TODAY   |  September 07, 2013

Judge blocked from extending sentence in rape case

A controversial judge in Montana said he was trying to right a wrong in a rape case that’s drawing national attention. Judge G. Todd Naugh tried to increase a prison sentence he initially handed down just last week, but the Montana Supreme Court has stepped in to block him. NBC’s Joe Fryer reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> a controversial judge in montana says he wanted to right a wrong when he tried to change a rape sentence. he hit a legal roadblock. we have more on the latest twist on a case drawing national attention.

>> reporter: minutes before judge todd baugh tried to change a decision, the montana supreme court stepped in and said no.

>> not actually going to have a hearing today.

>> reporter: the legal drama centers around the case of a former teacher who pleaded guilty to raping a 14-year-old back in 2007 . morales killed herself before the case went to trial. the girl's grieving mother was outraged when he was sentenced to 15 years but suspended all but 31 days.

>> i don't know what's going on with this judge. 31 days was obscene.

>> reporter: that sparked protest. in court, the judge said the young victim was older than her chronological age and probably as much in control of the situation as the suspect. days later, baugh apologized.

>> i'm not sure what i was attempting to say at that point, but it didn't come out correct.

>> reporter: the judge tried to change his decision saying under montana law, the two-year sentence is the minimum time required.

>> that issue could have been avoided all together if i had been more alert or if the state pointed out to the court the correct mandatory minimum .

>> reporter: he scheduled a rehearing until the state supreme kout said it's unlaurt. he can't say i want to change it. he has to go through the process. montana is forcing him to go through it.

>> that process is an appeal. the victim's mother hopes it leads to more time behind bars.

>> a reasonable sentence.

>> reporter: for "today," joe friar, nbc news, los angeles .