Engel & Martin, LLC is one of the leading firms nationally in litigating on behalf of students who have been found responsible, or ‘guilty’ of in Title IX sexual misconduct disciplinary proceedings.
“As attorneys, we have been approached by dozens of students from schools across the nation facing disciplinary proceedings. Most of these matters have been resolved quietly; some have led to litigation. What they all have in common is that the students believe that the procedures did not afford them fundamental fairness.” — Joshua Adam Engel, March 2015 issue of Fraternal Law.
Joshua Adam Engel and Anne Tamashasky have successfully represented a significant number of students in lawsuits following school disciplinary proceedings. Many of these cases are resolved quietly and favorably. Some, however, have required litigation to protect the rights of students.
Engel has been featured in a number of national publications discussing Title IX issues, including
Students need to recognize that an allegation of sexual assault does not occur in isolation. These cases arise amidst a growing national controversy about the responses of colleges and universities to sexual assaults on campuses. After years of criticism for being too lax on campus sexual assault, on April 11, 2011, the U.S. Education Department’s Office of Civil Rights sent a “ Dear Colleague” to colleges and universities. The Dear Colleague Letter indicated that, in order to comply with Title IX, colleges and Universities must have transparent, prompt procedures to investigate and resolve complaints of sexual misconduct. Most notably, the Dear Colleague Letter required schools to adopt a relatively low burden of proof— “more likely than not“—in cases involving sexual misconduct, including assault.
Against this background, schools have adopted various Sexual Misconduct Policies. While these policies often to provide those accused of misconduct “a prompt, fair, and impartial investigation and resolution,” the truth is often different. Schools repeatedly rush to judgment in an effort to find students “responsible” in order to “look tough.” Worse, the job of investigating and adjudicating these claims often is carried out by administrators with no experience in investigations and no knowledge of the fundamental due process rights owed to students.
The hearing processes by the schools often are “ kangaroo courts” where a student is presumed to be guilty. Some of the problems we have observed include:
Panel members who are pursuing a biased political agenda instead of seeking the truth
Biased investigations, including instances where the investigator hides evidence that is helpful to the accused
The inability of students to effectively cross-examine witnesses or bring in supporting witnesses
The unwillingness of panels to consider relevant evidence
Engel has been asked by the Department of Education to consult on revisions to the Title IX process.
Read More: Joshua Engel has been recognized by the news media as one of the leading attorneys representing students who have been accused of sexual assault and sexual harassment.
Engel and Martin have successfully obtained injunctions against schools seeking to expel or suspend students following hearings that denied the due process rights of students. Some representative decisions include:
Engel & Martin has also been involved in some of the most significant federal appeals courts cases in this matter, including:
Every case is different and unique. Engel & Martin has a track record of success in difficult cases to evaluate each matter and recommend the best course of action.
A student found “responsible” for a sexual assault by a school faces severe consequences.
Suspension or expulsion is just the beginning.
The school may place a notation on transcripts, which would inform any future graduate school or employer of the incident. In addition, the discipline may have to be disclosed on professional applications (like for the bar exam or a medical license) or background checks for a security clearance.
Joshua Adam Engel has represented and advised students in multiple states. Engel has been recognized as one of the leading attorneys in this field. He recently gave a presentation at a nationwide symposium on this issue in Washington, DC. He combines experience in three important fields: civil rights, school disciplinary proceedings and criminal defense.
Engel 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.