CalRecycle is providing this information to help you prepare for your administrative hearing. This information is not a substitute for having an attorney. We hope this information will help you better understand the process and prepare for the hearing.
How Do I Request A Hearing?
You have received this because you have been served with either a Statement of Issues or Administrative Complaint (Accusation) issued by the Waste Permitting, Compliance, and Mitigation Division of the Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle). You may request a hearing to have a Hearing Officer hear your side of the matter before your permit or registration is denied, suspended or revoked, or before penalties are assessed against you. If you do not request a hearing, a Default Decision will be issued ordering the denial, suspension, or revocation of your permit or registration or ordering you to pay the penalty amount requested in the Accusation. If you wish to request a hearing, you must complete and send the Request For Hearing / Notice Of Defense (PDF | MS Word) to the address designated on that form. On that form you must state the reason you are requesting a hearing. You must provide enough information for CalRecycle to understand the facts, defenses, and other issues you hope to have addressed at the hearing.
What Will My Hearing Be Like?
Your hearing will be very similar to a trial in court, with witnesses, exhibits and rules of evidence. A Hearing Officer will preside under a delegation of authority from CalRecycle’s director. You have the right to be represented by an attorney at your own expense. You are not entitled to the appointment of an attorney to represent you at public expense. You are entitled to represent yourself without legal counsel. However, an attorney may be better able to present your side.
When the hearing begins, each side may present an opening statement. This tells the Hearing Officer what that side intends to prove. Each side can then offer relevant evidence to prove its case.
Evidence can be testimony taken under oath at the hearing or it can be certain kinds of documents, such as business records. You must prove that the documents you submit are authentic. This means that you must be able to show that a document actually is what you say it is; usually this is accomplished through witness testimony.
CalRecycle usually presents its evidence first. CalRecycle's attorney will ask its witness questions (direct examination). When the attorney is finished, it will be your turn to ask questions of that witness (cross-examination). CalRecycle’s attorney will have a second chance to ask questions (redirect) and then you will have a second chance (recross).
After CalRecycle has presented its witnesses, it will be your turn. You may make a statement yourself and call your witnesses. As you finish with each of your witnesses (and your testimony), the CalRecycle attorney will cross-examine. As stated before, you will have a second chance to ask questions of each witness. Even if you choose not to testify, CalRecycle's attorney may cross-examine you.
After you have presented your case, CalRecycle may call rebuttal witnesses. Rebuttal witnesses may only testify to issues you brought up in your case. If CalRecycle calls rebuttal witnesses, you may be allowed to call additional witnesses to address the issues discussed by rebuttal witnesses. Few hearings involve rebuttal witnesses.
Remember: Before the hearing closes, you must submit all the evidence you want the Hearing Officer to consider.
After all testimony has been heard, each side can make a closing argument. Usually CalRecycle goes first; you go next. The party that goes first has the opportunity to make the last comments.
Closing argument is your chance to sum up the evidence and tell the Hearing Officer why you should prevail in your case. It can address only those facts brought out in testimony of witnesses or in documents received into evidence. In some cases, the Hearing Officer may want the parties to submit written, instead of oral, argument. If so, a schedule will be set up for the written arguments.
What Do I Need To Prove?
If a license, permit, or registration for which you applied is being denied, the burden is on you to prove your side. You must prove you meet the qualifications for the license, permit, or registration.
If you already have a license, permit, or registration against which CalRecycle is imposing discipline, CalRecycle has the burden of proof. This means that CalRecycle must establish that you violated the laws or regulations charged in the Accusation or Statement of Issues.
Even when CalRecycle has the burden of proof, you should prepare to offer evidence of your good character and conduct, mitigation, rehabilitation and evidence refuting the charges, as appropriate.
May I See CalRecycle's Evidence Against Me?
CalRecycle’s evidence is also called discovery. You are entitled to request discovery of the information CalRecycle has to prove the charges made against you or enable you to mount a defense against them. A Request For Discovery form is available on CalRecycle’s website, or may be obtained by contacting CalRecycle's attorney or Hearing Clerk. Simply send the completed Request for Discovery to CalRecycle’s attorney if you wish to obtain a copy of the investigative files and any other documents or relevant information CalRecycle has regarding your case. You may have to pay for copies. You also have a right to receive a witness list.
Generally, you must request "discovery" within 30 days of receiving the initial Accusation or Statement of Issues, or within 15 days of any supplemental Accusations or Statements of Issues. In some cases, these times may be shorter. Be sure to read the documents you receive to verify the time you have to request discovery.
CalRecycle has the same rights to get information from you. You may also be served with, or have included in the paperwork received already, a Request For Discovery on behalf of CalRecycle. You must make copies of the requested information available to CalRecycle by the date stated in the Request for Discovery.
What Kind of Evidence Will I Need For the Hearing?
Depending on your case, you may want to bring witnesses who know about the issues involved with the charges against you. If there are documents, such as contracts, business records or checks that help prove your side, try to bring the original and three copies. You may bring photographs or other items that are relevant to your defense. Items you want to be considered must be left with the Hearing Officer. Generally, you may substitute copies of those items in place of the originals.
Documents and photographs must be authenticated. This is typically done through witness testimony, during which your witness, or yourself, if you choose to testify, will need to explain to the Hearing Officer what the document is, how the witness reliably knows what it is, and how it is relevant to your case.
How Do I Get Records From a Business?
If you are a party to a hearing, you have the right to subpoena from individuals, businesses and government agencies relevant records or other things to be produced at the hearing. CalRecycle has a subpoena form available for download on its website, and a copy may also be mailed or emailed to you upon request. You must arrange to pay any required fees and have someone else serve the subpoenas. Only CalRecycle Hearing Officers or attorneys licensed in California acting on behalf of a party may sign a subpoena. If you are proceeding without an attorney, contact CalRecycle's Hearing Clerk to obtain a blank subpoena form signed by a Hearing Officer. See also California Code of Civil Procedure, sections 1985-1985.4 for other important information.
How Do I Get a Witness to Come to the Hearing?
A witness can come voluntarily to the hearing. However, a subpoena protects your right to have that person present. You may obtain the subpoena form by downloading it from CalRecycle’s website, or by requesting that a copy be mailed or emailed to you. You must use the subpoena to compel the attendance of persons whose testimony is relevant to your case, unless that person agrees to appear voluntarily on your behalf. Witnesses are entitled to paid reimbursement of their time. See Government Code sections 11450.05, 11450.50, 68092.5-68093, and 68096.1-68097.10. You must arrange to pay required fees and have someone else serve the subpoenas. Only CalRecycle Hearing Officers or attorneys licensed in California acting on behalf of a party may sign a subpoena. If you are proceeding without an attorney, contact CalRecycle's Hearing Clerk to obtain a blank subpoena form signed by a Hearing Officer. See also California Code of Civil Procedure, sections 1985-1985.4 for other important information.
Is It OK to Bring Letters Instead of Witnesses?
Some letters and other documents may be admitted in evidence for limited purposes, but generally it is better to bring witnesses who can help present your side of the case and answer any questions raised. The Hearing Officer will not speak with witnesses, except at the hearing itself. If you do choose to offer letters, declarations or other documents, make sure you understand what you must do to get them admitted in evidence. (For instance, see the discussion on authenticating documents above.)
Remember: This hearing is your chance to tell the Hearing Officer your side. It is important to have your witnesses present at the hearing to testify.
If I Forget Something, Can I Send It Later to the Hearing
Your chance to present evidence is at the hearing. Only in rare cases will the Hearing Officer allow you to send evidence later.
Is There a Way To Settle This Without a Hearing?
Cases often settle without going to hearing. Contact the CalRecycle attorney to see if you can work something out.
What If I Can't Be There On The Day Set?
You must show good cause to change a hearing date. If you cannot attend on the date and at the time shown, you must contact CalRecycle as soon as you know of the problem. To request a change of date, you must file a written request with the Hearing Clerk in CalRecycle's Legal Office, with a copy to CalRecycle’s attorney, explaining the reasons for the change. The sooner you make your request, the more likely it will be granted.
Remember: You must file a timely Notice of Defense in order to have a hearing.
Where Will The Hearing Take Place?
Hearings are scheduled at the CalRecycle office located closest to your residence or the location at which the transactions or events providing the basis for the Accusation or Statement of Issues occurred. CalRecycle’s office locations are in Sacramento, Los Angeles, Riverside and San Diego. In some circumstances, CalRecycle may conduct a hearing at a location other than a CalRecycle office. If you feel that a different location would work better for you please contact CalRecycle's Hearing Clerk as early as possible to request a location change. CalRecycle reserves the right to deny the request upon consideration of issues including, without being limited to, the ability of CalRecycle staff and the Hearing Officer to travel to the location, and any fees that may be incurred for travel plans already made by CalRecycle staff, the Hearing Officer, and CalRecycle's witnesses.
What If I Don't Attend?
If you request a hearing and do not attend the hearing, CalRecycle can still proceed with the case against you. (If you do not request a hearing, CalRecycle will issue a Default Decision against you.)
What If I Need An Interpreter?
If you or a witness need a sign or language interpreter, immediately contact the CalRecycle attorney or Hearing Clerk so that a certified interpreter can be provided. Normally, it is not sufficient to bring a friend or relative to interpret for you.
Will The Hearing Location Be Accessible To People With
Hearing locations are to be accessible to persons with disabilities. However, check in advance with CalRecycle's Hearing Clerk to assure accessibility. In addition, if you know persons who plan to attend have special needs that require reasonable accommodation, please contact CalRecycle's Hearing Clerk as soon as possible, so arrangements can be made.
What Is The Contact Information For CalRecycle's Hearing
All tire hearing papers must be filed with the Hearing Clerk in CalRecycle's Legal Office at the street address, fax number or email address below.
Hearing Clerk: TIR
CalRecycle Legal Office
801 K Street, MS 19-03
Sacramento, CA 95814