Article IV

School of Law Honor Code


A.  General.

  1. Representation.  At all times after a formal charge is brought, the respondent is entitled to serve as his or her own counsel or may be represented by any person other than a member of the faculty or administration at the respondent’s own expense.  If the respondent is represented by an attorney, the Case Presentation Team may also obtain assistance from or be represented by an attorney at the law school’s expense.
  2. Presumption of Innocence.  The respondent is presumed to be innocent of any and all charges and need not prove anything.  The burden of proof rests with the Case Presentation Team to establish the charge(s) by clear and convincing evidence.

B.  Adjudication By Hearing.

  1. Pre-Hearing Procedures

a.  Schedule and Notification.  In cases in which a formal charge is brought, within five (5) days of receiving the charging document, the Presiding Officer, after consulting with the Hearing Panel Chair, the parties, and the other Hearing Panel participants, shall set a date, time, and location for the hearing and a date, time, and location for a pre-hearing conference.  Unless all participants agree otherwise or for good cause, the pre-hearing conference shall be scheduled to take place within fifteen (15) days and the hearing shall be scheduled to begin within twenty (20) days after the date of the formal charge.  The Hearing Panel Chair shall then prepare and deliver to the parties a written notice of the dates, times, and locations of the pre-hearing conference and the hearing and the names of the members of the Hearing Panel, and notify the other Panel members of the schedule orally or by e-mail.  If the respondent subsequently decides to forego a hearing on the merits and proceed with a determination of sanction only, the case shall proceed as an Adjudication by Admission (see Section C below).

b.  Discovery and Disclosure.  Within ten (10) days after being served with the formal charging document, Notice of Rights, and requisite discovery materials (see Art.III.D.2.b.(1)-(3)), the respondent shall deliver to the Case Presentation Team, the Presiding Officer, and the Hearing Panel Chair a packet of discovery materials similar to that already served on the respondent (see Art.III.B.2.b.(3)), consisting of a list of the respondent’s witnesses, brief (one- or two-sentence) summaries of the substance of their expected testimony, and copies of any documents to be offered in evidence by the respondent, and shall make available for examination by the Team any tangible objects to be offered in evidence.

The parties shall be subject to a continuing obligation to disclose information and evidence obtained after the initial disclosures.  Witnesses, documents, and tangible objects not disclosed as required shall be excluded from evidence at the hearing unless the Hearing Panel for good cause permits otherwise.

c.  Written Motions.  Any request by either party to disqualify a member of the Hearing Panel, obtain a ruling concerning a matter of interpretation of the Code, compel the production of or exclude relevant evidence, gain a continuance, or receive any other ruling that can be made outside the context of the hearing, shall be made by written motion.  Any such motion shall be delivered to the opposing party and copies delivered to the Presiding Officer and the Hearing Panel Chair at least two (2) days before the Pre-Hearing Conference.

d.  Pre-Hearing Conference.  Within fifteen (15) days after a formal charge is brought, the Presiding Officer and Hearing Panel Chair shall meet with the parties and their representatives for a pre-hearing conference.  At the conference, the Presiding Officer shall review the procedures to be followed at the hearing and, after consulting with all members of the Hearing Panel on any issue of Code interpretation, shall rule on any pending motions.  Any issue involving the possible disqualification of a member of the Hearing Panel shall be resolved as provided in Art.VII.C.1.  Unless otherwise provided in the Code, all other pre-hearing issues shall be decided by the Presiding Officer after consultation with the Hearing Panel Chair.

e.  Presiding Officer’s Authority to Vary From Established Schedule.  For good cause shown on request of a party, the Presiding Officer may grant a postponement or direct that a case proceed on an expedited basis.

2.  Hearing on the Merits.  The hearing shall be conducted with as much informality and flexibility as is consistent with the serious purpose of the inquiry.  Formal rules of evidence and procedure shall not apply.  To reduce the potential for unfair prejudice, evidence of arguably relevant prior conduct by the respondent shall ordinarily not be allowed except on a showing of special circumstances.  The Presiding Officer shall rule on procedural and evidentiary issues and otherwise conduct the proceedings so as to ensure that the parties have a fair chance to present their cases and all participants are treated with respect.  Specific guidelines are as follows:

a.  Quorum.  A quorum of four (4) Hearing Panel members, one of whom must be the Presiding Officer, shall be required in order to hear the case.

b.  Hearing Closed.  Unless the respondent requests otherwise, the hearing shall be closed.

c.  Preservation of the Record.  The hearing shall be tape recorded and the recording preserved until all proceedings concerning the charge have been completed or for so long as the Dean of Students believes proper, whichever is longer.

d.  Burden of Proof.  At the hearing, the Case Presentation Team shall bear the burden of proving the charge(s) by clear and convincing evidence.

e.  Proceedings.  The parties may make brief opening statements.  Then both the Case Presentation Team and the respondent shall have the opportunity  to call witnesses and present evidence, and to question the other side’s witnesses.  The respondent may testify or choose not to; however, members of the Hearing Panel may, although are not required to, draw reasonable inferences from the respondent’s silence.  Members of the Hearing Panel may ask questions of witnesses following the examinations by the parties.  The Presiding Officer may disallow questioning that is repetitive, irrelevant, cumulative, or harassing.  Upon completion of the presentation of the evidence, the parties may make closing statements.

3.  Deliberation and Decision.  The Hearing Panel shall privately confer in order to  determine, by majority vote, made on the basis of clear and convincing evidence, whether the respondent committed the charged violation(s).  If the Panel concludes that the evidence presented is insufficient to support a finding that the respondent committed the charged offense(s), the proceedings shall be terminated.  If the Panel concludes that the evidence supports such a finding, the Presiding Officer, after consulting with the parties and the other members of the Hearing Panel, shall set a date, time, and location for a hearing on sanctions (see Art.V.A).  The sanctions hearing may, but is not required to, be held immediately after the hearing on the merits; but unless all participants agree otherwise or for good cause, the hearing shall be held within three (3) days after the date of the decision.

4.  Notice of Decision.  Upon reaching a decision, the Hearing Panel shall first notify the parties and the complainant of the outcome orally or by e-mail and thereafter  provide written notification of the full decision.  The written notification shall consist of a report of the decision, containing both written findings of the relevant facts and the Panel’s reasoning, along with any concurring or dissenting opinions. 

a.  Decisions in Favor of Respondent.  If the proceedings have been terminated in the respondent’s favor, then within the next five (5) days the Hearing Panel Chair shall:  (1) deliver copies of the full decision to the respondent, the Case Presentation Team, the complainant, and the Dean of Students; (2) publicly post a copy (see Art.VII.F.2), redacted so that student names and other obviously identifying information have been removed (see Art.VII.F.3), to inform the law school community of the decision; and (3) provide a copy of the publicly posted redacted version to the library for placement in a binder of Honor Code decisions to be held on reserve.

b.  Decisions Finding Honor Code Violation.  If an Honor Code violation has been found, the written notification requirements and timetable set forth in Article V.A.3 shall also apply.

5.  Motion to Reopen Completed Case.  A respondent found after a hearing to have violated the Honor Code may move at any time to reopen the case on the basis of:   (a) new evidence that could not have been discovered by the exercise of due diligence prior to the decision; or (b) other good cause shown.  Such a motion shall be made in writing and shall be delivered to the Presiding Officer of the Hearing Panel.  Copies shall also be delivered to the Case Presentation Team and the Dean of Students.  Further specific procedures in the event of such a motion shall be determined by the Presiding Officer after consultation with the other members of the Hearing Panel.  Ruling on a motion to reopen shall be made by majority vote of the Hearing Panel.  The Panel’s decision whether to grant such a motion shall not be subject to appeal.

C.  Adjudication by Admission.

1.  Right to Adjudication by Admission.  Any student charged with violating the Honor Code may admit the violation(s) and request a hearing only on sanctions (see Art.V.A).

2.  P rocedure.  A student charged with violating the Honor Code who wishes to admit the violation(s) and proceed to a hearing on sanctions shall notify the Presiding Officer.  The Presiding Officer shall notify the Case Presentation team and, after consultation with the parties, set the date for the proceedings at which the Hearing Panel will accept the respondent’s admission and hold a hearing on the matter of sanctions.  If a hearing on whether the respondent violated the Code has already been scheduled, each side is responsible for notifying its own witnesses that such a hearing will not be held.  Witnesses whose testimony is not relevant to the sanction decision shall be excused from testifying; witnesses whose testimony may be relevant to the sanction decision shall be notified of the date for the sanctions hearing.

D.  Summer Adjudication Option.  If a complaint is brought against a student between the last day of classes in the Spring semester and three weeks before the first day of classes in the Fall semester, and if a formal charge is brought (see Art.III.D.1.b), the respondent may, at his/her option, either:  (1) allow the case to go forward in accordance with the timetable applicable in other cases (see Section B above); or (2) elect to postpone adjudication of the case until the start of the Fall semester.  If the respondent chooses option #1 or declines to choose, the matter shall be handled like other cases.  In such event, adjudication shall be before the Hearing Panel whose term is just concluding or, if there is not sufficient time to proceed that way, before the Summer Hearing Panel.

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