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Common Pleas Court Reverses Board of Nursing Order

Published: Nov 03, 2017 by John Izzo

Graff & McGovern represented a nurse accused by the Ohio Board of Nursing of being convicted of crimes involving gross immorality or moral turpitude. The Board does not define gross immorality or moral turpitude and instead makes a determination on case by case basis.

In our client’s case, the Board determined using a weapon while intoxicated and failing to secure a dangerous ordinance involve gross immorality or moral turpitude. We disagreed and on behalf of our client appealed the Board’s Order to the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas.

Judge Mark A. Serrott did an excellent job analyzing what constitutes crimes of moral turpitude under Ohio law. Judge Serrott determined crimes of moral turpitude normally include conduct involving an intent to defraud either a person or society; convictions involving underlying conduct establishing dishonesty or falsification; and misdemeanor convictions involving egregious sexual misconduct.

Judge Serrott determined case law made it clear that the Court should focus on the accused’s intent and underlying conduct in determining crimes of moral turpitude. The Court found that our client did not intend to defraud a person or society. Judge Serrott determined our client’s conduct in calling the police after being assaulted by another person and then firing two shots in the ground does not establish dishonesty or falsification. Judge Serrott also determined our client’s conviction and conduct did not involve a misdemeanor sex offense nor an intentional crime of violence against a person. The conduct underlying our client’s conviction consisted of reacting to being struck in the face.

Based upon an independent review of the convictions and the underlying conduct, Judge Serrott stated our client did not commit acts that were so base, vile, or depraved as to gravely violate the accepted moral standards of the community. Therefore, under those circumstances, moral turpitude was not involved in the convictions. Judge Serrott reversed the Board’s Order and ordered the Board to dismiss the violations against our client.

If you have any questions about the Ohio Board of Nursing, any other state agency, or how to challenge agency orders, you should consider contacting a nursing license defense lawyer at Graff & McGovern. John Izzo of Graff & McGovern can be reached at 614-228-5800, extension 5, or