34 CFR 222.118 - How are withholding hearings conducted in this subpart?
(a) Appointment of hearing examiner. Upon receipt of a request for a withholding hearing that meets the requirements of § 222.117(d), the Assistant Secretary requests the appointment of a hearing examiner.
(b) Time and place of the hearing. Withholding hearings under this subpart are held at the offices of the Department in Washington, DC, at a time fixed by the hearing examiner, unless the hearing examiner selects another place based upon the convenience of the parties.
(c) Proceeding. (1) The parties to the withholding hearing are the Assistant Secretary and the affected LEA. An affected Indian tribe is not a party, but, at the discretion of the hearing examiner, may participate in the hearing and present its views on the issues relevant to the withholding determination.
(2) The parties may introduce all relevant evidence on the issues stated in the LEA's request for withholding hearing or other issues determined by the hearing examiner during the proceeding. The Assistant Secretary's notice of intent to withhold, the LEA's request for a withholding hearing, and all amendments and exhibits to those documents, must be made part of the hearing record.
(3) Technical rules of evidence, including the Federal Rules of Evidence, do not apply to hearings conducted under this subpart, but the hearing examiner may apply rules designed to assure production of the most credible evidence available, including allowing the cross-examination of witnesses.
(4) Each party may examine all documents and other evidence offered or accepted for the record, and may have the opportunity to refute facts and arguments advanced on either side of the issues.
(5) A transcript must be made of the oral evidence unless the parties agree otherwise.
(6) Each party may be represented by counsel.
(7) The hearing examiner is bound by all applicable statutes and regulations and may neither waive them nor rule them invalid.
(d) Filing requirements. (1) All written submissions must be filed with the hearing examiner by hand-delivery, mail, or facsimile transmission. The Secretary discourages the use of facsimile transmission for documents longer than five pages.
(2) If agreed upon by the parties, a party may serve a document upon the other party by facsimile transmission.
(3) The filing date for a written submission under this subpart is the date the document is -
(ii) Mailed; or
(iii) Sent by facsimile transmission.
(4) A party filing by facsimile transmission is responsible for confirming that a complete and legible copy of the document was timely received by the hearing examiner.
(5) Any party filing a document by facsimile transmission must file a follow-up hard copy by hand-delivery or mail within a reasonable period of time.
(e) Procedural rules. (1) If the hearing examiner determines that no dispute exists as to a material fact or that the resolution of any disputes as to material facts would not be materially assisted by oral testimony, the hearing examiner shall afford each party an opportunity to present its case -
(i) In whole or in part in writing; or
(ii) In an informal conference after affording each party sufficient notice of the issues to be considered.
(2) With respect to withholding hearings involving a dispute as to a material fact the resolution of which would be materially assisted by oral testimony, the hearing examiner shall afford to each party -
(i) Sufficient notice of the issues to be considered at the hearing;
(ii) An opportunity to present witnesses on the party's behalf; and
(iii) An opportunity to cross-examine other witnesses either orally or through written interrogatories.
(f) Decision of the hearing examiner. (1) The hearing examiner -
(i) Makes written findings and an initial withholding decision based upon the hearing record; and
(ii) Forwards to the Secretary, and mails to each party and to the affected Indian tribe or tribes, a copy of the written findings and initial withholding decision.
(2) A hearing examiner's initial withholding decision constitutes the Secretary's final withholding decision without any further proceedings unless -
(i) Either party to the withholding hearing, within 30 days of the date of its receipt of the initial withholding decision, requests the Secretary to review the decision and that request is granted; or
(ii) The Secretary otherwise determines, within the time limits stated in paragraph (g)(2)(ii) of this section, to review the initial withholding decision.
(3) When an initial withholding decision becomes the Secretary's final decision without any further proceedings, the Department notifies the parties and the affected Indian tribe or tribes of the finality of the decision.
(g) Administrative appeal of an initial decision. (1)(i) Any party may request the Secretary to review an initial withholding decision.
(ii) A party must file this request for review within 30 days of the party's receipt of the initial withholding decision.
(2) The Secretary may -
(i) Grant or deny a timely request for review of an initial withholding decision; or
(ii) Otherwise determine to review the decision, so long as that determination is made within 45 days of the date of receipt of the initial decision by the Secretary.
(3) The Secretary mails to each party and the affected Indian tribe or tribes, by certified mail with return receipt requested, written notice of -
(i) The Secretary's action granting or denying a request for review of an initial decision; or
(ii) The Secretary's determination to review an initial decision.
(h) Secretary's review of an initial withholding decision. (1) When the Secretary reviews an initial withholding decision, the Secretary notifies each party and the affected Indian tribe or tribes in writing, by certified mail with return receipt requested, that it may file a written statement or comments; and
(2) Mails to each party and to the affected Indian tribe or tribes, by certified mail with return receipt requested, written notice of the Secretary's final withholding decision.