Montana judge tells fast-food worker to get a 'real job'

Tue Jun 24, 2014 6:37pm EDT

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(Reuters) - A Montana judge facing censure for suggesting a teenage girl was partly to blame for being raped by a teacher came under scrutiny again after he asked a man convicted of vandalism why he didn’t get a “real job” instead of working at a fast-food chain.

The exchange, reported on Monday by the Billings Gazette, is the latest to raise questions about the courtroom commentary of state District Judge G. Todd Baugh, who faces a public reprimand next month by the Montana Supreme Court for violating judicial standards in the rape case.

Baugh sparked public outrage last year when he said the victim in that case, a 14-year-old girl who committed suicide before the case could be prosecuted, had been “as much in control of the situation” as the teacher who raped her.

Baugh is due to appear before state justices next month to be censured, and has until June 30 to protest the action. The sentence he imposed in the rape case has also been overturned as unlawfully lenient.

The more recent controversy involved a Billings man convicted on vandalism charges. At sentencing on Monday, Baugh asked what efforts Brandon Turell, 21, had made to pay restitution to victims, the Billings Gazette reported.

Turell said he had been working at Burger King, prompting the judge to ask, “Why can’t you get a real job?” according to the Gazette.

Baugh did not respond to a request for comment, but Yellowstone County prosecutors confirmed the newspaper account.

Turell was sentenced to 10 years in state custody, five of them suspended, for a felony count of criminal mischief, an arrangement that might allow him to continue to work while living under state supervision.

He was also sentenced to six months in jail with all but 10 days suspended for misdemeanor drunk driving and ordered to pay $13,640 in restitution to victims of the 2012 vandalism spree, according to the state corrections office.

(Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Jonathan Oatis)

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Comments (2)
zilwiki wrote:
Sounds like the judge should get a different job, and pay restitution to family of girl who killed herself. Get him off the bench!

Jun 24, 2014 7:49pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
REnninga wrote:
This almost 73-year-old former Texan plans to retire at the end of his current term in December. He was censured by the Montana Supreme Court earlier this month:
“ Judge Baugh’s comments in open court in this case disregarded longstanding Montana law that a person under the age of 16 is legally incapable of consenting to sexual intercourse. His assertion that the victim was “older than her chronological age” is inconsistent with Montana law categorizing child victims of sexual offenses based on their chronological age alone, rather than on subjective perceptions of physical maturity and situational control. In addition, Judge Baugh’s later attempt to retract his sentence and rationale was inconsistent with Montana law. Finally, Judge Baugh made additional inappropriate public statements attempting to justify his actions. Through his unlawful sentence, inappropriate rationale, and subsequent public comments, Judge Baugh has eroded public confidence in the judiciary and created an appearance of impropriety, therefore violating the Montana Code of Judicial Conduct. He has caused Montana citizens, as well as others, to question the fairness of our justice system and whether prejudice or bias affected the outcome of the Rambold case. There is no place in the Montana judiciary for perpetuating the stereotype that women and girls are responsible for sexual crimes committed against them.”
— Chief Justice Mike McGrath, Montana Supreme Court

It appears that the State of Montana would be best served if Judge Baugh retired tomorrow.

Jun 24, 2014 8:11pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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