Lawyer: Too much publicity in rape case
MICHIGAN CITY – The second jury trial for a former Michigan City Police officer accused last year of raping a developmentally disabled woman is set for Dec. 17.
Thomas K. Jackson appeared for his final pretrial conference Thursday, at which time he requested a change of venue from La Porte Superior Court 1.
Defense attorney Craig Braje told the judge he believes it will be difficult to find an impartial jury because the case has been written about repeatedly in local newspapers.
Judge Michael Bergerson took the request under advisement, pending the results of a survey he will give prospective jurors to determine their potential knowledge of the case.
Jackson was acquitted of one of his four original counts of rape in April, after a jury determined the state had not met its burden of proof that Jackson and the alleged victim had engaged in sex inside his van at a Westville park on March 5, 2017.
They were deadlocked on the remaining three counts of rape, one for each type of intercourse – vaginal, oral and anal.
Jackson admitted while testifying in his own defense to having engaged in all three with the woman on multiple occasions.
However, the jury must determine whether the woman was capable of consenting to such acts.
According to the probable cause affidavit in the case, the alleged victim’s mental and emotional capabilities are equivalent to those of a child between the ages of 10 and 12. At trial, she was said to have an IQ of 48.
Jackson faces up to 16 years in prison for each of his three remaining counts of rape should he be convicted at his second trial.
He remains free on a $2,500 cash bond as he awaits resolution of his case.