Bail amounts at issue in Nevada County forcible rape cases | TheUnion.com
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Bail amounts at issue in Nevada County forcible rape cases

Two separate rape cases were set for bail hearings in Nevada County Superior Court Thursday, with differing results.

In the first case, a judge denied a prosecution motion to keep a man accused of forcible rape in custody without bail.

Judge Linda Sloven said she would not grant that request without an evidentiary hearing, but set bail for Wesley Panighetti, 61, at $750,000. He has been in custody since June 14 under a $500,000 bond.

Sloven said while she can look at a defendant’s record and police reports for the purpose of setting bail, she would need to hear evidence to deny bail altogether.

Panighetti also is facing felony counts of sodomy by use of force, forcible oral copulation, criminal threats, first-degree burglary and dissuading a witness, as well as one misdemeanor count of battery, court records state.

Sloven ordered the prosecution to turn over requested evidence by July 10 at the latest, and set a preliminary hearing into the evidence against Panighetti for July 14.

No bail CHANGE for Carlozzi

A Thursday request to revisit bail amounts for a Nevada County man accused of rape was denied, after a different judge turned down a request last month to substantially lower his bond on a probation violation.

Nicholas Patrick Carlozzi, 27, was arrested in April 2019 on charges of forcible rape, bodily injury to a partner, oral copulation by force, and false imprisonment, reports state. The victim, who had dated Carlozzi for about six months, told authorities she had gone to Carlozzi’s home to collect some money he owed her. She said Carlozzi held her against her will and raped her, authorities have said.

At an April 2020 hearing, Judge Robert Tice-Raskin denied a request by defense attorney Samuel Berns to reduce a probation violation bond to zero, instead reducing bail to $300,000. The bond for the underlying rape case was set at $401,000, for a total of $701,000.

In court Thursday, Berns asked Judge Thomas Anderson to consider lowering the bond in each case to $50,000 for a total of $100,000.

While Berns acknowledged that Carlozzi was charged with very serious offenses, he said information had come to light that cast doubt on the credibility of the witness. According to Berns, the District Attorney’s Office had made an offer that would dismiss certain offenses.

Deputy District Attorney Helenaz Hill acknowledged that a possible resolution of the case was being discussed, but said she was prepared to go to trial on the sexual assault charges if her offer was not accepted. The victim’s credibility issues in a prior child custody case do not mean she lied in this case, Hill said, adding, “She has not recanted.”

Anderson declined to change the bail as previously set. Carlozzi, scheduled to return to court July 16 for a felony conference, remained jailed Thursday.

Contact reporter Liz Kellar at 530-477-4236 or by email at lizk@theunion.com.


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