serves the public”

    Yippers! Can’t add much to that, except that Leenington seems to be on a mission from some bizarre Teat Party God! Sad, so sad. Better to tweet pics of your dic than BEING a dic! At LEAST that is understandable.

  14. He’s simply a Teat Party judge, and it shows.

    He’s much like that other “judge”, ceebull. Racist, bigot, moron, but full of apologies………or sumthin’.

  15. Sunday morning and thus time to think about Jesus and loving thy neighbor. Or not. I prefer to reflect upon the goodness of their Holy Book and its doctrines, Atlas Shrugged. Screw thy neighbor according to their Savior, Ayn Rand. One must admit that there’s a certain holiness to greed, for if one takes care of thyself first, there is no need for government help. If we just would all follow St. Ayn, the world would be this happy place She envisioned. But alas, She’s now up there with St. Ronnie in all Her glory while her acolytes carry on Her mission here on earth. Happy St. Ayn Sunday.

    • p.s. I think we’re there. St. Ronnie achieved this miracle.

      “You will never get the crowd to cry Hosanna until you ride into town on an ass.” — Nietzsche

      We are left with lots of asses crying Hosanna. St. Ayn surely must be smiling down approvingly on her Teat Party.

    • It’s Sunday. We should have happy thoughts and make a joyful noise in celebration of this wonderful gift of life and gift of the Earth the Creator blessed us with that we are fast destroying. Ask you pastor if maybe some Sunday you can use this hymn at the service, one of my favorites. If you don’t know the words, you an line it. All join in.

  16. Good read, blokes. Check it out. There’s a reason that your government is as corrupt as it is.

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