Bubu Palo’s appeal of regents’ decision reaches district court


Photo: William Deaton/Iowa State

Bubu Palo speaks at a press conference with the aid of his attorney, Matt Boles, at Parish Kruidenier Trial Lawyers in Des Moines right after the sexual assault charges were dropped against him on Jan. 14.

Max Dible

Former ISU basketball player Bubu Palo made his latest appearance in a courtroom July 17 at a trial in Story County District Court.

The trial was regarding Palo’s appeal of the decision made by the Iowa Board of Regents to uphold a previous decision handed down by ISU President Steven Leath that Palo violated the university’s sexual misconduct policy.

The board upheld Leath’s initial decision that Palo was in violation of the university code of conduct, despite the determination of Administrative Law Judge John Priester that Iowa State did not have the grounds to dole out the suspension Palo received.

Based on Priester’s findings, Iowa District Judge Thomas Bice issued a stay on Palo’s suspension and he was reinstated on the team but never played again.

The July 17 trial is the latest in a string of legal proceedings that stretch back to 2012, when Palo and his friend, Spencer Cruise, were charged with sexually assaulting a former ISU student.

Palo was later cleared of those charges due to new evidence that indicated the accuser had not testified truthfully to the details of the alleged events on the night in question.

It was the accuser’s credibility that Palo’s attorney, Matthew Boles, used to get the criminal charges against Palo dismissed, and it was her credibility that Boles attacked again in service of his client’s appeal on July 17.

Boles, who appeared in court by phone, contended that the issue of Palo’s misconduct, or lack thereof, as it pertains to the ISU code of conduct was essentially an issue of two people’s testimony, Palo and his accuser.

Based on the new evidence discovered in the criminal case that led to its dismissal, Boles contended that Palo has proven to be credible, while his accuser has proven not to be.

Iowa Assistant Attorney General Diane Stahle represented the Board of the Regents in the trial and also appeared via telephone.

Stahle contended that Boles’ synopsis of the night and incident in question and his subsequent argument rested heavily on depositions originating in the criminal case that were never added to the administrative record, and therefore have no bearing on the current proceedings, which have been tasked only with determining the legitimacy of the board’s decision.

District Judge Steven Oeth said he could not provide a specific date for his ruling on the appeal, as he will continue to review court documents.