WBEZ | courts http://www.wbez.org/tags/courts Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en For students accused of campus rape, legal victories win back rights http://www.wbez.org/news/students-accused-campus-rape-legal-victories-win-back-rights-113350 <p><div style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/As%20colleges%20have%20been%20cracking%20down%20on%20campus%20sexual%20assault%2C%20some%20students%20have%20been%20complaining%20that%20schools%20are%20going%20too%20far%20and%20trampling%20the%20rights%20of%20the%20accused%20in%20the%20process..jpg" style="height: 440px; width: 620px;" title="As colleges have been cracking down on campus sexual assault, some students have been complaining that schools are going too far and trampling the rights of the accused in the process. (Alberto Ruggieri/Illustration Works/Getty Images)" /></div><div><p>College students can&#39;t miss the warnings these days about the risk of campus sexual assault, but increasingly, some students are also taking note of what they perceive as a different danger.</p><p>&quot;Once you are accused, you&#39;re guilty,&quot; says Parker Oaks, one of several Boston University students stopped by NPR between classes. &quot;We&#39;re living in a society where you&#39;re guilty before innocent now.&quot;</p><p>Xavier Adsera, another BU student, sounds a similar theme. &quot;We used to not be fair to women on this issue,&quot; he says. &quot;Now we&#39;re on the other extreme, not being fair to guys.&quot;</p><p>As colleges crack down on sexual assault, some students complain that the schools are going too far and trampling the rights of the accused in the process. In recent months, courts around the nation have offered some of those students significant victories, slamming schools for systems that are stacked against the accused.</p><p>&quot;Schools are overcorrecting,&quot; says a student from the University of California, San Diego. &quot;People like me are always getting hurt.&quot;</p><p>The student, who was suspended last spring after a fellow student accused him of sexual assault, asked to remain anonymous to protect his reputation. He says he was shocked by the accusation and denies any nonconsensual contact. He and his accuser had been hanging out, texting, partying and studying together on friendly terms for months after the alleged assault, he says. And he says he still has text messages to prove it, including her messages asking to come over to his place and share drinks, or &quot;pre-game,&quot; together before a party.</p><p>But he says he never had a chance to make his case because the school wouldn&#39;t let him introduce his text messages as evidence, challenge the investigator or effectively cross-examine his accuser.</p></div><p>&quot;I was so angry because that was really my sole opportunity to defend myself,&quot; he says.</p><p>So he took his&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nacua.org/documents/Doe_v_RegentsUCASanDiego.pdf">case to court</a>, filing as John Doe, and won what&#39;s being called a landmark ruling against UC-San Diego. The judge said the school&#39;s process was unfairly skewed against Doe and ordered the school to reinstate him. &quot;While the Court respects the university&#39;s determination to address sexual abuse and violence on its campus,&quot; wrote Superior Court Judge Joel M. Pressman, &quot;the hearing against petitioner was unfair.&quot;</p><p>&quot;I was ecstatic at that point,&quot; Doe says. &quot;It kind of took some b**** for a judge to come out and make the decision that they made, because every single point that we raised about unfairness and lack of evidence, the judge agreed with.&quot;</p><p>&quot;A case like this makes for a really easy lesson to say, &#39;This is what not to do,&#39;, &quot; says Western New England University law school professor Erin Buzuvis, who&nbsp;<a href="http://title-ix.blogspot.com/">blogs about sexual assault</a>&nbsp;and also consults to universities on how to handle allegations. The San Diego ruling is one of a recent flurry of decisions slamming schools for systems stacked against accused students.</p><p>In the past few months, Middlebury College and the University of Southern California were both ordered to reinstate expelled students. So was the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga after a judge ruled the school was basically upending a fundamental principle of justice by making an accused perpetrator prove he wasn&#39;t guilty.</p><p>&quot;I&#39;ve looked at what a university has done and thought, &#39;Oh, gosh, what are you thinking?&#39; &quot; Buzuvis says.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" in="" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP_120314163508.jpg" style="height: 227px; width: 310px; float: right; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px;" title="This Wednesday, March 14, 2012 photo shows attorney Wendy Murphy in the law library at the New England School of Law in Boston. Murphy, who has filed numerous Title IX complaints on behalf of victims, says colleges cave too easily in the face of threatened lawsuits from students accused of sexual violence. Most victims don't have the resources to pursue lawsuits, which is precisely why Title IX procedures on campus must work for them. That means putting a thumb on the scale in favor of victims - such as the &quot;preponderance of the evidence&quot; standard the Obama administration has said schools must use in adjudicating such cases. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)" />Some 50 challenges lodged by accused students are now in the pipeline; that&#39;s up from about a dozen just two years ago. Even one of the more brazen lawsuits, which claims a kind of reverse discrimination in federal court, recently logged a rare (albeit preliminary) legal victory.</p><p>The case, against Washington and Lee University, argues that overzealous administrators, who are using Title IX to crack down on gender discrimination and sexual assault, are actually violating the federal law at the same time by systematically discriminating against men. Most such cases filed in federal court have failed to get out of the box, but a judge allowed the claim against Washington and Lee to at least survive a first hurdle.</p><p>At the same time, the public conversation around campus sexual assault is beginning to put more focus on due process for accused students, and many campuses have been adding new protections for accused students &mdash; like the right to an attorney.</p><p>Joe Cohn, who&#39;s been advocating for the rights of the accused with the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, says he&#39;s heartened that two new bills on campus sexual assault include robust due-process protections. (The bills are the&nbsp;<a href="https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/3408">Fair Campus Act</a>&nbsp;and the&nbsp;<a href="https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/3403">Safe Campus Act</a>.) He says he also sees it as a victory that he &mdash; as an advocate for the accused &mdash; was invited to testify at a recent congressional hearing. But once there, he says, he was struck by how much more the pendulum has yet to swing.</p><p>At the hearing, Democratic Rep. Jared Polis of Colorado wondered aloud why campuses don&#39;t decide cases using a lower standard of evidence. &quot;I mean, if 10 people are accused and under reasonable likelihood standard maybe one or two did it, it seems better to get rid of all 10 people,&quot; he said. Polis has since walked back his comments, saying he &quot;went too far by implying that I support expelling innocent students from college.&quot; But Cohn says he continues to be dismayed that the comment was made and that it drew applause.</p><p>&quot;We are a ways away from reaching the kind of equilibrium that will provide fundamental fairness to everyone involved,&quot; Cohn says.</p><p>In some ways, advocates say, accused students are following much the same path that victims did: first suffering silently, thinking they&#39;re the only ones, then slowly connecting with others, then with attorneys and eventually becoming a force to be reckoned with.</p><p>&quot;The irony isn&#39;t lost on us,&quot; says Sherry Warner-Seefeld, founder of a group called Families Advocating for Campus Equality. &quot;The parallels are uncanny, frankly.&quot;</p><p>Warner-Seefeld started the group a year ago after her son was suspended for sexual assault and then won on appeal. Now, Seefeld says, she can barely keep up with calls from guys in the same situation. Many accused students see themselves as victims, she says, and they feel as traumatized as victims of sexual assault.</p><p>&quot;If we dare to suggest such a thing, there are a number of people that go pretty hysterical about that,&quot; she says. &quot;But we know for a fact that there are huge amounts of depression [among students who have been accused and punished after a hearing they claim was unfair].&quot;</p><p>Warner-Seefeld says she&#39;s encouraged by what she sees as a new trend in the courts. She says there&#39;s no question that schools have historically had a problem: automatically doubting and blaming accusers. And she&#39;s quick to add that it&#39;s still an issue. But schools need to fix that, she says, without creating a new problem by automatically doubting and blaming the accused.</p><p>&mdash;<a href="http://www.npr.org/2015/10/15/446083439/for-students-accused-of-campus-rape-legal-victories-win-back-rights?ft=nprml&amp;f=446083439"><em> via NPR</em></a></p></p> Thu, 15 Oct 2015 10:31:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/students-accused-campus-rape-legal-victories-win-back-rights-113350 Judge Landis: The colorful, controversial Chicagoan who saved baseball http://www.wbez.org/blog/john-r-schmidt/2011-08-22/judge-landis-colorful-controversial-chicagoan-who-saved-baseball-9067 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//blog/photo/2011-August/2011-08-22/Landis--Library of Congress.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>He might be the most famous Chicago judge ever. And he was certainly the only one named after a mountain.</p><p>Kenesaw Mountain Landis was born in small-town Ohio in 1866, and grew up in small-town Indiana. His unique name came from the place in Georgia where his father lost a leg in a Civil War battle.</p><p>Our man Landis never finished high school, but managed to earn a law degree--scholastic requirements were looser then. In 1891, he opened a corporate practice in Chicago.</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-August/2011-08-16/Landis--Library of Congress.jpg" style="width: 367px; height: 294px; margin: 8px; float: left;" title="">Time marched on. Landis married, started raising a family, made some money and made some connections in Republican politics. In 1905, President Theodore Roosevelt named him to the federal bench.</p><p>The new judge saw himself as a progressive reformer of the Roosevelt school. So when Standard Oil was found guilty of shady practices, Landis hit the company with a $29 million fine--the equivalent of $600 million today. The fine was later tossed out.</p><p>The Standard Oil case neatly sums up Landis as a judge. He didn't always follow accepted procedures, and was often over-ruled. At the same time, he made a lot of noise and got a lot of publicity.</p><p>He could be completely arbitrary. On one occasion, Landis freed an 18-year-old messenger who'd stolen $750,000 in bonds. The judge said the men who trusted a teenager with so much money should be the ones sent to jail.</p><p>Yet another time, he couldn't decide on how long a jail term to give a convicted swindler. Glancing up, Landis noticed that the clock read 4:30. "Court sentences the defendant to four-and-a-half years," he decreed.</p><p><strong>Baseball's First Czar </strong></p><p>In 1920, news of the Black Sox scandal rocked the nation. Eight Chicago White Sox players were accused of throwing the 1919 World Series - and baseball club owners needed to do something to restore public trust.</p><p>Bringing in an outsider to clean house seemed the best solution. Landis was a household name and had a reputation for flinty integrity. Besides, he was a baseball fan. The owners offered him a job as the sport's first Commissioner.</p><p>Landis accepted - on condition he have total, "czar-like" authority. The owners agreed.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-August/2011-08-17/Landis signs.jpg" title="Club owners watch Landis sign as baseball's first Commissioner" height="235" width="455"></p><p>He spent his first years marking his turf. The Black Sox players went on trial in criminal court and were acquitted. Landis banned them from baseball anyway. When Babe Ruth made an unsanctioned exhibition tour, the Commissioner gave baseball's biggest star a six-week suspension.</p><p>Landis also exiled other, lesser-known players. He voided contracts he didn't like. He did many high-handed things that he couldn't get away with today.</p><p>But the public supported Landis. With his white hair and craggy face, he looked like a prophet come down from the mountain--perhaps the mountain called Kenesaw--carrying the Tablets of the Law. The crisis passed. The public again trusted baseball.</p><p>And Landis had saved the game.</p><p>In 1920, when he took over, only one pro sport rivaled baseball in popularity: boxing. Since then, boxing has continued to suffer scandals, and is now dismissed by much of the public. Without Landis, the same thing might have happened to baseball.</p><p>The one thing a modern fan seems to know about Landis is that he supposedly kept black players out of the major leagues. This is based on stories later told by two prominent baseball men--after Landis was dead, and couldn't refute them. If Landis really was guilty as charged, no smoking gun has yet been found.</p><p>He carried baseball through depression and world war. During these years, Landis lived in a suite at the Ambassador East. Early in 1944, he moved out of the hotel and bought a house in Glencoe, near his adult children.</p><p>That fall Landis entered St. Luke's Hospital. The public was told he had a severe cold. But he'd also had a heart attack, and his condition deteriorated.</p><p>He died on November 25, 1944. Landis was not a religious man, and his body was immediately cremated without ceremony. Today his ashes rest at Oak Woods Cemetery.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><br> &nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 22 Aug 2011 12:15:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/john-r-schmidt/2011-08-22/judge-landis-colorful-controversial-chicagoan-who-saved-baseball-9067 Wading through Iran's judicial system http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/wading-through-irans-judicial-system <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//stoning protest.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Iran&rsquo;s judiciary often operates as a branch of the regime. &nbsp; Its sentencing can look pretty arbitrary and negotiable. &nbsp; In 2006 a woman convicted of adultery was sentenced to death by stoning. But after international outcry the sentence was suspended although the charges against her remained. Earlier this month a judiciary chief said the sentence was still under review but could be lifted. It&rsquo;s not the first time the judiciary has sent contradictory messages.<br />&nbsp;</p><p><a href="http://las.depaul.edu/int/People/Faculty/KavehEhsani.asp" target="_blank">Kaveh Eshani</a> is a professor of international studies at DePaul University and a contributing editor of the <a href="http://www.merip.org/mer/mer.html" target="_blank">Middle East Report</a>. He&rsquo;s originally from Iran. He explains how he thinks the judiciary system works.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><em>Jaffar Panahi's film </em><a href="http://www.facets.org/pages/cinematheque/films/jan2011/thecircle.php" target="_blank"><em>The Circle</em></a><em> will be shown at Facets Multimedia at 1:00 on Sunday January 16th. Facets is located at 1517 West Fullerton in Chicago.&nbsp; A discussion with Kaveh Eshani and Jerome McDonnell will follow the screening. </em><br />&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 14 Jan 2011 15:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/wading-through-irans-judicial-system