Nurse Cannot Argue Her Attorney Was Ineffective After Board of Nursing Revokes Her License
The case was not one our firm represented the nurse on but there are important points to ponder.
In the case, a registered nurse had entered a plea of no contest to charges of petit theft involving the fraudulent use of a credit card. Based on her plea and criminal conviction, the Florida Board of Nursing, filed an Administrative Complaint against her license under Section 456.072(1)(c), Florida Statutes, which provides that "Being convicted or found guilty of, or entering a plea of guilty or nolo contendere to, regardless of adjudication, a crime in any jurisdiction which relates to the practice of, or the ability to practice, a licensee’s profession" is a grounds for discipline.
The nurse eventually hired an attorney and went before the Florida Board of Nursing to ask for leniency. She didn't get it. According to the record, the Board revoked the nurse's license.
This case continued however. Later, the nurse on her own and without an attorney filed an appeal with the Fifth District Court of Appeals and argued that her former attorney provided ineffective counsel in her case before the Board. In her appeal, the nurse argued that her attorney did not provide sufficient facts to the Board of Nursing so that it could make an informed decision. In Lisa Bonny Weaver vs. Florida Board of Nursing, Florida 5th DCA Case Number 5D16-2366, the appeals court held:
"Because there is no right to counsel, there is no right to collaterally challenge the effectiveness of counsel. Accordingly, Ms. Weaver, who was represented by counsel of her own choosing, cannot now complain that the representation was inadequate as a means to challenge the permanent revocation of her nursing license."
Some take aways from this case:
- health care professionals who are charged with criminal petit theft usually face tough penalties before their professional boards.
- In this particular case the Florida Board of Nursing considers theft to be a crime related to the practice of nursing.
- In this particular case the appeals court ruled that you cannot after a revocation argue that you either did not like your attorney or they were ineffective.
On a side note, while neither myself nor our law firm was involved in this case I do know who this former nurse's attorney was in the underlying case. The particular attorney involved I must say is extremely experienced and competent. In fact, she is a registered nurse herself in addition to being an attorney.
If you are a licensed health care professional in Florida and have a pending criminal case you are probably concerned about how this may affect your license. To set up a FREE no obligation consultation with Jeff Howell or Rickey Strong, contact the law firm of Howell, Buchan & Strong, Attorneys at Law at 850-877-7776. We represent licensed health care professionals and facilities statewide, including out of state clients who are concerned about the status of their Florida license.