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The Implications of John Doe v. Miami University et. al. (2008) for the Accused, Part 2: Erroneous Outcome

When students and their families tell me that they "want to sue" after being found responsible for sexual assault at a University Hearing, they generally believe that the court can be used as a sort of "super appeals court" to have their hearing redecided on the merits; generally this is precisely what the courts will not do, but the recent John Doe v. Miami University decision has given some life to this use of the courts to challenge Title IX sexual assault cases (if you are not familiar with the facts of this case, see Part 1 of this series). The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals has said that if an accused can show "'(1) "facts sufficient to cast some articulable doubt on the accuracy of the outcome of the disciplinary proceeding" and (2) a "particularized . . . causal connection between the flawed outcome and gender bias,"'" then the accused can challenge the outcome in court with an "erroneous outcome" claim.

The Implications of John Doe v. Miami University et. al. (2008) for the Accused, Part 1: Equal Protection

A blockbuster decision dropped in the Title IX Sexual Assault world last week when the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled, in part, against Miami University in a case filed by a suspended student. The student had been suspended for sexual assault based on a theory that the alleged victim was "severely intoxicated" (an undefined term in Miami's Code of Student Conduct) when sexual conduct allegedly occurred. There are several layers to this decision that carry important implications for both accused students and alleged victims; perhaps the most interesting involve the constitutional rights of equal protection under the law in terms of who Miami chooses to prosecute for a claim of sexual assault. 

Where we are with Title IX Hearings: The DeVos Interim Guidance

In September of 2017 Secretary of Education Besty DeVos formally announced the withdrawal of the 2014 "Dear Colleague Letter" and replaced it with new "Interim Guidance" designed to bridge the gap until new rules are implemented. Many students who are caught up in a university Title IX Hearing during this interim period have questions about how this decision affects them. Let's talk about what this Interim Guidance is, and what it is not: 

Proving a negative, Part II: Miami University Hearings

Chapter 2.1 of Miami University's Code of Student Conduct ("the Code") explains the standard used by the University to determine if an accused student is responsible for violating the Code. According to the Code, the standard of "preponderance" is satisfied "by the information that has the most convincing force," and that a student will be found responsible if he or she admits responsibility or if the information provided to the University demonstrates "by a preponderance of the available information that the person is responsible."

It's Just a "Drinking Ticket" Right?

Wrong. Students and parents are often under the unfortunate misconception that criminal citations for underage drinking are like speeding tickets: you admit responsibility, you pay the "ticket" online, and you go about your business consequence-free...but this could not be further from the truth!

Drinking (Underage) With Parents: To Do, Or Not To do

Homecoming, Parents' Weekend, and various fraternity & sorority events are a prime opportunity for parents to spend quality time with their college student in the student's natural environment. This sometimes includes parent-student underage drinking. Two important questions emerge:

But, I'm 21...

Miami University's Code of Student Conduct ("the Code") requires that a student with two violations for Intoxication (commonly referred to as a "105A violation"), within a two-year period, must be suspended for at least a semester. Most students think that this 2-strike policy doesn't apply to them once they turn 21-because they are now legally allowed to drink alcohol.

So I Made it Through My University Discipline Hearing - All is Well Now, Right?

Wrong --- IF your discipline was related to a criminal charge that counts as a "1219 offense" in Ohio. Under Ohio law, if you are convicted of, or plead guilty to, a so-called 1219 offense that occurred on or about campus, you will be subject to a mandatory, state-wide suspension for a minimum term of one year. That's right: mandatory, state-wide, and for a minimum of one year.

Love and Honor...your right to counsel

Thanks to Hollywood, most Americans have heard the police say the phrase "you have a right to an attorney..." as a suspect is being arrested on-screen. That referenced right to counsel in a criminal proceeding is a constitutionally guaranteed right under the Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution.

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