Montana Supreme Court: Sentencing enhancement justified in sex crime

2014-07-23T13:55:00Z 2014-07-24T00:45:07Z Montana Supreme Court: Sentencing enhancement justified in sex crimeThe Associated Press The Associated Press
July 23, 2014 1:55 pm  • 

HELENA — The Montana Supreme Court has ruled a Havre man convicted of sexually assaulting a 7-year-old girl should face a sentencing enhancement due to the girl's age, even if the ages of the defendant and the victim were not on the verdict form.

Edward Harold Ghostbear was convicted in October 2012. The prosecution asked for a minimum four-year sentence based on the fact that the girl was younger than 16 and Ghostbear was more than three years older than she.

Public defender Dan Minnis argued jurors didn't make a separate finding about the ages, so the maximum sentence Ghostbear could receive was six months.

District Judge Dan Boucher of Havre agreed. Prosecutors appealed.

The Supreme Court ruled Ghostbear was faced the longer sentence because the ages of the girl and Ghostbear were presented to jurors and not disputed.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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