February 27, 2012

"Law Deans May Go to Jail for Submitting False Data to U.S. News."

Why not?

30 comments:

traditionalguy said...

This will be quite a shock to them.

A law regulating their ranking games for recruitment like the NCAA regulates the football coaches recruitment games will make lying and deception harder to do.

Matthew said...

Is it because they were selling it?

MadisonMan said...

Will the Deans hire lawyers from their own schools? That would be a good ad campaign if they do and get off :)

Abdul Abulbul Amir said...

.


Wow. Were they selling the data to US Snooze? If not, what is the crime?

.

Yiddishe Bloyger said...

In financial circles, when there is "lack of oversight and insufficient accountability" it generally means there are plenty of people making money as a result, and fixing it would kill the golden goose. I would suggest the same here. When people leave a garage door open, it is usually because they plan to drive through it.

kcom said...

"Wow. Were they selling the data to US Snooze? If not, what is the crime?"

Seconded.

Amartel said...

Hey, kids, time for a teachable moment.

Lem said...

“Well, if you want to have this legal conversation, it all has to do with your state of mind and whether or not you had the requisite intent to come up with something that would be considered... a lie,”

US Attorney General Eric Holder

According to the Atts General... its all good... as long as they say they didn't mean it.. and apologise.

Bruce Hayden said...

I just don't see jail time here. Sure, it is great if people posture here, but jailing them just isn't realistic.

For one thing, it is almost akin to the adage that you shouldn't pick a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel. In this case, the law schools have a lot more free legal help available than any group of prosecutors could. Sure, they would need lead counsel, and may end up having to pay for some of that. But, still, I think that the law schools have an advantage here.

Besides, don't most law schools fudge a bit anyway? A bit cynical here on my part, but since they live and die with those ratings, they have every incentive to fudge things.

edutcher said...

So, Ann, which law school do you want to run?

Richard Dolan said...

The imagined federal claims sound far fetched. Providing false data to US News is not a crime since there is no legal duty to tell the truth in one's dealings with the media. Indeed, there is no general legal duty to tell the truth except in dealings with gov't investigators (18 USC 1001), or when under oath. (If it were a crime, every politician in America could be indicted on that theory.) The fact that the deans (or whoever provided the false data) were motivated by a desire to improve the profile of their academic institution on the US News rankings is irrelevant. (Politicians who lie to the press are similarly interested in improving their personal reputation.)

Mail/wire fraud requires a scheme or artifice to defraud involving the use of the mails or interstate wire facilities. Here the theory of the fraud would presumably be that the schools were providing false data to US News as part of a scheme to defraud prosepctive students of their tuition. That's got a lot of problems with it. What the schools are selling is, first, an education, and second, a credential. They don't make any direct promise to students that they will obtain a legal job upon graduation. Nor is it reasonable to construe statements (whether true or false) to US News as a representation to prospective students. It is, at most, a school's use of the press to disseminate a marketing message. There would also be serious questions about the reasonableness of a prospective student's reliance on the US News rankings or any information included within it. The US News categories are quite general, and it is not obvious on its face what US News was including in its 'placement' data.

Perhaps there might be a basis to claim a violation of state consumer-protection laws. But I think that's really all there is here.

EDH said...

They won't even lose their licenses to practice law.

Roman said...

Lying to a 'magazine' is a crime? Let's include politicians lying to voters, then get me the concession for ankle monitors, we could all retire!

Lem said...

A bit cynical here on my part, but since they live and die with those ratings, they have every incentive to fudge things.

A fudge here and a fudge there can kill a diabetic.

Lem said...

US News is the most holy book in.. Americas dental offices.

The deans have defiled it.

Nobody put a gun to their heads.

Lem said...

Deans lied..

US News died.

Carnifex said...

I started to snark on lawyers but restrained myself. I hope that all guilty parties pay the penalties they deserve, no more, no less.

(but I can really snark on lawyers)
:-)

Triangle Man said...

These prevaricating Deans have stolen the valor of those few brave school that have actually worked to achieve the type of statistics that these poseurs can only dream of. String 'em up!

Lem said...

I guess what we seem to be saying is that the news media's self regard as the 4th state is a bit.. delutional?

David said...

Richard Dolan does not like the fact that these laws might be applied to burnish law school deans.

I hope there are prosecutions (though I doubt there will be.)

It might be informative for academia and the media. The proliferation of federal crimes, and the use of the prosecution power by federal prosecutors to burnish their reputations and thus get high paying and/or powerful private sector jobs, is one of the more insidious aspects of the expansion of federal power.

Chickens coming home to roost, as Obama's pastor might say.

t-man said...

I don't see it is criminal fraud, but a state law consumer fraud class action might be successful under the law of a number of states.

PaulV said...

They are the privileged class and are entitled

rhhardin said...

News magazines are federal officials.

Maguro said...

Lord, I hope it's still OK to lie to Newsweek.

Saint Croix said...

Blogger said "hope and change" and then jammed us all up on the left.

And everything on the right disappeared. That's kinda freaky.

Larry J said...

MadisonMan said...
Will the Deans hire lawyers from their own schools? That would be a good ad campaign if they do and get off :)


That's a good question. Unless you're talking about one of the Ivy League law schools, the answer is probably no. You see, their own law schools aren't good enough to produce law professors so how could they be good enough to represent them in court?

When you look at a law school faculty roster and find that none of the professors came from the school, that should tell you the school must not do a very good job. If all the professors come from the Ivy League, that tells me that State Law must think itself a second (or lower) tier institution.

Peter said...

Half Sigma said it best some years ago. Don't go to law school unless you can get into one of the Top 14 schools:

There are only 14 top law schools. That’s right. Not 10, not 15, but 14. They are, in descending order of prestige: Yale, Harvard, Stanford, Columbia, NYU, Chicago, University of Pennsylvania, University of Michigan, University of Virginia, Duke, Northwestern, Cornell, UC Berkeley, and Georgetown. And that’s it.

PETER V. BELLA said...

You have the right to remain silent... You have the right to an attorney being present. Ff you cannot afford an attorney one will be appointed for you.

Hee hee hee hee.

Amy Schley said...

In this case, the law schools have a lot more free legal help available than any group of prosecutors could.

You assume that law professors know anything about the actual practice of law ...

Matthew said...

"They don't make any direct promise to students that they will obtain a legal job upon graduation. Nor is it reasonable to construe statements (whether true or false) to US News as a representation to prospective students."

-- US News is putting out ratings; it is deliberately designed to represent things for prospective students. If a school is rated high, employers will weigh degrees from there more heavily than from other places. If those places are proven to be frauds, the value of their degrees go down -- which sucks for everyone who has dropped their money into it for a few years already.

It's a lot like pretending your funds are making more money than they really are. Only, the investors are students, not people hoping for an easy retirement.