ILNews

Appeals court upholds rape conviction

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A man convicted of rape based on DNA evidence and his admission that he had sex with the victim failed to prove to the Indiana Court of Appeals that he was denied a fair trial due to the admission of hearsay testimony and a sustained objection to an attempt to refresh the victim’s memory.

Corey Cole was convicted of rape for an assault in a car at a bar parking lot where the victim, J.S., had been placed by her bartender boyfriend, D.R., after she became intoxicated and passed out at the bar, according to court records.

D.R. and J.S.’s roommate checked on her periodically, but the last time the roommate checked, she witnessed a man exit the car and take off running. J.S. was passed out in a state of undress, witnesses said.

Police and a sex crimes investigator arrived and attempted to rouse J.S. but couldn’t. She didn’t wake until she was in an ambulance on the way to the hospital, where evidence was collected using a rape kit.

DNA analysis of fluids found on the victim identified Cole as a suspect. At trial Cole said he had intercourse with the victim but it was consensual. He was convicted and sentenced to 12 years in prison with six years suspended.

In his appeal, Cole said the Marion Superior Court committed fundamental error by allowing hearsay  evidence from witnesses regarding a beer bottle found in the parking lot with his fingerprints. Cole argued the court committed reversible error when it sustained a state objection to his attempt to refresh the victim’s memory with a nurse’s notes about how much the victim had  to drink.

Appeals court Judge Melissa May wrote in the unanimous opinion, Corey Cole v. State of Indiana, 49A02-1111-CR-1019, that “Cole invited some of the error, the uninvited statements were cumulative of other testimony, and they did not likely contribute to the decision regarding Cole’s guilt. Accordingly, we affirm.”

The court cited Meadows v. State, 785 N.E.2d 1112, 1122 (Ind. Ct.App. 2003), that holds that erroneous admission of evidence is not a reason for reversal if there is “substantial independent evidence of guilt so that there is no substantial likelihood that the challenged evidence contributed to the conviction.”

“The testimony about which Cole complains did not likely contribute to his conviction. Cole admitted he had sex with J.S. on the night in question, which places him at the scene of the crime regardless of whether his fingerprint was on a beer bottle and his DNA was on J.S. Therefore, based on Cole’s own testimony, we cannot say fundamental error occurred,” May wrote.

 

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  2. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  3. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  4. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  5. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

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