American Contract Bridge League
Code of Disciplinary Regulations

Last Revised, January, 2001

 

Code Of Disciplinary Regulations

The purpose of these rules, regulations and procedures is to provide a fair hearing to every ACBL member charged. However, it is to be understood that disciplinary proceedings are not criminal trials in that they do not involve personal liberty but rather the privileges of membership in ACBL. This code also applies to non-members of ACBL.

1. The Disciplinary Bodies of ACBL

1.1 Units -- Each Unit is encouraged to have a Unit Disciplinary Committee and a standing Disciplinary Chairperson.

1.2 Districts -- Each District shall have a District Disciplinary Committee and a District Appellate Committee which shall not have any members in common. Each District shall have a standing appellate and Disciplinary Chairperson who may not be the same person.

1.3 The ACBL Board of Directors (which may act through its Appeals and Charges Committee)

1.4 ACBL Management as authorized by the ACBL Board of Directors.

1.5 Tournament committees established by Units, Districts and/or the ACBL Board of Directors for actions occurring respectively at Sectional Tournaments, Regional Tournaments, North American Bridge Championships or special events, or by other entities designated by the ACBL Board of Directors for actions occurring at tournaments conducted by such entities.

1.6 The Ethical Oversight Committee shall, upon agreement of ACBL League Counsel and the Director of National Appeals, act as a disciplinary body in cases of alleged cheating by use of signals, other unauthorized information, other forms of cheating, or serious breaches of ethics.

1.6.1 The President of the Board of Directors shall be notified of a decision to hold an Ethical Oversight Committee hearing.

2. Grounds for Discipline

2.1 Violation of the proprieties codified in the Laws of Duplicate Contract Bridge.

2.2 Violation of ACBL regulations.

2.3 Accusations of unethical conduct at an ACBL sanctioned event, not made privately to a tournament director or other tournament official.

2.4 Violation of Section 5.4 hereof.

2.5 Betting on the results of any ACBL sanctioned game or tournament.

2.6 Anti-social behavior at the site of an ACBL sanctioned game or tournament.

2.7 Non-payment of a hotel bill when the person participating in an ACBL sanctioned tournament stays at such hotel during that ACBL sanctioned tournament.

2.8 Non-payment of any sums owed ACBL, Districts, or Units. (For example: bad checks.)

2.9 Initiating legal action against a Unit, District or ACBL without first exhausting administrative remedies.

2.10 Improper conduct toward any official or body of ACBL in the exercise of their duties.

2.11 Actions unbecoming a member of ACBL (or a person participating in an ACBL sanctioned event), including, but not limited to, improper actions at the time and site of a tournament, including parking lots, elevators, restaurants, and hotels.

2.12 Influencing or attempting to influence an entrant to withdraw from any ACBL sanctioned event.

2.13 Submit false information to a tournament official, ACBL official or ACBL body.

2.14 Failure to appear before a disciplinary committee in violation of Sections 3.5, 6.2 & 6.4.

2.15 Initiating disciplinary action against another with no reasonable basis therefore or appealing the decision of a disciplinary body with no reasonable basis therefore.

2.16 Refusing any reasonable request for cooperation by a duly appointed recorder or assistant recorder pursuant to the proper conduct of their duties.

3. Disciplinary Procedures (See Section 6 for Procedures Specific to Tournament Disciplinary Committees.

3.1 Statute of Limitations

3.1.1 A complaint involving a single incident of conduct must be brought within sixty (60) days of the incident.
3.1.2 A complaint involving a pattern of conduct must be brought within five (5) years of the earliest instance referenced in the complaint.
3.1.3 A complaint involving the conveying of information by unauthorized means, whether within a partnership or not (see Law 73.B.2) is not subject to a statute of limitations.

3.2 An initial charge must be brought by the designee (for example, the president or recorder) of the organization having jurisdiction (see Section 4, Jurisdiction). If the organization has failed to designate an individual, the president is the charging party. (NOTE: No person sitting on the disciplinary committee should be the charging party.)

3.3 A person charged with a violation of Section 2 (including its subparts) shall be entitled to:

3.3.1 Receive written notice of the date, time, and place of hearing. (Should a person plead guilty of a charge, a hearing must be held in order to impose discipline.)
3.3.2 Be furnished with a written statement of the charges.
3.3.3 Be represented by counsel, who need not be an attorney.
3.3.4 Produce evidence on his/her own behalf.
3.3.5 Be present during the entire hearing.

3.4 All disciplinary bodies may allow reasonable adjournments or continuances consistent with the time available to the disciplinary body.

3.5 All complainants are required to appear. Failure to appear shall in itself be grounds for discipline.

3.6 Respondents are not required to appear and their failure to appear shall not be grounds for further discipline.

3.7 A person's past ACBL disciplinary record (should one exist) may not be considered in establishing guilt but may be relevant to the severity of the discipline to be imposed if the person has been found guilty.

3.8 As a matter of right a disciplined person or any party aggrieved may file an appeal with the appropriate appellate body. The person is to be informed of this right at the conclusion of the hearing along with notification of the name and address of the chairman of such committee. (Please refer to Section 8 for Appeal Procedures.)

3.9 All disciplines are a matter of record. A written report shall be submitted to ACBL Management by the disciplinary body imposing the discipline.

3.10 A person who has been subjected to a disciplinary proceeding conducted under Section 3 shall not be subjected to any further proceedings by any other disciplinary body for the same matter, except pursuant to appeal and for additional disciplines as provided under Sections 3.5 and 6.2, or for an imposition of more severe discipline upon review by the ACBL Board of Directors where grossly inadequate discipline was imposed.

4. Jurisdiction

4.1 A Unit has jurisdiction over:

4.1.1 Members of the Unit and those residing within the Unit's geographical boundaries.
4.1.2 Persons participating in a sanctioned event held within its geographical boundaries.

4.2 A District has jurisdiction over:

4.2.1 Persons participating in a sanctioned event held within its geographical boundaries (District Disciplinary Committee).
4.2.2 Those residing within the District, for appellate purposes only (District Appellate Committee).

4.3 The ACBL Board of Directors has jurisdiction over:

4.3.1 Members of ACBL or others disciplined, for appellate purposes only, except where otherwise specified in this Code.
4.3.2 Persons participating in a sanctioned event held under its jurisdiction.

4.4 A tournament committee, as well as the disciplinary committee of the sponsoring organization, has jurisdiction over persons in attendance at that tournament. The right of the disciplinary committee of the sponsoring organization to hear a matter within its jurisdiction is deemed to extend beyond the date or dates of the tournament.

4.5 None of the disciplinary bodies noted in Sections 4.1 through 4.4 have jurisdiction over ACBL employees (members or not) in pursuit of their employment.

5. Sanctions (Disciplines)

5.1 Except for the disciplines which may be imposed at tournaments (see Section 6), the subsections below set forth SUGGESTED disciplines which may be imposed by appropriate disciplinary bodies. The disciplinary bodies may choose to issue lesser or greater disciplines than those set forth below. It may likewise vary, combine or impose disciplines not set forth herein. However, if the disciplinary committee departs from the below set forth suggested disciplines, it must state the reasons therefore.

Any disciplinary action by a disciplinary body of ACBL shall apply to all events sanctioned by ACBL. This does not apply to conditions for a player's readmission to ACBL, conditions for a player being allowed to play following a suspension, or the authority of any sanctioned ACBL club to remove or ban any player from playing at that club.

5.1.1 Private Reprimand A determination that a person has committed an offense warranting discipline. It is not a matter of record. The committee should send a report to the ACBL Recorder and/or local Recorders for their information even though no action may be taken based on a memo that is a report from a disciplinary body.

5.1.2 Public Reprimand A determination that a person has committed an offense warranting discipline. This offense becomes a matter of public review.

5.1.3 Probation A determination that a person has committed an offense warranting discipline which is a matter of record. If the member is disciplined for another offense during the probationary period, then the probation becomes suspension for the remainder or half of the probation period, whichever is the greater. Such new discipline shall be consecutive, not concurrent.

During the entirety of the probationary period greater than ninety (90) days, a member:

(a) shall not be eligible to represent ACBL (United States, Canada, Mexico, and Bermuda) in international competition (does not apply when the member has been suspended by management);
(b) shall not be eligible to run a sanctioned masterpoint game unless specifically authorized by Management or the ACBL Board of Directors.

5.1.4 Suspended Sentence A determination that a person has committed an offense warranting discipline. When the discipline is imposed and the execution thereof suspended, such suspension shall be deemed to be probation.

5.1.5 Suspension A determination that a person has committed an offense warranting abrogation for a specified period of all rights and privileges including membership. When the sanction is a suspension of one year or more as a result of being convicted of an ethical violation, removal of masterpoints MUST be included as part of the sanction. A minimum of all masterpoints won within twelve months preceding the effective date of the suspension to a maximum of thirty-six months preceding the effective date of the sanction shall be removed from the convicted player's record.

5.1.6 Expulsion A determination that a person has committed an offense warranting permanent abrogation of all rights and privileges including membership.

5.1.7 Exclusion from Events A determination that a person has committed an offense warranting abrogation of the person's right to play in certain specified events.

5.1.8 Reduction or Forfeiture of Masterpoints or Tournament Rank or Disqualification A determination that a person has committed an offense at a tournament warranting forfeiture of a specified number or all of the masterpoints earned in that event, or in the tournament in which the offense occurred, or a reduction of rank in a particular event, or disqualification in the event or tournament or any combination of the above.

(a) When the determination has been made before the termination of the applicable correction period, resulting in a reduction in rank or disqualification, the standing of the other contestants in the event shall be adjusted to reflect such determination.

(b) When the determination has been made after the termination of the applicable correction period, a reduction in rank or disqualification shall not affect the standing of the other contestants in the event even though there may be no winner because of such action.

5.2 ACBL Probation and Suspension.

A person who has been disciplined twice within a twenty-four month period shall be automatically placed on ACBL probation for two years by ACBL Management. A violation of such probation shall result in suspension for not less than sixty (60) days and such additional disciplines, including expulsion from ACBL, as may be determined by the ACBL Appeals and Charges Committee. ACBL discipline imposed as a result of multiple offenses shall be consecutive to the imposition of the original discipline.

When both of the disciplines are public reprimand, ACBL will inform the person that he or she may request the Appeals and Charges Committee to consider extenuating circumstances to have the ACBL probation revoked. When considering such relief, the entire ACBL disciplinary record of the member shall be considered.

For the purposes of this regulation:

(a) Disciplines imposed prior to January 1, 1996 by a tournament disciplinary committee shall be deemed to be discipline only when it was intended to survive the tournament. Commencing with January 1, 1996, discipline imposed by a tournament disciplinary committee shall be deemed to be discipline only when it is a matter of public review as defined in Paragraph 5.1 and its subparts; and
(b) Violation of probation is deemed to have occurred when a person who is under ACBL probation has violated a law, rule or regulation of the ACBL and has been disciplined as a result of such violation.

5.3 Suspension by Management.

5.3.1 Management (CEO or designee) may suspend a person who:

(a) Has not paid dishonored checks to ACBL, its Districts, Units or Conferences;
(b) Has failed to pay a hotel bill to a hotel supporting an ACBL tournament without notifying ACBL and the hotel that he or she disputes such obligation in good faith;
(c) Has failed to pay a debt to ACBL, its Districts, Units or Conferences without notifying ACBL that he or she disputes such obligation in good faith.
(d) Has failed to submit club masterpoint reports in a timely manner (the person may be either the sanction owner and/or club manager).
(e) Has failed to return a traveling trophy upon demand.

5.3.2 Management may lift any suspension imposed under Section 5.3.1 within sixty (60) days after the dishonored check(s), hotel bill(s) or outstanding debt(s) is paid or the trophy is returned, but if Management should not, it shall report to the appropriate disciplinary body giving the reason therefore.

5.3.3 A person who allegedly violates his or her suspension may be suspended by Management pending a review by the person's Unit Disciplinary Committee for consideration of additional sanctions.

5.4 In every sanction resulting in suspension or expulsion, a person may not participate in any National, District, Unit, club or other ACBL sanctioned activity including, but not limited to (i) acting as non-playing captain, (ii) kibitzing any game or event, (iii) being physically present at the site of a tournament, (iv) participating in the corporate or business affairs of any ACBL affiliated organization.

5.5 The effective date of a discipline imposed on a judged person shall be that date named by the committee in its determination, or failing that, 5 days after oral or written notification to the judged member.

5.6 All sanctions (except Private Reprimand) against a person are a matter of record. A report shall be submitted to ACBL Management by the disciplinary body imposing the sanction. Further, in order that a disciplinary action may be considered in imposing ACBL Probation, a report must be on file with ACBL Management. ACBL's Disciplinary Guidelines are attached as Exhibit "A". They are only suggested disciplines and are not binding on a disciplinary committee.

6. Procedures Specific to Tournament Disciplinary Committees Jurisdiction
The committees appointed to hear and determine disciplinary matters at tournaments are hereinafter referred to as "disciplinary bodies." Disciplinary procedures at tournaments are intended to be expeditious. (Notices may be oral and the proceedings may be informal.) The disciplinary body may consider and impose discipline with respect to the conduct of any participant in the hearing. Participants claiming surprise may be granted a brief adjournment.

6.1 An initial charge must be brought by the Director-in-Charge (DIC) of the tournament (or a designee). A decision by the DIC to not bring a charge before a Tournament Disciplinary Committee may be appealed to the president of the body having jurisdiction (see Section 4, Jurisdiction).

6.2 All complainants are required to appear. Failure to appear shall in itself be grounds for discipline.

6.3 Respondents are not required to appear and their failure to appear shall not be grounds for further discipline.

6.4 Witnesses, whose testimony in the opinion of the tournament director or committee chairperson is material to the hearing, are required to appear. Failure to appear shall be grounds for discipline, unless reasonable cause is shown for such failure. "Reasonable cause" shall be liberally construed.

6.5 In disciplinary proceedings conducted under Sections 1.5 and 6, a person charged:

(a) Shall receive notice of date, time and place of hearing as well as the substance of the charges. The notice may be oral.
(b) Has the right to be represented by counsel, who need not be an attorney.
(c) Has the right to produce evidence on his or her own behalf.
(d) Has the right to be present during the entire hearing.

6.6 Discipline imposed by a tournament disciplinary committee for all or part of that tournament may not be stayed. Any discipline that survives the tournament may be stayed in accord with Section 9. Discipline not stayed shall be expunged if the decision of the tournament disciplinary committee is finally reversed.

6.7 When a tournament disciplinary body imposes discipline:

6.7.1 The disciplined person shall have the right, within ten (10) days after notice of the imposition of the discipline imposed, to request a review of the decision of the tournament disciplinary committee. The disciplinary body imposing discipline shall advise him of such right.(Please refer to Section 8 for Appeal Procedures.) A written statement must accompany the appeal which shall provide the specific reason(s) (procedural discrepancy, discipline not appropriate, etc.) the appeal has been filed. Mere dissatisfaction with the result is not a proper reason for appeal.
6.7.2 In no event shall a suspension imposed by a tournament disciplinary committee exceed thirty (30) days and/or probation exceed ninety (90) days.
6.7.3 When a discipline imposed exceeds the permitted disciplinary limits it shall be valid only to the extent set forth in 6.7.2.
6.7.4 Any discipline surviving the tournament imposed by a tournament committee shall commence immediately following the tournament.

6.8 When, in the opinion of the disciplinary body, the charged person has committed an offense which may warrant a discipline exceeding thirty (30) days, or probation exceeding ninety (90) days, the disciplinary body, after imposing either a suspension of 30 days or probation of 90 days or both under Section 6, shall refer its report (forwarding will be technically handled by ACBL Management) with its recommendations to:

6.8.1 The Unit having jurisdiction when the action occurred during a Sectional tournament.
6.8.2 The District having jurisdiction when the action occurred during a Regional tournament.
6.8.3 The District in which the event is geographically located when the action occurred during a North American Bridge Championship tournament or International Team Trials.
6.8.4 The sponsoring organization having jurisdiction when the infraction occurred.

6.9 When the matter has been referred to a Unit, District, or the Appeals and Charges Committee under Section 6. 8 it may, in turn, in its sole discretion, refer the matter to the home Unit of the person charged or the Unit within which the alleged infraction took place. The referral will be forwarded by ACBL Management.

6.10 The appellate review will generally be conducted on the record made at the initial hearing, unless in the opinion of the reviewing body the record is insufficient. At any such review the person disciplined will be given written notice of the date the review will be held, may be represented by counsel, and shall have the right to appear before the reviewing body. If, in the opinion of the person disciplined, the record is insufficient, he/she may have the record appropriately expanded.

6.11 A person's past disciplinary file (should one exist) may not be considered in establishing guilt but may be relevant to the severity of the discipline to be imposed if the person has been found guilty.

6.12 The disciplined person shall be notified of his/her right to file an appeal with the appropriate Disciplinary Body within thirty (30) days after notice of the imposition of the discipline. A written statement shall accompany the appeal which is to provide the specific reason(s) (procedural discrepancy, discipline not appropriate, etc.) the appeal has been filed.

6.13 All disciplinary actions are a matter of record. A report shall be submitted to ACBL Management by the disciplinary body imposing the sanction. Further, in order that a disciplinary action be considered in imposing ACBL Probation under Section 5.2, a report must be filed with ACBL Management.

7. Suspension Pending Hearing

7.1 The right of a person against whom charges are pending to play in an ACBL sanctioned event pending a hearing shall not be affected unless otherwise directed by any of the following:

7.1.1 The Unit or its designee having jurisdiction of the member/person.
7.1.2 The District or its designee having jurisdiction of the member/person.
7.1.3 The ACBL Board of Directors or its designee.

Such suspension pending hearings should be rarely issued and only in extreme cases or when a hearing is delayed due to the fault of the person charged.

7.2 When suspension pending hearing is directed by:

7.2.1 The Unit or its designee, the hearing must commence within twenty (20) days, unless delay is caused by the person.
7.2.2 The District or its designee, the hearing must commence within sixty (60) days, unless delay is caused by the person.
7.2.3 The ACBL Board of Directors or its designee, the hearing must commence at the next ensuing ACBL Board of Directors' meeting consistent with adequate notice, unless delay is caused by the person.

8. Appeal Procedures

8.1 Appeals to the District shall be allowed.

8.1.1 As a matter of right, a disciplined person or any party aggrieved may file an appeal with the District Appellate Committee of which the Unit is a part and/or the District President, chairman of the board or designee from:

(a) A decision of a tournament disciplinary committee at a tournament held in that District.
(b) A decision of that Unit's Disciplinary Committee.
(c) A decision of that District's Disciplinary Committee.
(d) A decision of an NABC disciplinary committee from an NABC held in that District's geographical boundaries.

8.1.2 The District shall hear and decide appeals expeditiously.
8.1.3 The decision of the District shall be in writing.
8.1.4 Notice of appeal must be given to the District Appellate Committee of which the Unit is a part and/or the District President, chairman of the board or designee in writing within thirty (30) days following the notice of the ruling. A written statement must accompany the appeal which is to provide the specific reason(s) (procedural discrepancy, discipline not appropriate, etc.) the appeal has been filed. The reasons for the appeal shall not be grounds to refuse to hear the appeal.

8.2 Appeals to the ACBL Board of Directors shall be allowed:

8.2.1 From a decision of the Ethical Oversight Committee.
8.2.2 When the discipline is suspension in excess of one year or expulsion.
8.2.3 Notice of appeal must be given to the ACBL Board of Directors in writing within thirty (30) days following the notice of the ruling. A written statement must accompany the appeal which is to provide the specific reason(s)(procedural discrepancy, discipline not appropriate, etc.) the appeal has been filed. The reasons for the appeal shall not be grounds to refuse to hear the appeal.
8.2.4 The ACBL Board of Directors shall hear and decide appeals expeditiously.
8.2.5 The decision of the ACBL Board of Directors shall be in writing.

8.3 Appeals will generally be considered on the records made in prior hearings unless in the opinion of the reviewing body the record is insufficient. A person's past disciplinary file (should one exist) may not be considered in establishing guilt but may be relevant to the severity of the sentence to be imposed after the person has been found guilty.

8.4 The disciplinary body is a party to any appeal taken from its action. The appellate body may, in its sole discretion, permit persons other than the parties to the appeal to participate in the appeal and may determine the extent of such participation.

8.5 An Appellate Body, in addition to the power to affirm or reverse, may modify, reduce or increase the discipline being appealed.

8.6 All disciplinary cases where a suspension of one year or longer or expulsion is imposed shall be reviewed by the ACBL Appeals & Charges Committee. Notwithstanding, the ACBL Appeals & Charges Committee has the right to review the decision of any disciplinary case.

9. Stays of Execution of Discipline Pending an Appeal

9.1 Execution of a discipline is not stayed by the mere filing of a notice of appeal.

9.2 A stay pending an appeal may be granted only on written request which will include the reasons for the request. Once granted, neither the appeal nor the request for the stay may be withdrawn. However, this does not affect the power of the grantor to modify or vacate the stay.

9.3 A stay of execution pending the disposition of an appeal may be granted by:

9.3.1 The chairman of the District Appellate Committee, designee of the District, or the District Director when the appeal is to the District.
9.3.2 The chairman of the Appeals and Charges Committee or persons designated by the ACBL Board of Directors when the appeal is to the ACBL Board of Directors.
9.3.3 The president of ACBL may grant a stay of execution at any time when, in his or her opinion, it will further the ends of justice.

10. Jurisdiction of Disciplinary Bodies

10.1 Units have only original jurisdiction, except when reviewing an appeal referred by the District Appellate Committee.

10.2 In addition to its appellate jurisdiction, Districts have jurisdiction in the following cases:

10.2.1 Disputes between Units within the District.
10.2.2 Cases involving alleged violation by Units referred to in 11.1.
10.2.3 Cases where there is no appropriate Unit disciplinary body.
10.2.4 When, in the opinion of the District, circumstances make it impractical for the matter to be heard by the Unit.
10.2.5 When, in the opinion of the Unit or the District, the matter cannot be fairly heard by the Unit.

10.3 In addition to its appellate jurisdiction, the ACBL Board of Directors has, at all times, primary jurisdiction of all disciplinary matters. Primary jurisdiction extends, but is not limited, to the following:

10.3.1 Disputes between Districts.
10.3.2 Disputes between Units from different Districts.
10.3.3 Cases involving alleged violations by Districts, referred to in 11.2.
10.3.4 When, in the opinion of the ACBL Board of Directors, circumstances make it impractical for the matter to be heard by the District or Unit.
10.3.5 When, in the opinion of the District or the ACBL Board of Directors, the matter cannot be fairly heard by the District or the Unit.
10.3.6 Cases involving discipline at North American Bridge Championships, international team trials, and in other cases, at the request of a District Director, or ACBL Management.
10.3.7 Any circumstances where the ACBL Board of Directors determines that insufficient or improper action has been taken.

10.4 The Appeals and Charges Committee shall act for the ACBL Board of Directors on all matters involving discipline brought to the Board of Directors, unless the Committee declines, in which case such matter shall be heard and decided by the full Board or when the ACBL Board of Directors decides to act itself.

10.5 With the concurrence of the Chairman of the Board of Directors, the ACBL President should:

10.5.1 Refer a disciplinary matter involving primary jurisdiction coming before the Board to an appropriate Unit or District to be heard by that organization's Disciplinary Committee.
10.5.2 With the additional concurrence of League Counsel and the Director of National Appeals refer a disciplinary matter involving primary jurisdiction coming before the Board to the Ethical Oversight Committee.

11. Disciplines Involving Units or Districts

11.1 When it is alleged that a Unit has violated ACBL, District, or its own bylaws or regulations, has acted in an illegal or improper manner, or has improperly failed to act upon a complaint, a member, or group of members, or Unit or District may bring the matter directly to the District Disciplinary Committee.

11.2 When it is alleged that a District has violated ACBL or its own bylaws or regulations, or has acted in an illegal or improper manner, or has improperly failed to act upon a complaint, a Unit, a member, or group of members may bring the matter directly to the ACBL Board of Directors.

12. Procedural Principles for Conduct of Hearings by Unit, District, and National Committees

12.1 The procedures before these Committees are intended to promote a hearing which is expeditious under the circumstances prevailing and shall be as simple and informal as circumstances shall permit, keeping in mind at all times the rights of the parties.

12.2 No official stenographic or tape record need be kept, but the practice is encouraged for all full hearings. Should one be requested and kept, the cost thereof shall be borne by the requestor (who must also provide, if requested, a free copy to the other party and the committee).

12.3 Each party to the proceeding may be represented by counsel, who need not be an attorney, at any time or during any part of the proceeding. A failure to exercise this right at one part of the hearing is not a waiver of such right at any other part.

12.4 The Committee shall not be bound by legal rules, whether of substantive law, evidence or procedure, and shall be liberal in receiving evidence. The receipt of evidence is not necessarily indicative of the weight or the credit which the Committee may give it in their ultimate determination; thus, hearsay evidence and affidavits may be admitted and given such weight as the Committee chooses.

12.5 The use of opening and closing statements and submission of briefs and memoranda shall be determined by the Committee.

12.6 Pre-hearing conferences may be held relative to the narrowing or framing of issues or procedural questions relating to the matter before the Committee, if, in its judgment it is so warranted.

12.7 Under such terms and conditions as the Committee at its discretion, shall deem proper, it may (but shall not be required to):

12.7.1 Order an additional investigation;
12.7.2 Direct pre-hearing disclosure of evidence;
12.7.3 Permit taking of deposition or presentation of affidavits for use at the hearing;
12.7.4 Limit the number of witnesses to be heard;
12.7.5 Clarify and define the issues to be heard;
12.7.6 Consolidate proceedings where the parties or the issues are the same.

12.8 The hearing may be adjourned from time to time for good cause shown, upon the application of a party or upon its own motion.

12.9 There shall be no preemptory challenges to committee members. There may be challenges for cause, in such cases the balance of the committee shall decide the validity of the challenge.

ACBL Disciplinary Sanction Guidelines

The following range of discipline for conduct and ethics violations is provided as a guide to a disciplinary committee - not a mandate. This is not intended to be an exhaustive list of all possible infractions but rather is only several examples. The committee is free to hand out to a guilty defendant whatever punishment it feels is appropriate. However, a disciplinary committee giving out either a more or less severe sanction than is recommended by these guidelines must explain why it chose to go outside them.

Part A of these guidelines is intended to apply to the typical case involving a single incident and a defendant who has no previous disciplinary record. If this is not the case, then the committee should read part B of these guidelines before deciding on an appropriate punishment.

Part A
CONDUCT

OFFENSE and Recommended Discipline

C1   Poor personal hygiene or dress (§2.6)   Private Reprimand to 30 days Probation
C2   Rudeness in conversation, gesture, or general behavior (§2.6)   Private Reprimand to 30 days Probation
C3   Publicly belittle partner or opponent on bid or play (§2.6)   Public Reprimand to 30 days Probation
C4   Influence or attempt to influence an entrant to withdraw from an event to improve one's likelihood of winning more masterpoints (§2.13)   Public Reprimand to 90 days Probation
C5   Harass a tournament director or tournament official (§2.6)   Public Reprimand to 90 days Probation to 30 days Suspension
C6   Deliberately fail to follow instructions given by a tournament director or official (§2.1 & §2.2)   90 days Probation to 30 days Suspension
C7   Fail to report a known incorrect score (§2.2)   90 days Probation to 30 days Suspension
C8   Publicly made obscene, ethnic, sexist or racial comments (§2.7 & §2.12)   Public Reprimand to 120 days Probation
C9   Intimidate or harass another player or ACBL official (§2.11)   90 days Probation to 30 days Suspension
C10   Publicly accuse another player of unethical behavior (§2.3)   90 days Probation to 180 days Suspension
C11   Threat of abusive or violent contact with another person (§2.11)   90 days Probation to 180 days Suspension
C12   Abusive or violent contact with another person (§2.11)   90 days Probation to 1 year Suspension
C13   Knowingly submit false information or deliberately distort facts to an ACBL official or committee (§2.14)   90 days Probation to 1 year Suspension
C14   Failure of Complainant to appear at hearing (§2.15)   30 days Suspension
C15   Appeal a decision from a disciplinary body with no reasonable basis (§2.16)   Public Reprimand to 90 days Probation to 90 days Suspension
C16   Initiate disciplinary action against another player with no reasonable basis (§2.16)   30 days Suspension to 90 days Suspension
C17   Initiate and maintain legal action against the ACBL (including a District or Unit) without first exhausting administrative remedies (§2.10)   1 year Suspension
C18   Misappropriate ACBL, Unit or District Funds (§2.9)   Indefinite Suspension pending return of funds

ETHICS
OFFENSE and Recommended Discipline

E1   Deliberately ask for or give information about a board in play after both parties played it (§2.2)   Private Reprimand to Public Reprimand
E2   Deliberately ask for or give information about a board in play prior to one or both parties playing the board (§2.2)   30 days Suspension to 1 year Suspension *
E3   Unsportsmanlike and frivolous psyching (§2.2)   Public Reprimand to 30 days Suspension
E4   Play a convention, system, or treatment knowing it is illegal; Purposefully fail to disclose partnership agreements with intent to deceive (§2.2)   Public Reprimand to 30 days Suspension *
E5   Bid or play with the specific intent to achieve a poor result on that hand (§2.2)   90 days Probation to 90 days Suspension *
E6   Intentionally change a score or any information that could result in awarding incorrect masterpoints (§2.1)   180 days Suspension to 1 year Suspension *
E7   Accidentally gain access to information and then act on it (§2.1 & §2.2)   90 days Probation to 180 days Suspension *
E8   Hesitate with an intent to deceive; use intonations and mannerisms that may deceive opponents or help partner (§2.1 & §2.2)   1 year Probation to 180 days Suspension *
E9   Deliberately try to see from where an opponent's plays his cards (§2.1 & §2.2)   90 days Probation to 90 days Suspension *
E10   Actively and deliberately try to see an opponent's cards (§2.1 & §2.2)   90 days Suspension to 1 year Suspension *
E11   Actively seek advance information about a board in play   2-year Suspension to Expulsion *
E12   Prearrange a deal or part thereof including one card (§2.1 & §2.2)   2-year Suspension to Expulsion *
E13   Intentionally gain access to hand records (§2.1 & §2.2)   2-year Suspension to Expulsion *
E14   Prearranged partnership collusion by means of signaling to exchange information (§2.1 & §2.2)   Expulsion *

*If a committee imposes a suspension, then it should also disqualify the pair (team, if a team event)from the event. This will mean the pair (team, if a team event) will lose its place in the event, any masterpoints earned in the event and any other benefits it may have earned from playing in the event.

Part B

There are three major reasons why the suggested guidelines in Part A might not be appropriate. First, the single violation might be either so slight or severe as to make the suggested sanction inappropriate. Second, the defendant might be convicted for several violations (such as a pattern of behavior). Third, the defendant might have a previous record.

When the defendant's single violation is either extremely slight or severe, the committee should use its sound, unemotional judgment. For example, either the experience or mental intentions of the defendant might be a reason. Please explain why the violation was considered atypical.

When the defendant is convicted of several violations, such as a pattern of behavior, the committee should punish the defendant as if each violation was a separate offense. Please show the separate violations or explain the pattern.

When the defendant has a prior record, the nature of the previous offense is not particularly important. The number of prior convictions is important. The reason is that the defendant was already sanctioned for the specific prior violation(s). The committee should pay close attention to how the prior conviction reflects on the defendant's ability to behave according to ACBL standards and explain their reasons for their decision.




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