State v. RamboldAnnotate this Case
Defendant was accused of multiple instances of sexual activity with C.M., a fourteen-year-old student at Billings Senior High School, where Defendant was employed as a teacher. C.M. subsequently took her own life. The State eventually charged Defendant with three counts of sexual intercourse without consent. Defendant pled guilty to one count of the charged offense, and the State recommended a prison sentence of twenty years with ten suspended. The district court, however, sentenced Defendant to fifteen years’ incarceration with all but thirty-one days suspended, indicating that C.M. had “control” of the situation with Defendant and that she was mature beyond her years. After significant public outcry, the district court apologized and published an order acknowledging the illegality of Defendant’s sentence. The Supreme Court vacated the district court’s judgment, holding (1) the sentence in this case was imposed under an inapplicable statute, and the illegality of the sentence could not be corrected by striking some portion of the offending language; and (2) reassignment to a new judge was necessary to preserve the appearance of fairness and justice in this matter. Remanded for resentencing.