Patricia Hamill, a Conrad O’Brien partner, today joined 19 attorneys from around the country to send a letter to key Senate sponsors of the Campus Accountability and Safety Act (S. 2692), expressing their concern that the proposed legislation does not adequately protect the due process rights of students who have been accused of a campus sexual assault.
The letter was sent to lead sponsor, Senator Claire McCaskill, along with 14 co-sponsors. The attorneys, all of whom have specific experience representing accused students, identify shortcomings in the proposed legislation, particularly with respect to its focus on “victims,” as opposed to “alleged victims,” while ignoring the core concept of innocent until proven guilty. The attorneys make concrete recommendations with respect to due process, impartiality, and the collection of evidence.
As stated in the letter by Ms. Hamill and the other signing attorneys: “As lawyers, our goal is to impress upon you the necessity to ensure not only that accusers’ complaints are appropriately investigated and, where warranted, adjudicated, but also that the accused are treated fairly and equitably, consistent with the U.S. Constitution and principles of equality under the law embodied in Title IX.“ While applauding the sponsors’ “efforts to develop a fair solution to the problem of campus sexual assault,” Ms. Hamill and the signing attorneys stress that any legislation must ensure “objective, fair treatment for all involved.”