The University of Georgia Law School
HONOR CODE CONSTITUTION
AS AMENDED SEPTEMBER 26, 2001
In keeping with the spirit of the legal profession, knowing that upon every student at the Law School rests the duty to maintain a Code of unimpeachable conduct, and that there is a need for a system which will enable students not to condone other conduct that detracts from the integrity of our Law School, this Honor Code Constitution is hereby ordained and established.
ARTICLE I. JURISDICTION
The jurisdiction of the Honor Court extends to all students of the University of Georgia Law School. The Honor Court has jurisdiction to determine whether a student defendant has violated the Honor Code in any instance in which a complaint is filed by any member of the law school community with the Honor Court Investigators or their advisor.
ARTICLE II. HONOR COURT
Section 1. Purpose. There shall be a body known as the Honor Court. The Honor Court shall serve as a court for the trial of violations and the determination of punishment in cases of guilt.
Section 2. Membership. The Honor Court consists of a Hearing Panel and a Hearing Officer, and shall be assisted by an Investigators Committee.
a. Hearing Panel. The Hearing Panel consists of five student justices, two of whom shall be chosen from the second-year law class, and three from the third-year class. In cases involving students of the first- year class, one member of the Hearing Panel must be a first-year student from a section other than that of the accused. The first-year representative shall be selected from the panel described in Article II, Section 4(a). The justices shall be nominated by the members of their respective classes, and shall be elected by a majority of those persons voting in their respective class elections by secret ballot. All justices shall serve a term of one year, and may be reelected to a second term.
b. Hearing Officer. A member of the faculty appointed by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs of the Law School shall serve as the Hearing Officer. The Hearing Officer shall serve a term of two years, during which time (s)he shall manage investigative and hearing procedures under Article IV. The Hearing Officer is not a member of the Hearing Panel, does not vote to determine guilt or innocence and does not participate in the private deliberations of the Hearing Panel. The Hearing Officer shall determine all procedural questions presented during Article IV proceedings. The Hearing Officer, however, cannot rule upon motions regarding probable cause determinations by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs or upon any motions that require rulings on the merits of the case.
c. Investigators Committee. Five students shall comprise an Investigators Committee, two of whom shall be chosen from the second-year class, and three from the third-year class. In cases involving first-year students, one member of the Investigators Committee must be a first-year student from a section other than that of the accused. The first-year representative shall be selected from the panel described in Article II, Section 4(b). The investigators shall be nominated by the members of their respective classes, and shall be elected by a majority of those persons voting in their respective class elections by secret ballot. Each investigator shall serve a term of one year, and may be reelected to a second term.
1) Chief Investigator. One of the third-year investigators shall be Chief Investigator. The nominations for Chief Investigator shall be the three investigators elected by the rising third-year class. The Chief Investigator shall be elected by a plurality of all votes cast by an electorate comprised of the rising second and rising third-year classes.
2) Prosecutor. In the event of a formal adjudication under Article IV, one investigator shall be selected by the Chief Investigator to serve as Prosecutor.
Section 3. Powers. The Honor Court shall hear cases alleging violations of the Honor Code; determine guilt or innocence; determine penalties; promulgate any and all regulations and procedures necessary for the efficient and fair operation of Honor Court matters; and publish such of its conclusions and proceedings as it determines to be advisable and wise, consistent with the student's right to confidentiality if the student should elect that the trial be secret.
Section 4. Elections and Nominations of First-Year Representatives.
a. Hearing Panel. No later than the third week in October, members of the first-year class will submit nominations for membership on the Hearing Panel. In order to be considered, a first-year student must provide the signatures of fifty classmates that support, not necessarily exclusively, the student's nomination. Those applying to the Hearing Panel are not prohibited from also applying to the Investigators Committee, and the collected fifty signatures satisfy the nomination process for both Committees. The Hearing Panel will interview those who received the necessary signatures. Criteria that may be used by the Hearing Panel in choosing are seriousness of candidate, previous experience, and availability for meetings. The interviews will conclude within one week of their commencement. The Hearing Panel shall then select one, properly nominated, first-year student from each section to serve as a first-year representative to the Hearing Panel. If a section produces no properly nominated first-year representatives for the Hearing Panel, the Hearing Panel will have the discretion to select a representative from such section.
b. Investigators Committee. No later than the third week in October, members of the first-year class will submit nominations for membership on the Investigators Committee. In order to be considered, a first-year student must provide the signatures of fifty classmates that support, not necessarily exclusively, the student's nomination. Those applying to the Investigators Committee are not prohibited from also applying to the Hearing Panel, and the collected fifty signatures satisfy the nomination process for both Committees. The Investigators Committee will interview those who received the necessary signatures. Criteria that may be used by the Investigators Committee in choosing are seriousness of candidate, previous experience, and availability for meetings. The interviews will conclude within one week of their commencement. The Investigators Committee shall then select one, properly nominated, first-year student from each section to serve as a first-year representative to the Investigators Committee. If a section produces no properly nominated first-year representatives for the Investigators Committee, the Investigators Committee will have the discretion to select a representative from such section.
ARTICLE III. HONOR CODE
Section 1. Definitions
a. "Academic matter" means all matters that relate to:
1) Any law school course;
2) Any law school examination;
3) Any matter for which law school credit is given or sought;
4) Any non-electoral competition for membership in any law journal
or other student organization; or
5) Material submitted for publication in any law journal.
b. "Person in authority" means all faculty of the law school (including visiting and adjunct faculty), all employees of the law school with responsibility in connection with any academic matter, and all professional library staff members.
c. "Associate Dean" means the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs for the Law School.
Section 2. A student Violates the Honor Code if he/she:
a. Knowingly makes a materially false or deceptive statement to a person in authority in connection with an academic matter; or
b. Engages in conduct in connection with an academic matter either:
1) For the purpose of gaining an unfair advantage over another student, or
2) Under circumstances such that a reasonable law student would know that the conduct was likely to result in an unfair advantage.
Section 3. Examples of Honor Code Violations
As illustrations of conduct which violates the provisions in Section 2, the following specific forms of conduct by students are violations of the Honor Code:
a. Violation of any procedure adopted by any person in authority for an examination or any other graded material, including but not limited to:
1) Use of unauthorized materials;
2) Writing beyond the time limit of the examination;
3) Communication with any unauthorized person during the
examination or the preparation of the graded material; or
4) Communication concerning the examination or preparation of
the graded material with any student who already has taken or who has yet to take the examination.
b. Purposeful destruction, mutilation, secretion, or unauthorized removal of any law school property, including library material.
c. Purposeful invasion, including by computer, of the security maintained for the preparation or storage of examinations or other confidential information retained by the law school.
d. Submission, except by permission of the relevant person in authority after full disclosure, of any work prepared, used, or submitted in another course or for a law journal, clinic, employer, or any other organization.
e. Agreeing, soliciting, attempting or agreeing to commit, assist, or facilitate a violation of this Article.
f. Failure to report a known violation of this Article within a reasonable time.
g. Failure to provide information or testimony when requested by the Honor Court, except upon a showing of good cause.
h. Making a false representation about one's academic record or law school activities to a prospective employer or to another academic institution;
i. Unauthorized use of academic materials, such as library books;
j. Unauthorized taking of another student's books, class notes, outlines, study materials or computer;
k. Violation of the confidentiality rules created by the Honor Code Constitution.
Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit in any way the provisions of Section 2 of this Article.
Section 4. This Article does not apply to plagiarism. Conduct alleged to constitute plagiarism remains within the authority of the faculty.
Section 5. All incoming students shall sign the following pledge on matriculation.
I, the undersigned, have read the School of Law Honor Code Constitution, and understand what is expected of me as a student, including my obligation to report violations to which I am a witness or of which I am aware.
The pledge remains in effect until (a) graduation or (b) termination of education prior to graduation.
ARTICLE IV: INVESTIGATIVE AND HEARING PROCEDURES
Section 1. Referral, Investigation, and Probable Cause Determination
a. Reporting Procedure
All students and faculty (full and part-time) who reasonably believe that a violation of the Honor Code has occurred have an affirmative duty promptly to report the violation to the Chief Investigator. A complaint may be made by any other person with knowledge of a violation, including staff members and administrators of the law school. The complaint must be in writing, signed by the complainant.
b. Preliminary Investigation
Within three (3) days of receiving a complaint, the Chief Investigator shall assign an investigator to the case and the complaint. If the complaint alleges a violation by an upperclass student, only an upperclass student may serve as investigator. If the matter involves a first-year student, a first-year representative, not from the section of the accused, may serve as the investigator. The Investigator shall then commence an investigation within five (5) days. The inquiry shall be undertaken in a manner determined by the Investigator to be appropriate, based upon the nature of the charges, the confidentiality of the investigation, and the interest of the parties. The Investigator may interview the accused student and others. Those interviews may be tape recorded. The Investigator shall maintain the strict confidentiality of the investigation. Students, faculty, staff, and administrators have a duty to cooperate with the Investigator. The accused student may decline to be interviewed. At the beginning of an interview with the accused student, the Investigator shall advise the student of the allegations and of the student's right to decline to be interviewed and to have lay representation by anyone other than a member of the Law School faculty or staff.
c. The Investigators' Report
1) Submission of Report. Not later than fifteen (15) days after the commencement of the investigation, the Investigators Committee shall submit a written report to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. The report must contain a recommendation of any further action that the Investigators Committee believes to be warranted. If the matter involves a first-year student, a first-year representative, not from the section of the accused, will participate in the deliberation of the Investigators Committee. The Chief Investigator shall select one of the eligible first-year representatives as described in Article II, Section 4(b). When the Investigators Committee is required to vote on an accusation against a first-year student, the Chief Investigator shall preside, but not vote. If the Investigators Committee believes in good faith that a Hearing Panel could not reasonably find that the accused student committed an Honor Code violation, the Investigators Committee shall recommend dismissal.
2) Nature of the proceeding before the Associate Dean. Pre-hearing proceedings before the Associate Dean are strictly for the purpose of determining whether there is sufficient evidence (probable cause) to warrant a formal charge. The proceedings need not be conducted as formal hearings.
3). Appeal. A decision by the Associate Dean to dismiss the charge or proceed with the charge is not appealable within the Law School. If the charge is dismissed, a later charge may not be brought against the same student based on the same factual episode.
d. Actions Permitted
1) Declination. If the Associate Dean concludes that there is not probable cause to believe that an Honor Code violation occurred or that the accused student committed the violation, the Associate Dean shall issue a declination to prosecute. If a matter is declined, the Chief Investigator shall notify in writing the complainant (and other persons interviewed by the Investigator who of necessity learned the identity of the accused student) of the action taken. The complainant and those who have learned the accused's identity must be warned of the confidentiality of the matter and admonished not to disclose to others the student's identity. If the accused student was contacted by the Investigator during the inquiry, or if the case Investigator reasonably believes that the student has become aware of the complaint or investigation, the Chief Investigator shall notify the student of the declination.
2) Referral to Honor Court for prosecution. If the Associate Dean concludes that there is probable cause to believe that an Honor Code violation occurred and that the accused student committed the violation, he/she shall deliver a letter to the Hearing Officer and to the Chief Investigator, stating his/her probable cause determination. The letter must contain the name of the accused student and the specification of the Honor Code provision(s) violated, with a brief statement summarizing the specific acts or omissions constituting the violation(s).
3) Undertake further investigation. When the interests of justice and the parties require, the Associate Dean may order further investigation by the Investigators Committee not to exceed fifteen (15 ) days, at which time the Committee shall submit a report to the Associate Dean. At that point, the Associate Dean will either decline or refer the matter for prosecution.
4) The case file. In a matter closed without prosecution, a memorandum from the Associate Dean explaining this determination shall be placed in the case file. The case file containing the original complaint, tape recordings or other investigatory materials, the case Investigators' report, the memorandum decision, and copies of the notification letters sent to affected persons must be securely maintained in the office of the Associate Dean. The student's law school file may not reflect that an investigation has taken place.
Section 2. Case Prosecution
a. Notification of Student
Unless a finding of good cause has been made by the Associate Dean to extend the period, within five (5) days of the Associate Dean's probable cause finding, the Chief Investigator shall hand deliver to the accused student ("respondent") notice of the probable cause determination, along with a copy of the Honor Code Constitution. The notice must inform the respondent of:
1) The nature of the charges against the student: the specific Honor Code section(s) alleged to have been breached and summary of the specific acts or omissions constituting the violation(s);
2) The rights the accused shall enjoy during all subsequent Honor Court proceedings in the case, including:
3) The burden of the prosecution to establish the charge(s) by clear and convincing evidence;
4) The sanctions available to the Honor Court, which include but are not limited to one or more of the following:
5) The fact that any sanction imposed on the student will be noted in the student's permanent record/transcript, and;
6) The opportunity during the ten (10) days following delivery of the letter to contact the case prosecutor (identified by name) and consent to a stated discipline, subject to Honor Court approval, thereby avoiding trial.
b. Formal Adjudication
1) Convening the court. If the respondent does not respond to the invitation to consent to discipline or if no agreement is reached within the prescribed time limits, the case investigator (now "prosecutor") shall promptly notify the Hearing Officer that the matter can be set for a hearing on the merits. Upon receipt of such notice, the Hearing Officer shall promptly convene the Honor Court. If the respondent is a first-year student, the upperclass members of the Hearing Panel shall select one first- year representative as described in Article II, Section 4(a) to join the Hearing Panel. The Hearing Panel may not select a first-year representative from the section of the accused. In matters involving first-year students, a senior member, chosen at the discretion of the upperclass members of the Hearing Panel, will not vote in the adjudication or sanction process.
2) Notice. The court shall set a hearing date, time, and place and hand deliver to the Chief Investigator and the respondent a conforming notice, which shall contain the names of the members of the court. Except for good cause, the hearing on the merits must be held within fifteen (15) days of the convening of the court.
3) Disqualifications. Any member of the Honor Court or member of the Investigators Committee may disqualify himself or herself from investigating or hearing any reported violation. The respondent shall have the right to challenge for cause members of the court. The Hearing Officer shall rule on any challenges. A vacancy created on the Committee may, if necessary, be filled by a temporary member, selected by the Chief Investigator in consultation with the Hearing Officer. A vacancy on the Hearing Panel may be filled if necessary, by a temporary member selected by the Dean, provided that the temporary member be a member of the same class as the disqualified member. In the event that the Hearing Officer must disqualify himself/herself from involvement with the case, the Dean shall select a member of the faculty to serve as a temporary Hearing Officer.
4) Continuance. The Hearing Officer may continue or adjourn the hearing without prejudice if essential evidence is unavailable, or for other good cause shown.
5) Discovery. Upon written demand by either the prosecutor or the respondent, he or she shall be provided a list of his witnesses and copies of any documentary evidence. The list may be amended up to but not later than twenty-four hours before the date and time of the hearing on the merits. Once the list is provided, no person may testify and no documentary evidence may be received into evidence unless the name or exhibit appears on the list, or the party seeking to admit the evidence can show good cause for its exclusion on the list provided to the opposing party.
The prosecution shall disclose to the respondent any evidence known to him or her that tends to exonerate the respondent or mitigate the degree of culpability.
6) Adjudication by consent.
7) Adjudication by admission. If the Hearing Officer receives notice from the respondent that he or she intends to admit the violation(s) and requests a hearing only on the sanction, the Hearing Officer shall notify the prosecutor that witnesses may be excused from attendance at the scheduled hearing, except for witnesses that may be relevant to the sanction. The Hearing Officer shall also notify the respondent of the hearing date the court will accept the admission and proceed to the sanction hearing, and that any witnesses relevant to the sanction need be in attendance.
8) Adjudication by a hearing on the merits.
ARTICLE V: APPELLATE PROCEDURES
Section 1. Filing and the Appellate Panel.
Within fifteen (15) days of the receipt of the court's report, a respondent may file an appeal with Dean of the Law School. The respondent's appeal can be based on the inappropriateness of either: 1) the finding of guilty or 2) the sanction imposed. The prosecutor can file an appeal based on the inappropriateness of the sanction. The Dean shall appoint an appellate panel of three faculty members to decide the appeal. The appeal may include a supporting memorandum and/or a request for oral argument. Both the respondent and the prosecutor have a right to appear before the faculty appellate panel. Both the prosecutor and the respondent may file a responsive memorandum within fifteen (15) days of the filing of the other party's memorandum. Oral arguments are limited to twenty (20) minutes each.
Section 2. The Record on Appeal.
The appellate panel shall be provided with and shall review as necessary the record on appeal, which shall contain:
Section 3. Appellate Standard.
The appellate panel shall decide the appeal based upon its review of the pertinent portions of the record, any appellate memoranda received, the arguments of the parties, any presumptive sanctions, and the requirements of the Honor Code and its constitution and procedures and shall affirm the factual findings and conclusions unless they are clearly erroneous. The appellate panel may not disturb the recommended sanction(s) unless it is convinced that the recommendation constitutes a clear abuse of discretion. If the appellate panel reverses the finding of a violation or the sanctions, it may order a new trial, dismiss the charge(s), modify the findings, conclusions, and sanction(s) imposed, or affirm the action of the hearing court. Two-thirds of the members of the appellate body must agree on the action to be taken, and the written opinion of the appellate panel shall be delivered to the Dean, Associate Dean, Hearing Officer, prosecutor and the respondent within ten (10) days of the panel's decision. The Associate Dean shall promptly facilitate implementation of the sanction(s) as no further appeal is available within the Law School. The respondent shall be notified, however, of the opportunity to appeal to the President of the University.
ARTICLE VI. MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS
Section 1. Records and Reports.
1) Regardless of the decision on the merits, the record of the case shall be maintained in the office of the Associate Dean after termination of the proceedings. The record may be consulted by the Dean, Associate Dean, the Honor Court, or the Investigators Committee, or the Prosecutor for any relevant purpose.
2) When a matter has been formally adjudicated and finally resolved, regardless of the decision on the merits, the Hearing Officer shall
3) When a matter has been formally adjudicated and finally resolved and a student is found guilty of a violation of the Honor Code either after a trial or by a product of an adjudication by consent:
Section 2. Record Disclosure.
Neither the content nor the existence of any disciplinary action may be disclosed, nor may the name of the accused or convicted student be disclosed, except as noted above and when required by law or order of a court; when required, consistent with law by the Dean or Associate Dean, by the Honor Court, or by the Investigators Committee; or when the student has signed a waiver of confidentiality.
Section 3. Calculation of Time Periods.
In the calculation of any time periods referred to in these rules, weekends, law school holidays, and the day from which the time period begins to run may not be included in the calculation of the time period.
Section 4. Summer Session.
If a quorum of the Investigators Committee or Honor Court is unavailable to consider a case during the summer session, the matter may be postponed until such quorum is available.
Section 5. Finality and Exclusivity of Sanctions
Any sanctions imposed under this Honor Code Constitution (either through adjudication by hearing, by admission or by consent) shall constitute the final action of the Law School. The Faculty may not later refuse to graduate the respondent solely because of the sanctions or because of the events from which they arose. However, if the Faculty has other information relevant to its decision on graduation, the Faculty may consider the sanctions and the underlying events together with that other information in deciding whether to recommend the respondent for graduation.
ARTICLE VII. ENACTMENT
This Constitution shall become effective upon approval by a majority of those students voting in an election, with fifty percent of the student body being a quorum, and approval by a majority of those tenure-track faculty members voting at a called faculty meeting.
ARTICLE VIII. AMENDMENTS
This Honor Code Constitution may be amended in the following ways: