Friday, May 14, 2010

Entitled To A Hearing

The Maryland Court of Appeals held that a physician had not been convicted of a crime of moral turpitude and thus was entitled to an evidentiary hearing prior to license revocation. The physician was the subject of two criminal complaints alleging fourth degree sexual offenses against patients during examinations. The physician entered an Alford plea to a lesser charge of second degree assault and expresssly denied that the prosecutor's proffer of facts was accurate. The court accepted the plea and granted probation before judgment.

The State Board of Physicians summarily revoked his license to practice medicine, based on its conclusion that the crime involved moral turpitude. The court here disagreed that the conviction involved such an offense, disagreeing with the State Board that the record established the sexual abuse of the patients. The plea to the lesser offense did not conclusively establish guilt of the greater offense, in light of the physician's explicit denial of the proffer at the plea proceeding: "A stipulation as to testimony is not an admission of fact."  (Mike Frisch)

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