The New York Court of Appeals is considering how candid a person must be about his prior criminal record when applying to law school. During oral argument on February 12 in Matter of Powers v. St. John’s University School of Law, several judges raised public policy concerns over the law school’s summary rescission of David Powers’ admission midway through his second year, based on how he had described his criminal record on his original application. Powers had disclosed a past conviction for drug possession, but did not also report that he had initially faced more serious charges of drug-dealing. These underlying charges came to light mid-way through Powers’ second year, when he sought clarification from the New York courts as to whether his criminal record would preclude his admission to the bar.
According to an account of the argument in the New York Law Journal, “[Powers] involvement with drugs seemed to concern state Court of Appeals judges less than St. John’s University’s decision to rescind his admission to law school.”