School Allows High School Student To Continue To Play Football After Being Criminally Charged With Rape

In Michigan, parents are outraged by the decision of a high school to allow senior Mitchell Landis to continue to play football after he was arrested and charged with rape. They insist that such arrests could constitute a violation of “good behavior” standards.


Landis is charged with two counts of criminal sexual conduct in the third degree, which would land him in jail for up to 30 years (though that is unlikely since such charges usually run concurrently with a maximum of 15 years). He has posted bail and resumed football for the school.

We previously saw a case in Texas of a cheerleader who was dropped from her team when she refused to cheer for a football player she accused of rape.

The mother of the victim says that the girl was raped at a friend’s house by Landis. After she went to police, she says that two men later grabbed her and raped her again in the woods. She reportedly tried to commit suicide.

The question is whether, given the presumption of innocence, the player should not be removed from the team until his guilt is proven. In this case, the police and prosecutor felt that there was sufficient evidence to bring two criminal charges. That would make this more than a simple allegation of “bad behavior” under school rules.

Source: WWMT

61 thoughts on “School Allows High School Student To Continue To Play Football After Being Criminally Charged With Rape”

  1. If there was sufficient evidence to bring charges, that should be taken seriously. Consider that if he were accused of any other felony, he would be suspended as well — not because of presumption of guilt, but because, until his name is cleared, there is a suspicion of guilt. This isn’t a court of law, and those rules don’t apply; school policy applies. He’s not being kicked off the team, his play is being suspended. Players get suspended for bad grades. I shouldn’t have to point out that being arrested is more serious.

  2. Renee – your whole comment is written as if you are absolutely convinced that he raped someone. He was accused of rape. Don’t you think he should be given a chance to defend himself and be proven to have actually raped her? Or should we just eliminate that step as unnecessary and start to treat him as a rapist from the moment of the accusation? Maybe I am naive…but what if one of the beautiful girls of Jonesville was herself accused of rape? Would you feel the same? Or would you give her the benefit of the doubt you now refuse to give him?

    You are right in that what kind of ball he plays is irrelevant to this question. If he actually raped someone, the only balls he’ll be playing with are in prison. But don’t make lady justice out of yourself despite your very noble intentions.

  3. Im very outraged! My daughters and many other younge beautiful girls attend Jonesville! What kind of example our they sending? They are telling our kids they are fine with the fact this boy has raped a younge girl as long as he plays good ball….. Wth is the world coming to? This poor younge girl needs everyone on her side! She was violated yet this boy walks free enjoying his freedom and sports!!! While that poor younge girl is being torchured mentally an physically! But he alks free! Hmmm! Makes ya wonder who his parents must know!

  4. At my high school, simply being arrested for a serious crime would have risked expulsion, and probably would have resulted in suspension, and you certainly wouldn’t be putting on the uniform for a sport. Being criminally charged for something as serious as rape would have almost certainly gotten you kicked out.*

    Expelling a kid from a public school probably should be a high bar to get over, but allowing someone with criminal charges pending to wear the school’s uniform for a sport or similarly “represent” the school in public doesn’t seem like a good idea.

    (* Unless, of course, your dad was a major politician or big (actual/potential) financial contributor to the school. Still, rumor has it that when the son a certain internationally-known, recently-retired 2nd generation mayor of my fair city was busted at a house party with drinking and who knows what else, the school, um, let’s say, assisted him in finding a different school that might be a better fit for him academically where he could complete his high school education. Usually, the children of politicians who couldn’t hack it academically would be “accommodated” somehow, so I’m guessing that even if this kid wasn’t terribly bright, the arrest played a major role in his leaving the school.)

  5. Well, maybe I’ll buy the beers sometime and we can both talk about all the names we’ve been called.

  6. seamus:

    “Are you seriously saying you would argue poetry and philosophy at a bond hearing?”

    *************

    No I argue logic, and, in case you missed it, poets and philosopher seem to have that and truth in abundance. As for arguing the great works before judge’s I have no such compunction. Darrow did it as did Lincoln and many others. Most of us are learned people and we respond to the wisdom of the past in dealing with the problems of the present. Don’t you?

    As for the comment about criminal law, i should tell you I did practice it as a young lawyer but found other outlets for my skills away from the sewer that it sometimes becomes.

  7. Quincy Superintendent responds to football player accused of rape
    WWMT
    September 14, 2011
    http://www.wwmt.com/articles/quincy-1395829-superintendent-newschannel.html

    Excerpts:

    QUINCY, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) – It’s a shocking crime that’s rocked a small community. A star football player accused of rape, the alleged victim a teen from another school.

    17-year-old Mitchell Landis was arrested last week, the charges he faces stem from a party back in August. The girl claims Landis forced himself on her.

    Now, many in the community are wondering why Landis is still in school and allowed to play football.

    On Wednesday Newschannel 3 put the tough questions to the district’s superintendent.

    Despite being accused of rape, Landis was out on the football field Friday night.

    Landis allegedly forced a teenage girl from another school to have sex at a party in late August.

    Newschannel 3 has been told that police came to the school last Tuesday for Landis.

    “Does that say to others, we are guilty because we are arrested,” said Quincy Schools Superintendent Craig Artist. “We’re almost getting to the point that they’re guilty until proven innocent.”

    According to the school’s athletic code a student athlete must be in good standing with the laws of society. Artist says since Landis hasn’t been found guilty, he’s allowed to play.

    *****

    A preliminary examination for Landis was scheduled for Wednesday afternoon, but was postponed. The superintendent says the decision about Landis could change depending on new information.

  8. “Removing him from the game now is not just about eliminating the risk he poses – it’s making a statement that will reach beyond this case, this guy and this community. It tells this community and other communities that it is OK to chastise individuals as soon as a crime is alleged because they seem guilty.”

    Flatteryourself has it right I think. From a local perspective it further insures the difficulty of this kid getting a fair trial and then in broader terms to the area as a whole. We know that the presumption of accusation and arrest held by a majority of people is one that the party arrested and charged is guilty. Unless the defendant is wealthy, there is also a imbalance of resources between the prosecution and the defense. In our legal system, despite legal guarantees to the contrary, defending against a criminal charge is an uphill battle. We simply don’t know if Landis is guilty from the facts I’ve tried to ascertain, therefore I believe the School District is acting correctly.

    Let me make my position clearer though. Besides murder I think that rape is perhaps the most horrible of common crimes. I’m also well aware of how women have been mistreated by the legal system when rapes have occurred. It is shameful and it has been callous throughout our nation’s history. However, one doesn’t redress abominations and distortions of justice, with other abominations that might see the innocent declared guilty.

    How quickly we forget the case of the Duke Lacrosse team and the rush to judgment against them?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duke_lacrosse_case

    Too me ANY rape is a hot button issue. The idea of someone committing it repels me to the core. At the same time though, the idea of a rush to judgment and premature stigmatization of the accused is an anathema to me, despite my strong feelings.

    “I also think it’s funny that we wish for rapists to be raped. How retardedly macho.”

    Seamus,

    Sorry, but I do believe in Karmic Justice and that is not macho. Macho is the fool who believes that the rape victim brought it on her(him)self. As for the appellation of “retarded”, I’ve been called worse.

  9. Mespo,

    Are you seriously saying you would argue poetry and philosophy at a bond hearing? If so, let me know when you’re going to try it; I want to sell tickets. Also, unless there is an allegation that the defendant participated in or helped plan a subsequent attack, “most” judges would not hall the defendant back into court. Most judges, unlike yourself do not presume guilt. And while on the subject of your ass, you seemed to be awfully skilled at talking out of it my good man. You’ve clearly never practiced criminal law (any law?).

  10. Just because the story seems credible, doesn’t mean he should be banned from school activities. Presumption of the innocence, in my opinion, is not just a term for the courts. It’s a term Americans have become used to in their daily lives. What would this term mean if we instead decided to presume guilt before innocence outside of the courtroom on the basis of the argument that “risk to others outweighs interests of the charged”? Do we draw the line where the victim almost committed suicide…or where they just made an accusation…or when? Removing him from the game now is not just about eliminating the risk he poses – it’s making a statement that will reach beyond this case, this guy and this community. It tells this community and other communities that it is OK to chastise individuals as soon as a crime is alleged because they seem guilty. Communities might already do it informally. Putting the school authority behind it just makes that more acceptable.

    There is a reason we have a presumption of innocence and such a heavy burden of proof for guilt. Part of that reason is that we place a premium price on freedom and individual ability to pursue happiness. The prospect of this guy, if he is truly guilty, out in the open until trial worries me. But I think we should stick to our guns about why we decided to value these things and why we decided to presume innocence instead of the other way around..These values, for me, outweigh the risk to society posed by this guy continuing to play until proven guilty.

  11. anon:

    Weber knows this teenager about as much as you know the duties of the judge. By the way, stick to crayons for your scrawling it’s more your speed. As for my buttocks, it’s nice to know you care.

  12. seamus:

    “Try reading Emerson to the judge (or the Supreme Court) nest time you have a hearing on a criminal bond issue.”

    ****************

    Our judges are quite literate here and none would have let this kid anywhere near this alleged victim. Once she was beaten, most would have called this kid back in to determine if he met his requirement to keep the peace and be of good behavior. Not sure what happens in your bailiwick but judging for your comments I’m glad I’m in mine.

  13. “Let me lay it out with flash cards for you. Weber says to blah blah blah, blahblahblahblah blah blah blah”

    Mespo, let me lay it out in magic marker scrawled on my buttocks for you.

    Weber said ” the risk **THIS** teenager” and spoke of the situation with one specific kid using information found in the article itself. You chugged down another half gallon of gallo, googled, and gagged up some random anecdotes of random other people whose sole connection was their similar number of chromosomes.

    Anyway, not all is lost, congratulations on figuring out how to create html links. Well done!

  14. p.s. Try reading Emerson to the judge (or the Supreme Court) nest time you have a hearing on a criminal bond issue.

  15. Mespo,

    Are you talking about the law when you mention the “business”? Or does the “business” just refer generally to bad things happening in life?

    Any judge setting a bond can issue a no contact order regarding the complaining witness. Cerfews, electric home monitering, and GPS monitering with a buffer zone around the alleged victim are all used in the jurisdiction where I practice. All of this protects a potential victim without taking away any work or educational opportunity. And yes, I think sports can be an educational opportunity. Highschool-aged defendants are almost universally required to continue going to school; perhaps not a picnic for an accused rapist.

    The sentiment in these posts seems to be that football is a “treat” and therefore should be taken away prior to a determination of guilt. I practice criminal law in both state and federal courts. Conditons of pretrial release are set to: 1) make sure a defendant doesn’t absence himself from the jurisdiction; and 2) to make sure the general public is not put needlessly in danger. Apparently the judge did no see this individual’s continued participation in football was likely to lead to a rape. Go figure. I suspect there are very specific requirements to his bond that he is to have no contact with the complaing witness. Still, bond and pretrial conditions are not meant to be punitive.

    What the experts (all members of the Order Of The Coif I’m sure) posting on this blog seem to want is punitive action against this person. What is an “absolute” under the United States and all state constitutions is that punishment comes after a finding of guilty, not before.

    The school district may have an honor code which seems to include a premise that one acused of a crime is presumed innocent until proven guilty. What a horrible civics leson for the students. I suppose what they should be taught is that sometimes the accusations are so horrible that we need to throw out the law to satisfy the mob. Throwing out the Constitution to appease an angry and frightened public has been very popular in this country for the last few of years. I’m sure John Yoo would agree with you that letting this kid play football makes him more likely to rape someone while on bond. But then again, he’s a facist moron.

  16. if a teacher at this school were accused of molesting a student would they allow the teacher back into the classroom pending a guilty verdict?

  17. mespo,

    I’m not sure if there is a magic beam of enlightenment, but if there it is likely the opposite of television. If they only had a name for such a device. Something that was perhaps reusable and transferable. Something that rhymes with “cooks” might be nice.

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