(1) The hearing officer shall ensure that the inmate is capable of understanding the charge against him/her, the nature of the proceedings, and is able to adequately take part in the hearing. If there is reason to doubt the inmate's understanding or ability, the hearing officer may order a continuance of the hearing in order to obtain additional information, refer the inmate to a mental health staff member for assessment, appoint a mental health staff member to represent the inmate at the hearing, or request a staff advisor.
(2) The inmate shall be present at all stages of the hearing except during deliberations and any inquiry the hearing officer may make concerning the source of confidential information.
(3) The hearing officer may consider relevant evidence presented outside the hearing when not feasible to present that evidence within the hearing. The inmate shall be apprised of the content of that evidence and shall be allowed to rebut that evidence during the hearing. An inmate may waive his/her presence at a hearing. Failure without good cause to attend a scheduled hearing may be deemed a waiver of personal attendance. An inmate may be removed from his/her disciplinary hearing and the hearing may be continued in the inmate's absence if the inmate's behavior disrupts the disciplinary hearing.
(4) Where institution staff members are witnesses against the inmate, a written statement from the staff member may be considered by the hearing officer instead of in-person testimony, except where the hearing officer determines that the staff member's presence is necessary to an adequate understanding of the issues in the case.
(5) The hearing officer has the authority to question all witnesses. The inmate may submit proposed questions to be asked of witnesses, but the hearing officer has discretion over the questions asked.
(6) The inmate shall be allowed to present witnesses in his/her defense and to present documentary evidence in his/her defense when permitting him/her to do so will not be unduly hazardous to institutional safety or correctional goals. Testimony of witnesses from outside the facility will be submitted in writing.
(a) The hearing officer may deny the admission of evidence or testimony if the hearing officer determines that the testimony or evidence is irrelevant, immaterial, unnecessarily duplicative of other information before the hearing officer, or otherwise found to be unnecessary to the adequate presentation of the inmate's case.
(b) The testimony of witnesses that is adverse to the inmate may be given in person, in writing, or by telephone.
(c) The hearing officer shall document on the written record the reasons for denial of in-person testimony that is requested in writing by the inmate.
(7) If the hearing officer determines that a source of information would be subject to risk of harm if his/her identity were disclosed, testimony of the confidential source may be introduced by the testimony of a staff member. The confidential testimony may be provided by the source or by the written and signed statement of the source. If the staff member to whom the source provided information is unavailable, the written statement of this staff member may be used.
(a) The hearing officer shall, out of the presence of all inmates and off the record, identify the confidential source, and how the testifying staff member received the confidential information.
(b) The staff member presenting the information from a confidential source shall identify the source and the circumstances surrounding the receipt of the confidential information to the hearing officer, off the record. The hearing officer shall make an independent determination regarding the reliability of the confidential source, the credibility of the information, and the necessity of not revealing the source of the confidential information. In determining whether the confidential source is reliable and the confidential information is credible, the hearing officer should consider all relevant circumstances including, but not limited to:
(i) Evidence from other staff members that the confidential source has previously given reliable information;
(ii) Evidence that the confidential source had no apparent motive to fabricate information;
(iii) Evidence that the confidential source received no benefit from providing the information;
(iv) Whether the confidential source is giving first-hand information;
(v) Whether the confidential information is internally consistent and is consistent with other known facts; and
(vi) The existence of corroborating evidence.
The hearing officer shall also determine whether safety concerns justify nondisclosure of the source of confidential information. The reliability and credibility determination and the need for confidentiality must be made on the record.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 72.01.090. 00-10-079, § 137-28-300, filed 5/2/00, effective 6/2/00. 95-15-044, § 137-28-300, filed 7/13/95, effective 8/15/95.]