Palmer George & Taylor PLLC

Is federal guidance re campus sex assaults unfair to suspects?

Here's a truism and flat reality regarding a sex-crime allegation leveled against any individual in Idaho or elsewhere, as noted on our website at the proven criminal defense firm of Palmer George & Taylor PLLC in Coeur d'Alene: "The mere accusation of having committed a sex crime can do a tremendous amount of damage to a person's life."

That is obviously true in any context or given case.

In today's post, we spotlight campus-based sex assault allegations, which have been prominently thrust into the news recently by multi-sourced criticisms aimed at a federal directive seeking to promote uniform guidelines and consistent policies to guide college authorities as they respond to claims of student wrongdoing.

Diverse critics have been increasingly stepping up recently to condemn those guidelines, which were disseminated by the U.S. Department of Education back in 2011.

A chief complaint is this: The provisions/policies simply issued as expectations that were never vetted by public scrutiny or debate. And notwithstanding the intent to provide a meaningful policy for investigating and handling college sex cases, say some commentators, the guidelines have confused campus authorities.

And then there's this, as noted in one national report on the directive: Federal regulators "established the expectation that campuses would adjudicate sexual assault allegations based on the 'preponderance of evidence.'" That standard is notably lower than the threshold of "beyond a reasonable doubt" that typically attaches in criminal matters.

As a result, say opponents of the guidelines, diluted legal protections are resulting in unfair outcomes -- in some cases, college expulsion -- for suspects in cases where truly convincing evidence lacks.

With any sexual misconduct allegation, of course, evidence is at the very heart of proof-related concerns and the ultimate disposition of a case.

Our attorneys know intimately well how critically important it is for any person facing a sex-crime allegation to have experienced legal counsel on board to provide diligent, aggressive and tailored representation that is focused unwaveringly on a best-case outcome.

The presumption of innocence unless proven guilty is a bedrock and time-honored American legal principle, and it is imperative that it apply to every individual targeted in a criminal probe.

And that is essentially true of any person charged with a sex crime.

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Coeur d'Alene, ID 83814

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