BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — The Montana Supreme Court on Tuesday denied a former teacher's request to reconsider a ruling that's likely to send him back to prison to serve more time for the rape of a 14-year-old student.
Attorneys for Stacey Dean Rambold had asked the court for a new hearing to press their case that the one month he already served in Montana State Prison was sufficient.
Rambold pleaded guilty last year to a single count of sexual intercourse without consent. The judge who sentenced him drew widespread condemnation for suggesting the victim shared responsibility for her rape.
Rambold was 47 years old at the time. The girl, a student in Rambold's class at Billings Senior High School, committed suicide while the case was pending trial.
After prosecutors from the state Department of Justice appealed, the high court ruled unanimously in April that Rambold's original sentence was illegal under a state law that says he should have served a minimum of two years.
Rambold's lawyers filed a petition seeking a new hearing in May, arguing in part that it was appropriate for court to factor the girl's conduct into his sentence.
Tuesday's brief, one-paragraph order said the legal issues raised by Rambold already were addressed in the court's April ruling. Under Montana law, children under 16 cannot consent to sexual intercourse.
Department of Justice spokesman John Barnes said the agency was pleased that the court denied the request for a new hearing.
Rambold has been free since last fall after serving out his original sentence — 15 years in prison with all but one month suspended — from state District Judge G. Todd Baugh. After his release, Rambold registered as a sex offender and was to remain on probation through 2028.
A new judge will be selected to resentence him.
Disciplinary action against Baugh is pending before the Montana Supreme Court after the state Judicial Standards Commission filed a complaint against him for his handling of the case. The judge has apologized for his actions and plans to retire when his current term expires at the end of the year.
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