Osteen v. Henley

13 F.2d 221 (7th Cir. 1993)


Osteen (P), an undergraduate at Northern Illinois University, was leaving a bar with two male friends and the girlfriend of one of them. The girlfriend began 'mouthing off to another student who was outside of a bar who decided to mouth off to her, and the two of them got in an argument. The three males with her were football players. P, without one word, stomps this guy in the head with some cowboy boots breaking the other student's nose. A student friend of the one whom P had just assaulted, approached P, who again without a word 'broke his face with one punch.' Bolles, the judicial officer at the school, initiated disciplinary proceedings. P and Bolles met, and P signed a form in which he pled guilty to the charges but requested a two-year expulsion. A hearing was held before an appeals board of an assistant judicial officer, a faculty member, and two students. P was represented by a student advocate. The board agreed with the two-year sanction. The expulsion was upheld but delayed until the end of the semester. P appealed to the University Vice President for student affairs who upheld the penalty. This led to P's lawsuit (dismissed by the district court), in which P challenges the expulsion as a deprivation of property without due process of law, in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment. P attacks a number of features of the disciplinary proceeding. Bolles had played a dual role as judge and prosecutor. The presiding officer of the appellate tribunal was Bolles's assistant. She cut off P's advocate on the ground that the issue of guilt was not before the board, just the issue of sanction when the advocate was trying to give P's version of the assaults. P was not allowed to cross-examine. P's real lawyer was not permitted to participate in the proceedings. P also alleges Bolles had induced P to plead guilty on the representation that on appeal the two-year expulsion would be rescinded--then (as we know) turned around and argued passionately to the appeals board for expulsion.