Can a teacher, fined after hearing for $7500, maintain a proceeding to show that the behavior complained of has no bearing on his being a teacher?

Yes. Edgar Ortiz, a tenured teacher, was fined $7500 after arbitrator, Joshua M. Javits, found two specifications against him for his failure to notify the DOE about his arrest for solicitation of a prostitute and for committing the offense. Ortiz had been arrested for “paying another person money and/or compensation in exchange for a sexual act.”  He pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct in the criminal case.

Ortiz claimed that the fine shocked the conscience and that the arrest took place on a Sunday morning near no school and thus lacked the connectedness to his role as a teacher to be disciplined.

The DOE moved to dismiss Ortiz’s petition and Justice Carol E. Huff of the New York Supreme Court denied their request and ordered the DOE to answer Ortiz’s petition. Huff found that Ortiz has established a claim that the arbitrator’s ruling in connection with the facts of the arrest lacked a rational basis in law and was arbitrary and capricious.

Ortiz v. DOE (Sup.Ct., NY) January 6, 2014