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Richmond law school set to graduate registered sex offender

Published: November 7, 2013, 6:33 pm ET
Collegian Reporters

Zachary Jesse, a third-year student at the University of Richmond School of Law, has been involved with the Moot Court Board, repeatedly served as a justice for the Law School Honor Council and is a recipient of the law school’s most prestigious, $30,000 John Marshall scholarship.

He is also a registered sex offender who pled guilty to aggravated sexual battery in 2004.

It is unclear why a registered sex offender was admitted on scholarship to the law school when it is unlikely that someone with that offense would be allowed to practice law in Virginia. The current dean and the man who was dean at the time of Jesse’s admission both declined to comment about such a student being admitted.

Jesse declined to comment and directed questions to Jack Burtch Jr., the lawyer who is representing Jesse in his quest to practice law in Virginia.

When asked about Jesse’s admittance to law school and goals for the future, Burtch also declined to comment.

“If Zach passes the Virginia bar exam, he will have a hearing before the character and fitness committee of the Virginia Board of Bar Examiners to determine if he will become a member of the Virginia State Bar,” Burtch said. “I anticipate that the members of the committee will be asking the same types of questions you want to ask, so you can understand that I can’t let Zach answer questions on or off the record prior to his formal hearing.”

Stephen A. Isaacs, who has been the director of the Virginia character and fitness committee since it was created 17 years ago, said that although it was possible for someone who had been convicted of a felony to be admitted to the bar, he could not recall any such admission in the past.

Several years ago, a man who had been charged with, but not convicted of, a sex offense applied to the bar. Having that charge on his record prevented the man from passing the character and fitness test in Virginia, Isaacs said.

In 2003, during his second year as an undergrad at the University of Virginia, Jesse was charged with rape, accused of both vaginally and anally raping a 19-year-old classmate.
During her testimony at the preliminary hearing Dec. 11, 2003, the victim said the incident had occurred while she was drunk, slumped over a toilet in her apartment. She had met Jesse at a party earlier that evening.

According to her testimony, the victim said she had gaps in memory regarding the events that transpired, but that Jesse had helped her to her apartment after she had been vomiting at the party. She was led to the bathroom, where she continued to dry-heave, and then lost her memory.

She was taken to Martha Jefferson Hospital after the incident and later informed that her blood alcohol content had been .15, according to her testimony.

On April 26, 2004, in the Charlottesville Circuit Court, in a plea agreement, Jesse pled guilty to the reduced felony charge of aggravated sexual battery. Jesse was sentenced to eight years in a penitentiary, of which he served three months, according to the court record.

According to an article that was published by a Charlottesville news outlet called The Hook, Jesse was required to withdraw from the University of Virginia for at least two years, allowing the victim to graduate before Jesse could reapply. Jesse’s LinkedIn profile does not include the University of Virginia, and instead notes that he earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2009. He began attending the University of Richmond School of Law in 2011 and is expected to graduate in May.

Commenting on a hypothetical circumstance with the same facts, James M. McCauley, director of the ethics counsel for the Virginia State Bar, expressed doubts that someone would be admitted to the bar under such circumstances. There have been people who have been turned down for much less than a felony, such as failure to pay student loans or misdemeanor convictions, he said.

“I just don’t see how this person would be admitted,” McCauley said. “It would be a huge obstacle.”

Yet, there is no absolute prohibition.

“The key is rehabilitation,” Isaacs said. “There will be intense scrutiny of what he has done to be rehabilitated.” (As was the case with McCauley, the “he” that Isaacs referenced was a person in a hypothetical scenario with the same circumstances as Jesse’s case).

For example, the person must have no other offenses and no evidence of alcohol abuse. When facing the character and fitness committee, he or she must show remorseful and acceptance of responsibility, along with evidence of positive social contributions, such as volunteer work in the community, Isaacs said.

Although neither Jesse nor Burtch would comment on Jesse’s rehabilitation efforts, Jesse has shown ample academic involvement within the law school.

Jesse served as a Moot Court Board member during his second year, according to the law school website. The members of this student group are selected based on their performance in moot court competitions and are responsible for planning and directing the annual competitions. Jesse also serves on the Law School Honor Council, a student-elected organization whose members are responsible for judging claims of misconduct under the Law School Honor Code. The website notes that Jesse has been a justice on the Honor Council for the past two years.

Jesse’s wife wrote on her LinkedIn profile that she and her husband moved to Richmond in 2011 for him to attend law school at University of Richmond, where he was a recipient of the John Marshall Scholarship. The law school website offers a detailed description of this prestigious program, which, among other benefits, includes a $30,000 annual scholarship.

“In addition to receiving a substantial scholarship, the John Marshall includes a unique programmatic component,” according to the website. “There are opportunities for John Marshall Scholars to meet with and be mentored by the lawyers and judges in the region, and participants are invited to the faculty colloquy speaker series where cutting-edge legal issues are explored in depth with some of the leading scholars in the nation.”

Law students are assessed and can receive scholarships based on academic records, Law School Admission Test (LSAT) scores and potential for leadership in the legal profession, according to the law school website.

How Jesse came to receive this award and his other leadership positions remains unanswered.

Wendy Perdue, the current dean of the law school, said she could not offer specific information about the admission of or other decisions concerning any law students. Such information, she said, is protected from disclosure under federal law.

Perdue did, however, offer a statement of personal observation, not in regards to any particular case, but as a general matter.

“I believe in our criminal justice system, and I also believe in the possibility of redemption,” Perdue wrote in an email. “It is a tribute to our system and not an indictment of it when someone who has committed a crime and served their sentence is allowed to return to society and create a productive life.”

Citing a recent New York Times article, Perdue referenced the experience of Shon R. Hopwood, a man convicted of armed robbery and sentenced to 13 years in prison, who is now a law student at the University of Washington School of Law in Seattle. In addition to a full scholarship, Hopwood received a clerkship for a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, according to the article.

“While some may argue that there are other law students who are more deserving of both the scholarship and the clerkship, I believe that our society is stronger when we offer opportunities for the return of our prodigal sons and daughters,” Perdue said.

Perdue also wrote that the current third-year law students had been admitted before she arrived as dean.

John Douglass, a current law professor who served as dean of the law school from 2007 to 2011, declined to comment.

“What is the news value of this story?” Douglass asked. “And, if such a student exists, aren’t you concerned about his or her right to privacy?”

The photograph and criminal record of all registered sex offenders are available to the public online.

David McCoy, campus chief of police, said criminal background checks are not part of Richmond’s admission process, for either undergraduates or law students.

Yet section 13 of the law school application, dealing with character and fitness, asks applicants to explain any past indiscretions, such as arrests, convictions, honor violations and disciplinary actions.

The Richmond registrar’s website also has a page that outlines the law school’s policy on sexual offenders. As of July 1, 2006, state law requires that all two- and four-year institutions of higher education send information about accepted applicants to the state police for comparison to the Virginia Criminal Information Network and National Crime Information Center Convicted Sexual Offender Registry, according to the website.

“In compliance with Virginia law, the University of Richmond will submit the requested information for all admitted students to the state police for comparison to the registry,” according to the website. “If the University is notified that an admitted student has committed a sex offense, the admitted student is subject to the admission being revoked.”

“We live in a society where second chances exist,” McCoy said. “Especially if someone is in an education setting, there is a strong possibility that person is trying to better himself.”

Contact reporters Katie Conklin and Richard Arnett at katie.conklin@richmond.edu and richard.arnett@richmond.edu

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  • Mike

    What exactly is the point of this article? Is the point to bring up an incident from 8 years ago in an attempt to drag a man through the mud that has already had his life next to ruined, served his time, and is obviously attempting to start over and rebuild what he has left?

    It’s sad that people will read this and assume that everything in it is true.

    I would expect to see something like this on TMZ, not from an outlet that claims to speak “for the students of the University of Richmond.”

    This is disgraceful and unnecessary journalism that has absolutely zero relevance aside from attempting to make something out of nothing. This is an issue that should be dealt with between Mr. Jasse and the law board. Not a journalism 101 student attempting to make a mountain out of a mole hill while perfecting her ability to use quotations correctly in the process.

    I wonder what would happen if some skilled members of the Internet dug up everything possible on Ms. Conklin to see if she has anything to hide, so we can call her out for it in public unnecessarily and drag her through the mud as well.

  • YouGoToUR?

    Well thank god for this top notch journalism. I was worried he would not get condemned to double-jeopardy for a hot second! Perhaps you should have heeded Mr. Douglass’ advice and realized there is no *real* value in this story. Sad.

  • Alex

    I can’t believe this is front-page news. Does this law student honestly deserve to have his name dragged all over campus like this? As McCoy says, “We live in a society where second chances exist.” With that in mind, this piece is either attempting to make something out of nothing for the sake of filling empty space with text, or trying to throw this guy into the fire a second time.

  • SpiderMan

    Man of Courage? Are you kidding? Courage is a solider on the front lines not a convicted rapist. I think you are confusing courage for pure narcissism. No real man commits that crime, only a coward.

    • B.

      When I use the word “courage”, I am referring to him coming back to a place where everybody knows who he is and what he did. In no way am I condoning what he did, but he has paid his debt to society and has every right to try to put his life together. If he was on a full ride to UR, obviously he must have a smoking LSAT/GPA, he’s qualified academically. Morally, that’s for the admission committee to decide. You should fault the adcoms if anything, not Jesse.

  • LawStudents>JournalismMajors

    Echoing Douglass’s question…what is the point of this ‘article’? A legal education does not have to result in Bar admission, so your point that he can’t be admitted to the Bar is, well, as pointless as the rest of this article. He got into law school because he is intelligent (obviously). He got an awesome scholarship because he is really intelligent (obviously). The criminal justice system determined that he served his time for his crime (obviously). The point of this article? Not obvious. All I get out of this article is a distinct whiff of sour grapes. Maybe you should focus on your journalism studies, re-read your notes from 101… might teach you something : )

    • http://national-coalition.net/ Justin

      What do you call a bus load of lawyers crashing into a bridge and landing in a river?

      A GOOD START!

  • B

    I don’t understand why this incident from 8 years ago is brought up now. I’ve heard so many people that it’s “great journalism”, but I disagree. You’ve published a story with the intent to shed light on an old offense that this individual has already served time for. He’s still a student at UR & is now going to be dragged through the mud by his peers for the rest of his time here. I’m definitely NOT condoning what he did, but I think it’s disgraceful, disgusting, and in very poor taste for the Collegian to run this story (sad to say that I’m not surprised that it WOULD run this since they can hardly do anything right lately).

    Additionally, I think it’s ridiculous that this is a front page story. So many visitors to our campus pick up the newspaper and they are greeted with this. Great representation for UR.

  • sq

    I applaud the Collegian staff’s decision to publish this article, and I’m positive that the decision was not made lightly. First, the records of Mr. Jesse’s incident are PUBLIC. He is a CONVICTED offender. This story is very relevant. He is receiving a substantial amount of money to attend Richmond Law. That money comes from donors who seek to make T.C. Williams a viable option for many students and maintain the school’s reputation, not give it to someone who will, in all likelihood, never practice law.
    How does an issue like this get overlooked? Or, if it was not overlooked but rather ignored, then there is a much larger issue here than Mr. Jesse himself.

    • http://national-coalition.net/ Justin

      There certainly is a much larger issue here. It’s called JUSTICE. If you do a crime, you do the time, then it’s time to move on. The public’s assumption that these types of offenders will always strike again, is seriously ignorant of facts and completely inspired by emotional dissonance.

  • UR Law Class of ’13

    When he was admitted to the law school, everyone was aware of the situation. It wasn’t negligence on the part of admissions, more along the lines of turning a blind eye. I always just assumed his parents were quite wealthy and were able to make the problem go away (Note to haters: this is speculation on my part. I have absolutely no idea, and I have no problem with people who have wealthy parents who can make problems go away.) Perhaps this story should have ran then, rather than now. Regardless, there is still merit to the story– If my wife or daughter was sitting in class with someone such as this I would certainly like to know.

    I do believe there was also a bit of a student uproar when he was admitted to the Moot Court Board. I remember some talk about people resigning in protest but I don’t think anything came of it.

    Obviously he has made some friends at the law school judging by all these commenters rushing to his defense. I am happy that he has been able to put his life back together, but my heart still aches for the girl he assaulted.

    • http://national-coalition.net/ Justin

      The girl he assaulted received her due. He was convicted and punished. This entire situation only proves how moronic some people can be when they have only “a little information” about someone. Your imaginations take over, assumptions are made, and more damage is done.

  • Privilige

    Does the university campus deserve to know when the University admits a convicted rapist, one who committed the rape in a higher education setting? I can think of a few reasons why the answer would be yes.

    I would ask those advocating for second chances to explain to me how a convicted felon goes about getting a second chance, in the form of a scholarship to the law school. I would expect the explanation to be spelled something along the lines of P-R-I-V-I-L-E-G-E. And I would suspect that most convicted felons do not have this privilege available to them.

    • http://national-coalition.net/ Justin

      Maybe he earned it? Have you ever thought that a convicted felon could have initiative, creativity and potential?

  • Disgusted

    Reading this article made me cringe. I am a student at U of R and do not know this 3L in any way, but I was absolutely horrified that The Collegian would unnecessarily bring up something that happened nearly a decade ago. Yes, the 3L made a terrible, terrible mistake. He served his time and from what I gather he is now trying to move on with his life. What gives you the right to publicly display his mistake for everyone at U of R to read? This is abuse of the power you have as journalists. If the purpose of this article was truly to highlight flaws in the admissions committee, then why was the 3L even mentioned?

    To The Collegian: Please keep in mind the implications of what you are reporting.

  • Anonymous

    I think that this article is important, and I think women on campus deserve to know when they are sitting in class with a sex offender. This is not private or privileged knowledge. The sex offender registry is public information and should be. I believe in second chances. I believe in Mr. Jesse’s right to be admitted to law school, to be on Moot Court, and other academic boards. But it is upsetting as a law student to know that a sex offender is receiving a full scholarship, while others who have not committed such an offense who maybe just as qualified are having to pay their way through the same school. It is upsetting that the school would reward such behavior. It is one thing to allow someone admittance to the school, but it is another to reward a sex offender with a scholarship. Additionally, despite the fact that Mr. Jesse maybe reformed I just do not believe someone with such a record should be making honor code decisions about other peers’ future education. It makes me question my education that the deans of the school cannot see how this article is relevant to the law school they are running. It calls into question the very integrity of the school. Does the school not realize what kind of message they are sending to students who maybe victims of sexual assault? There is a larger issue here about the law school and why they decided to turn a blind eye in rewarding Jesse such a scholarship.

  • URLaw3L

    You clearly did not read the article and ought to refrain from commenting until you have. This is a serious issue, not a place to use as your own personal anti-law school soapbox.

    • GoogleLawSchoolDebt

      This story speaks to the general corruption of the law school industry. This law school just wanted this felon’s student loan money. They knew he wasn’t going to pass the character & fitness test. That was my point. Law schools are run by very unscrupulous people.

  • Amy M.

    I’m a former journalism major, former reporter for this paper, former victim advocate and member of various sexual assault survivor advocacy groups, and current prosecutor of 5+ years. I couldn’t disagree more with you Morgan. This isn’t distasteful or shaming; it’s news, plain & simple. These writers deserve applause for bringing this issue to light to the rest of the undergraduate and graduate students who are struggling their way through repaying student debt.

    Sexual assault isn’t a horrible mistake. And this paper isn’t trying “block” him from meaningful employment. He made CHOICES that led him to whatever conundrum he faces. And thanks to U of R, his conundrum will be a little more affordable.

    • http://national-coalition.net/ Justin

      Spoken like a true prosecutor with a vengeful cognitive dissonance put in its simplest terms. Bravo !

  • SpiderWoman

    To those of you blaming Ms. Conklin and Mr. Arnett,

    This is an instance of sexual assault. There is nothing, not one single thing, that he could have done in his life since his conviction that would make him a victim in this situation. He is publicly listed on the sex offender registry – anyone could find his face and name on the list. HE ruined his life by taking advantage of that young woman; Katie and Richard are not ruining his by posting this article.

    As a victim of sexual assault on this campus – as a woman on this campus – I frankly no longer feel safe with this information having come to light. The University is supposed to promote a safe learning environment for all of it’s students; how are female students supposed to feel safe on campus with a sex offender sitting with them in class? Regardless of his marrital status, his involvement in student organizations, or his amiability at a lunch table (as some of his classmates seem to think is evidence of his moral character), he is a rapist, and the community he lives in deserves to know.

    • ShellyStow

      Did you ever steal anything, no matter how long ago? Are you still a thief? Does the community need to know to watch out for you? After all, you probably aren’t safe around other people’s belongings.

      Chances are that you are a former thief. Have you ever told a lie? Are you still a liar? Or are you a former liar. This man is a former s*xual offender–he has no conviction for r*pe, but even if he did, he would be a former r*pist. If we can’t, any of us, out-live our mistakes, our crimes, our trespasses against others, then this is a sad, pathetic, and hopeless world.

      • Allison

        Maybe if you were the poor girl that was raped you would feel differently

        • http://national-coalition.net/ Justin

          But Allison, your empathy is leading you astray, apparently. I understand you sympathize with the girl, because I do too. But I’ve learned to reign in on my imaginations concerning events I wasn’t a party to, or didn’t witness. I don’t like sexual offenders, or what these offenders do, any more than you do. However, the idea that they cannot be rehabilitated, or reform their own conduct is absurd and unfair. Clearly, the girl was hurt. There’s no question about that. But in our society, we have drawn lines through law. When someone steps over the line, they pay the price that the law provides for. I think the ‘vengeance’ mentality due to the media exploitation of these types of offenses has contributed greatly to the decline of our country’s morale.

  • Ryan

    This initially strong point is weakened when you consider the school gave this applicant a $30,000 annual scholarship. So the “just how willing law schools are to take just about anybody’s money” argument loses weight when the school decided to give more money than it took from this particular applicant.

  • AKD

    As a college administrator, I can tell you that something else is likely at play here – family connections and a potential donation. I would think it a very rare – almost unique – situation for a student to be suspended from UVA and placed on the sex offenders list and then just welcomed with open arms at another institution as quickly as this young man. Having a parent who holds a prestigious position at said institution certainly might facilitate the process. Both the former and and current dean seemed most concerned with the perpetrator’s privacy (null and void as a name and face on a very public registry). Your current dean used an odd turn of phrase for this that, to my administrative ears, sounded a bit too rehearsed – “the return of the prodigal son” to the fold of non-criminals. I wonder if there is not a substantial donation made by the parents of this prodigal son to the Law School.

  • Guest

    Are you for real?

    • mouthbreathers_everywhere

      He happens to be right.

    • http://national-coalition.net/ Justin

      Absolutely for real!
      You’re obviously victim stanceing, and apparently, addicted to presenting yourself as a victim. It’s clear that you have no comprehension for the ramifications of injustice, nor is it like you have found a sense of forgiveness. Never forget, but find the strength within yourself to forgive. It’s the only way you’ll ever be free.

  • Guest

    Could your last name be Jesse?

    • http://national-coalition.net/ Justin

      hahaha, no, trust me, it is not. I am a student at Harvard, one who is simply interested in this issue.

  • NotReginaGeorge

    Katie: you should totes hit me up if you are looking for other hard hitting stories…I probs know a few med students whose lives we could ruin too!

    This is just like “Mean Girls” but it’s…like… real life, betch. This really feels like the movie…watch out for school buses…they come out of nowhere.

    :Kiss kiss:

  • http://national-coalition.net/ Justin

    The future of our legal system is doomed any way. First of all, the decline of our society is in large part the result of fear, the exploitation of fear, and most importantly, disrespect for truth, even when shown irrefutable evidence.

  • http://national-coalition.net/ Justin

    What difference does it make what second chance the victim was given. This article was about the offender. Where are all of the details of the “victim’s” life in this article? Very ignorant and irrational statements “Silence.” Maybe you should practice some of your first name’s meaning? You may be able to learn more.

  • http://national-coalition.net/ Justin

    Has your behavior been honorable for your entire life? Have you ever made a mistake that you could not shake? Your presumption that people who make mistakes or commit crime can never be redeemable.

  • Allison

    University of Richmond needs to find a better way to spend their money. #neverdonating

    • SassySpider

      Agreed. Apparently they only listen to money these days. #Lacrosse

  • http://national-coalition.net/ Justin

    Censorship?

  • Ryan

    Great reporting, plain and simple. For those defending this guy, you are kidding, right?

  • Conrad

    This is absolutely terrible, disgusting and sensationalized journalism. What do the horrific details regarding the assault have anything to do with questioning the university’s policy to not investigate convicted felons during the admissions process? Which story are you covering? The individual was tried, convicted and sentenced, and has since served time in accordance with the court’s ruling. I don’t care about the specific, sadistic and twisted acts of some deviant; rather, I am more disappointed that the school would grant admission and award a scholarship to a person without conducting a reasonable investigation into said individual’s past for purposes of safety, let alone the school’s prominence and legacy.

    The worse tragedies are people who perpetrate these kinds of acts, and get away with it. This man was caught, punished in a court of law and will continue to be punished for life by both the statutory labeling as a sex offender and the wound carved into his conscience by such a violent act. This “story” adds absolutely nothing to the necessary conversation regarding sexual violence across college campuses in this country.

  • SassySpider

    REALLY? Think about what you’re saying. Have you watched the news in the last 10 years? How many children have been abducted, abused and killed by first time sex offenders? How many people have had the same thing happen to the by repeat offenders, some of whom have been in and out of prison for YEARS?

    You clearly don’t know anyone who has been affected by this type of tragedy. Sex offenders can’t just “move on with their lives” after completely violating another person.

  • SassySpider

    Without this article, alumni would not know how wasteful UR’s spending is! Thanks, Collegian!

  • http://national-coalition.net/ Justin

    I’m not defending the ‘crimes,’ just the human beings, and their right
    to be allowed to pay their debt and then move on with their lives. I
    know a lot of Law School Grads who never practiced in a firm, or as an
    attorney. With an increasingly unfair judicial system perpetuating
    disproportionate justice, I think it’s more important to consider the
    human side of the equations with a lot more understanding that’s based
    on fact, rather than emotionalism based on imagination.

  • UR Law Alum

    As an alumnus of the law school, and I can say that many of us feel this
    way, this story was a source of great embarrassment. At first blush
    there is a question of why a person who is a convicted felon and sex
    offender was offered admission to the law school, when it is quite clear
    that the likelihood he will ever be given a law license (at least in
    VA) is almost naught. There are other questions that perhaps the women
    at the law school, at the university, and/or their parents would like
    answers to. I have defended numerous people who have been accused of
    similar crimes as Mr. Jesse, and the notion of “second chances” or
    redemption are certainly not without merit. I’ve urged the same point
    of view be taken by judges and juries. However, in my experience, rape
    and other sexual assault crimes result in those arguments falling on
    deaf ears. But I recognize that the law school is not Mr. Jesse’s judge
    or jury, and that a decision was made to admit him as a JD candidate.
    Here is where I and other alumni start to have an issue. The John
    Marshall scholarship is the most prestigious scholarship the law school
    has to offer. It represents more than just a “free ride” (or close
    enough) to law school; it offers the recipients an experience and
    contacts that other students aren’t afforded. It has, at least
    traditionally, represented the selection of the most promising law
    students. At a more basic level the Marshall scholarship represents a
    strong bribe to attend UR Law; it is given to students who might
    otherwise choose a more prestigious law school but have to pay full
    freight on their education. As I read story after story about the
    nightmare that is the legal job market for new law grads, as I read
    about the escalating costs of law school and the massive amounts of
    student debt that renders earning a JD a poor investment for most
    people, I cannot help but feel badly for the newest waves of UR Law
    grads. Admitting a convicted felon to the law school is a questionable
    move. Giving that person a Marshall scholarship is, frankly,
    ridiculous. Mr. Jesse will probably never be allowed to practice law in
    VA (and rightly so). His scholarship means that another student, who
    will go on to practice law, will be burdened by massive student loans
    that will be repaid over the next 30 years. Though it sounds cynical, I
    am confident that one’s LSAT scores factor heavily into the decision to
    award these scholarships. Again, they are a means to bribe top
    students into attending UR Law. Were there other law schools clamoring
    to admit a felon? If it wasn’t to increase the law school’s numbers for
    the US News rankings, what was it that was so compelling about this
    student that he deserved a scholarship that traditionally goes to the
    best and brightest applicants? Since when does a felon represent the
    best of UR Law? The bottom line is that is a black eye for the law
    school. It serves only to diminish the stature of the school; it does
    not enhance the value of a UR Law degree in any way, and it is hard to
    not be cynical and attribute the decision to one that was made with US
    News in mind. How can any alumnus who went through the character and
    fitness probe by the VA State Bar feel about giving money to the school
    when it’s clear the school has enough money to finance the legal
    education of a felon who should never be given a law license? The
    answer is: not too good. This is not an issue of righteous indignation;
    it’s an issue of standards. The law school may feel that it does not
    have a need to give an explanation or that it can’t. Bestowing a
    Marshall scholarship on a felon/sex offender speaks volumes about the
    law school, and if the explanation is: “it didn’t happen on my watch” or
    “none of your business and it doesn’t matter anyway,” well, that does
    very little to address serious concerns about the direction of the law
    school and the direction of legal practice the school seems to favor. I
    am not proud of UR Law right now.

  • Adam

    Its like that whole run at rehabilitation actually rehabilitated someone…why can’t he just go on welfare?

  • oboy

    I’d like to point out to everyone that there is a big difference between getting a J.D. (Juris Doctor), which you get upon completion of law school, versus taking and passing the bar exam and becoming a licensed practitioner. His licensure given the nature of his conviction is very, very unlikely. However, lots of people have J.D.s who never took nor passed the bar nor do they practice law. They become professors, CEO’s, accountants, or one of many other occupations after graduation, in fact the government employs tons of non-licensed J.D.s. So please don’t confuse the J.D. degree with the license, they are not equivalent. To merely have a degree is not the same as having the duties of ethics and the legal obligations mandated upon licensed attorneys. This article probably should not have been published unless and until the Jesse attempted to get licensed, or a Bar approved of his character background check as part of that licensure process, which again is highly unlikely (at least in Virginia, although you don’t have to get licensed in the state where you attend law school). Absent him trying to become a licensed attorney, this article really does smack of needless and preemptive singling out of an individual, at least to me.