June 11, 2019

Failure to provide a brief adjournment of an administrative disciplinary hearing to permit the attorney for the accused to be present held an abuse of discretion

A State University of New York [SUNY] student [Student] was served with multiple disciplinary charges alleging misconduct. At the commencement of the scheduled administrative disciplinary hearing Student requested a three-hour adjournment of the  hearing so that his attorney could attend the proceeding. SUNY denied Student's request and proceeded with the disciplinary hearing notwithstanding the absence of Student's attorney.

Student ultimately challenged SUNY's decision and the Court of Appeals, reversing a ruling by the Appellate Division to the contrary, annulled SUNY's disciplinary determination and remanded the matter to the Appellate Division, indicating that should SUNY elect to proceed with the disciplinary action, it must hold a new disciplinary hearing.

The Court of Appeals explained that in consideration of "the particular circumstances of this case" it had found that SUNY had abused its discretion, as a matter of law, when it declined to grant the adjournment Student had requested to permit his attorney to be present at the hearing.

The decision is posted on the Internet at: