Many allegations of Title IX violations are also apparent criminal acts. In fact, many Title IX violation instances involve behavior that violates Commonwealth law.
Despite these similarities, the processes that you may face following an accusation vary greatly depending upon whether a school or a court handles the case. Schools do not need to follow the rules of evidence and can rely on hearsay to prove a case. On the other hand, courts must respect the Constitutional rights of all defendants and cannot compel them to testify.
The differences in criminal proceedings vs. Fairfax campus Title IX proceedings are significant and could play a major role in the outcome of your cases. An experienced student defense attorney could help you to recognize those differences and to act in a way that could best represent your interests.
All schools that accept any form of federal funding must establish an investigatory procedure for dealing with supposed violations of Title IX. While federal law mandates the creation of these processes, it is silent as to how schools must go about this.
As a result, schools can take their own steps to investigate and punish Title IX violations that have nothing to do with criminal law as a whole. Investigators can gather a wide variety of evidence ranging from a victim statement, to third party witness statements, to documentary evidence, to surveillance footage. This is very similar to criminal cases.
However, schools do not need to respect the rules of evidence in their hearings. As a result, hearsay evidence may form a large portion of a school’s case. In addition, a school may require a defendant-student to submit to questioning in a formal session. Finally, schools must only prove that it is more likely than not that the offense occurred.
Many allegations of Title IX violation are also criminal acts. Something as simple as harassment may violate the Commonwealth’s criminal code. In addition, schools are obligated to report any criminal activity that takes place on their property. As a result, it is not uncommon for students to face simultaneous prosecutions in both settings.
Fortunately, the standard to obtain a conviction in criminal court is much higher than in a school’s conduct code session. Above all else, a prosecutor in court must prove the charged beyond a reasonable doubt, not just that it was more likely than not that the offense took place.
Second, prosecutors must follow the rules of evidence. This means that a defense attorney may be able to argue for the exclusion of evidence obtained in an illegal search or that statements provided by out-of-court witnesses are hearsay.
Finally, the court cannot force a defendant to testify at trial. While a defendant’s testimony may form a portion of a defense strategy, it is never required by law. An attorney could help to explain how the criminal trial process works and the key differences between them and school disciplinary hearings.
Understanding criminal proceedings vs. Fairfax campus Title IX proceedings is essential to planning your future. It is far easier for a school to punish a student for a Title IX violation than it is for a criminal court. This is because the school is not bound by traditional rules of evidence and can force a defendant to provide testimony. The burden of proof to prove a case is also far lower.
A lawyer could help you if you are facing both Title IX violation accusations in school and related criminal charges. They could work to form a defense that fits the procedural rules for both sessions to protect your freedom and ability to continue your education.
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