Case Involving Accusation of Cheating on the Bar Exam
In Florida Board of Bar Examiners re G.J.G., 709 So. 2d 1377 (Fla. 1998), the applicant had been arrested for aggravated assault, but the charges had been dropped.
Additionally, he had been accused of cheating on the bar exam.
The Board charged G.J.G. in separate specifications of cheating on the bar exam and of falsely denying the wrongful deceptive conduct.
Similarly, the Board charged that G.J.G. had committed aggravated assault and had falsely maintained his innocence of that charge.
After a formal hearing, the Board found each separate specification proven and disqualifying for admission to the bar. Id. at 1378-79.
On review, the Court rejected, as individually disqualifying, the Board's finding that G.J.G. falsely denied cheating on the bar exam and its finding that he falsely maintained his innocence of the assault charge.
The Court explained that such charges were inappropriate because they put G.J.G. in the "ultimate catch-22- . . . either admit wrongdoing and relieve the Board of its burden of proof, regardless of the truth of the allegation, or deny it, and if the Board finds the allegation true, have the Board also conclude he is lying." Id. at 1380.
As to G.J.G.'s denial of the cheating charge, the Court stated that since at the time of his denial he had not yet been found guilty of cheating, he should be permitted to maintain his innocence and require the charges against him to be proven. Id. at 1381.
Similarly, as to the aggravated assault charge, the Court stated that the dismissal of the charge "justified his continued protestation of innocence . . . and he should be allowed to deny this and the other allegations related to this incident and require that they be proven." Id.