A. Purpose of Review. The Association shall review a local group’s investigation and decision in order (1) to determine whether action by the Association is appropriate, and (2) where appropriate, to make recommendations to local groups regarding their handling and disposition of the case.
B. Circumstances of Review. The Association shall review an investigation and decision by a local group under the following circumstances:
(1.) Automatic Review. If a member of the Association has been censured, suspended, or expelled by a local group, or if his/her faculty status in an approved Institute has been suspended or terminated as a result of adjudication of complaints of unethical conduct, a review of the case shall be promptly undertaken.
(2.) Requested Review. If the disposition of a case is other than censure, suspension or expulsion by a local group, or suspension or termination of a member’s faculty status in an approved Institute, the Association shall undertake a review of the case if formal request for such review is made to the President of the Association, by the member(s) charged, the complainant, or the local group, within 60 days after notification of the group’s decision.
(a) Each such request by a complainant or charged member shall include the reasons for dissatisfaction with the action taken at the local level.
(b) Each such request by the charged member also shall include adequate information regarding the charge, and his/her defense.
(c) Each such request by a local group shall include identification of the charges and the persons involved, a description of all attempts by the group to resolve the matter, and the reason for referral to the Association.
(3) The Committee on Ethics of the American Psychoanalytic Association will not review any decision of a local group regarding a member if the Committee has already reviewed a decision regarding the same complaint or a complaint based on substantially the same facts about the member. This would have particular relevance to those societies and institutes that do not have joint ethics committees.
C. Process of Review.
(1) The initial review of the investigation and decision of a local group shall be conducted by the Association’s Committee on Ethics, which may confer with the President and legal counsel of the Association.
(2) The Committee on Ethics will request all records of the investigation from the local group and will review the procedures used by the local group, its interpretation and application of the Association’s “Principles” and its decision regarding the conduct complained of and any sanction imposed.
(3) In the course of its review, the Committee on Ethics may, but shall not be required to, request written briefs from complainant or counsel for complainant, charged member or counsel for the charged member, and the local group or counsel for the local group. Any brief received from the complainant or the local group shall be provided to the charged member, who shall be given at least 30 days to respond. Personal appearance before the Committee by the complainant, charged member, or local group representatives may be requested.
(4) The Committee on Ethics shall prepare a written summary of the case, including its decision and the basis of its decision.
D. Outcome of Ethics Committee Review.
(1) On the basis of its review of the investigation and decision of the local group, the Committee, by majority vote with no more than two members dissenting or abstaining, shall decide what action the Association should take with regard to the complaint filed against the charged member. While based on the information gathered by the local group, the decision of the Committee on Ethics may differ from the decision arrived at by the local group. The Committee on Ethics shall vote for one of the following measures:
(a) Exoneration. The charged member is cleared from blame as the evidence established no unethical conduct by the member.
(b) Dismissal of Complaint Without Prejudice. This disposition permits new proceedings with respect to the same charge at a later date; i.e., when a determination on the merits cannot be made because of insufficient reliable evidence or other procedural defects.
(c) Dismissal of Complaint With Prejudice. The complaint is dismissed without any finding of unethical conduct; proceedings with regard to the same complaint may not be reinstituted.
Where appropriate, such a dismissal may be accompanied by a letter of admonition, expressing the sense of the Association that there may be questions about the appropriateness of the conduct of the charged member and putting the member on notice that further education, consultation and/or supervision may be indicated.
(e) Suspension from the Association. Such suspension shall be for a stipulated period, not to exceed three years from date of suspension.
(f) Separation from the Rolls. A new application for membership in the Association shall not be entertained in less than five years from date of separation.
(g) Permanent Expulsion from the Association.
(2) On the basis of its review, the Committee may also decide to consult with the local group regarding its procedures in investigating the complaint of unethical conduct, its interpretation of the Association’s “Principles” and its decision regarding the conduct complained of and sanction imposed. However, the Committee and the Association may not otherwise reverse or modify the decision of the local group.
E. Procedure Following Committee on Ethics.
(1) The Committee on Ethics shall forward a summary of the case, including a statement of the basis of its decision, to the President of the Association. The President shall notify the charged member, the complainant, and the local group of the decision and shall provide the charged member with a copy of the summary.
(2) If the decision of the Committee on Ethics has been to exonerate the charged member, to dismiss the complaint with or without prejudice, or to censure the charged member, the charged member also shall be advised that such decisions of the Committee are final, and unappealable.
(3) If the decision of the Committee on Ethics has been to suspend, separate from the rolls, or expel the charged member, the decision is not final unless it has been ratified by the Executive Council pursuant to the procedures set out in Section IV(E)(4), below. When the President notifies the charged member of such a decision, the President also shall notify the member that he/she must indicate in writing within 30 days from the date of mailing of the notice, that he/she either accepts the decision or that he/she wishes to appeal it. Unless written notification from the charged member is received within the specified time, the right to appeal shall have been forfeited.
(4) Executive Council Ratification or Appeal. Following notification of all parties as set out above, the Chair of the Committee on Ethics shall present the case and its conclusions to the Executive Council sitting in Executive Session.
(a) When Appeal Not Requested. When the charged member has not requested an appeal, The Executive Council shall decide whether or not to ratify the decision of the Committee on Ethics.
(i) If the Executive Council by majority vote, decides to ratify the decision of the Committee on Ethics, the decision will be final. The Executive Council may prepare its own written decision of the case or adopt the conclusions of the Committee on Ethics as the decision of the Association.
(ii) If the Council fails to ratify the decision of the Committee on Ethics, the Council may refer the matter back to the Committee on Ethics for further deliberation and may specify questions or concerns it has about the matter.
(iii) If the Executive Council refers the matter back to the Committee on Ethics, the Committee shall reconsider its decision, following procedures set forth in Sections IV(C), (D) and (E). The President shall notify all concerned parties of the Council’s decision, provide the charged member with current status of the matter and remind the member of his/her right to appeal as set out in IV(E)(3). If the charged member does not exercise the right to appeal, the matter will again be presented for Executive Council consideration as set out herein.
(iv) On the Executive Council’s ratification of the decision of the Committee on Ethics, whether at initial or subsequent presentations, the charged member, complainant and local group shall be notified of its decision. The charged member shall be provided a copy of the final decision.
(b) When Appeal Requested; Executive Council Ratification. If the charged member exercises his/her right to appeal the decision of the Committee on Ethics, the President and Board Chair shall jointly appoint an Executive Council Ethics Appeals Committee consisting of five members, including at least two Councilors-at-Large, and at least one Executive Councilor. The remaining two members shall be former members of the Committee on Ethics. If the case involves a minor patient the Appeals Committee must include a child analyst. The appointment and composition of the Ethics Appeals Committee shall be confirmed by a majority vote of the Executive Council. This Committee is empowered to act on behalf of the Executive Council in adjudicating the charged member’s appeal, and its decision shall be final. The Committee shall review the record of the proceedings to ascertain that proper procedures have been followed. If it deems further fact finding is required, it shall refer the matter to the Committee on Ethics for the necessary further investigation and deliberation. On completion of its further review of the matter, the Committee on Ethics shall report its decision on reconsideration of the matter to the Ethics Appeals Committee. A majority vote of this Committee shall be required to reach a final disposition of the matter. This Committee’s final disposition shall be reported to Council and its report shall be considered an action by Council without further debate or vote by Council.