For not disclosing a past criminal record over a drug charge and having an offer rescinding acceptance from St John’s Law School, a Pace Law School professor adopted a different opinion and take on events. The irony being that the lawyer acting (Roland Acevedo) for the student (David Powers) was also previously taught at Pace Law School by the professor (Bennett L Gersham). When Mr Gershman learned of Powers expulsion over his past criminal record via the press his thoughts were that Pace Law School should accommodate him.
Mr. Powers commences at the White plains campus on Monday. His way back in to Law school hopefully sets a new precedent for those with a criminal record and the gathering momentum over ‘Ban the Box’. Mr Powers story goes way back to 1999 and ended up at the highest court in the state. The case appeared to reach it’s final throes with a
crushing defeat for Powers earlier this year.
The criminal record came about in 1999 and the arrest centered round MDMA and LSD possession. After LSD was sold to under cover law enforcement intent to distribute compounded the charges. At this time Powers was aged 21 and had a drug problem. After successful rehabilitation his plead was guilty to less severe charges of possession. His criminal record was eventually expunged. Powers life took on a different and positive direction. After finishing at New Jersey’s Monmouth University and achieved a master’s in taxation, he found employment at Price Waterhouse Coopers and lived in Hong Kong for a couple of years enjoying a career within hedge funds.
Powers made an application to St John’s Law School in 2005. His application confirmed possession of drugs however not that the initial charges were for selling. After spending a year at St John’s Mr Powers made inquiries to officials at the New York courts as to whether his previous criminal record would prevent him from practicing law as and when he completed the bar exam successfully. During the process St John’s got wind of the original criminal record/charge and and rescinded the acceptance irrespective Powers had completed 3 part time semesters. The school said it was policy not to open their doors to individuals who sold drugs in their past.
After suing and ultimately losing the case Mr Acevedo and Powers went to the NY Court of Appeals. The highest court in the state which decided in April St Johns were within their rights as the original application had contained untruths. Mr Gersham believed Powers had a raw deal. After moving to Florida he was shocked to receive an email from Roland Acevedo requesting he attend Pace law School. It hadn’t been considered as a road towards vindication. He was enrolled to Law School and offered $25,000 towards the $45,000 cost per annum. For the full story please follow this link.
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