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Law Students 'Forget' Criminal Pasts

There is trouble in River City, with a capital "T" and that rhymes with "C," and that stands for Criminal History. Actually, it's Iowa City, home of The University of Iowa College of Law. The student newspaper there, The Daily Iowan, is reporting that the law school is having a major problem with students failing to disclose their arrest records on their law school applications. "UI history Professor Jeffrey Cox, a former UI Faculty Senate president, said students with arrest records is a major problem at the UI."

The students "are often vague, forgetful or dishonest about their criminal background on their applications," said the school's assistant dean of admissions, Collins Byrd. In light of this, the school has created a sort of amnesty program, "to allow these admitted students another opportunity to explain their records during the first weeks of law school." In the three years he has been at the school, Byrd has seen as many as 40 students show up at the beginning of the semester to confess their past sins, out of a class of roughly 200. That means 20 percent of the incoming students "forgot" to mention their prior arrests.

The school sees this as a service to its students, given that any criminal records will come out when the students graduate and apply for admission to the bar. And not once has the school dismissed a student for these recovered memories. "The majority of offenses are alcohol-related," Byrd said. "If they explain their situation, say they have learned from it and understand why it was wrong, we are forgiving."

As Prof. Harold Hill might have said, "The sadder-but-wiser student's the student for me."

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on November 27, 2007 at 12:58 PM | Permalink | Comments (5)

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