Gabrilowitz v. Newman

582 F.2d 100 (1st Cir. 1978)


Police charged P, a senior at the University of Rhode Island (D), with assault with intent to commit rape on another student. While at the police station being charged, a D employee delivered a letter to him notifying him that he had been suspended from the school and barred from entering the campus. On November 16, 1977, D sent P another letter informing him that the campus police had charged him with violating the D Community Standards of Behavior. P was directed to defend against the specific allegations of assault with intent to rape and an additional allegation of a later assault on the same student before the University Board on Student Conduct (U.B.S.C.). One of the rules prohibits the existence or presence of legal counsel at the hearing. P petitioned the district court for an injunction pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. P was not 'permitted to employ professional legal counsel or other persons from outside the D community to present the case before the hearing board - ' he 'shall have the right to request the assistance of an advisor of his/her choice from the community.' The rules of evidence did not apply, but P had the right to cross-examine, and the burden was on the student making the allegations with the conviction being by majority vote. P had a right to appeal. The district court found irreparable harm and decided that, under the circumstances of this case, there was a due process violation. The Younger v. Harris doctrine did not apply because the D Community Standards of Behavior prohibit legal counsel under all circumstances. There was also no opportunity here to present the federal claim in a state judicial proceeding.