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Thursday, December 18, 2014

DAAD HEARINGS: AVOID HITTING THE SELF-DESTRUCT BUTTON

I guess this fits in the, “just when you think you’ve heard it all” category.  And I don’t mean to tease you into thinking im going to reveal something shocking or outrageous. Really and truly, in the land of DAAD Hearings and Hearing Officers, shocking and/or outrageous rarely happen.

At any rate, so there I was sitting in a DAAD hearing with my client (a fellow lawyer), myself and another attorney we brought along as a witness. I was feeling good, confident that we were going to walk out of there with a win and would soon be celebrating at el Azteca in good old East Lansing.

The Hearing Officer was settling in to get started and I was reflecting on what our proofs were and how he was going to start reading them into the record. When he gets to the substance abuse evaluation, he would acknowledge it and perhaps read into the record the date the report was authored and by who, but any more information which he may want to highlight/further scrutinize from the evaluation would take place when the Hearing Officer got into his questioning.

I always peruse my copies as im following along with the Hearing Officer. My lawyer/client is following along with me. We look over the substance evaluation as the Officer is dealing with it and Client says nothing so of course im not thinking anything out of the ordinary….i would soon discover my comfort was about to be disrupted.

As we’re getting into the question and answer, this particular Hearing Officer likes to start questioning first and then let me follow up with my questioning after. No problem, my client knows this because we’ve gone over it. My client can even anticipate the questions he’s going to be asked. Im counting the moments before we’re walking out the door shaking hands and basking in the win!! BUT, WE LOSE!!!

So here it is….this is why.  Apparently, in addition to the several drinking related offenses that we did list on his evaluation, there was one additional drinking and driving offense from about thirty years ago (that’s right 30) that did not show up on his driving record and was not recalled by Client during the handful of occasions that that specific information was asked of Client. It was not until the middle of the hearing that Client recalled and blurted out, “You know?!? Now that I think of it there is a drinking and driving from about 30 years ago that is not on here….WHAT?!!? I barely refrained from screaming.

All the preparation in the world still cannot completely eliminate all human error. This is why I decided many years ago to eliminate “in person witnesses” that can make mistakes and say inaccurate things. In conjunction with this decision I beefed up other proofs to compensate for the absence of these people.

Now i try to emphasize to my clients, that, in a situation where they are not sure whether or not to say something…..DONT!!! Let’s not lose because we self-destruct. In our scenario, if Client had said nothing, the hearing officer would have been none the wiser to the omission in light of the fact that it was’nt on Clients Master Driving Record.

Even in light of human error your chances are still the best when you call the Law Offices of Martin T. Lievois in Troy at 248-419-1566 or in Flint at 810-250-2550.

 



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| Phone: 810-232-3223
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| Phone: 248-498-2525

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