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N.T. v. Dep’t of Educ.

Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court

July 7, 2021

Petitioner sought review of the order that determined Petitioner committed a crime of moral turpitude and directed the Department of Education (Department) to revoke Petitioner’s teaching certificate and eligibility to be employed as an educator. The Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court affirmed. The Court dealt with an issue of first impression: To what extent the Professional Standards and Practices Commission may look at a charging document to determine the offense for which an individual was convicted. The Court held that “the precedent supports consideration of the specific section or clause of a criminal statute under which an individual is charged and pleads guilty. . . . On the other hand, any further consideration of the facts or details regarding the individual’s specific behavior in committing the crime is not proper.” Here, the Commission did not err by considering the specific charge in the indictment to which Petitioner pleaded guilty. The Court then ruled consistently with its decisions about tax evasion and mail fraud, holding that conspiracy to defraud the United States under 18 U.S.C. § 371 is a crime of moral turpitude.

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