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Library: Policy

340:2-5-74. Evidence

Revised 9-15-14

 (a) General.

  • (1) Formal rules of evidence are not observed.

  • (2) Evidence is admitted when it is the type of evidence upon which reasonable persons are accustomed to rely on in the conduct of serious affairs.

  • (3) Evidence reasonably construed as relevant and not otherwise unduly repetitious is admitted.  Evidence that is irrelevant or unduly repetitious may be excluded.

  • (4) The fact that evidence is admitted does not limit the authority of an administrative hearing officer (AHO) in determining the appropriate weight given such evidence.

(b) Specific evidentiary issues.

  • (1) Documentary evidence may be received in the form of copies or excerpts if the original is not readily available.  Upon request, all parties are given an opportunity to compare the copy with the original.

  • (2) Information stored in electronic form may be printed and introduced as if the printed page was the original.  Electronically stored information includes, but is not limited to: 

    • (A) Oklahoma Department of Human Services (DHS) records;

    • (B) email; and

    • (C) Internet pages. 

  • (3) When all parties stipulate to a fact, the AHO officer may make a finding of fact on the basis of the stipulation.  Signed statements by the parties or on-the-record oral statements by the parties are sufficient as stipulations.

  • (4) Judicial notice. 

    • (A) Law.  Judicial notice is taken by the AHO of the common law, constitutions, statutes, and administrative regulations in force in every state, territory, and jurisdiction of the United States.

    • (B) Facts.

      • (i) A judicially noticed adjudicative fact is not subject to reasonable dispute.  It is either:

        • (I) generally known within the state; or

        • (II) capable of accurate and ready determination by reference to sources whose accuracy cannot reasonably be questioned. 

      • (ii) An AHO may take judicial notice of a fact:

      • (I) if requested by a party and supplied with the necessary information; or

      • (II) on his or her own motion.

    • (C) Propriety.  In determining the propriety of taking judicial notice of a matter:

      • (i) the AHO may consult and use any source of pertinent information, whether or not furnished by a party; 

      • (ii) a party is entitled, upon timely request, to an opportunity to be heard as to the propriety of taking judicial notice and the scope of the matter noticed; and

      • (iii) judicial notice may be taken at any stage of the proceeding.

  • (5) Hearsay.

    • (A) Hearsay is evidence regarding a statement made outside of the hearing by a person not present at the hearing and offered to prove the truth of the statement. 

    • (B) Hearsay evidence is not excluded because of its hearsay nature, but is admitted or excluded based upon the standards for admissibility and weight of hearsay evidence explained in (i) - (iii) of this subparagraph.

      • (i) Generally, evidence is admissible if it is the type of evidence upon which reasonable persons are accustomed to rely on in the conduct of serious affairs. 

      • (ii) Unlike judicial proceedings in which certain classes of hearsay evidence are automatically excluded due to concerns over the hearsay's reliability, no class of hearsay evidence is automatically excluded in administrative proceedings. 

      • (iii) Once hearsay evidence is admitted, it is necessary for the AHO to decide what weight is given to the evidence.  • 1

    • (D) When hearsay evidence is admitted and accorded great weight, an administrative decision may not be based solely on hearsay.

Revised 9-15-14

1.Weight of evidence.

(1) Evidence, although admissible, may not be very persuasive relevant to other evidence.

(2) The evidence may not be "weighty" by itself, but may corroborate other evidence on a particular point and make the evidence on that point highly persuasive.

(3) It is not necessary to separately assign value to each item of evidence, but rather such evidence is considered in the context of all evidence received.

(4) Caution is exercised in both the decision to admit hearsay and in determining the weight accorded to such evidence.There can be variation among different hearsay evidence.For example, a medical conclusion found in a well-known medical text is likely more reliable than a second- or third-hand version of a given fact.

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