• Due Process,  Parallel Proceedings

    The Old College Try, and The New College Tribunal

    In disciplinary proceedings involving claims of sexual assault, universities continue to find themselves in an intolerable situation, caught in a lawyer-triangle of the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights, student-complainants and the student-defendants. In part, at least, as a result of OCR’s “Dear Colleague” letter to colleges and universities about Title IX and disciplinary proceedings, there has been an upsurge in reported instances of sexual assault on campus. At the same time, there has been a sharp increase in lawsuits brought by student-respondents (that is, the male students who are accused), as this Wall Street Journal article details:  In Campus Rape Tribunals, Some Men See Injustice. The scenario set…

  • Due Process,  Presumption of Innocence,  Sentencing

    White-Collar Felon Registries, Hester Prynne and The Drive-By Truckers

    Although one must admire the historicist sensibilities of a state legislature that just reinstated the firing squad  as a methodology for execution, the Utah legislature’s passage of a bill to create a white-collar crime registry modeled on sex offender registries is unwise where it is not silly. As a New York Times article notes: With just a point and a click, you can browse a face book of felons, a new government website that will warn of the danger these criminals pose to society. Only these are not the faces of sex offenders and serial killers. These criminals are mortgage schemers and inside traders, most likely armed with nothing more than…

  • Due Process,  Grand Jury,  Presumption of Innocence

    A Meditation On Independence Day

    We all like the Fourth of July; most of us want it to mean something beyond cookouts and fireworks.  When my children were little, I would read aloud to them the entire Declaration of Independence, an oration they found both alarming and distracting. The nation’s Independence Day celebration has changed over time, as has its people (alarmed or distracted) and their culture. We have an Independence Day in film and in song, works of art that speak to a patriotism grounded in a corporate concept (national independence) and in a citizen concept (individual independence). Here in the early portion of the 21st-century, it is the domestic liberty of individuals, rather…