The opinion of the court was delivered by: CURRAN
Plaintiff, John H. Dunmar, is a member of the Corps of Cadets of the United States Military Academy. On February 27, 1964, the Cadet Honor Committee recommended to the Commandant of Cadets that plaintiff be separated from the Corps of Cadets for violating the Cadet Honor Code 'in that he quibbled by intentionally deceiving several people in an attempt to gain credit for a confinement'.
On the same date, the Commandant of Cadets explained to Cadet Dunmar that he had the option of resigning from the Academy or of appearing before a board of officers convened to hear the case and make appropriate recommendations to the Superintendent of the United States Military Academy. On March 4, Cadet Dunmar reported that he desired to have a board of officers hear his case.
On March 10, 1964, a board of officers was called to investigate the matter and make recommendations to the Superintendent of the United States Military Academy concerning the allegations that the plaintiff had violated the Cadet Honor Code. A full hearing was had, in which the plaintiff was represented by counsel, had the opportunity to testify, to cross examine all witnesses, and to call witnesses of his own choosing. The Board made the following majority finding:
'The Board finds that Cadet John H. Dunmar, Company M-2, United States Corps of Cadets, West Point, New York, did at West Point, New York, on 12 February 1964, violate the Cadet Honor Code by quibbling by intentionally deceiving Captain Donald E. Dillon in an attempt to gain credit for a confinement.'
The Board Recommended 'that the case be referred to the Academic Board for action under the provision of Paragraph 9.09, Regulations, United States Military Academy'.
The circumstances giving rise to this case are largely undisputed. Cadet Dunmar entered the hospital on Sunday, February 9, 1964, with a streptococcus infection of the throat. He desired to go on an extracurricula outing with the ski group on the approaching weekend of February 14-15. He had one more confinement to sit off before he would be eligible to make the trip. The last possible day he could sit his confinement and still go on the trip was Wednesday afternoon, February 12.
According to the exhibits in this case, on Wednesday morning, February 12, Cadet Dunmar inquired of Dr. Leonard Whether he could be released from the hospital in order to sit his confinement that afternoon. Dr. Leonard replied that a confinement could not be sat while in the hospital, and that one could not be released for the express purpose of sitting a confinement. Cadet Dunmar then asked if he could be released completely from the hospital in time to sit his confinement that afternoon. Dr. Leonard replied that further tests had to be made and that it was unlikely that Cadet Dunmar could be released from the hospital that day. Cadet Dunmar had hoped to gain credit for having sat his confinement that day.
That afternoon Dr. Dillon came into Cadet Dunmar's ward on rounds. Cadet Dunmar asked if he could return to his barracks room to pick up his books, so that he could prepare for class the next day. Dr. Dillon Smiled and replied something to the effect of, 'What is the real reason, Mr. Dunmar?' Dr. Dillon testified that he also remembered asking Cadet Dunmar to reassure him whether the real reason was that he wanted to go back to get his books. Cadet Dunmar at no time informed Dr. Dillon that he wanted to gain credit for sitting a confinement. Cadet Dunmar stated that he asked Dr. Dillon for permission to go back to his room to get his books and mail and hoping to be in the room at the time of the confinement inspection. Dr. Dillon also testified that although Cadet Dunmar might have had other reasons, and, 'I had reason to believe that he did, * * * I had not sought to make him exactly tell me what he was going to do * * *'. Cadet Dunmar went to his barracks room and was gone for about twenty minutes. During this interval, the CCQ opened Cadet Dunmar's door, observed him in the room, and immediately left. Cadet Dunmar received credit for this confinement because the CCQ had observed him to be in his room at the time of the confinement inspection. Cadet Dunmar returned to the hospital and did bring some books with him. That evening he called his company executive officer, Cadet Hudgins, and asked whether he had been credited with the confinement that afternoon and was advised that he had been so credited. Cadet Dunmar asked Cadet Hudgins to send him an extracurricula leave blank, and Cadet Hudgins did so.
Cadet Dunmar's company tactical officer, Major Rickard, had occasion to see the leave request form and noted that Cadet Dunmar had received credit for a confinement while he still had not been discharged from the hospital. It was at this point that the investigation commenced.
Quibbling has been defined in several ways. Cadet Manning states:
'If you mislead someone intentionally by answering questions or making statements in an equivocal manner, you are quibbling and for all practical purposes telling a lie'.
According to Cadet Culp, Chairman of the Cadet Honor Committee,
'Quibbling is the intentional intent to lead someone to a wrong conclusion'.
The matter was considered by the Academic Board, and on April 4, 1964, that Board ...