City Administrative Hearing System Chapter 11
The Lake Forest City Council approved an ordinance in 2008 establishing an administrative hearing system to enforce and adjudicate certain City Code violations. Hearings are held the 2nd Thursday of each month at 9:00 a.m. at City Hall, 220 E. Deerpath.
Hearings are held at City Hall to expedite resolutions, reduce litigation expenses, and allow the Circuit Court to focus on more serious offenses. The hearing process also provides residents with a convenient method to contest a ticket or citation.
Cases filed on adjudication are punishable by fines and a variety of other penalties (excluding jail time), and the hearing is a civil proceeding, not criminal. An Administrative Hearing Officer hears the cases - an experienced attorney who participates in State-mandated training to be professional, fair, and courteous. Cases that may be heard are:
Traffic (except moving violations)
Other City ordinances and Code provisions as the Council may designate in accordance with applicable law
A City inspector, parking enforcement officer, investigator, or police officer may issue a ticket or notice of violation, or file a complaint against you. A case may also be initiated following a citizen or community complaint.
If you receive a ticket, complaint, or notice of violation ordering you to appear at a hearing, you or your representative must be present on the date and time specified. In some cases, you may have the option to pay the fine prior to the hearing date, by doing so you are forfeiting your right to a hearing and pleading liable.
WHO MUST APPEAR
You may represent yourself, hire an attorney to represent you at your own expense, or in some instances, have an authorized representative attend the hearing on your behalf.
A continuance is not allowed unless the Administrative Hearing Officer finds good cause. Lack of preparation is not considered good cause. If you or your representative fail to appear for the scheduled hearing, you are in default and the Administrative Hearing Officer will conduct the hearing in your absence. You will still be subject to any fines or penalties. If you are in default due to illness or emergency, you will have 21 days to request a new hearing.
THE HEARING PROCESS
When the Administrative Hearing Officer enters the hearing room, he or she will make an opening statement identifying themselves, their role, and the expectation of a hearing. The hearing will begin, and both sides will be given an opportunity to present testimony and evidence. All live testimony is given under oath and may be recorded. The notice of violation written against you may be enough evidence to prove or disprove the City's case. By law, the City representative who issued the notice of violation does not normally have to appear at the hearing.
You have the right to tell the Administrative Hearing Officer your side of the story. This includes using witnesses and physical evidence such as bills, receipts or photos. Your presentation must deal specifically with the violation, and documents presented may be retained as evidence. There are no public defenders and no right to a jury in these administrative hearings.
After both sides have been heard, the Administrative Hearing Officer will make a determination based on the evidence presented. If you are found liable, fines, penalties and costs may be imposed according to the guidelines set forth in the City Code. The Administrative Hearing Officer's decision will be in the form of a written document you will receive at the end of your hearing. If you disagree with the Officer's decision, you have the right to appeal to the Circuit Court of Lake County, Illinois.
This information merely summarizes procedures. Regulations, together with the Lake Forest City Code, Chapter 11, control the conduct of hearings.
For more information please contact the Code Enforcement Administrator at the Public Safety Building