Court of Appeals Decision Rules Against WSU in Case of Abdullatif Arishi in Expulsion and Suspension Cases

Two weeks ago, a Superior Court ruled against WSU in the case of Robert Barber, who I represented.  This morning, the Court of Appeals in Spokane ruled in favor of former WSU student Abdullatif Arishi holding that he was wrongfully expelled because he was not give a full hearing on the charges brought against him.  This was a big win by Pullman attorney Steve Martonick who represented the student.  The court ruled that students facing serious allegations on a college campus must be given a full hearing with the right to have a lawyer speak on their behalf and ask questions.  Previously, WSU would allow attorneys to be present but they were not allowed to speak or ask questions of witnesses.

Judge Laurell Siddoway authored the court's decision ruling WSU procedures unlawful.

Judge Laurell Siddoway authored the court’s decision ruling WSU procedures unlawful.

They court of appeals pointed out that expulsion hearings are serious matters for college students, and people face damage to their personal reputations and their academic career.  Additionally, in the case of Abdullatif Arishi, there was the additional consequence of losing a student visa and being deported. WSU argued that Title IX of Civil Rights Act mandated certain other procedures but the court rejected that analysis because the alleged victim of Mr. Arishi was not a student at WSU.

The decision means that in Washington state, when individuals make accusations against another student, they will have to appear in person and face questioning by lawyers in front of a disciplinary board.  Previously, an accuser could not be made to testify and an investigator would speak on their behalf.  I anticipate that the school might try to distinguish this court ruling in instances where the victim of an offense is an actual student at WSU.
The court decision also takes issue with WSU’s practice of allowing police officers or investigators to give an opinion on the credibility of witnesses.  The court ruled that this is unacceptable, and the hearing board itself needs to be making these sort of credibility determinations based on live testimony.
While on its face, the court decision addresses future cases, it is unclear to what extent this precedent can be used to assist students in past cases at WSU.  Typically an appeal would need to be filed to keep this issue alive in each case.  However, if the legal precedent was not available at the time, the argument could be made that past students should be given a rehearing.
The student conduct system at WSU has public criticized in the last few months particularly in the way that it was handled the cases involving student athletes.

 

 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Leave a Reply

Comments may be edited for content. Please avoid harsh language and profanity. Flaming or use of threatening language is not allowed. Adding a signature is completely optional. I reserve the right to edit or delete comments as I feel necessary. If you do not like the way your comment has been edited, let me know and I will delete it. Thanks for commenting! (It may appear that your comment does not post at first. However, it will usually appear once the administrator logs in.) Leaving a comment does not create an attorney client relationship, and no confidential information should be left in a comment.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR….
Photo of Steve Graham Steve Graham is a criminal defense lawyer, and he splits his time between Spokane and Seattle, Washington. Visit his website by clicking: www.grahamdefense.com
........
Law Office of Steve Graham
1312 North Monroe Street, #140
Spokane, WA 99201
(509) 252-9167
Blogs I Read
Disclaimer
..........
Categories
Archives