Legal Brief - Goss v. Lopez

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Sample Legal Brief Citation: Goss v. Lopez, No. 73-898, SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES, 419 U.S. 565; 95 S. Ct. 729; 42 L. Ed. 2d 725; 1975 U.S. LEXIS 23, October 16, 1974, Argued, January 22, 1975, Decided Facts: Students in the Columbus, Ohio, public schools brought this suit. The students claimed that their constitutional right to due process had been violated when they were suspended temporarily without a hearing prior to their suspensions. The Ohio Code provides for free education for all students between the ages of six and twenty-one. Principals may suspend students for misconduct for up to ten days or expel them. In such cases, the school officials must notify parents of the suspension or expulsion within twenty-four hours and include a notice of the reasons. Suspended students may appeal to the board of education. The suspensions of the ten students, who brought this action, occurred during a period of widespread unrest in the Columbus public schools. Issue: Whether students may be suspended for ten days or less without due process of law. Previous History: The district court held that due process applies when students are suspended from school for ten days or less. Holding: Suspensions of ten days or less are not de minimis. Due process is required before school officials can suspend students. Reasoning: Under Ohio law, the plaintiffs had a right to public education; therefore, school officials must accord them due process before depriving them of protected interests. Schools have broad authority to establish and enforce standards of conduct; however, such authority is subject to constitutional limitations. Students have a property interest under the Fourteenth Amendment to an education. The court reasoned that “the State is constrained to recognize a student’s legitimate entitlement to a public education as a property
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