News & Politics

Judge Smacks Down University for Due Process Violation in Rape Case

For some time now, the American college campus has not been a “safe space” for anyone accused of sexual assault. While those who actually commit such a crime deserve pretty much whatever our judicial system decides to dish out, many universities aren’t all that concerned about making sure justice, as enshrined in the Constitution and by each state’s set of laws, is served. Due process is dead on the campuses of higher education.

Luckily, they aren’t immune to the laws they ignore — a federal district court judge has just smacked down James Madison University. Interestingly, James Madison had been following an unconstitutional directive passed down from the U.S. Department of Education:

In a memorandum opinion issued just before Christmas, the U.S. District Court in Harrisonburg, Virginia, said James Madison University deprived “John Doe” of a “protected property interest” in attending the university.

The university’s five-and-a-half year suspension of Doe only happened after his accuser, “Jane Roe,” appealed a finding in his favor.

The U.S. Constitution does not allow an accused person to be tried again after exoneration, known as double jeopardy, but the practice was forced on colleges by the Department of Education’s 2011 “Dear Colleague” letter.

It’s alarming that supposedly educated people could actually think this is a good idea. Doe was essentially prosecuted for a crime, exonerated, and then found himself going through it all over again because the alleged victim didn’t like the outcome. That’s not how the legal system works, and for a good reason. The system gets used as a punishment in and of itself, rather than as a means to find justice.

The kicker is that the second “trial” reportedly didn’t find Doe guilty of anything, either.

But the university punished him anyway — with a five-and-a-half year suspension, and a condition that he could only be readmitted if he completed a counseling course.

Yeah … that’s not justice.

Unfortunately, those supporting the current campus trend of treating themselves like sovereign nations will take issue with the judge’s words. They think Doe deserves everything that happened to him because “rape culture” is the real enemy, individual rights be damned.

The finding from the court directs the university to find an “appropriate remedy” with Doe. What form that remedy will take should be interesting, though it seems likely that Doe will be permitted to return to school soon enough. Whether he’ll have to pay for his education after being put through this remains to be seen.