Can testimony at a university disciplinary hearing be used in a subsequent criminal case?

 

Testimony from a university disciplinary hearing or investigation can be used in a subsequent criminal case or investigation. It's not necessarily automatically disclosed by the school to law enforcement or to the authorities, because educational records of that nature are protected under FERPA, are protected under federal law. That being said, investigation materials, hearing materials, can be subject to subpoena both by say in a civil process or in a criminal investigation.

It's complicated further by schools, colleges, and universities that have sworn police departments where they're conducting the investigation either into the disciplinary matter or the Title IX case, where if they're the party that's investigating, they would have immediate access or automatic access to those kinds of, say, records. Not necessarily everything, but enough for it to be a major concern. That's the bad news. Not to base things off of statistics, but Department of Justice statistics reflect that 80% of the time a Title IX proceeding will be handled exclusively at the school level. In other words, there will not be a criminal investigation or criminal case either before, during, or after. That's the good news.

The bad news is that what can take place at a Title IX case at a college or a university in terms of the potential consequences can be life altering, can have profound negative impact on an accused student if found responsible. So that's why it's critical, regardless of what the circumstances are, whether there's a criminal investigation or not, I deal with both. I deal with cases where it's exclusively Title IX, I deal with Title IX cases where there's law enforcement involved also, across the United States. It's critical to have an experienced attorney advisor helping through the process, because so much is at stake. There's so many considerations and nuances that have to be accounted for in a Title IX case that you need somebody in your corner looking out for your interest and rights.

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If you, or your student, are facing any kind of disciplinary action, or other negative academic sanction, and are having feelings of uncertainty and anxiety for what the future may hold, contact our offices today, and let us help secure your academic career.

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