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(10.34) What are the steps in a fair hearing?

(10.34) What are the steps in a fair hearing?

  1. Introduce Documents or Evidence – The Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) will introduce the documents you exchanged with the regional center into evidence. You can ask the ALJ for permission to add evidence or witnesses you did not send to the regional center in time.[1]To minimize the regional center’s argument of prejudice from a surprise document or witness, give the regional center the document and name of witness with a statement about the area of testimony … Continue reading The ALJ can say yes or no.[2]§ 4712(d). Bring 3 copies of your documents to the hearing: one for the ALJ (evidence), one to show to witnesses, and one for yourself.
  2. Opening Statements – After documents are entered into evidence, the regional center can make an opening statement, and then you can make an opening statement. Your statement should be a short summary of your case. Your statement says what your disagreement is about, and what you want the ALJ to order.
  3. Witnesses – After opening statements, the ALJ listens to witness testimony. The regional center’s witnesses go first.[3]§ 4712(j). This gives you a chance to hear them explain why they made their decision. This will help you know how to use your own witnesses, testimony and evidence. You get to ask the regional center’s witnesses questions. This is called “cross-examination.” Then, you can put on your case and ask your witnesses questions. This is called “direct examination.” The regional center also gets to ask your witnesses questions.
  4. Closing Statements – After the witnesses finish testifying, the ALJ can let you and the regional center make closing statements. The closing statement gives you the chance to talk to the ALJ about your evidence and how it supports your case. You do not have to give a closing statement.
  5. Written Closing Briefs – During the hearing, you may realize that the ALJ does not have all the information to make a true decision. You can ask the ALJ to “keep the record open.” The ALJ can say “yes” or “no” to this. If the ALJ agrees to keep the record open, you and the regional center can give the ALJ more documents and information after the hearing. You can also ask to keep the record open so you can submit a written closing brief. You write a closing brief to remind the ALJ of the information, facts, and law from the hearing. The ALJ can say yes or no to this request.

References
1 To minimize the regional center’s argument of prejudice from a surprise document or witness, give the regional center the document and name of witness with a statement about the area of testimony as soon as you can before the hearing. The ALJ is more likely to allow you to introduce a document that you provided 4 days before the hearing rather than a document the regional center first learned about at the hearing.
2 § 4712(d).
3 § 4712(j).