On Sunday, Florida State Seminoles quarterback Jameis Winston was ruled to have not violated the university’s student conduct code after a thorough investigation of the university’s handling of the situation.
Here is what you need to know:
1. Winston Had Originally Faced Felony Charges For the Incident but Wasn’t Charged
A woman had accused Winston of sexually assaulting her in his off-campus apartment in December 2012. In December 2013, Willie Meggs, the state attorney for the Second Judicial Circuit, announced during a news conference that Winston would not be charged with sexual assault.
Although the state attorney’s office declined to file criminal charges, Winston still faced a school hearing because of FSU’s obligations under Title IX.
2. A Thorough Investigation of the University Took Place
In October, FOX Sports came out with a report claiming that Florida State University had hampered Winston’s investigations by obtaining documents of the case before prosecutor Meggs.
In response, the case was handled by a three-person panel of people not associated with Florida State, but appointed by the university to handle the case. The rationale behind FSU’s decision was to ensure an optimal and proper legal investigation into the accusations.
3. Winston’s Conduct Hearing Was Held Earlier in December
During the December 3 hearing, Winston declined to answer any direct questions about the sexual accusations and the former FSU student, however, he prepared a five-page document that detailed and accounted for his events of that night’s events that he read to the judge.
According to ESPN: at the hearing, Winston repeatedly declined to answer questions from Harding and during cross-examination by his accuser, according to people familiar with the case.
4. The Decision Came 18 Days After the Hearing
Sunday’s decision from retired Florida Supreme Court justice Major Harding cames 18 days after the hearing. Winston’s Attorney David Cornwell confirmed the decision to ESPN’s Joe Schad.
According to a letter that Harding wrote directly to Winston:
“This was a complex case, and I worked hard to make sure both parties had a full and fair opportunity to present information. In sum, the preponderance of the evidence has not shown that you are responsible for any of the charge violations of the Code. Namely, I find that the evidence before me is insufficient to satisfy the burden of proof.”
5. The accuser has until Jan. 13 to appeal the ruling
A Florida State student has up to five days to appeal any ruling. In order for a student to appeal the case, one of the following five pieces of criteria must be met:
– a violation of due process rights or complainants’ rights
– prejudice by the hearing officer
– newly discovered information
– a sanction disproportionate to the violation
– the preponderance of the evidence doesn’t support the finding
Due to the university’s winter break, the five-day appeal wont start until classes resume January 8, thus making the deadline date January 13.