I requested an impartial special education hearing to establish eligibility under IDEA for my son. The hearing is heard by an administrative law judge with additional training in special education law. I lost at hearing but won on review. I am in a "two tier" state, New York. The review is done by a state review officer, with even more additional training in special education law. The school district has recently filed an appeal to state court (county supreme court).
With me being a pro se parent, rules and customs were explained to me as we went along. For example:
The review process did not involve any witnesses, additional evidence, or oral argument. It consisted simply of a review of the complete record, along with written statements and memoranda of law submitted by each side. The added fillip was that first I filed my appeal documents, then the district had a certain number of days to write an Answer, and then I had three days to write a brief Reply (to the Answer).
For the hearing, I was not allowed to submit a written statement into evidence. However, if I had in my own records a copy of an email that I had sent to the district, which contained the information I wanted to introduce into evidence, that was acceptable. (I'm not saying anything about credibility in this paragraph, only admissibility.)
The court clerk at the state court told me that this appeal might involve something like a hearing or trial; or it might just be a review of the record (similar to the state review process) and a written argument, kind of like written closing arguments, with a memorandum of law, on both sides.
I need to read something that outlines the various steps, rules and customs that are involved in a court proceeding of this type (in case there ends up being a hearing or trial), including:
how ex parte communication is prevented
what opportunities there will be to speak with the judge or make an oral or written argument
what's acceptable as evidence
how discovery works in this venue
the difference between a "conference" and a "hearing"
under what circumstances hearings and witnesses are heard
description of the types of documents I can submit, e.g. motion to dismiss, response, affidavit, etc.
how to format the documents I submit
customs for making objections
how long each step tends to take (or at least a range, for example "from two weeks to three months")
(Please feel free to add to this list)
I realize there might be some variation from one state to another, but if I have familiarized myself with the situation in the United States in general, I'll then have an easier time understanding the New York rules, and also I'll be able to ask better questions about the New York rules when I'm communicating with the court clerk.
My goal is to get through the basics in about three hours of concentrated reading, if possible, with perhaps some skimming of sections that look like they will not be relevant for me at this time.
Model: What to Expect When You're Expecting.
I'm asking for help finding a reference. BUT -- if you want to provide some of the information I need here, in an answer, you won't get an objection from me!
Is that okay as is for this site? Any editing needed?