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  • Writer's pictureMarie Hadley

Sentenced to Study

Go to Jail Monopoly image

You have been charged with ‘omission to study all semester,’ and the Prosecution appears to have a significant amount of evidence against you. You’ve decided to represent yourself. You plead not guilty and the matter proceeds to trial.

Prosecution tells the jury that you spent the last twelve weeks at parties and on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter – they even have evidence that you started re-using your old Bebo account – all with the intention of avoiding study.

The Prosecution then calls witnesses. The equity lecturer is the first one on the stand. Uh-oh. No one listens in equity! Your lecturer tells the court that when you did attend class, you were always late and sat on your laptop with a grin on your face for the whole lecture. She knew you weren’t actually paying attention, because no one finds equity that amusing!

You object on the grounds of “opinion”. You believe your equity lecturer is not qualified to develop the opinion that you didn’t find equity amusing. The judge allows your objection; you sit back down and let out a sigh of relief.

Next witness: your best friend (they’ve been subpoenaed by the Prosecution). Your heart drops. The prosecution asks your friend about how you’ve spent your recent weekends. Your friend (not a law student) pleads ‘the fifth.’ The courtroom erupts in laughter and the Prosecution tells your friend, “this is not the United States.” Your poor friend proceeds to tell the court about weekend after weekend of partying. You’re almost sure they’ll convict you now!

You stand up to plead your case. All members of the jury look at you. You’re nervous. You try doli incapax but the judge tells you that it only applies to first year students. You try pleading insanity, but you fail to satisfy the principles set by M’Naghten. You try every argument you can think of and hope for the best. The jury then retires.

All too soon the jury is back. They have reached a verdict: GUILTY.

You anxiously await the sentence by the judge. He notes your arguments in mitigation: you were busy with clerkship functions. You dedicated a lot of time to help other law students study. This is a victimless crime, after all.

But then he moves onto the aggravating factors: you’re a repeat offender and you’ve been in this situation before. You promised the court last semester that you were capable of rehabilitation and that you would not leave your studies to the last minute again.

The judge sentences you to endure two weeks of sleepless nights to catch up on your studies. In between coffee breaks you wonder if you should appeal…

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