It's Reassuring To See That Judges Who Blame Victims Aren't Always Getting Away With It

Angie Aker Curator:

It outraged people everywhere when a judge let a rapist high-school teacher off with a 30-day sentence for raping a freshman student (a student who subsequently killed herself), saying that the victim "looked older than her chronological age." It outraged his bosses, too. They censured him, which is a public and official condemnation of his sentencing, and they also suspended him. While this super-short video may seem a bit uneventful (it is a court proceeding, after all), what it signals for rape culture is important and should be shared.

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Bailiff: All rise and give your attention, the honorable justice [inaudible] is entering the court.

Chief Justice Mike McGrath: Please be seated. File number 140078 proceeding in public censure. This is the time and date set for the public censure of District Judge G. Baugh. Justice Rice is not available to be here with us today but is participating in the censure.

Judge Baugh, if you could now come to the roster, we will proceed with the censure. We have received your comments, and we have taken them into consideration. This proceeding is based upon the formal disciplinary complaint filed against you by the Judicial Standards Commission in February of this year. The complaint is based on your actions and public comments in relation to your August 2013 sentencing of an individual for the following offense of sexual intercourse without consent. You have admitted that your actions and comments in the matter violated Rule 1.2 of the Code of Judicial Conduct, which requires a judge to act in a manner that promotes public confidence in the judiciary. This public censure is being delivered today in accordance with our opinion and order dated June 4, 2014. In that order, we described the statements that you made at the sentencing hearing regarding the 14 year old victim and her relationship with the defendant, a 47 year old teacher at the time. We further described public remarks you made while in court in an effort to justify your previous actions.

Rule 1.2 of the Code of Judicial Conduct requires judges to act in a manner that promotes public confidence in the independence, integrity, and impartiality of the judiciary and avoids the appearance of impropriety. We have determined that, through your inappropriate comments, you have eroded pubic confidence in the judiciary and created an appearance of impropriety in violation of the Montana Code of Judicial Conduct. That is why we hereby impose upon you the public censure of this court. Copies of this proceeding and public censure shall be delivered to you, Judge Baugh, and to members of the Judicial Standards Commission. Dated this 22nd day of July, 2014. This proceeding is now concluded. Thank you.

There may be small errors in this transcript.

I appreciate the Billings Gazette keeping us updated because I think I popped a blood vessel when I saw his original ruling. Thumbnail image is public domain, courtesy of Yellowstone County Sheriff's Office/Auliea Hanlon.

Aug 05, 2014

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