Rape and sodomy charges added against Craig Wood

April 22, 2014

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Good afternoon:

The Kansas City Star is reporting today that the prosecution has amended the complaint against Craig Wood adding rape and sodomy charges. Because of this new development, the defense will be asking for a continuance of the preliminary hearing that is set for Thursday.

The prosecution claims that it will not be introducing any of his statements at the preliminary hearing, so the motion to suppress his statements is moot and should be denied.

Horrific case just got much worse.

Montana Judge G. Todd Baugh is unfit to be a judge

September 7, 2013

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Good afternoon:

Stacey Rambold (54), a former teacher at Billings Senior High School in Billings, Montana was charged in October, 2008 with three counts of statutory rape with a 14-year-old girl. In plain English, a 54-year-old male teacher was accused of having sexual intercourse three times with a 14-year-old female student.

Consent was not a defense, due to her age.

The girl committed suicide in February, 2010, while the case was pending.

In July 2010, prosecution of the defendant was deferred (postponed) for a period of three years on condition that he admit to one count, enter into and satisfactorily complete a sex-offender treatment program, and not have any unsupervised contact with minor children. He agreed to those conditions.

Deferred prosecution for first offenders has been around since the 70s. Most states have statutes that permit prosecutors to defer prosecuting a defendant who admits that he has such a serious alcohol, drug or mental illness that he will likely reoffend in the future without treatment and he agrees to enter and satisfactorily complete a residential treatment and aftercare program that can cure the illness. To be accepted for deferred prosecution, a defendant must have been evaluated by a suitably credentialed expert who diagnoses the alcohol, drug or mental condition that caused the offense(s) charged and finds the defendant amenable to treatment. Violent sex offenders and pedophiles are usually not amenable to treatment

The purpose of a deferred prosecution program is to use the pending prosecution as a threat or stick to motivate a defendant to enter a treatment program and the promise of dismissing the case without a conviction as a reward or carrot to motivate the defendant to satisfactorily complete the program. If all goes well, the offender benefits from getting well in the program and the public benefits if he does not reoffend.

The deferred prosecution did not work in Mr. Rambold’s case. He had unsupervised contact with members of his family who were minors and he was terminated from the program.

The prosecution activated the case in December, 2012 and scheduled Rambold’s case for sentencing, rather than a trial, since he had admitted to one of the three counts in order to enter the deferred prosecution program. The statute requires the admission as a condition to enter the deferred prosecution program so that defendants cannot gain a potential tactical advantage by using a failed deferred prosecution to delay a trial for a couple of years. This is a legitimate concern since witnesses forget, move without leaving a forwarding address or die as happened in this case.

Judge G. Todd Baugh sentenced Rambold to 15 years in prison. However, he suspended all but 31 days of that sentence. With credit for one day previously served, the sentence totaled 30 days in jail.

According to local Billings Gazette, Judge Baugh said,

the victim was “older than her chronological age” and had “as much control of the situation” as the teacher.

Judge Baugh has a set of beliefs about girls, women and sex that might require a lifetime to untangle. His belief that he could impose such a ridiculously low sentence and justify it by blaming the victim, who subsequently committed suicide, absolutely takes the breath away.

Moreover, he failed to see the overriding issue in the case, which is abuse of trust. Rambold abused a relationship of trust between student and teacher and that factor by itself merited a lengthy prison sentence.

Rambold’s violation of the no-unsupervised-contact-with-minors condition of his deferred prosecution and his termination from the program are also troubling because they indicate a man who was minimizing his misconduct and not taking his obligations seriously.

Judge Baugh attempted to rectify the sentence, but the Montana State Supreme Court refused to let him do it by a vote of 4-3.

The ruling was correct, as a matter of law, because sentences cannot be changed after they have been imposed.

For all of these reasons, Judge Baugh is unfit to be a judge.


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Fred and Crane

When the criminal justice system fails

August 11, 2013

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Good morning to all of our friends:

Vigilante justice happens when the criminal justice system fails.

The Detroit Free Press reports today:

On a pleasant, partly sunny afternoon, an armed security guard stood watch over an apartment building in the Hubbard Farms neighborhood in southwest Detroit.

The guard wouldn’t say why he was there. But behind him last Tuesday, scrawled onto the ornate stone facade of the building, the word “rapist” could still be seen, even after efforts that morning to scrub it off. A faded blue arrow sprayed above the graffiti letters still pointed to an apartment window, still condemning whoever lived in that first-floor home.

But the 43-year-old occupant wasn’t there any longer. His family moved him, afraid he’d be killed.

The alleged victim is a 15-year-old girl with Down’s Syndrome who told her family three weeks ago that the 43-year-old man raped her. They immediately called the police.

She told the police that the man invited her into his apartment, told her to take off her clothes, and raped her. Then he took nude photos of her with his cell phone.

Although police obtained biological samples for DNA testing from medical personnel (i.e., rape kit swabs), they did not deliver the samples to the Michigan State Police Crime Lab until Monday of last week, an inexcusable 19-day delay.

Meanwhile, news about the assault and the identity of the alleged perpetrator, who struggles with mental illness and is generally regarded as a freak, spread like wildfire throughout the community via social media like facebook as well as word of mouth.

Police finally arrested the man 12-days after the alleged assault, but he refused to answer questions and was released two days later because prosecutors declined to charge him without more evidence, presumably because the crime lab had not received the rape kit for testing. Police did manage to obtain DNA swabs from the suspect to use as a reference sample before they released him.

The community was outraged when the suspect was released without charge. This is what happened next.

It happened about 1 p.m. Monday. The suspect walked past Giovanna’s Lounge. A witness saw a man on a bicycle ride up, carrying a baseball bat. He jumped off and yelled: “You like raping little girls?”

Then he hammered the man’s legs and continued beating him. The witness called police, but they showed up too late, saying they had been diverted to a fatal shooting outside a nearby Rite Aid store.

Meanwhile, the suspect had left Giovanna’s, somehow making his way up the street, where he was accosted again. Witnesses said up to five people beat the man in front of a home on the corner. A young boy said he saw someone kick the man in the face. Police came, witnesses said, but the man went home with a relative, who took him to the hospital with head and leg wounds. No one was arrested in his beating.

The man is fortunate to have survived.

His apartment has been broken into and vandalized. The word, “rapist” has been spray-painted on the walls.

Needless to say, he no longer lives there.

Do you think we will see more vigilante justice as our criminal justice system continues to fail?

Other news:

Hannah Anderson was rescued yesterday evening and the man who kidnapped her, James DiMaggio, is dead.

Rafael Caro Quintero, walked free Friday after a federal court overturned his 40-year sentence for agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena’s kidnapping, torture and murder. The three-judge appeals court in the western state of Jalisco ordered Caro Quintero’s immediate release on procedural grounds after 28 years behind bars, saying he should have originally been prosecuted in state instead of federal court.


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