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Exclusive: This Title IX Bill Would Undermine Due Process Rights for New Jersey College Students

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This Title IX Bill Would Undermine Due Process Rights for New Jersey College Students

#Title #Bill #Undermine #Due #Process #Rights #Jersey #College #Students

A bill introduced last month in the New Jersey Senate could threaten the due process rights of students who are accused of Title IX violations. S.B. 2469 would require that employees at public colleges and universities who are involved in adjudicating, receiving reports of, or providing services to victims of alleged sexual violence undergo a “victim-centered” training. This training would also be required for students employed as resident advisors, or dorm supervisors.

The bill, which has been referred to the Senate Higher Education Committee, would ensure “the compassionate and sensitive delivery of services in a nonjudgmental manner; ensures an understanding of how trauma affects victim behavior; maintains victim safety, privacy and, where possible, confidentiality; and recognizes that a victim is not responsible for the sexual assault.” At face value, that seems like a solid policy requirement. People providing services to victims should know how to treat them with care and compassion.

However, some of those “providing services” to victims are also meant to be impartial investigators of serious allegations, such as university employees involved in adjudicating allegations of sexual assault. Giving “victim-centered” training to those employees raises the question of whether a victim-centered approach also allows for an impartial examination of the evidence and testimony for and against a student accused of sexual assault.

Students accused of Title IX violations already face low standards of evidence. If S.B. 2469 passes, every university employee involved in hearing a case would also be trained to see the accuser as more credible by default.

Such training requirements exist elsewhere in higher education. According to “Title IX and ‘Trauma-Focused’ Investigations: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly,” a 2019 paper published in the Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition, these trainings often assert that a victim must be believed—even if their story is deeply flawed. In fact, they often argue that having a confusing or unclear story is a sign that a complainant is telling the truth—as such flaws in testimony are the result of trauma. As the authors write, “A particularly ugly feature of [this] training is that it specifically suggests that if memory reports of alleged victims fit the ‘profile’ of those expected from a trauma victim, this fit should serve as evidence that the report is true.”

In a 2015 Harvard Law Review article, legal scholar Janet Halley examined Harvard’s “victim-centered” training, writing that it “is 100% aimed to convince [employees] to believe complaints, precisely when they seem unreliable and incoherent.” If Title IX investigators and decision makers are taught that every complainant is telling the truth—and that any inconsistencies are themselves signs of trauma—then any hearing is essentially a show trial. The accuser is telling the truth because they are the accuser, regardless of what the accused may say in response.

Requiring these trainings only makes sense if legislators believe that everyone accused of a Title IX offense is guilty—something which has been proven over and over to be untrue. The uncomfortable truth about Title IX investigations—and sexual assault investigations more broadly—is that there is rarely conclusive evidence against the accused, and some accusations are indeed false.

Sexual assault is a serious crime that often goes unpunished. However, we shouldn’t respond to this unpleasant fact by attempting to lower the standard of evidence—or in this case, bias Title IX employees toward the complainant.

Title IX investigators make crucially important decisions about whether to find someone responsible for sexual assault and intimate partner violence. Training Title IX employees to see the complaining party as always truthful, as S.B. 2469 would require, also means training them to assume that the accused party is always guilty. That is not a just scheme, even if it guarantees that every actual victim receives justice.

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Exclusive: This Innocent Woman's House Was Destroyed by a SWAT Team. A Jury Says She's Owed $60,000. – TalkOfNews.com

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This Innocent Woman's House Was Destroyed by a SWAT Team. A Jury Says She's Owed $60,000.

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When Vicki Baker cleared out her home in McKinney, Texas, in 2020, she filled two 40-foot dumpsters with her belongings. It wasn’t the way she’d pictured emptying the house as she prepared to begin retirement in Montana. But there was little else to be done with her tear-gas stained items after a SWAT team careened through her fence, detonated explosives to blow her garage door off its hinges, smashed several windows, and drove a BearCat armored vehicle through her front door to apprehend a fugitive that had barricaded himself inside.

A federal jury last week decided that Baker is entitled to $59,656.59 for the trouble. It’s both a controversial and surprising decision. Normally, people like Baker get nothing.

In July 2020, Wesley Little arrived at Baker’s house with a 15-year-old girl he’d kidnapped. Little had previously worked for Baker as a handyman, though she had fired him about a year and a half earlier after her daughter, Deanna Cook, expressed that something may be awry. Cook answered Little at the door that day; having seen him on recent news reports, she left the premises and called the police.

The girl was released unharmed. But Little refused to exit the home, so a SWAT team arrived and began to tear the house down around him in a process known as “shock and awe.”

They then kindly left Baker with the bill. “I’ve lost everything,” she told me in March 2021. “I’ve lost my chance to sell my house. I’ve lost my chance to retire without fear of how I’m going to make my regular bills.” Those bills include treatment for stage 3 breast cancer.

Yet the only thing perhaps more absurd than a jury having to force the government’s hand in recompensing her is that Baker almost did not have the privilege to bring her case before one. Federal courts in similar cases have ruled that the government can usurp “police powers” to destroy your property and avoid having to pay it back under the Takings Clause of the 5th Amendment, which is supposed to provide a remedy for such circumstances.

After the ordeal, Baker sought that remedy through her home insurance, which stipulated that they are not on the hook if it is the government’s fault. And though the government didn’t deny being at fault, per se, they did deny that Baker was a victim, sending her on her way with a ravaged home, thousands of dollars in destroyed personal possessions, and a dog that went deaf and blind from the chaos that July day.

In November of last year, Baker’s luck began to turn. A federal judge denied the city of McKinney’s motion to dismiss her case. In April, that same jurist, Judge Amos L. Mazzant III of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, described the interpretation of the law barring Baker from suing as “untenable.” And last week, the jury handed down their ruling. The city may appeal, which will delay any payout.

In coming to his decision, Mazzant invoked another unfortunate case: that of the Lech family, who had their $580,000 home ruined by a SWAT team as they pursued an unrelated shoplifter who broke in. Greenwood Village, Colorado, did more for them than McKinney would do for Baker, forking over all of $5,000. A federal court ruled that the family could not sue, and the Supreme Court declined to take up the case.

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“Even though a number of federal courts have gone the wrong way on this issue, they’ve done so with very cursory analysis,” says Jeffrey Redfern, an attorney at the Institute for Justice, the public interest law firm shepherding Baker’s case. He says this new ruling is different and should “be the one that everyone is looking at” as similar situations continue to pop up.

It does not set a precedent, however. “In this case, we put the city claims agent on the stand,” notes Redfern, “and she said, ‘Yep, I denied the claim, and I deny every claim like this, and if this happened tomorrow I would deny it again.’” Unfortunately for people like Vicki Baker, this will continue to be a familiar story.

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Exclusive: 1/6 Committee Hits Spiraling Trump Again By Subpoenaing Pat Cipollone – TalkOfNews.com

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1/6 Committee Hits Spiraling Trump Again By Subpoenaing Pat Cipollone

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The 1/6 Committee has subpoenaed one of the people who knows the intimate details of Trump’s coup plot, former White House Counsel Pat Cipollone.

The AP reported:

The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection issued a subpoena Wednesday to former White House counsel Pat Cipollone, who has been linked to meetings in which lawyers debated strategies to overturn former President Donald Trump’s election loss.

The Committee said that it required Cipollone’s testimony after obtaining other evidence about which he was “uniquely positioned to testify.”

Pat Cipollone Can Testify To The Plot To Overturn The Election

According to Cassidy Hutchinson’s testimony, Cipollone has intimate and wide-ranging details about the plot to overturn the election. Hutchinson testified that Cipollone warned that if Trump went to the Capitol, they would be charged with every crime imaginable.

Trump was already falling apart after Hutchinson’s testimony, and he could be in for a double whammy if his former White House Counsel testifies. The White House Counsel is not a personal lawyer to the president but represents the institutional interests of the Executive Branch.

If Cipollone testifies, it will be the bombshell that will level the rubble that was already smoldering after Cassidy Hutchinson’s testimony.

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