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Re: E-M:/ ALJ hearings getting messed up



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Enviro-Mich message from Terry Lodge <tjlodge50@yahoo.com>
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    I've some familiarity with DEQ's contested case
hearings. I think the concept of accessible,
quasi-judicial decisionmaking is a fine starting
point.

    Any allegation of practicing law without a license
could be effectively blunted by a rule change
expressly authorizing agency practitioners to be
nonlawyers. I've seen physicians serve as agency
cross-examiners in Social Security proceedings,
employers present their cases adequately in
unemployment proceedings and workers' compensation
cases. The ability to appear in a forum and put on a
case without an attorney is at the heart of small
claims courts. As a former small claims magistrate, I
can attest that lawyers don't always make litigation
easier to decide.

    An essential ingredient to make nonlawyer litigant
cases achieve a just result is a motivated, involved
judicial office, referee, judge, etc. 

    A downside to not having continuing representation
from the Attorney-General's office, however, is the
potential for the agency's not adhering to legal
standards and regulations as a matter of policy (hmmm,
isn't that what happens now at DEQ?).

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