2010 Georgia Code
TITLE 15 - COURTS
CHAPTER 14 - COURT REPORTERS
ARTICLE 2 - TRAINING AND CERTIFICATION
§ 15-14-33 - Refusing or revoking certificate or temporary permit or discipline of person; subpoena of records; disciplinary actions; appeal; reinstatement; investigations; immunity for reporting; hearing; voluntary surrender or failure to renew; regulation
. Refusing or revoking certificate or temporary permit or discipline of person; subpoena of records; disciplinary actions; appeal; reinstatement; investigations; immunity for reporting; hearing; voluntary surrender or failure to renew; regulation
(a) The board shall have the authority to refuse to grant a certificate or temporary permit to an applicant therefor or to revoke the certificate or temporary permit of a person or to discipline a person, upon a finding by a majority of the entire board that the licensee or applicant has:
(1) Failed to demonstrate the qualifications or standards for a certificate or temporary permit contained in this article or under the rules or regulations of the board. It shall be incumbent upon the applicant to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the board that all the requirements for the issuance of a certificate or temporary permit have been met, and, if the board is not satisfied as to the applicant's qualifications, it may deny a certificate or temporary permit without a prior hearing; provided, however, that the applicant shall be allowed to appear before the board if desired;
(2) Knowingly made misleading, deceptive, untrue, or fraudulent representations in the practice of court reporting or on any document connected therewith; practiced fraud or deceit or intentionally made any false statements in obtaining a certificate or temporary permit to practice court reporting; or made a false statement or deceptive registration with the board;
(3) Been convicted of any felony or of any crime involving moral turpitude in the courts of this state or any other state, territory, or country or in the courts of the United States. As used in this paragraph and paragraph (4) of this subsection, the term "felony" shall include any offense which, if committed in this state, would be deemed a felony without regard to its designation elsewhere; and, as used in this paragraph, the term "conviction" shall include a finding or verdict of guilty or a plea of guilty, regardless of whether an appeal of the conviction has been sought;
(4) Been arrested, charged, and sentenced for the commission of any felony or any crime involving moral turpitude, where:
(A) First offender treatment without adjudication of guilt pursuant to the charge was granted; or
(B) An adjudication of guilt or sentence was otherwise withheld or not entered on the charge, except with respect to a plea of nolo contendere.
The order entered pursuant to the provisions of Article 3 of Chapter 8 of Title 42, relating to probation of first offenders, or other first offender treatment shall be conclusive evidence of arrest and sentencing for such crime;
(5) Had a certificate or temporary permit to practice as a court reporter revoked, suspended, or annulled by any lawful licensing authority other than the board; or had other disciplinary action taken against the licensee or the applicant by any such lawful licensing authority other than the board; or was denied a certificate by any such lawful licensing authority other than the board, pursuant to disciplinary proceedings; or was refused the renewal of a certificate or temporary permit by any such lawful licensing authority other than the board, pursuant to disciplinary proceedings;
(6) Engaged in any unprofessional, immoral, unethical, deceptive, or deleterious conduct or practice harmful to the public, which conduct or practice materially affects the fitness of the licensee or applicant to practice as a court reporter, or of a nature likely to jeopardize the interest of the public, which conduct or practice need not have resulted in actual injury to any person or be directly related to the practice of court reporting but shows that the licensee or applicant has committed any act or omission which is indicative of bad moral character or untrustworthiness; unprofessional conduct shall also include any departure from, or the failure to conform to, the minimal reasonable standards of acceptable and prevailing practice of court reporting;
(7) Knowingly performed any act which in any way aids, assists, procures, advises, or encourages any unlicensed person or any licensee whose certificate or temporary permit has been suspended or revoked by the board to practice as a court reporter or to practice outside the scope of any disciplinary limitation placed upon the licensee by the board;
(8) Violated a statute, law, or any rule or regulation of this state, any other state, the board, the United States, or any other lawful authority without regard to whether the violation is criminally punishable, which statute, law, or rule or regulation relates to or in part regulates the practice of court reporting, when the licensee or applicant knows or should know that such action is violative of such statute, law, or rule, or violated a lawful order of the board previously entered by the board in a disciplinary hearing, consent decree, or certificate or temporary permit reinstatement;
(9) Been adjudged mentally incompetent by a court of competent jurisdiction within or outside this state. Any such adjudication shall automatically suspend the certificate or temporary permit of any such person and shall prevent the reissuance or renewal of any certificate or temporary permit so suspended for as long as the adjudication of incompetence is in effect;
(10) Displayed an inability to practice as a court reporter with reasonable skill or has become unable to practice as a court reporter with reasonable skill by reason of illness or use of alcohol, drugs, narcotics, chemicals, or any other type of material;
(11) Violated the provisions of subsection (c) or (d) of Code Section 9-11-28
(12) Violated the provisions of Code Section 15-14-37
(b) For purposes of this Code section, the board may obtain through subpoena upon reasonable grounds any and all records relating to the mental or physical condition of a licensee or applicant, and such records shall be admissible in any hearing before the board.
(c) When the board finds that any person is unqualified to be granted a certificate or temporary permit or finds that any person should be disciplined pursuant to subsection (a) of this Code section or the laws, rules, or regulations relating to court reporting, the board may take any one or more of the following actions:
(1) Refuse to grant or renew a certificate or temporary permit to an applicant;
(2) Administer a public or private reprimand, but a private reprimand shall not be disclosed to any person except the licensee;
(3) Suspend any certificate or temporary permit for a definite period or for an indefinite period in connection with any condition which may be attached to the restoration of said license;
(4) Limit or restrict any certificate or temporary permit as the board deems necessary for the protection of the public;
(5) Revoke any certificate or temporary permit;
(6) Condition the penalty upon, or withhold formal disposition pending, the applicant's or licensee's submission to such care, counseling, or treatment as the board may direct;
(7) Impose a requirement to pass the state certification test; or
(8) Require monetary adjustment in a fee dispute involving an official court reporter.
(d) In addition to and in conjunction with the actions described in subsection (c) of this Code section, the board may make a finding adverse to the licensee or applicant but withhold imposition of judgment and penalty or it may impose the judgment and penalty but suspend enforcement thereof and place the licensee on probation, which probation may be vacated upon noncompliance with such reasonable terms as the board may impose.
(e) Any disciplinary action of the board may be appealed by the aggrieved person to the Judicial Council, which shall have the power to review the determination by the board. Initial judicial review of the final decision of the Judicial Council shall be had solely in the superior courts of the county of domicile of the board.
(f) In its discretion, the board may reinstate a certificate or temporary permit which has been revoked or issue a certificate or temporary permit which has been denied or refused, following such procedures as the board may prescribe by rule; and, as a condition thereof, it may impose any disciplinary or corrective method provided in this Code section or any other laws relating to court reporting.
(g)(1) The board is vested with the power and authority to make, or cause to be made through employees or agents of the board, such investigations the board may deem necessary or proper for the enforcement of the provisions of this Code section and the laws relating to court reporting. Any person properly conducting an investigation on behalf of the board shall have access to and may examine any writing, document, or other material relating to the fitness of any licensee or applicant. The board or its appointed representative may issue subpoenas to compel access to any writing, document, or other material upon a determination that reasonable grounds exist for the belief that a violation of this Code section or any other law relating to the practice of court reporting may have taken place.
(2) The results of all investigations initiated by the board shall be reported solely to the board and the records of such investigations shall be kept for the board by the Administrative Office of the Courts, with the board retaining the right to have access at any time to such records. No part of any such records shall be released, except to the board for any purpose other than a hearing before the board, nor shall such records be subject to subpoena; provided, however, that the board shall be authorized to release such records to another enforcement agency or lawful licensing authority.
(3) If a licensee is the subject of a board inquiry, all records relating to any person who receives services rendered by that licensee in the capacity as licensee shall be admissible at any hearing held to determine whether a violation of this article has taken place, regardless of any statutory privilege; provided, however, that any documentary evidence relating to a person who received those services shall be reviewed in camera and shall not be disclosed to the public.
(4) The board shall have the authority to exclude all persons during its deliberations on disciplinary proceedings and to discuss any disciplinary matter in private with a licensee or applicant and the legal counsel of that licensee or applicant.
(h) A person, firm, corporation, association, authority, or other entity shall be immune from civil and criminal liability for reporting or investigating the acts or omissions of a licensee or applicant which violate the provisions of subsection (a) of this Code section or any other provision of law relating to a licensee's or applicant's fitness to practice as a court reporter or for initiating or conducting proceedings against such licensee or applicant, if such report is made or action is taken in good faith, without fraud or malice. Any person who testifies or who makes a recommendation to the board in the nature of peer review, in good faith, without fraud or malice, in any proceeding involving the provisions of subsection (a) of this Code section or any other law relating to a licensee's or applicant's fitness to practice as a court reporter shall be immune from civil and criminal liability for so testifying.
(i) If any licensee or applicant after at least 30 days' notice fails to appear at any hearing, the board may proceed to hear the evidence against such licensee or applicant and take action as if such licensee or applicant had been present. A notice of hearing, initial or recommended decision, or final decision of the board in a disciplinary proceeding shall be served personally upon the licensee or applicant or served by certified mail or statutory overnight delivery, return receipt requested, to the last known address of record with the board. If such material is served by certified mail or statutory overnight delivery and is returned marked "unclaimed" or "refused" or is otherwise undeliverable and if the licensee or applicant cannot, after diligent effort, be located, the director of the Administrative Office of the Courts shall be deemed to be the agent for service for such licensee or applicant for purposes of this Code section, and service upon the director of the Administrative Office of the Courts shall be deemed to be service upon the licensee or applicant.
(j) The voluntary surrender of a certificate or temporary permit or the failure to renew a certificate or temporary permit by the end of an established penalty period shall have the same effect as a revocation of said certificate or temporary permit, subject to reinstatement in the discretion of the board. The board may restore and reissue a certificate or temporary permit to practice under the law relating to that board and, as a condition thereof, may impose any disciplinary sanction provided by this Code section or the law relating to that board.
(k) Regulation by the board shall not exempt court reporting from regulation pursuant to any other applicable law.
Graham Syfert - Jacksonville Lawyer