I was informed by a DMV hearing officer in EL Segundo recently, that any decision to set aside a suspension in a DMV case must now be reviewed with the Office Supervisor before the decision is formally made on the record and the order for set aside is mailed to the Licensee. This provides the Supervisor with an opportunity to review the evidence and potentially over rule the decision or suggest ways to correct any defect in the evidence so that a suspension is sustained. This will make it even more difficult to achieve a win inDMV hearings following a DUI arrest.
The Supervisor who must review any decision to set aside a DUI suspension following a DMV Hearing in Los Angeles, is not present at the hearing, does not listen to any witness testimony or arguments from the attorney representing the licensee, and yet has the last say on any decision. This is unfair and unreasonable and is yet another step towards turning these hearings into a complete charade. It will take a brave and principled hearing officer to stand up to any pressure to suspend and to stick with their decision to set aside the suspension.
It must be noted that a decision to suspend need not be reviewed by a Supervisor. This leaves us with the impression that by suspending, the hearing officer is following protocol or orders and is otherwise towing the line and doing their job. Only by deciding to set aside a suspension is the hearing officer rocking the boat leading to a Supervisor review. One also wonders whether a hearing officer who is reviewed too many times is placing their job at stake. That is how I would feel if I was in their shoes.
The hearing officer who disclosed this information is a very experienced hearing officer who is quite capable of making his own decisions and does not need to be reviewed. I am sure that he feels undermined and offended by the need to request a Supervisor review before issuing a decision to set aside a suspension.
It is to be noted that these internal procedures are not published by the DMV and the fact that any decision to give the Licensee a win at the hearing is to be reviewed first by a supervisor, is not disclosed to the Licensee or the Licensee's DMV Lawyer at the hearing itself or noted in any decision.