I recently represented a nurse who applied for a New York State Nursing license. When she filled out the application there was a question which asked if she had ever been convicted of a crime. The answer to the question was “yes” because when she was a teenager she was part of a gang that caused the death of a man. Because of her participation in the crime she plead guilty to manslaughter and served about 6 years in prison. That prison term was followed by 5 years of probation which she successfully completed. She then graduated from Nursing School and then applied for the license.
When the State saw that my client had been convicted of such a serious offense a Hearing was ordered to listen to testimony to consider whether this applicant was the kind of person who should be given a Nursing license.
It was necessary that our presentation at the Hearing be carefully planned as there was only this one chance to obtain the license. The first thing I did was prepare my client how to present herself and how she should describe what had happened and why. Then I worked on getting witnesses to physically attend the Hearing and give solid recommendations on behalf of my client. In this area I was very fortunate to have the following people agree to testify on my client’s behalf: the Dean of the Nursing school from which she graduated, a professor from the Nursing school and a podiatrist for whom my client was currently working as an office manager.
I prepared the witnesses for both my direct examination and the cross examination by the attorney for the State. All of the witnesses performed very well and all stated that my client deserved to be issued a license. Then my client testified and she gave an excellent presentation which emphasised remorse for the event and discussed how she had turned her life around since the entering of her guilty plea.
The matter ended about 4 months after the Hearing with the issuance of the license to my client.
The moral of this story is that by having the right witnesses and planning as how events will be presented can often lead to the correct result even when the situation does not look at all promising at the beginning.