College Campus Sexual Assault Investigations - The Due Process Farce

Posted by Keith Hall | Mar 21, 2017 | 0 Comments

When a person is accused of sexual assault on a college campus, they have to deal with two systems that independently investigate any allegations.  

The first system is the criminal justice system, where police officers investigate the case and refer it to the prosecuting attorney for that jurisdication, who then has the ability to file charges in a state court.  Someone who is accused of a crime in state court has the right to be made aware of what the allegations are, look at the evidence against them, interview witnesses who will testify against them at a hearing, and then is allowed to confront and question those same witnesses at an evidentiary hearing in open court.  

The second system is the Title IX system on each campus that performs it's own investigation and comes to its own conclusions. In Washington, this system is incredibly unfair in that at many schools students are only told what rule they violated, and are not given access to any of the evidence against them.  These students are also not given the ability to question, investigate, or cross examine witnesses that offer evidence against them.  As a practical matter, someone who is accused of sexual assault or harassment is told that they violated the rule and they are almost always found to have done it.  There is only the slight appearance of due process, without any substantial fairness to they system.

Students who are accused in the school context are having to assert their rights in the courts, by filing federal lawsuits alleging their own rights have been trampled.  This can be extremely expensive, and usually would happen after a student has been disciplined, often times having been forced to leave their student housing and expelled.  

About the Author

Keith Hall

Keith is our firm's lead criminal defense attorney.

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