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Montana Supreme Court intervenes in high profile rape case

(Reuters) - Montana's Supreme Court intervened on Friday in a high profile rape case in which an ex-teacher was sentenced to a month in prison for raping a 14-year-old student who later killed herself, telling the judge he could not unilaterally alter the sentence.

District Judge G. Todd Baugh drew a torrent of ridicule after sentencing former Billings teacher Stacey Rambold last week to 30 days in jail for the 2007 rape of Cherice Moralez, whom the judge had described as a troubled youth who seemed older than her years.

Prosecutors vowed to appeal the sentence as unlawfully lenient and Baugh subsequently called a hearing to review and possibly amend it. But the state Supreme Court ruled 4-2 that the judge could not simply amend the sentence himself, and ordered the planned hearing halted.

(Reporting by Laura Zuckerman; Editing by Cynthia Johnston)

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