Law schools hold their students to a high standard, and they expect that they will conduct themselves in a manner that reflects the integrity of the legal profession. The University of Denver Sturm College of Law, also known as Denver Law, is one of the oldest law schools in the nation and has one of the most distinguished tax law programs in the United States. As representatives of the school, students have a responsibility to adhere to both the University of Denver Code of Student Conduct and the Denver Law Code of Academic Conduct.
Denver Law maintains these expectations to uphold the reputation of the school and to prepare students to sit for the Colorado Bar Examination. The Supreme Court of Colorado has strict requirements for law graduates entering the field. In addition to educational testing requirements, they use a character and fitness evaluation to determine if an individual has the appropriate qualities to become a lawyer. The Court has a right to examine the candidate's history of violations such as academic dishonesty, professional misconduct, and personal legal issues and can choose to withhold licensure as a result.
Any form of misconduct in law school is a serious matter that could disqualify you from becoming an attorney. You need a skilled student defense legal advisor who can help you defend yourself against allegations and protect your reputation.
Misconduct at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law
The University of Denver (DU) has an Honor Code, which all students must abide by to continue their education at the school. The Honor Code intends to protect students, preserve the values established by DU, and make the school environment an ideal place for learning and recreation. Although the Honor Code contains policies regarding academic infractions, Denver Law has a more complex set of regulations in place designed to embody the prestige of the legal profession.
Examples of academic misconduct at Denver law include:
- Using unapproved materials while taking a test
- Obtaining information about a test without the authorization of an instructor
- Beginning a test before the designated starting time or ending it after the deadline has passed
- Plagiarizing another person's work
- Cheating during an exam
- Taking or destroying property of the DU College of Law Library
- Failure to cooperate with the Honor Board regarding alleged infractions of the Honor Code
How Denver Law Handles Student Misconduct
Denver Law has a structured process in place for handling accusations of student misconduct. Students accused of committing a violation of the Honor Code outside the realm of academics undergo the same procedures in place for all DU students. However, the Denver Law administration handles academic misconduct violations directly.
The Denver Law process for handling academic misconduct includes the following steps:
- Report of violation: Anyone at Denver Law can submit a written complaint containing the name of the alleged violator and a description of the accusations to the Honor Board, which consists of students and faculty who evaluate accusations of misconduct and determine the outcome of each case. After receiving a complaint, the Honor Board must provide the alleged violator with a written notification of the allegations, their right to counsel, and the scheduled hearing.
- Initial hearing: At the initial hearing, the accused draws the name of a student member of the Honor Board. If the accused approves of the selection, that person will serve as Code Advocate for the case. The chairperson then divides the remaining student members into two groups of four, each with one alternate. One group serves as the investigative panel, while the other serves as the adjudicatory panel.
- Investigatory hearing: The adjudicatory panel cannot attend the investigatory hearing, where members of the investigatory panel weigh the evidence provided by the Code Advocate regarding the allegation. The panel makes a fact-based decision by majority vote as to whether the case should proceed. If the panel chooses to move forward with the case, the Honor Board plans an adjudicatory hearing at a date and time that allows the accused enough time to prepare.
- Adjudicatory hearing: During an adjudicatory hearing, the accused attends with their counsel and enters a plea. The adjudicatory board then reviews the evidence provided to them by the investigatory board and the defense made by the accused or their counsel. Witnesses undergo direct and/or cross-examination, and both parties make closing statements. Voting members of the adjudicative panel then vote to decide if the accused committed the violation.
- Sanctions: The adjudicative panel imposes either a corrective or disciplinary sanction. Corrective sanctions do not result in disciplinary action but require that the student rectify the consequences. Disciplinary sanctions vary in severity from a public reprimand to expulsion, and the board must forward their decision regarding disciplinary action to the Dean of the College of Law. Sanctions cannot take place until after the appeals process is complete or the time allotted for the accused to file an appeal runs out.
How to Appeal a Misconduct Decision at Denver Law
To appeal the Honor Board's decision regarding a violation of misconduct, the student must submit a written petition for review within 30 days of the decision. Within 10 days of receipt, the chairperson must forward the appeal to the Review Board, who will reconsider the case. The Review Board can overturn the adjudicative panel's decision if new evidence is presented or they determine that the adjudicative panel acted prejudicially or unfairly in approving the allegations against the student.
A Student Defense Attorney-Advisor Can Help You with Your Case
Dealing with a misconduct violation case at Denver Law may seem daunting, especially if you're not familiar with the process. If you recently found out you've been accused of an infraction of the Code of Academic Conduct, you need a student defense attorney-advisor who understands your distress and can help you build a strong defense that ensures your voice is heard and the school acts in an appropriate and unbiased manner.
Joseph D. Lento has spent many years helping countless law students across the nation fight back against allegations of student misconduct. Contact the Lento Law Firm as soon as possible at 888-535-3686 to get started.