Sentencing/Post Conviction

Judge says he’d consider giving reduced sentence to rapist if he paid $150K to victim

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A Louisiana judge told a convicted rapist Thursday that he would consider reducing his sentence if he paid $150,000 to the victim.

Judge Bruce Bennett of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, said the victim would have to agree to the deal; she declined it, report the Advocate and the Washington Post. The rapist, 45-year-old Sedrick Hills, was sentenced to 12 years in prison.

The victim, now 31, was 15 when she was raped in 2003. In court, she said the experience “has left me broken,” according to the Advocate story.

“I’ve been fighting this over half my life,” she said. “I’m tired. I’m angry. Stuff like this deteriorates a person. It deteriorates who I am. I’m still trying to figure out who I am.”

Bennett is a retired judge who is filling in for a judge who left the bench before his term ended.

Bennett said in his supplemental reasons for sentencing that Hills had been injured in a truck incident, according to the Washington Post story. Although he didn’t know whether Hills had sued, he said it seemed unfair for Hills to receive a windfall with no compensation to the rape victim.

East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore told the Washington Post that he has a lot of respect for Bennett. This is the first time that he has encountered such an offer, although he has seen judges order restitution, Moore said.

“My guess is, knowing the judge, maybe he was trying to assist the lady in some type of way,” Moore said.

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