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Case Studies

DRUG & ALCOHOL VIOLATION Possession with Intent to Distribute Cocaine | Student Conduct Code Violation Potential suspension & expulsion Found Not in Violation
A senior, only one semester away from graduation, was charged by their school with possession with intent to distribute cocaine after campus found alleged cocaine in the student’s wallet. The white powder found in the student’s wallet field-tested positive for cocaine. The regular police also responded and took a report as well. The client, aided by other counsel, lost his hearing and faced a potentially disastrous interruption of their college career and professional plans only months before graduation.The student client and their family hired us to represent them while an appeal was pending. A new hearing was granted and our team began gathering evidence, identifying potential witnesses and preparing the client to testify as well as pose questions to witnesses. Key strategy decisions included advising the client as to which type of proceeding might be best suited to his case and focusing the defense on attacking the legal concept of possession. We accompanied our client to a hearing before a panel made up of students and administrators. The panel found our client not in violation.Our client was able to continue their studies, graduate and fulfill their professional plans. We also made sure that our client’s academic transcript and criminal history record contained no mention of the matter.
SEXUAL MISCONDUCT VIOLATION Sexual Assault | Student Conduct Code Violation Expulsion Found Not in Violation
A law student was charged by their university with multiple allegations of sexual assault made by two different complainants. Despite the fact that the law student had already graduated successfully from law school, the university proceeded with a hearing on both allegations. Represented by different counsel, the student lost at the hearing. The sanction was retroactive expulsion and the loss of their law degree. As a result of the expulsion and loss of degree, the law student lost their job offer at a law firm faced the potential of never being able to practice law.The expelled law student hired us to seek an appeal of the decision. Our appeal focused on identifying significant procedural errors in the original hearing and the university reversed the original decision and granted the law student the chance for new hearings. The university also granted the request made in our appeal that the allegations should be heard in separate proceedings by separate panels or judges. Our team then reviewed existing evidence, witnesses and the transcripts of the original hearing, identified new witnesses, prepared the client, and accompanied the client to both of the new hearings.Our client was found not in violation in one case and responsible in the other. However, the judge in the latter case went out of their way to state on the record that the case was a very close one and that the judge did not wish for our client’s legal career to be ruined. Accordingly, the sanction for the one case was merely retroactive suspension. The expulsion was reversed and our client was granted their law degree and given back their chance to pursue their chosen career.
ACADEMIC HONOR CODE Cheating on an exam | Academic Honor Code Violation Suspension or Expulsion Found Not in Violation
Several Chinese foreign students were accused by their university of cheating on an exam. If found responsible, all of the students faced suspension or expulsion. The university offered them an arrangement by which they could admit responsibility in return for not being expelled and instead face potential suspension. This arrangement put the students in a very difficult situation as they did not wish to risk expulsion which would ruin their career plans to study in the United States but also did not want to be forced into admitting responsibility for something they had not done. The students hired us to evaluate their cases and help them decide on a strategy.After thorough reviews of the cases and learning what was at stake for our clients, we were able to make specific recommendations to our clients. The students chose to fight the charges. We identified potential witnesses, reviewed and analyzed the exam answers and prepared our clients for the hearings which were to be conducted entirely in English without the benefits of translators. Although all of our clients could communicate well in English, it remained a second language for them and extra time and effort was necessary in order to prepare them for speaking and being questioned under conditions of great stress. All of our clients were found not responsible and were able to continue with their studies in the United States.
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