Evidence is anything that can prove something is true. Evidence is important even if you do not go to a fair hearing. If you show evidence that supports you, it will help persuade the regional center your request should be granted without needing a hearing. However, if you have to go to a hearing because you cannot resolve your dispute any other way, the rules about evidence are more relaxed in these fair hearings than they are in court.
- What you say or another person says in a hearing, and
- What your records and reports say about you and what you need.
For example, to prove you need more Independent Living Skills training hours, give the hearing judge all the evaluation reports or other information to show your needs. Reports and testimony by witnesses are examples of evidence. The regional center will offer evidence like this. The regional center will have their staff come to the hearing to tell the judge why they don’t need to give you the service or more hours. Because of this, you need to bring written evidence or someone to testify why you need it.
You have the right, before the hearing, to see the evidence the regional center will offer at the hearing, and the regional center has the same right to see your evidence. The law says at least five days before the hearing, you and the regional center exchange copies of the documents you each plan to offer at the hearing. You also have to exchange a list of the potential witnesses you each may ask to testify and a little bit about what they will say.Section 4712(d). Some evidence is more important than other evidence. For example, if a psychologist comes to the hearing and testifies instead of just giving a copy of their report, it is considered more valuable than just the report on its own.