- Created on 09 August 2010
- Last Updated on 17 March 2014
- Written by Fred M. Kray
- Hits: 2191
Trial—Informal Hearing Overview
For those of you used to a "trial" before a judge, the "Informal Hearing" commonly used in Dangerous Dog cases will be a frustrating nightmare. Hearsay allowed, reading of affidavits allowed, use of exhibits not seen introduced. I kid you not. I have thought, at times, that an owner was better off at such hearing without an attorney. It seems that when an attorney appears that the fact finder, be it Code Enforcement Board, Dog Classification Board, Hearing Officer or what have you, feels somehow improperly challenged. The only reason I have revised that opinion is that only an attorney knows enough to build a proper appellate record. Want to see me take a beating at one these hearings? Try to make a record? Click on the link below and you will see what I am ineptly trying to convey.
make a good record for appeal
Remember that whatever happens at this hearing, the record you make there, you are probably going to be stuck with up through final appeal. In a few instances, you may get a de novo hearing in county court. You obviously need to know that beforehand. Otherwise, whatever happens at the "Informal Hearing," no matter how bad it is, is what you have to work with on appeal. You have to make all your objections, proffers and motions, all of which will be looked upon by the fact finder as totally unnecessary.
You need to know the elements of what the government needs to prove to win their case, and you need to know what requirements are contained in the statute or ordinance for their investigation. Then you need to be able to prove all the elements necessary for your case as well.