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Sentencing in Campus Sex Crimes Cases

The following is taken from an interview with a DC student defense lawyer as they discuss how college students accused of sex crimes are typically sentenced on campus. For information regarding your specific case, call and schedule a consultation today.

Usually what happens is that there will be a written decision and then the student will have the opportunity to appeal the decision depending on what it is.  Usually the opportunity to appeal will occur within days after the hearing.

Who Decides The Sentencing in Campus Cases?

On most campuses there is a board of judicial conduct or a student board that issues the decision. Some campuses allow students the option to choose between having their case adjudicated by a board of students, professors, or other school officials. Depending on the school and the situation, a defense attorney will make a recommendation to the student as to which selection to make. Ultimately, it depends on the school.

What School Offices or Individuals May Be Involved?

Typically there is a campus judicial office run by an actual lawyer. One of the problems with the campus judicial system is that it often pits a practicing or licensed attorney against the student, because most schools do not allow students to have an attorney to advocate on their behalf. In fact, some schools do not even allow an attorney into the hearing room with the students.

Campus Judicial Officers

The campus judicial officer is often acting as a prosecutor. The campus judicial system pits a practicing attorney against a student who is not licensed to practice law and has no legal training. Most people have heard the saying, “Someone who represents themselves has a fool for a lawyer.” The campus judicial system forces the students to represent themselves and it can become a kangaroo court in those situations if you’re not careful.

Possible Penalties for Campus Sexual Assault Allegations

Penalties can range from no punishment to suspension to expulsion from school. Other penalties may also include being kicked out of campus housing.

Can Evidence From Campus Proceedings Be Used in Criminal Court?

Yes, and that is something to be very careful of because anything the student says in a hearing could potentially be used against them in a regular criminal court proceeding. That is why it is crucial to have a student prepare very carefully if there is going to be a hearing at the school that is occurring before a criminal prosecution. Students and their attorneys have to be extremely cognizant as to what is being said in the student hearing.

Can You Typically Appeal On-Campus Verdicts?

Yes, you typically have the opportunity to appeal the verdict to the student judicial body on campus. You usually have ten days to two weeks to file a written appeal and we have been successful with some of those appeals. Unfortunately, you end up back in front of a similar judicial body and you still have to go through the same process even if you get a new proceeding.

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