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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 sure is not what most who value good governance consider the Rule of Law to entail: "In a letter dated March 2, which Brizzi forwarded to IBJ, the commission dismissed the grievance “on grounds that there is not reasonable cause to believe that you are guilty of misconduct.”" Yet two month later reasonable cause does exist? (Or is the commission forging ahead, the need for reasonable belief be damned? -- A seeming violation of the Rules of Profession Ethics on the part of the commission) Could the rule of law theory cause one to believe that an explanation is in order? Could it be that Hoosier attorneys live under Imperial Law (which is also a t-word that rhymes with infamy) in which the Platonic guardians can do no wrong and never owe the plebeian class any explanation for their powerful actions. (Might makes it right?) Could this be a case of politics directing the commission, as celebrated IU Mauer Professor (the late) Patrick Baude warned was happening 20 years ago in his controversial (whisteblowing) ethics lecture on a quite similar topic: http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1498&context=ilj

  2. I have a case presently pending cert review before the SCOTUS that reveals just how Indiana regulates the bar. I have been denied licensure for life for holding the wrong views and questioning the grand inquisitors as to their duties as to state and federal constitutional due process. True story: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS Shorter, Amici brief serving to frame issue as misuse of govt licensure: https://www.scribd.com/doc/312841269/Thomas-More-Society-Amicus-Brown-v-Ind-Bd-of-Law-Examiners

  3. Here's an idea...how about we MORE heavily regulate the law schools to reduce the surplus of graduates, driving starting salaries up for those new grads, so that we can all pay our insane amount of student loans off in a reasonable amount of time and then be able to afford to do pro bono & low-fee work? I've got friends in other industries, radiology for example, and their schools accept a very limited number of students so there will never be a glut of new grads and everyone's pay stays high. For example, my radiologist friend's school accepted just six new students per year.

  4. I totally agree with John Smith.

  5. An idea that would harm the public good which is protected by licensing. Might as well abolish doctor and health care professions licensing too. Ridiculous. Unrealistic. Would open the floodgates of mischief and abuse. Even veteranarians are licensed. How has deregulation served the public good in banking, for example? Enough ideology already!

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