Jack Marshall of ProEthics is a Fool Every Day
Don't Judge Too Quickly

Why You Must Go All-In When Hiring A Trial Lawyer

Criminal appeals are generally hopeless.  If you have a house, mortgage it to hire the right criminal lawyer - at trial.  If the statistics on criminal appeals aren't harrowing enough, consider that a rape conviction was upheld on appeal based on this evidence:

At trial, Jane Doe X testified how she originally developed a relationship with, and ultimately became a victim of, Milosavljevic. In the early 1990's, Milosavljevic dialed a wrong number from jail and spoke to Jane Doe X instead. After their telephone conversation, she visited him several times while he was in jail. After he went to prison, she wrote daily letters to him for eight years. She described her letters to him as always "nasty" and sexually explicit. About once a month, he wrote her letters, some of whichwere "nasty." During that period of correspondence, she believed he was a very nice, intelligent person for whom she had feelings at the time.

After Milosavljevic was released from prison in about 2003 or 2004, a person came to her house and told her Milosavljevic wanted to see her. She called his mother to arrange a meeting with him and took a bus to Perris to visit him. Because she was "older," she believed they would just be friends. He picked her up at the bus station and drove her to his mother's house. On their arrival, he told Jane Doe X "he was horny" and "he would not harm or kill [her] family" if she lived with him for six months. He held her down and raped her in his mother's bedroom. To save her life, she did not resist. To protect her family, she agreed to live with him for six months.

Does this make any sense to you?  The woman talked to a prison inmate who dialed her number by accident?  The same woman visited a prison inmate for years; wrote him daily, sexually-themed letters; and arranged to see him upon release from prison...Only to have him rape her?  

She then lived with him for six months, never once calling the police?  It gets even more implausible:

About one to three months later, she went with Milosavljevic's brother and his friend to her daughter's home in another state to move her (Jane Doe X's) possessions to Milosavljevic's home. He did not accompany her because his parole officer would not allow him to leave California.

Even the Court of Appeals admits that the story seems more fiction than fact.  Yet as anyone who does criminal appeals know, reversals based on sufficiency of evidence almost always fail: 

Although her testimony regarding her relationship and six-month "deal" with Milosavljevic and the events that occurred during that six-month period may seem highly unusual, if not improbable, to many people, we cannot conclude her testimony was inherently improbable or unbelievable. 

There you have it.  Conviction affirmed

In People v. Milosavljevic, the facts were really bad, as Milosavljevic was indeed a rapist.  No lawyer could have gotten an acquittal - even when, as here, his girlfriend of six months cried rape. 

It's likely that Milosavljevic's girlfriend was unwilling to accept moral responsibility for living with and having sex with a rapist and violent criminal.  Thus, she claimed that he raped her.  A jury believed her.

Probably, too, Milosavljevic has a message for all sex-crimes cases: Plea bargain if you can, because if the complaining witness wins an Oscar, you're going to be convicted, and no court will do anything about it.

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