4.0 177 major C&F issue

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hoos89

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Re: 4.0 177 major C&F issue

Postby hoos89 » Mon Jul 23, 2018 2:11 am

Throwaway23245 wrote:(Sorry for throwaway account)

Without providing too much detail, this is my situation: when I was 18 (ten years ago) my friend got in a verbal fight with someone at a party so we were kicked out. He decided to steal the kids laptop and iphone to get back at him (which he mistakenly damaged in the process) and because we left and he stayed at my house that night, I was also arrested and charged with 6 felony counts (2x burglary, 2x grand larceny, 2x felony vandalism). The charges were ultimately reduced to one count of misdemeanor vandalism only to which I pled no contest, and everything was dismissed after 60 days pretrial probation.


To be sure, I am not here to ask if I should disclose or if I will be admitted to the bar. I have already worked with an attorney and spoken to my state's bar. I will be disclosing on apps. My question is: will T6 schools give my application serious consideration or will they just reject me automatically, but claim it was for other reasons?


Thanks so much for any information!


I doubt many schools are going to ding you for a ten year old misdemeanor, but it's impossible to say for sure and frankly there's no use losing sleep over it at this point. All you can do is be forthright. Write an addendum taking responsibility for your part in it and talk about how you learned from it etc. and I think you'll do fine. That said: take no risks with applications. Plaster the top 20 or so schools.

will T6 schools give my application serious consideration or will they just reject me automatically, but claim it was for other reasons

If you don't get into a T6 school with 4.0/177...this would have to be the reason. Schools don't typically tell you why you weren't admitted though, so they won't "claim" anything. As I said, I'd be pretty shocked if this happened to you but someone with 4.0/177 should be almost guaranteed admission to Harvard and should expect significant scholarship money from CCN.

Synapse2018

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Re: 4.0 177 major C&F issue

Postby Synapse2018 » Mon Jul 23, 2018 9:10 am

If this was in NY and you received an ACOD, you can honestly answer "no" to the question of whether you've been charged or arrested, but it seems like you have a conviction on file (no contest plea is the same as pleading guilty). I don't think it will be too much of an issue. If any school doesn't accept you with that LSAT/GPA, it's their loss!

I would consult with an attorney that specializes in bar acceptance. Get a written opinion and include it in your addendum. A 10 year old misdemeanor (assuming this is the only thing on your record), shouldn't play any part in predicting your ability to do well in school given your GPA and LSAT. When it comes to the addendum, you want to be transparent and show how the issue was a one-off incident. Something along the lines of "On July __, 20__, a close friend was being picked on and, in standing up for him, I regretfully took the law into my own hands. I was convicted of one misdemeanor count of _____. Since then, I haven't had any brush ups with the law nor do I intend to. I've worked diligently to demonstrate conformity to authority and our legal system as demonstrated by my undergraduate record and LSAT score."

The one thing that will get you rejected is leaving any doubt about you're willingness to work outside the law. It's for that reason that activists are often dinged despite having great numbers. Just remember to show that you were young/naive and now understand the importance of working within the system.

Hope that helps.
Last edited by Synapse2018 on Mon Jul 23, 2018 9:26 am, edited 1 time in total.

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nealric

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Re: 4.0 177 major C&F issue

Postby nealric » Mon Jul 23, 2018 9:17 am

While it might not be a terrible idea to talk to someone who specializes in C&F issues in advance, keep in mind that convicted murderers have successfully been admitted to the bar. A 10-year old misdemeanor is unlikely to prevent you from being admitted to the bar unless you fail to disclose or otherwise lie about it.

kellyjohnson

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Re: 4.0 177 major C&F issue

Postby kellyjohnson » Mon Jul 23, 2018 9:39 am

Throwaway23245 wrote:(Sorry for throwaway account)

To be sure, I am not here to ask if I should disclose or if I will be admitted to the bar. I have already worked with an attorney and spoken to my state's bar. I will be disclosing on apps.


You should not disclose to Harvard. There is a law in MA that you cannot base decisions on a misdemeanor over 5 years old if there were no subsequent convictions. Harvard *does not want to know about these misdemeanors*, because if they know about them, then they can be accused of basing their decisions on them. They would rather not know, so there is no appearance or chance of impropriety.

Its not hard. Read the question Harvard asks, and your answer is "no," and you move on. If you were to answer "yes" to Harvard's C&F question (assuming you have no subsequent criminal convictions), then you have actually lied (intentionally or unintentionally).

Lurker19

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Re: 4.0 177 major C&F issue

Postby Lurker19 » Mon Jul 23, 2018 4:11 pm

You'll be fine. I had a similar situation (relatively old dismissed felony charge) and I got into a T13 with $$ with substantially worse stats than you. However, I would suggest that you apply broadly. Some schools will probably hold it against you and you can expect to underperform your numbers a little bit. However, someone will definitely give you a shot. Be honest about everything, explain how you've changed, and apply broadly. Also you may want to think about paying a consultant for help with your C&F addendum, it will probably be well worth the money for you. Keep your head up, you'll get a great outcome somewhere.

jasmineTT

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Re: 4.0 177 major C&F issue

Postby jasmineTT » Mon Jul 23, 2018 6:01 pm

I think because its been such a long time since and because it ended up only being a misdemeanor, the effects shouldn't be too serious. Just make sure you craft a really mature addendum, that focuses on 1. you accept full responsibility for what happened (crucial), 2. what you have been doing since 10 years ago to better yourself, and 3. how you are a completely different person now. I also had a C&F issue and wrote an addendum along those lines and was admitted into CCN with $ (my stats were nowhere near as good as yours). I also think you would benefit a lot by including a recommendation letter that speaks to your character, in addition to the professor rec and professional rec. Basically, you should fill your file however you can with evidence that you have completely turned over a new leaf.

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Pneumonia

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Re: 4.0 177 major C&F issue

Postby Pneumonia » Mon Jul 23, 2018 6:44 pm

What you typed is actually 90% of a good C+F addendum. Here are some edits.

Throwaway23245 wrote: When I was 18 (ten years ago) my friend and I got in a verbal fight argument with someone at a party so we were kicked out. He We decided to steal the kids laptop and iphone to get back at him (which he mistakenly damaged in the process) and because we left and he stayed at my house that night, I was also arrested and charged with 6 felony counts (2x burglary, 2x grand larceny, 2x felony vandalism). The charges were ultimately reduced to one count of misdemeanor vandalism only to which I pled no contest, and everything was dismissed after 60 days pretrial probation. It was foolish . . . And I have changed . . .


Obviously you also need to clean up the grammar and style. But if you did, this would be a pretty perfect addendum. Even if you decide to rewrite, this paragraph strikes the appropriate tone and runs the appropriate length. The facts as you've given them shouldn't require more than one paragraph.

Don't go overboard on the steps you've taken to better yourself or on how you're a different person now. Maybe one well-written, mature sentence each. Or even better, one sentence total. Lots of addenda read like "I DON'T even KNOW who that person WAS!!!" That's not a good look, especially for something minor like what you've described. You do want to take full responsibility, but you can accomplish that by changing the pronouns as I've done above. You don't need to say what the argument was about. You might consider mentioning that you've been in contact with your state's bar. You don't need to say more than that (or even say it at all), but if you can do it well it will show you're approaching this responsibly.

Do pay very close attention to the way the C+F questions are worded. I just checked my Harvard app and KJ is right that you don't need to disclose any of this to them (assuming the language is the same). My app doesn't ask about arrests and says to omit misdemeanor convictions that are more than five years old. Though to be clear, you'd omit because that's what the app says rather than because that's what MA law says. Also, I don't think most schools ask about charges in the abstract, so you may get away with not mentioning the felony charges. Again, just pay very close attention to the questions' wording.

This should not prevent you from attending a good school, and it should not keep you from being admitted to the bar. Good luck!

hlsperson1111

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Re: 4.0 177 major C&F issue

Postby hlsperson1111 » Fri Aug 10, 2018 6:16 pm

I agree that this should not be an issue, but I would be even more matter-of-fact. "In YEAR, I pleaded no contest to one count of misdemeanor vandalism. The charges were dismissed following 60 days of probation. I have not otherwise been charged with or convicted of a crime." No editorializing, no context, no musings about how irresponsible it was; nothing but the facts. I also echo the advice to read the C+F questions carefully and not to disclose information that you don't have to (i.e., don't disclose charges if you don't have to, don't disclose convictions over 5 years old if you don't have to, etc.).

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Barack O'Drama

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Re: 4.0 177 major C&F issue

Postby Barack O'Drama » Fri Aug 10, 2018 7:28 pm

Synapse2018 wrote:If this was in NY and you received an ACOD, you can honestly answer "no" to the question of whether you've been charged or arrested, but it seems like you have a conviction on file (no contest plea is the same as pleading guilty). I don't think it will be too much of an issue. If any school doesn't accept you with that LSAT/GPA, it's their loss!

I would consult with an attorney that specializes in bar acceptance. Get a written opinion and include it in your addendum. A 10 year old misdemeanor (assuming this is the only thing on your record), shouldn't play any part in predicting your ability to do well in school given your GPA and LSAT. When it comes to the addendum, you want to be transparent and show how the issue was a one-off incident. Something along the lines of "On July __, 20__, a close friend was being picked on and, in standing up for him, I regretfully took the law into my own hands. I was convicted of one misdemeanor count of _____. Since then, I haven't had any brush ups with the law nor do I intend to. I've worked diligently to demonstrate conformity to authority and our legal system as demonstrated by my undergraduate record and LSAT score."

The one thing that will get you rejected is leaving any doubt about you're willingness to work outside the law. It's for that reason that activists are often dinged despite having great numbers. Just remember to show that you were young/naive and now understand the importance of working within the system.

Hope that helps.


Is that true re: the ACOD? I have one and the DA told me this was the case also, but I just want to be sure.

Thank you

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Dcc617

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Re: 4.0 177 major C&F issue

Postby Dcc617 » Fri Aug 10, 2018 7:39 pm

hlsperson1111 wrote:I agree that this should not be an issue, but I would be even more matter-of-fact. "In YEAR, I pleaded no contest to one count of misdemeanor vandalism. The charges were dismissed following 60 days of probation. I have not otherwise been charged with or convicted of a crime." No editorializing, no context, no musings about how irresponsible it was; nothing but the facts. I also echo the advice to read the C+F questions carefully and not to disclose information that you don't have to (i.e., don't disclose charges if you don't have to, don't disclose convictions over 5 years old if you don't have to, etc.).


That's the correct approach, in my opinion. It's full disclosure without the whole confusing back story that may make it seem more serious. Plus, it won't seem like you're trying to make excuses or anything.

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Re: 4.0 177 major C&F issue

Postby Synapse2018 » Wed Aug 15, 2018 10:36 am

Barack O'Drama wrote:
Synapse2018 wrote:If this was in NY and you received an ACOD, you can honestly answer "no" to the question of whether you've been charged or arrested, but it seems like you have a conviction on file (no contest plea is the same as pleading guilty). I don't think it will be too much of an issue. If any school doesn't accept you with that LSAT/GPA, it's their loss!

I would consult with an attorney that specializes in bar acceptance. Get a written opinion and include it in your addendum. A 10 year old misdemeanor (assuming this is the only thing on your record), shouldn't play any part in predicting your ability to do well in school given your GPA and LSAT. When it comes to the addendum, you want to be transparent and show how the issue was a one-off incident. Something along the lines of "On July __, 20__, a close friend was being picked on and, in standing up for him, I regretfully took the law into my own hands. I was convicted of one misdemeanor count of _____. Since then, I haven't had any brush ups with the law nor do I intend to. I've worked diligently to demonstrate conformity to authority and our legal system as demonstrated by my undergraduate record and LSAT score."

The one thing that will get you rejected is leaving any doubt about you're willingness to work outside the law. It's for that reason that activists are often dinged despite having great numbers. Just remember to show that you were young/naive and now understand the importance of working within the system.

Hope that helps.


Is that true re: the ACOD? I have one and the DA told me this was the case also, but I just want to be sure.

Thank you


First, my response below is an opinion and opinion only and not intended to be legal advice. You should consult with a criminal law attorney before taking it into consideration.

This is what I've found in my research. Some relevant case law pertaining to this particular issue is People v. Ellis, 184 A.D.2d 307 (1st Dept 1992), and Padilla v. LaBalley, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 141279 (SDNY 2012), explaining that CPL 160.60, the statute referencing the effect of an ACD or ACOD, means that "the arrest and prosecution shall be deemed a nullity and the accused shall be restored, in contemplation of law, to the status he occupied before the arrest and prosecution." Specifically, each of these cases reference how a witness could outright say he or she was not arrested after an ACD or ACOD.

Now, most schools that don't have state or local laws prohibiting asking about arrests or charges that have not led to convictions will ask to disclose about cases that have been dismissed or expunged, but a number of states have been cracking down on these type of questions even when they apply to Law School/Bar applications.

In NY, you are entitled to say "No. I have never been arrested" and the state bar can not take that to mean you mislead the law school. Again, if the school specifically asks about expunged or dismissed cases, you're out of luck. In that case, it's probably best to assume it will be held against you when deciding where to apply.

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Barack O'Drama

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Re: 4.0 177 major C&F issue

Postby Barack O'Drama » Thu Aug 16, 2018 9:35 pm

Thanks a bunch, Synapse! I'm going to talk to a lawyer just to be sure, but I'm thankful for the info.

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BeeTeeZ

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Re: 4.0 177 major C&F issue

Postby BeeTeeZ » Thu Sep 06, 2018 6:59 am

A professor at Georgetown spent over 10 years in prison for robbing banks. Apply to Georgetown.

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Re: 4.0 177 major C&F issue

Postby albanach » Thu Sep 06, 2018 2:43 pm

Synapse2018 wrote:This is what I've found in my research. Some relevant case law pertaining to this particular issue is People v. Ellis, 184 A.D.2d 307 (1st Dept 1992), and Padilla v. LaBalley, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 141279 (SDNY 2012), explaining that CPL 160.60, the statute referencing the effect of an ACD or ACOD, means that "the arrest and prosecution shall be deemed a nullity and the accused shall be restored, in contemplation of law, to the status he occupied before the arrest and prosecution." Specifically, each of these cases reference how a witness could outright say he or she was not arrested after an ACD or ACOD.


I'd be really, really careful here. Just because an arrest was sealed, doesn't mean it won't show up on a commercial background check. And NY State Law won't help much if it's another state's bar you're trying to get admitted to. Discrepancies between your school application and C&F form are picked up on. And lack of candor can often result in a worse outcome than disclosure.



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