John Doe took University of Oregon to court alleging he’d been wrongly punished after an unfair disciplinary process. Judge Conover ruled, “In this case I do find, based on my position here, that the procedural protections were not properly afforded to John Doe.” Judge Conover also said that UO may not launch new disciplinary proceedings against the accused student in connection with the alleged incident. Doe’s lawyer Ms. Hoffman asserted in court filings that her client passed four polygraph tests that established he was truthful when he denied having had any sexual contact with the alleged victim on the night in question, and that the young woman’s accusations “were false and were intended to garner sympathy and attention from her ex-boyfriend.”
registerguard.com By Jack Moran
Court Wins & Settlements
After months of litigation, a tentative settlement has been reached between Erica Kinsman and falsely accused Jameis Winston. In 2014, a retired state Supreme Court justice who presided over an FSU code of conduct hearing cleared Winston of four violations. Investigations by the Tallahassee Police Department and State Attorney’s Office ended with no charges brought against Winston. Attorneys for both sides said the case was “resolved to the satisfaction of the parties”.
tampabay.com By Matt Baker
Complaints and Rulings for Drake University, Washington State University and University of Cincinnati…A complaint filed last week against Drake University in Iowa includes an intriguing argument. Like most such suits against private universities, it claims that Drake breached its contract with the student-plaintiff and discriminated against him on the basis of sex in violation of Title IX. But in addition, it argues that the university was-by virtue of coercive federal pressure-a state actor at the time of the incident, and as such, deprived the plaintiff of his constitutional due process rights.
thefire.org By Samantha Harris
Rulings for Lynn University, UC San Diego, and William Paterson University…Universities increasingly rely heavily on investigators rather than hearings to determine responsibility in sexual misconduct cases. The dangers of combining in a single individual the power to investigate, prosecute, and convict, with little effective power of review, are obvious. No matter how well-intentioned, such a person may have preconceptions and biases, may make mistakes, and may reach premature conclusions. These “single investigator” systems raise significant due process concerns, articulated perfectly by Judge Dennis Saylor in the Doe v. Brandeis decision:
thefire.org By Samantha Harris
Brown University botched a sexual-assault hearing, treating an accused male student unfairly, a U.S. District Court ruled. Court records illustrate how ill-equipped the Title IX panel was to make such a major decision. With as few as five hours of training, they make determinations that can ruin someone’s life and reputation. John Doe claimed the accusations against him were fabricated, offering the investigator a witness who claimed to have heard Ann Roe and a friend conspiring to get him in trouble. The investigator decided not to get text messages between Roe and her friend, but told the Title IX panel that there was “insufficient evidence” to support Doe’s conspiracy claim. That was “particularly problematic,” the district court decided, “given that she had refused to ask for evidence that might have proven it so and been exculpatory to Doe.”
This is a big case for the state of Washington. Student Mr. Arishi challenged his expulsion from Washington State University’s (WSU’s) doctoral program in Education, claiming the university failed to afford him a full adjudicative proceeding required by the Washington Administrative Procedure Act. The Court of Appeals agreed. “We reverse the superior court and the underlying agency order, award Mr. Arishi reasonable attorney fees, and remand for a full adjudication.” With this ruling, people accused of sex offenses on college campuses get a full hearing and are allowed to have an attorney speak and question the accuser. This decision is based on Washington law, and will not affect cases in other jurisdictions.
seattletimes.com By Katherine Long
The verdict came down in the first defamation case stemming from Rolling Stone’s famously flawed investigation about college rape on the Friday before Election Day. The jury awarded Eramo $3 million in damages: $1 million from Rolling Stone and $2 million from Erdely. A second lawsuit, from the fraternity itself, is scheduled for trial in Virginia state court next fall. Here are some takeaways from the Eramo decision, based on insights from lawyers who followed the case.
cjr.org/analysis By Bill Wyman
A University of Cincinnati graduate student, will be allowed to resume classes this spring after a federal judge’s decision rescinded a one-year suspension imposed by the university. The male graduate student alleged the university violated due process and Title IX in how it handled the investigation and ruling of the case against him. The student’s lawyer, Josh Engel, said the key to Judge Michael Barrett’s decision is “the recognition that students in this situation have a right to confront their accuser.”
cincinnati.com By Kate Murphy
Joanna Newberry, falsely reported she was assaulted in a campus basement while attending Lindenwood University. She faced up to six months in jail and a $500 fine. This week, Judge Elizabeth Swann issued a suspended imposition of sentence for Newberry and placed her on supervised probation for two years. Ms. Newberry is to continue counseling.
stltoday.com By Mark Schlinkmann
It is with a heavy heart that SOS is posting the following. The California Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District has rendered their decision in Doe v. Regents of the University of California. In short, John Doe lost big time…’The judgment is reversed. The matter is remanded to the superior court with orders for the court to enter an order denying the petition for writ of mandamus as well as entering a judgment in favor of the Regents. The Regents are awarded their costs on appeal.’