Thursday, October 16, 2014

Jameis Winston, FSU's Student Code and Due Process

In a new article, I look at the many reasons why Jameis Winston should be worried about a university hearing and what legal options he has to stop it. I interviewed several top legal minds for this story, including Daniel Wallach, Erin Buzuvis, Todd Zywicki, Alan Milstein and John Banzhaf. Hope you can read it.

Here are a couple of excerpts:

In addition to containing ambiguous language about whether a former judge can preside over a hearing, FSU’s code affords Winston far fewer legal protections than he would obtain in a trial. Some attorneys find FSU’s format for a disciplinary hearing untenable.Alan Milstein, an attorney at Sherman Silverstein who has litigated on behalf of high-profile sports figures, is one of them. “It is appalling that a university,” Milstein tells, “would not understand that due process is not a privilege and is not just a fundamental right -- it is the best path to discovering the truth.“ 
The lack of legal protections for Winston provides him an incentive to try to delay a hearing or drop out of school. “It would be a kangaroo court proceeding,” George Mason University law professor Todd Zywicki predicts in an interview with, “Winston would be ill-advised to take his chances with that.” Zywicki adds, “The striking distinction here is that the state attorney, who has to make his case in a real court, obviously doesn't believe there is enough evidence to go forward.”
While a university disciplinary hearing is not a trial in the traditional sense, it must still comport with due process. Daniel Wallach, an appellate attorney with Becker & Poliakoff in Fort Lauderdale, explains that, “even in the context of school disciplinary proceedings, the opportunity to confront one’s accusers and cross-examine them is an essential part of the due process requirement.” Wallach says that “a Florida court would be more likely to enjoin these proceedings if it believed that basic due process protections were lacking.”

To read the rest, click here.

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