Subjects of Title IX investigations can face different penalties including academic suspension and expulsion. The process can damage a defendant’s reputation in the community, professional life, and social life. In general, the Title IX process favors the accuser, especially if they are a female. However, new guidelines have made it easier for defendants to navigate the process and get favorable results.
As schools determine guilty in Title IX cases, they should presume the defendant innocent and implement standards such as a “preponderance of the evidence,” and “clear and convincing evidence.” If a school implements this standard, the defendant can have a good chance of getting a fair result. Because of the evidentiary standards school may embrace, defendants must hire an education lawyer in Florida who can fight for their legal rights at each stage of the Title IX process and make sure they get all legal protections available to them.
A Preponderance of the Evidence vs Clear and Convincing Evidence
This standard requires the accuser to prove that the accused is guilty of violating Title IX. Thus, the accusing party must prove the evidence they have is 50 percent true. However, this standard is rather problematic as the accused may not be given the right to cross-examine their accuser or the witnesses presented. Sometimes, they may not get enough notice of the charges they are facing. Meanwhile, the clear and convincing evidence standard requires that the accusing party present evidence that is significantly around 70 percent to 70 percent true. A great lawyer has knowledge about evidence, cross-examination, and testimony. They will assist the defendant in presenting their case in a way that can defeat the school’s standard for liability.
The Role of an Attorney in Title IX Cases
Those accused of sexual misconduct under Title IX can benefit from having an attorney on their side. The lawyer can give objective guidance to them through each stage of the process, help them establish an effective defense against the charges, prepare them for interviews and hearings, and ensure the school follows its policies and procedures related to Title IX. Also, a great attorney can extract the accused on how they should cross-examine their accuser and witnesses as well as document the process to help the defendant prepare a written appeal when needed. And if an appeal fails to give a positive result for the defendant, their attorney can bring a lawsuit against the educational institution to reverse the findings, stop the sanctions, as well as expunge related notations from the defendant’s school transcript and records.