July 14, 2015

ASHE SCHOW: Due process win: California judge rules campus kangaroo court ‘unfair.’

A California judge just issued a win to proponents of due process in campus sexual assault hearings.

Judge Joel M. Pressman deemed a University of California-San Diego campus hearing “unfair,” ruling that the hearing panel limited the accused student’s right to due process.

The accused student, listed as John Doe, had sued the university after being suspended for sexual assault without due process. John claimed that his right to cross-examine his accuser and adverse witnesses was limited, and Pressman agreed.

John was only allowed to submit questions to the hearing panel to be asked of his accuser, named in the lawsuit as Jane Roe. Of the 32 questions submitted by John, only nine were asked, and only after the questions were reviewed by the hearing chair. . . .

Pressman noted that seven questions not asked by the panel chair dealt with text messages between John and Jane. The panel chair also paraphrased a question regarding John and Jane’s relationship after the alleged sexual assault and allowed Jane to claim that their post-encounter relationship was not relevant. Further, Jane’s questions were not given the same prior review as John’s.

Pressman also decried the school disallowing John to cross-examine and question the only “evidence” at his hearing beside the accuser’s story. Submitted to the hearing panel was an investigative report conducted by Elena Acevedo Dalcourt, the school’s complaint resolution officer. But Dalcourt did not attend the hearing, which prevented John from questioning her account of the incident.

“[T]he Panel relied on evidence that was outside the hearing. Ms. Dalcourt did not testify. While the technical rule of hearsay is not applicable to the hearing, the hearing did not allow petitioner any opportunity to refute Ms. Dalcourt’s findings,” Pressman wrote. “Ms. Dalcourt’s conclusions were crucial to the findings, but petitioner was denied his right of confrontation.”

John was also not provided all of the evidence against him that was found in Dalcourt’s report. He was not given the names of the witnesses interviewed by Dalcourt or all of Jane’s statements prior to the hearing.

Kangaroo court indeed. But remember, universities are places where critical thinking and high morality reign.

InstaPundit is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.