Court finds no material relevance between prior convictions and present ability to perform duties as an EMT
Matt Miller, pennlive.com
The state Department of Health overstepped its bounds when it revoked the certification of an emergency medical technician who has 26-year-old child-sex convictions, a Commonwealth Court panel concluded Wednesday.
Revocation was too draconian a punishment even though Hugh Hynes didn’t disclose his 1995 convictions out of New York when he applied for EMT certification in Pennsylvania in 2017, Judge Patricia A. McCullough wrote in the court’s opinion.
She found the passage of time since Hynes pleaded guilty and accepted responsibility in the New York case, his record serving as an EMT in Maryland for 20 years and his lack of any criminal involvement since 1995 weigh in favor of his retaining his EMT license.
“There is no material relevance between Hynes’ prior convictions and his present ability to perform his duties as an EMT,” McCullough wrote. “Importantly, the conduct in question occurred (26) years ago. Hynes testified he has since moved on, started a family of his own, and has been in contact with minors in his professional capacity without any issue.”
Hynes’ battle to keep his Pennsylvania certification began in July 2018 after a routine FBI background check turned up his misdemeanor convictions for sexual misconduct in New York. He appealed to McCullough’s court after the decision to revoke his certification was upheld by a deputy secretary of the health department.
Department officials cited the convictions and the fact that Hynes didn’t disclose them on his EMT application. Hynes did list the convictions on an application for paramedic licensing that he filed later, McCullough noted. She cited Hynes’ claim that the old convictions had “slipped his mind” when he filed the EMT application.
McCullough concluded that Hynes’ old criminal record reflects “an isolated incident, and does not relate to his present character to function as an EMT. ” His failure to disclose that record on his EMT application simply doesn’t warrant the punishment he received, the judge found. Revoking his EMT license was “a manifestly unreasonable exercise of judgment,” she decided.
“By imposing the highest possible penalty, the department has effectively deprived Hynes of his ability to earn a livelihood,” McCullough wrote. “Given the significant mitigating evidence, any interest sought to be protected by the department is not impacted to a degree commensurate with these infractions.”
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