Osuna-Bonilla v. Teacher Standards and Practices Comm.

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Administrative Law
  • Date Filed: 11-16-2016
  • Case #: Osuna-Bonilla v. Teacher Standards and Practices Comm.
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Devore, J. for the Court; Duncan, P.J.; & Flynn, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

Under Reguero v. Teacher Standards and Practices, the Administrative Procedures Act allows hearsay evidence to be admissible as any other evidence, so long as it meets the statutory test of reliability under ORS 183.450(1).

Osuna-Bonilla (Petitioner), a former teacher, sought judicial review of an order from the Teacher Standards and Practices Commission (Commission) that revoked his privilege to reapply for a teaching license for one year. In 2010, following complaints from three female students, Petitioner was tried for third degree sexual abuse.  The students testified and were cross-examined at trial. A jury found Petitioner not guilty.  In 2013, the Commission initiated an Administrative hearing to determine whether Petitioner had committed gross neglect of duty.  During the hearing, instead of calling the students to testify, both parties offered transcripts of the students’ testimony from the criminal trial.   The ALJ concluded, based on the testimony of the students, that Petitioner had committed gross neglect of duty. Based on the ALJ’s recommendation, the Commission issued an order revoking Petitioner’s privilege to apply for a teaching license for one year. On appeal, Petitioner argued the order was not based on substantial evidence because the Commission relied on hearsay, since the ALJ was unable to observe the students at the hearing.  Under the Administrative Procedures Act, hearsay evidence is admissible as any other evidence, so long as it meets the statutory test of reliability under ORS 183.450(1). Reguero v. Teacher Standards and Practices, 312 Or 402 (1991). Since the students’ statements were given under oath in a prior criminal case in which they were cross examined by Petitioner, the Court found their testimony, although hearsay, met the statutory test of reliability under ORS 183.450(1), and was therefore sufficiently trustworthy to be considered by the ALJ. Affirmed. 

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