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Lucy, Esq.
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A friend has received a municipal citation for an alleged zoning

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A friend has received a municipal citation for an alleged zoning violation. Under Connecticut General Statutes #7-152c, the hearing officer appears to have wide discretion to make up the rules as he goes along but surely, he cannot require that the accused defend himself before he has heard the charges of the accuser. In short, who testifies first in the hearing, the accused or the accuser? XXXX X. XXXXX Retired P.E


My name is XXXXX XXXXX I'd be happy to answer your questions today.

The accuser testifies first. The person who is claiming a zoning violation exists testifies as to what was seen and why he believes that an ordinance exists. Then, the person who is accused is allowed to present his defense or an explanation. If the hearing officer started by asking the accused for his defense, which would be very unusual, the person could explain that he does not understand the nature of the charges. Due process requires notice and an opportunity to be heard, which means that a person has a right to know what he is being charged with doing.

A person who receives notice of a violation also can submit a request to the board prior to the hearing asking for information related to the alleged violation - a copy of the ordinance claimed to be violated, the original complaint, and any evidence supporting their claim that a violation exists.

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