Appeal from the Order of the State Dental Council and Examining Board, in case of In the Matter of the Suspension or Revocation of the License to Practice Dentistry, License No. 13532, issued September 10, 1956 to Jerome Friedman, D.D.S., dated December 29, 1975.
Joel Harvey Slomsky, for appellant.
Lawrence Alexander, Assistant Attorney General, with him Charles L. Ford, Chief Counsel, Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs, and Robert P. Kane, Attorney General, for appellee.
Judges Mencer, Rogers and Blatt, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Mencer.
[ 27 Pa. Commw. Page 547]
Jerome Friedman, D.D.S. (Friedman) has, by his appeal from an order of the State Dental Council and Examining Board (Board) suspending his license to practice dentistry for three months, raised a question of first impression for this Court. The question involves the use in a subsequent administrative proceeding of a plea of nolo contendere.
[ 27 Pa. Commw. Page 548]
Charged with 23 counts of mail fraud,*fn1 Friedman entered a plea of nolo contendere on February 28, 1975. In early May of 1975, Friedman received notice that pursuant to Section 3 of The Dental Law*fn2
[ 27 Pa. Commw. Page 549]
(Act) the Board would conduct a hearing in accordance with the Administrative Agency Law*fn3 (Agency Law) to determine whether his license to practice dentistry should be suspended or revoked. At the July 1, 1975 hearing, Friedman argued, inter alia, that a plea of nolo contendere cannot be used against a defendant in any subsequent civil suit and, therefore, his plea was inadmissible in the license proceeding. Nevertheless, the Board admitted a certified copy of the docket entry of his plea and thereafter decided to suspend Friedman's license for three months. He appealed.
Before this Court, Friedman raises the same contention, adding that, because the Board based its decision solely on his plea, its adjudication was not based on substantial evidence.*fn4 We disagree and affirm the Board's order.
The leading case in this Commonwealth on the nature of a plea of nolo contendere is Commonwealth v. Ferguson, 44 Pa. Superior Ct. 626 (1910). In Ferguson, a ...