Adjunct Law Prof Blog

Editor: Mitchell H. Rubinstein
New York Law School

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Don't Cheat On The Bar

Matter of Dewitt v. NYS Board of Law Examiners, ____A.D.3d___(3rd Dep't. Dec. 29, 2011), is one of those decisions which you cannot make up. A student was found to have cheated on the bar exam and his exam was nullified. Guess what, he sues. The 3rd Department, in rejecting his lawsuit, explained:

 We must disagree with petitioner's contention that the determination is not supported by substantial evidence. Substantial evidence is defined as "such relevant proof as a reasonable mind may accept as adequate to support a conclusion or ultimate fact" (Matter of Berenhaus v Ward[*2]70 NY2d 436, 443 [1987] [internal quotation marks and citation omitted]; see 300 Gramatan Ave. Assoc. v State Div. of Human Rights, 45 NY2d 176, 179 [1978]; Matter of Goldsmith v DeBuono, 245 AD2d 627, 628 [1997]). Here, a proctor testified that she observed petitioner repeatedly craning her neck to look at the exam of the candidate seated next to her during the multiple choice session on the first day of the exam. The same proctor and her three supervisors all testified that they observed petitioner doing the same thing on the second day. Respondent also offered expert proof of strong statistical evidence that petitioner succeeded in copying answers from the other candidate. Although petitioner denied copying and presented her own expert proof challenging the statistical evidence against her, the resolution of conflicting evidence and determination of the witnesses' credibility are within the sole province of respondent and will not be disturbed (see Matter of Rogers v Sherburne-Earlville Cent. School Dist., 17 AD3d 823, 824 [2005]; Matter of Mirrer v Hevesi, 4 AD3d 722, 723-724 [2004]; Doolittle v McMahon, 245 AD2d 736, 738 [1997]).

The more interesting legal question is whether this applicant should be permitted to sit for the bar examinination in the future. I think not, but who am I? Moral of the story. Don't cheat.

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

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Ah did not have tests with that bar applicant (wagging finger), Miss Whoever'snexttome!

Posted by: BlogDog | Feb 26, 2012 3:18:04 PM

I'd say cheating then filing a lawsuit to qualifies the student to go to work immediately for the Justice Department, Treasury, or any other high federal office where the requirements of the position seem to require moral turpitude, total disregard for the law, and an incredibly overdeveloped sense of entitlement and victimhood. Passing the bar would merely be a hindrance to effective work in one of these positions.

Posted by: Phil in Englewood | Feb 26, 2012 3:40:33 PM

There's another moral here for the petitioner: don't sue when a win in court still means a loss. With her suit, Rose Dewitt has publicly announced to prospective employers that she was accused of cheating. Even if she had won, how many law firms would have taken a chance on hiring her? Shouldn't a good lawyer know when to cut her losses?

Posted by: Baba Ganoush | Feb 26, 2012 3:54:42 PM

10s of thousands in student debt incurred, then rather than just take the test and risk only the possibility of having to retake it later and the fee involved, she blows the chance of being able to earn enough to repay loans that cannot be discharged.

Obviously an intellectual by the InstaWife's definition. I.e. Intelligence - judgement = Intellect.

Posted by: RightWingNutter | Feb 26, 2012 7:47:53 PM

Is Dewitt male or female? First paragraph says, "Guess what, he sues." Then the quoted part from the decision refers to "her" no less than 4 times. Either way, it's incredibly dumb to cheat on the bar exam . . . but it does make one wonder how much s/he cheated in law school. I strongly suspect the bar exam wasn't the first time to cheat.

Phil makes a good point re: Holder's DOJ. Maybe she should also apply to be the next International Monetary Fund Manager. I'm guessing she could lose $1.2 billion just as fast as did Corzine!

Posted by: PaleRider | Feb 26, 2012 8:56:34 PM

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