SW Legal studies in Business

Agency May Not Revoke Professional License for Unrelated Criminal Matters
Description Oregon high court held that it was improper for the license of a real estate broker to be suspended because the broker was convicted of possession of drugs. The drug offense was not related to the purpose of broker regulation, which focuses on integrity in real estate dealing.
Topic Administrative Law
Key Words Licensing; Discipline; Drug Use
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Dearborn was convicted of drug possession and placed on probation. Also, he was ordered to refrain from any contact with juveniles during his probation, as he had delivered drugs to minors. He admitted that he had engaged in sex with minors in exchange for drugs/ Dearborn's real estate broker's license was then revoked for two years by the Oregon Real Estate Commissioner. The Commissioner concluded that he was subject to discipline because he committed crimes "substantially related to his trustworthiness to engage in professional real estate activity" and had engaged in conduct that "demonstrates untrustworthy and improper dealings." Dearborn appealed the loss of his broker's license. The appeals court reversed the Commissioner's decision. The Commissioner appealed.

Appeals court decision affirmed. In the administrative decision to determine if a broker may be disciplined, the law states that there must be a substantial nexus between the acts in question and a licensee's professional activities. His conviction for drug possession involved private actions that are separate from his professional life. There was no demonstration of "bad faith, incompetence or untrustworthiness, or dishonest, fraudulent or improper dealing" in real estate, as the statute requires. Hence, his license may not be suspended or revoked.

Citation Dearborn v. Real Estate Agency, 53 P.3d 436 (Sup. Ct., Ore., 2002)

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