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Appeals court affirms attempted rape conviction

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A man who tried to sexually assault a female co-worker as she slept in her home where he was a guest lost his appeal of an attempted rape conviction Friday.

The Indiana Court of Appeals upheld a Marion Superior Court ruling, finding that evidence was sufficient to support the Class B felony conviction of Betwel Birari and that a prosecutor’s comments did not result in fundamental error.

Birari’s appeal in Betwel Birari v. State of Indiana, No. 49A02-1111-CR-1009, raised issues including the reliability of evidence, his intent and whether the victim, A.J., was aware of his actions.

The case stems from an incident in July 2011 in which A.J. allowed Birari to stay overnight in her apartment, along with her 2-year-old cousin, and awoke to find Birari on top of her and attempting to have sex.

“The record reveals that A.J. repeatedly told Birari that she merely wanted to remain friends. While A.J. was asleep in bed with her two-year-old cousin, Birari removed his clothes, removed A.J.’s sweatpants, and placed his erect penis near A.J.’s vagina,” according to the opinion. “After A.J. and her roommate were able to remove Birari from their apartment, Birari yelled, ‘Please, don’t call the police. Just kill me.’”

The appeals court rejected Birari’s claims on evidence, intent or the victim’s awareness. But the court ruled a prosecutor made improper statements to the jury intimating that Birari might have wanted the child to watch. However, the court said, “under the circumstances, we cannot say that the prosecutor’s comments resulted in fundamental error.”   

 

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  1. Thank you, John Smith, for pointing out a needed correction. The article has been revised.

  2. The "National institute for Justice" is an agency for the Dept of Justice. That is not the law firm you are talking about in this article. The "institute for justice" is a public interest law firm. http://ij.org/ thanks for interesting article however

  3. I would like to try to find a lawyer as soon possible I've had my money stolen off of my bank card driver pressed charges and I try to get the information they need it and a Social Security board is just give me a hold up a run around for no reason and now it think it might be too late cuz its been over a year I believe and I can't get the right information they need because they keep giving me the runaroundwhat should I do about that

  4. It is wonderful that Indiana DOC is making some truly admirable and positive changes. People with serious mental illness, intellectual disability or developmental disability will benefit from these changes. It will be much better if people can get some help and resources that promote their health and growth than if they suffer alone. If people experience positive growth or healing of their health issues, they may be less likely to do the things that caused them to come to prison in the first place. This will be of benefit for everyone. I am also so happy that Indiana DOC added correctional personnel and mental health staffing. These are tough issues to work with. There should be adequate staffing in prisons so correctional officers and other staff are able to do the kind of work they really want to do-helping people grow and change-rather than just trying to manage chaos. Correctional officers and other staff deserve this. It would be great to see increased mental health services and services for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities in the community so that fewer people will have to receive help and support in prisons. Community services would like be less expensive, inherently less demeaning and just a whole lot better for everyone.

  5. Can I get this form on line,if not where can I obtain one. I am eligible.

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