Thursday, June 19, 2014

Due Process In Adminstrative Hearings

Although I am not a lawyer, I have executed duties as a hearing examiner for Wisconsin's Department of Corrections and have done much reading in applicable law articles and books. It appears that constitutional due process requires the following.
1. Prior notice of the "charges" (Alleged violations") and the laws/rules/regulations alleged to have been violated (Which must be in such clear language as is understandable by the accused).
2.  Advance provision to the accused of the evidence (Including the names of adverse witnesses, documents, other physical evidence) to be used against that person; Such advance to be long enough to allow investigation of such evidence including those matters which might  impugn the credibility of witnesses. 
3.   A hearing before an independent and impartial hearing examiner or like tribunal.
4. Provision of legal counsel in such cases where such penalties as money-assessments/termination of employment/school-enrollment/jail may be imposed.
5.  The ability to effectively cross-examine witnesses and, if necessary, "impeach" them.
6.  A written statement as to the findings of that (Those) examiner(s) as to both conclusions and the evidence relied upon in making such conclusions.
7. A right to a timely and fair appeal of any contrary decisions to some higher and independent authority (Which may be a court-of-law OR, for schools, a Board of directors/regents/trustees)

In some places witnesses must testify "on oath or affirmation" and be subject to criminal penalties for "Perjury" or "False Swearing".

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