§ 820-1-2-.14. Evidence
(1) The Secretary will generally follow the established rules of evidence applicable to civil actions at law and will depart therefrom only when it appears that such departure will preserve the substantial rights of the parties.
(2) All testimony except as otherwise directed must be given on oath or affirmation of the witness.
(3) In lieu of oral examination, parties may, at the discretion of the Secretary or the presiding hearings examiner, present the direct or redirect examination of a witness through prefiled testimony. Such prefiled testimony shall be in written, question and answer form and shall be filed at least 10 calendar days prior to the hearing unless directed otherwise by the Secretary or the presiding hearings examiner. At the hearing, such prefiled testimony may, upon motion, be incorporated into the record as if the questions had been asked of the witness, and the answers had been given by the witness orally, provided such testimony has been properly identified and authenticated under oath by the witness for whom it is presented and further provided that such witness is agreeable to submitting to cross-examination.
(4) Cross-examinations that are purely prejudicial or designed to embarrass a witness shall not be allowed. This type of examination will be interrupted and not permitted. The Secretary reserves the right to limit the number of witnesses under testimony which may be merely cumulative.
(5) No person will be permitted to make a statement of fact or present any argument pro or con in a formal hearing before the Secretary or hearings examiner, unless the person will submit to an oath or affirmation and unless that person is agreeable to submitting to cross-examination. The foregoing, of course, does not apply to duly authorized attorneys-at-law in presenting arguments to the Secretary or hearings examiner.
(6) Except as to reports and records made and preserved in the Office of the Secretary of State in its regular course of business, the Secretary will not ordinarily admit letters or other writings in evidence unless the signers thereof are available at the hearing for cross-examination. There is no way for the Secretary to refuse to receive such writings when sent through the mails or otherwise, but they will not be admitted as evidence or in any other manner made a part of a formal record. Likewise, resolutions adopted by the governing bodies of cities, towns, counties or other municipal corporations, chambers of commerce, boards of trade or other civic organizations shall not be admitted in evidence unless the president, secretary or other proper officer who was present at the meeting when the resolution was adopted and heard all discussion leading up to the adoption of same is available at the hearing for cross-examination. Any statements of fact contained in such resolutions shall not be deemed proof of those facts but shall be subject to proof.
(7) Ordinarily in a formal proceeding, the Secretary will not permit the incorporation of all or part of a record previously made unless the party offering such previous record produces certified copies thereof for introduction in evidence in sufficient number to supply the record then being made and all interested parties with a copy thereof. The Secretary will, when requested to do so, take official notice of its previous decisions based upon prior record referred to, which should suffice in most instances. Likewise, the Secretary generally will not permit the introduction of written testimony of any kind unless sufficient copies are available to parties adversely interested.
Author: Charles E. Grainger, Jr.(New Rule: Filed January 10, 2001; effective February 14, 2001.)
Statutory Authority: Code of Ala. 1975, § 41-22-4.
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