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The Day Of The Hearing
Hearings are open to the public. Individuals within a hearing room may include people who are not parties to our particular hearing. The Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) will call your name and hear your case in the order you arrive. At the start of the hearing the ALJ will introduce the case and parties, and then briefly explain the hearing procedure. A court reporter will record the proceedings.
Ordinarily, the presentation of evidence begins after the ALJ’s introduction. Opening statements are permitted but are rarely presented. Each party may introduce evidence and challenge the evidence presented by the opposing party.
The ALJ will rule on the admissibility of evidence, but is not bound by the strict rules of evidence. Pursuant to State Administrative Procedure Act §306(1), “…Unless otherwise provided by any statute, the Administrative Law Judge need not observe the rules of evidence observed by courts, but shall give effect to the rules of privilege recognized by law.” He or she may include hearsay testimony, and may exclude testimony and other evidence that is irrelevant or repetitious.
For more information please review: Evidence
Each party may call witnesses and question the opposing party’s witnesses. All witness testimony is taken under oath. Witnesses first answer questions from the party who called them and then may be cross-examined by the opposing party.
For more information please review: Witnesses
At the end of the hearing, each party is permitted, but not required, to make a closing statement. In some circumstances, the ALJ may allow for additional documents or a written “brief” to be submitted after a hearing. If the ALJ does not ask for additional documents or briefs, the case is closed at the end of the hearing. If the ALJ asks for additional documents or briefs, a date will be set by which those documents must be received. The case will end on that date, and the ALJ will not consider any documents received after that date. The length of each hearing varies and depends on the issues, evidence and witnesses. Most hearings are completed within a single day.
The ALJ will not issue a decision during the hearing and cannot discuss the potential outcome of your case. The ALJ determines facts based on the evidence and argument presented at the hearing, reviews the relevant law, and issues a decision after the hearing. Copies of the decision will be sent to all parties.