(a) The decision of the Hearing Panel shall be by a simple majority vote and in writing (Form #E-11, Decision [Ethics], Part Six and the Professional Standards Training Guide) and shall contain findings of fact and a statement of the disciplinary action recommended, if any. Under no circumstances can the Board award money “damages” in an ethics proceeding. The decision shall include a clear, concise, and objective recitation of the specific facts upon which the Hearing Panel based its conclusion. Such decision shall not be disclosed during the ethics proceeding, or any appeal, to any persons except the Directors, the complainant, the respondent, Board legal counsel, and the Professional Standards Administrator. However, failure of confidentiality shall not invalidate the decision. The decision shall be filed with the Professional Standards Administrator the day of the hearing, or no later than forty-eight (48) hours following the hearing.* (Revised 11/14)
Copies of the decisions disseminated pursuant to these procedures shall be complete and unedited unless an Association, by affirmative action of its Board of Directors, adopts procedures under which decisions presented to the Board of Directors for ratification will not include the names of the parties. In the event the respondent is found in violation, the Hearing Panel will consider all records of previous violations and sanctions imposed, whether by the current or by any other Board or Association, in the member’s file in determining discipline, and the rationale for the current disciplinary action can be provided to the parties and the Directors as part of the decision. The Hearing Panel’s consideration will include whether prior disciplinary matters involve discipline that was held in abeyance and that will be triggered by a subsequent violation (including the matter currently under consideration by the Hearing Panel). (Amended 5/17)
(b) The Professional Standards Administrator shall transmit a copy of the decision to the complainant and respondent within five (5) days after the Professional Standards Administrator has received the Hearing Panel’s decision in writing, except that reasonable delay shall not invalidate the Board’s procedures nor the decision (e.g., when it is necessary to obtain association counsel’s review). (Revised 11/14)
(c) To avoid any appearance of bias, ethics Hearing Panels shall make no referrals of ethical concerns to the Grievance Committee. This is based on the premise that the fundamental right and primary responsibility to bring potentially unethical conduct to the attention of the Grievance Committee rests with the parties and others with firsthand knowledge. (Adopted 11/96)
* The Hearing Panel's decision shall be considered final only when it is in writing and signed by members of the panel following their personal review and any review by legal counsel which may be required.