BATON ROUGE, La. (KPEL News) - The Louisiana Supreme Court had strong words for a Baton Rouge judge who vacated the sentence of a convicted rapist - when the question of vacating wasn't even before her bench.

Judge Gail Horne Ray, who is also the judge in the Madison Brooks case in Baton Rouge, dismissed the 1972 conviction of Donald Ray Link, whose lawyers were only before the court asking for parole eligibility.

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Calling it a "grossly erroneous ruling," the state's highest court overturned her ruling and blasted her decision.

"The district court judge's ill-conceived response to the order was to issue a grossly erroneous ruling that had a retaliatory if not contemptuous tone and, incredibly, resulted in the fashioning of an illegal remedy that even the defendant had not requested," the state Supreme Court said in its May 30 ruling.

"It is certainly not a means by which a district court can vacate a decades-long, final conviction in response to a motion to clarify sentence," one of the state Supreme Court judges wrote.

Some critics of Judge Ray say she has a history of leniency when it comes to those accused (or convicted) of rape - a history that has put her at odds with Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore, III.

Three months into her tenure, she released De’Aundre Cox, who was accused of raping his preteen neighbor, without alerting the victim or notifying Moore's office.

Decades before becoming a judge, she was her son's defense lawyer after his mid-1990s arrest for multiple rapes.

He ultimately pleaded guilty to several rapes between November 1995 and 1996, and Ray fought for a lighter sentence.

And now, she is presiding over the Madison Brooks case, which captured the horrified attention of not just Baton Rouge, but the national press, too.



attachment-Madison Brooks and Suspects

The Madison Brooks Case

19-year-old Madison Brooks was hit and killed by a car in Tigerland, near LSU's campus, while drunk. Her death garnered nationwide attention, especially after it came out that a group of men had picked her up and allegedly raped her before letting her out of the car. She was killed shortly after.

Kaivon Washington, Desmond Carter, and Casen Carver are facing first-degree rape charges in the matter. However, only Washington and Carter are accused of sexual conduct with Brooks that night. Carver, meanwhile, was driving the car the five people were riding in but prosecutors accuse him of facilitating the crime, which is why they pursued the rape charge against him, as well.

The suspects' lawyers in the case (some of whom are civil rights attorneys) are claiming that the prosecution is racially-motivated. Judge Ray has been awarded the Justice for Youth Award from the Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana and the President’s Award from the Baton Rouge NAACP.

That chapter of the NAACP said in a statement to Fox News Digital that "Judge Gail Horne Ray has a remarkable service record and a deep dedication to justice."

"Her lifetime membership status in our organization is not dependent on her decision-making abilities," it continued. "Our membership and supporters come from various backgrounds, including all races, creeds, belief systems, sexual orientations and political affiliations. The NAACP stands firmly behind Judge Ray and all members committed to justice."

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