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A 1998 Quinnipiac University School of Law graduate denied admission to the Connecticut state bar based on allegations that he cheated on one of his final exams will have a second chance to defend himself before the Connecticut Bar Examining Committee. In January 1999, the CBEC rejected David A. Friedman’s bar application after hearing testimony from a former classmate who claimed to have witnessed Friedman placing a crib sheet under his test booklet during a 1995 closed-book exam in Professor Martin Margulies’ course on constitutional law. Ruling Nov. 16 on Friedman’s administrative appeal, New Haven Superior Court Judge Jon C. Blue found the committee’s factual findings were “insufficient” and remanded the case back to the CBEC for further proceedings. It was only a partial victory for Friedman, who disputes the allegations and had petitioned the court to admit him to the bar over the bar examining committee’s objections. Friedman’s lawyer, Kenneth A. Votre, of Votre & Associates in New Haven, Conn., declined to comment on the case. But in his Nov. 13 memorandum of law supporting his petition for bar admittance, Friedman emphasized that Quinnipiac never officially sanctioned him in connection with the charges. In September 1996, the school’s student discipline committee, after a formal hearing, did find Friedman in violation of Quinnipiac’s conduct code and ordered his grade to be reduced by a full grade point, according to Blue’s decision. But the school’s dean later reversed the discipline committee after finding that delays in bringing the charges to a hearing were “excessive” and may have prejudiced Friedman’s defense. In its response to Friedman’s petition to the court, the CBEC pointed out that the dean also decided to maintain records of the disciplinary proceedings “for transmittal to any bar admissions committee that might have appropriate jurisdiction.” In a footnote in his brief to Blue, Friedman contended that “his situation is not materially different from a person whose criminal conviction is overturned on appeal. Once overturned, that person has the right to represent that he or she has never even been arrested.” FACTUAL FINDINGS IN SHORT SUPPLY The Quinnipiac law grad claimed he was nothing but candid with the CBEC over the incident. The committee, according to Friedman’s memorandum, responded by arbitrarily giving more weight to the testimony of Friedman’s classmate than that from Friedman himself. “There are no facts,” the bar applicant argued in his brief, “from which it can reasonably and logically be concluded by clear and convincing evidence that Mr. Friedman brought any ‘unauthorized material’ into the exam.” Friedman, who passed the Connecticut bar exam in July 1998, also discounted the CBEC’s reliance on corroborating testimony from a second witness who appeared before the Quinnipiac student discipline committee. That witness, Friedman noted, was never called to testify before the CBEC, thus depriving Friedman’s lawyer of the chance to cross-examine him before the administrative body. In its opposition brief, the CBEC said it found the two witnesses to be more credible than Friedman, whose statements, it concluded, were not truthful. “The [c]ommittee properly regarded cheating on a law school exam as a serious matter, particularly since … the academic misconduct occurred in the fairly recent past when the applicant was old enough to know better.” But in remanding the case, Blue found the CBEC’s factual findings to be in “exceedingly short supply.” “Unhappily, the BEC’s ‘finding’ here amounts to little more than ‘mere recitation of the testimony,’ ” the judge wrote in his decision. “ The BEC,” he added, “must make findings as to what it determines happened at the 1995 examination.” Among its shortcomings, the committee’s memorandum of decision, Blue noted, failed to identify the specific portions of Friedman’s testimony that it found to be untrue. The CBEC’s lawyer, Dan E. LaBelle, of Halloran & Sage’s Westport, Conn., office, did not return telephone calls by press time.

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