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Judges uphold college student's rape conviction

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The man charged with raping a fellow Vincennes University student following a night of drinking had his conviction affirmed by the Indiana Court of Appeals.

Jason Michael Palilonis challenged his Class B felony conviction of raping B.S., claiming the trial court abused its discretion when it denied his motion to correct error based on alleged juror misconduct; when it allowed the jury to be informed that B.S. was unavailable because she was deceased; in admitting statements made by B.S. during the course of her sexual-assault examination; when it admitted the vouching statements made by the nurse who performed B.S.’s sexual-assault examination; and when it admitted the statements Palilonis made during his interview with law enforcement after the incident. He also claimed there wasn’t sufficient evidence to support the rape conviction.  

Palilonis and B.S. met at a party and had sex. The next night, they were drinking at the same party. B.S. eventually went to a friend’s apartment and passed out on the couch. Palilonis showed up and attempted to have sex with her. A witness saw Palilonis having sex with B.S. Palilonis was beat up by some of B.S.’s friends, and B.S. woke up and went to the hospital for an examination.

About a year after the incident, B.S. committed suicide.

Several days after the jury convicted Palilonis, one juror claimed that the jury learned through the foreperson that the presiding judge told high school students visiting his courtroom that he thought Palilonis was guilty. A special judge heard the misconduct allegations but denied Palilonis’ motion to set aside the verdict.

The Court of Appeals ruled against Palilonis on all of his arguments except for his challenge to allowing vouching statements made by the nurse who examined B.S. to be admitted. The nurse testified that B.S.’s case was noteworthy to her because B.S.’s statement that she was raped was believable, but this is impermissible vouching testimony, noted Judge Nancy Vaidik in Jason Michael Palilonis v. State of Indiana, 42A05-1104-CR-197. It did not rise to the level of fundamental error, however.

 

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  1. This law is troubling in two respects: First, why wasn't the law reviewed "with the intention of getting all the facts surrounding the legislation and its actual impact on the marketplace" BEFORE it was passed and signed? Seems a bit backwards to me (even acknowledging that this is the Indiana state legislature we're talking about. Second, what is it with the laws in this state that seem to create artificial monopolies in various industries? Besides this one, the other law that comes to mind is the legislation that governed the granting of licenses to firms that wanted to set up craft distilleries. The licensing was limited to only those entities that were already in the craft beer brewing business. Republicans in this state talk a big game when it comes to being "business friendly". They're friendly alright . . . to certain businesses.

  2. Gretchen, Asia, Roberto, Tonia, Shannon, Cheri, Nicholas, Sondra, Carey, Laura ... my heart breaks for you, reaching out in a forum in which you are ignored by a professional suffering through both compassion fatigue and the love of filthy lucre. Most if not all of you seek a warm blooded Hoosier attorney unafraid to take on the government and plead that government officials have acted unconstitutionally to try to save a family and/or rescue children in need and/or press individual rights against the Leviathan state. I know an attorney from Kansas who has taken such cases across the country, arguing before half of the federal courts of appeal and presenting cases to the US S.Ct. numerous times seeking cert. Unfortunately, due to his zeal for the constitutional rights of peasants and willingness to confront powerful government bureaucrats seemingly violating the same ... he was denied character and fitness certification to join the Indiana bar, even after he was cleared to sit for, and passed, both the bar exam and ethics exam. And was even admitted to the Indiana federal bar! NOW KNOW THIS .... you will face headwinds and difficulties in locating a zealously motivated Hoosier attorney to face off against powerful government agents who violate the constitution, for those who do so tend to end up as marginalized as Paul Odgen, who was driven from the profession. So beware, many are mere expensive lapdogs, the kind of breed who will gladly take a large retainer, but then fail to press against the status quo and powers that be when told to heel to. It is a common belief among some in Indiana that those attorneys who truly fight the power and rigorously confront corruption often end up, actually or metaphorically, in real life or at least as to their careers, as dead as the late, great Gary Welch. All of that said, I wish you the very best in finding a Hoosier attorney with a fighting spirit to press your rights as far as you can, for you do have rights against government actors, no matter what said actors may tell you otherwise. Attorneys outside the elitist camp are often better fighters that those owing the powers that be for their salaries, corner offices and end of year bonuses. So do not be afraid to retain a green horn or unconnected lawyer, many of them are fine men and woman who are yet untainted by the "unique" Hoosier system.

  3. I am not the John below. He is a journalist and talk show host who knows me through my years working in Kansas government. I did no ask John to post the note below ...

  4. "...not those committed in the heat of an argument." If I ever see a man physically abusing a woman or a child and I'm close enough to intercede I will not ask him why he is abusing her/him. I will give him a split second to cease his attack and put his hands in the air while I call the police. If he continues, I will still call the police but to report, "Man down with a gunshot wound,"instead.

  5. And so the therapeutic state is weaonized. How soon until those with ideologies opposing the elite are disarmed in the name of mental health? If it can start anywhere it can start in the hoosiers' slavishly politically correct capital city.

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