The judge who gave former teacher Stacey Dean Rambold to thirty days in jail for the rape of 14-year-old student Cherice Moralez announced Tuesday that he will be conducting a new hearing to revisit that decision.
In the notice filed yesterday for the new hearing, the judge declared that the mandatory minimum sentence for Rambold’s crime appears to be two years, rather than the thirty days claimed by the defense prior to sentencing. “In this Court’s opinion,” the notice states, “imposing a sentence which suspends more than the mandatory minimum would be an illegal sentence.”
In plain English, here’s what appears to have happened:
The judge sentenced Rambold to fifteen years in prison, but suspended all but thirty days of that sentence. In doing so, he relied on a claim by the defense that a thirty-day sentence was the minimum legally available given the circumstances. In his order yesterday, he said that claim was apparently incorrect, that the proper mandatory minimum was in fact two years, and that he did not have the power to suspend any part of a mandatory minimum sentence.
The hearing will take place on Friday afternoon. Unless the defense can show that the judge’s analysis of the law is incorrect, it looks like Rambold will wind up with a new sentence of at least two years in prison.