Johnathan Perkins acquitted during summer Honor Code trial

Two weeks ago, in an article about UVA Law School student culture in the wake of criminal charges filed against Joshua Peter Gomes, C-VILLE revisited the case of Johnathan Perkins. Prior to graduation exercises, Perkins, a black male, penned a letter to the Virginia Law Weekly, in which he alleged mistreatment by two white police officers. He later admitted the story was false, which led many to wonder whether he would face a confidential Honor Code trial and, if found guilty, expulsion from UVA.

Now, thanks to a letter from UVA Law School Dean Paul Mahoney (see below), we know that Perkins did face an Honor Code trial, but was acquitted, and ultimately received his degree. The statement appears below, in full:

"In May 2011, a member of the UVA community brought an Honor charge against Johnathan Perkins. Under UVA’s student-run honor system, a student found guilty of lying, cheating or stealing is expelled permanently from the University. The University withheld Mr. Perkins’ degree pending his trial and he did not participate in the graduation ceremonies.

"Over the summer, Mr. Perkins went to trial before a jury of fellow students. He was acquitted and has received the degree that had been withheld.

"The Law School has separately informed Mr. Perkins that it will furnish a statement regarding the Honor charges and underlying circumstances to any state bar to which he applies.

"Mr. Perkins has authorized the Law School to disclose the above information about his Honor proceeding."

One UVA Law grad told the Daily Progress that a confession from Perkins did not  "mitigate the fact of the public untruths." A coordinator with the city’s Dialogue on Race told C-VILLE that Perkins didn’t need "to create a lie to shed light on some of the concerns of the issue." C-VILLE e-mailed Perkins to request comment, but has not heard from him.

One item of note, as pointed out by AboveTheLaw: Perkins is not on the summary of Honor Code trials held during Spring 2011. And another: According to the summaries, the UVA Honor Committee held 17 trials during the last academic year (not counting Perkins, of course), and found seven students guilty. 

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