Article III

School of Law Honor Code

ARTICLE III:  COMPLAINT, INVESTIGATION, AND CHARGING DECISION

A.  Report to and Determination by Dean of Students.

  1. Duty to Report.  All students, faculty, and administrative staff who have knowledge of possible misconduct under the Honor Code have an affirmative duty promptly to report the misconduct.  A report may also be made by any other person with knowledge of possible misconduct.  Under some circumstances, a student’s failure to report within a reasonable amount of time conduct that clearly violates the Honor Code may itself be a violation of the Code (see Art.I.D.4).
  2. Reporting Procedure.  A report or complaint alleging possible misconduct under the Honor Code shall be made in writing and filed with the Dean of Students.  The complaint shall be made promptly after discovery of the suspected misconduct, shall set forth in writing the relevant facts and circumstances, and shall be signed by the complainant.  A complaint may be brought against a current or former law student, but must be brought within two (2) years of the date of the alleged violation or is time-barred.
  3. Determination by Dean of Students.  Within five (5) days of receiving the complaint, the Dean of Students shall notify the accused student (“respondent”) of the fact that a complaint has been filed and of the nature of the alleged violation, and then shall review the complaint to determine whether it states a possible violation of the Honor Code.  If, in the judgment of the Dean of Students, the complaint does not state an offense, s/he shall dismiss the complaint.  If the Dean of Students concludes that the complaint states a possible violation of the Honor Code, s/he shall refer it to an  Investigative Team for investigation.  The Dean of Students’ decision to dismiss or refer a complaint shall not be subject to appeal.
  4. Notice of Determination.  Upon determining the course of action to be taken, the Dean of Students shall first notify the respondent and the complainant orally or by e-mail and then publicly post (see Art.VII.F.2), and provide the respondent and complainant with copies of, a written notice, redacted so that student names and other obviously identifying information have been removed (see Art.VII.F.3), informing the law school community of the complaint and disposition thereof.  If the Dean of Students has decided not to refer a matter to an Investigative Team, the notice shall also include a brief explanation of the decision.

B.  Dismissal of Complaint.  When a complaint is dismissed, the Dean of Students shall place a copy of the redacted written notice of dismissal in a file to be kept and maintained by him or her.  All documents referring to the respondent or any other individual by name shall be destroyed, and the matter shall not be made part of or referred to in any student’s law school file.

C.  Referral to Investigative Team.

  1. Notice of Investigation and Initial Action.  Within five (5) days of receiving a referral from the Dean of Students, the Investigative Team shall:  (a) prepare and deliver to the respondent a written notice of investigation; (b) publicly post a copy of the notice (see Art.VII.F.2), redacted so that student names and other obviously identifying information have been removed (see Art.VII.F.3); and (c) begin an investigation or, if the respondent admits the alleged wrongdoing and there are no issues of fact to investigate, proceed to Section D below.  The written notice of investigation shall briefly describe the matter being investigated, and shall inform the respondent that s/he may elect to be represented by a lawyer or other advisor at his or her own expense and that s/he has no obligation to speak to the Investigative Team, but that if s/he elects not to do so, members of the Team and other Honor Code adjudicators may, although they are not required to, draw adverse inferences from the respondent's silence (see Section C.2 below & Art.IV.B.2.e).
  2. Investigation.  The Investigative Team shall conduct such investigation as it deems necessary to decide how the matter should be addressed.  The inquiry shall be undertaken in a manner determined by the Team to be appropriate given the nature of the charges, the need for confidentiality, and the interests of the parties.    The Team may interview the respondent and others.  The interviews may be tape recorded.  All members of the law school community have a duty to cooperate with the investigation.  The respondent may decline to be interviewed; but the Team and other Honor Code adjudicators may, although they are not required to, draw adverse inferences from his or her silence.  For any student other than one suspected of possible misconduct, refusing without good cause to cooperate in an investigation may constitute a violation of the Code (see Art.I.D.1).

D.  Investigative Team Action.

  1. Decision.  Within ten (10) days of receiving a referral from the Dean of Students in cases in which an investigation is conducted or, if there was no issue of fact and hence no investigation, within five (5) days, the Investigative Team shall meet to discuss their findings and then vote to do one of the following:

a.  Decline.  If the Investigative Team finds that the complaint does not state an offense or is not supported by sufficient evidence, the Team shall vote to decline to proceed further and close the case (see Section D.2.a below).

b.  Draft Charge(s) and Refer for Adjudication.  If the Investigative Team finds that the allegations state an offense under the Honor Code and are supported by sufficient evidence, the Team shall vote to bring a formal charge, draft the charge (see Section D.2.b.(1) below), and refer the matter to the Hearing Panel for adjudication (see Section D.2.b below).

A majority vote (2-1) shall be sufficient to support a decision by the Investigative Team to decline to proceed further and close a case.  A majority vote shall also be sufficient to support a decision to draft charges and refer a matter for adjudication, but only if the faculty member of the Team is one of the majority votes.  All decisions by the Investigative Team shall be final.

2.  Notice of Decision and Follow-Up.  Upon reaching a decision, the Investigative Team shall first notify the respondent, complainant, and Dean of Students orally or by e-mail and then, within five (5) days, follow up as provided below.

a.  Declination.  In the event of a declination, the Team shall prepare a report of the decision and the reasons, deliver copies to the respondent, the complainant, and the Dean of Students, and publicly post a copy of the report (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.

b.  Formal Charge and Referral for Adjudication.  If a formal charge is brought, the two student members of the Team, now acting as the Case Presentation Team (see Art.II.C.2, H.1), shall prepare and deliver to the respondent a copy of the charging document, along with a “Notice of Rights,” a set of discovery materials, and a copy of the Honor Code.

(1)  Charging Document.  The charging document shall set forth the name of the accused student and the Honor Code provision(s) allegedly violated, and provide a brief statement summarizing the specific acts or omissions constituting the alleged violation(s).

(2)  Notice of Rights.  The Notice of Rights shall notify the respondent of:  (a) the right to elect to be represented by a lawyer or other advisor in any subsequent proceedings at his or her own expense (see Art.IV.A.1); (b) the right either to have a hearing on the charge(s) (see Art.IV.B) or to admit the charge(s) and proceed directly to a hearing on sanctions (see Art.IV.C); and (c) the rights, in the event of a hearing on the charge(s), to cross-examine witnesses, present a defense, and remain silent, subject to the possibility that adverse inferences will be drawn (see Art.IV.A.2, B.2.e), and to be exonerated at the conclusion of the hearing absent proof by clear and convincing evidence (see Art.IV.B.2.d).  If a charge is brought between the last day of classes in the Spring semester and three weeks before the first day of classes in the Fall semester, the Notice shall also advise of the options available for summer adjudication (see Art.IV.D).

(3)  Discovery Materials.    The discovery materials shall consist of a list of the witnesses who will be called to testify against the respondent assuming a hearing is held, brief (one- or two-sentence) summaries of the substance of their expected testimony, and copies of any documents to be offered in evidence against the respondent.  The packet shall also include a memo listing and offering to make available for examination by the respondent at a time and location to be agreed on by the parties any tangible objects to be offered in evidence, as well as any evidence known to the Case Presentation Team that tends to exonerate the respondent or mitigate the degree of culpability.

The Team shall also deliver copies of the charging document, Notice of Rights, and discovery materials to the complainant, the Dean of Students, and the Hearing Panel Chair and Presiding Officer, and shall publicly post a copy of the charging document (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.

3. Records and Reports.  For each matter handled by an Investigative Team, the Team shall keep and maintain a complete set of all notices, reports, and other required writings made or received by the Team from the time of the referral (see  Section C above) until final notification is given (see Section D.2 above).  Each Team shall also preserve for safekeeping all evidence and other materials gathered in the course of the investigation.  When a case is declined and closed, the Team shall turn over all such writings and other materials to the Dean of Students for placement in a file kept by him or her.  When a case is referred for adjudication, the writings and other materials are retained for use by the Case Presentation Team and a list of what is being retained and copies of the writings shall be turned over to the Dean of Students for placement in a file kept by him or her.

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