Q: Can another lawyer examine me without the presence of my legal council in front of a HUD hearings officer ?
Housing authority sent proposed termination of my section 8 housing voucher. I requested an informal hearing and explained I was seeking legal council through legal aid who later notified me unable to represent me because the factual basis for termination are reault of a active open criminal case in district court that I'm unable to talk about the circumstances surrounding the case and what my involvement was or wasn't in respect to.the criminal allegations against me. I notified housing authority I would not be represented by legal council. At the informal hearing it was myself the housing authority with their legal council and the hearings officer. Housing Authority went first and I followed and at the conclusion housing authority lawyer beings an examination ofor myself while asking questions in regards to the criminal case even after I explained I was not at Liberty to speak about it. At the end if felt unfair and the use of legal counsel could easily sway hearing officer.
A: I am not familiar with all the specific of HUD regulations, but as a general rule for most agency office reviews, lawyers for the agency are not involved. A lawyer for the agency will only be present if the office appealing party notifies that they will retain a lawyer (as you correctly did). Since you notified that you would not be retaining a lawyer (I assume reasonably before the hearing), HUD probably should have terminated their request for a lawyer. This, obviously, did not happen. As for the questioning, there is nothing per se wrong with an attorney asking questions, but the attorney cannot enter into the decision making process of the case officer. You may have grounds for an appeal in court, but even if you win this will only restart the clock on the termination procedure. In short, the substantive claims for the termination will be preserved regardless of a procedural defect.
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