Last September, we wrote about Bruce Reilly, an incoming Tulane Law student who was an advocate, a writer, and a murderer. Reilly is now a second-year student at the school, but he killed a man 20 years ago. At the time, there was a huge uproar about his admission to law school, but Tulane’s administration supported Reilly’s candidacy for the degree (regardless of the fact that he may never be admitted to practice law). After all, Reilly claims that he is a “model case for rehabilitation.” Perhaps Tulane Law rightfully admitted him.

Today we bring you the story of Aaron Munter, a former law student who is now seeking readmission to complete his final semester before receiving his degree. Before leaving school, Munter excelled academically — he served as editor-in-chief of the law review, ranked second in his class, and received numerous awards for his scholarly endeavors. We should probably mention, though, that Munter didn’t leave law school by choice. In the spring of 2009, Munter was convicted of child sex crimes involving a minor, and sentenced to six months in jail, six months in work release, and five years of probation. A few years have passed, and evidently Munter thinks he’s rehabilitated and ready to go back to law school.

Should a man convicted for sex crimes with minors be readmitted to law school to complete his degree?

To many, this doesn’t seem like too difficult a question, but it’s complicated for Robert Klonoff, the dean of Lewis & Clark Law School. Despite the fact that Munter was into child pornography, he was an “extraordinarily strong law student.” (And not for nothing, but Munter’s family “generously supported the . . . law school” — and as we all know, like a hooker, a law school will do just about anything for a dollar.)

Munter’s story made the cover of the Willamette Week, where Dean Klonoff’s quandry was presented:

Earlier this summer, Klonoff, 57, fielded an application for re-admittance to Lewis & Clark Law School from a 39-year-old man who had recently served jail time for sex crimes involving a minor.

The applicant, still on probation, wanted back in to the school to complete the final semester of his law degree.

Some members of the legal community say Klonoff should reject the request out of hand because the student’s behavior violated the law school’s honor code. …

Ultimately, the question for Klonoff is this: At what point, if any, can a sex offender who has targeted a child regain a position of trust?

Aaron Munter

Good question. Let’s put it in more concrete terms. How soon can Munter, a sex offender, regain a position of trust after showing a 13-year-old boy with autism graphic child pornography videos? How soon can a man with a small collection of kiddie porn videos with titles like “2 brothers 6 & 13 give each other blowjobs” and “Man cherishes a 9 yo Boy” get back into a law school’s good graces?

You’d have to really question a law school’s motives for even considering or giving serious thought to an application for readmission from a fellow with these disgusting accomplishments under his belt. The fact that Munter had already reached the point where he was willing to bring a child into the mix while he was pursuing his legal education speaks volumes as to his capacity to become an ethical lawyer in the future. As noted in the Week by NYU Law ethics professor Stephen Gillers, lawyers and law students are expected to “behave lawfully,” and Munter clearly didn’t do that here.

Really, what possible benefit could Munter bestow upon society as a lawyer (aside from offering representation to similarly situated perverts)? Let’s face it, Munter is still on probation. He isn’t like Bruce Reilly, a man who served his time and has decades to reflect on his transgressions. Munter is more like fabulist Stephen Glass in that his chances of admission to the bar are questionable, at best.

Taking all of this into consideration, instead of outright denying Munter’s request, Dean Klonoff reached out to members of the legal community for their assistance so that he could make the proper decision. To that end, Munter’s court file is filled with letters Dean Klonoff received in response. Marion County Circuit Court Presiding Judge Jamese Rhoades, the judge who sentenced Munter, stated the following:

“Regardless of Mr. Munter’s academic skills, he should never be allowed to practice law and his possession of a juris doctorate puts him in a position to obtain employment in a variety of law-related fields (including instruction at law schools) that I believe are inconsistent with the principles of the profession.”

Even with a judge’s recommendation that Munter be denied readmission, we still don’t know if Dean Klonoff has taken action on the former law student’s bid. We still don’t know, and maybe we will never know, if Munter is rehabilitated. There are many unknowns here, but there’s one thing I know for sure: this would-be law student with prior pervy predilections is a repugnant human being. What do you think?

Should Aaron Munter be readmitted at Lewis & Clark Law?

  • No. There are no second chances for pedos. (85%, 1,326 Votes)
  • Yes. Everyone deserves a second chance. (15%, 227 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,551

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Classes start up again at Lewis & Clark Law on September 4, 2012. Dean Klonoff isn’t speaking up on this issue, and neither is Munter. So, if you see Munter on campus this fall, let us know by email or by text (646-820-8477). Thanks.

Barred [Willamette Week]


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