The Process

Outline of the Court Hearing Procedure

Before Coming to a Hearing

General Procedure

Opening Statements




Before Coming to a Hearing

Before coming to a hearing it is important to make sure that you adhere to all deadlines. Failure to do so could result in a postponement or dismissal of your case. Seven copies of the case brief are to be filed at least 24 hours prior to the hearing. Respondents and petitions must serve each other with their own designed briefs. It is not the responsibility of the Judicial Council to serve participating parties with the other’s case brief.

General Procedure

Judicial Council proceedings follow a basic trial procedure with an opening statement, witness examinations and a closing statement. The Petitioner always presents his or her side of the case first since he/she is the one petitioning the case to the Council. The Petitioner makes the first opening statement and conducts his/her direct examinations first. After each direct examination, the respondent has the opportunity to cross examine the witness. Once all the petitioner’s witnesses have been called the respondent begins the direct examinations of his/her witnesses, who are then cross examined by the petitioner. Once all the witnesses have been called and all the evidence has been recorded, the petitioner makes his closing statement, followed by the respondent. Once the respondent is done with its statement, the Council will move into executive deliberation and dismiss all participants. A decision will be reached and an opinion issued no later then one week after the hearing will be announced. Back to Top

Opening Statements An opening statement is a basic summary of the argument that you will make throughout the proceeding. This is, by no means, your full and complete argument, but it’s a helpful road map of what you will present through your evidence(s) and witnesses. Back to Top

Direct Examinations
This is the technical term for asking questions to your own witnesses. The object here is to weave a story through the witnesses’ testimony. The key part to this portion of the hearing is to ask open ended questions. Don’t lead your witness and try to ask them questions that allow them to explain themselves. With that being said, it is also important to have a foundation for their testimony (which might require a yes or no question, but if it does, make sure that it is not leading). Back to Top

Cross Examinations
This is where the opposing attorney gets to ask questions to your witness (and you get to ask questions to their respective witness). The point of a cross examination is two fold, the first is to try and discredit the testimony of a witness. The second point is to get a witness to concede to (at least) the possibility that your argument is true. Having said this, you must also keep into consideration that the witness will probably not be willing to cooperate. However, a good cross examiner asks only leading questions and knows what he/she needs to ask to prove his/her point. The rule of thumb is that you never ask a question that you don’t already know the answer to (this might not be the case in this setting). Back to Top

Closing Statements
The closing statement resembles an opening statement in most respects, except that it involves more of the testimony that was heard during the hearing. Testimony and evidence(s) not admitted in the hearing cannot be used in a closing statement. Any evidence(s) addressed during a closing that was not introduced during the regular course of the hearing will be disregarded by the Council. Back to Top


The following is a list and explanation of objections that will be administered by the Chair of Judicial Council. Be familiar with these objections as you may be asked to explain why you are making it. Also, if an objection is made by the opposing party, you may ask to defend your contention, allowing you to make an argument as to why that particular objection should be overruled rather than being sustained. On a final note, don’t overuse objections, there is a line between making valid points and merely voicing objections to slow down the hearing process. Back to Top

This is a quite simple objection to make. You use this objection when a question is not relevant to the issue at hand. Asking what a witness had for breakfast on Tuesday May 38th has no relevance in a case dealing with alleged Election tampering (unless the breakfast cereal was a partner in this crime). Back to Top

Opinions of the witness’s thoughts on an event or person, generally derived from their observations. Due to the nature of Judicial Council and Associated Students, some opinions might be allowed into evidence, but this is determined by the issue at hand and the circumstances relative to the issue. The difference between opinion and speculation is that an opinion is someone’s feelings and thoughts while speculation is expressing a fact from someone else’s observation. Back to Top

Compound Question
Don’t ask a question with an “and” or an “or” in it. These questions force the witness to confirm or deny two statements simultaneously when there is a possibility that one may be true and the other false. The easiest way to avoid this objection is to not use and/or in your questioning. If you need a witness to confirm two facts, ask two separate questions correspondingly. Back to Top


As much as we all would like, Judicial Council can’t go out and investigate everything. We have the AS Legal Code to work with, but outside of that jurisdiction our decisions are based on the evidence that is provided to us (whether in the form of actual pieces of evidence or witness testimonies). Judicial Council cannot take into consideration anything that was not entered into evidence at the beginning of the hearing. An important note pertaining to witnesses: if a witness cannot attend a hearing for any reason that witness may submit a typed and signed statement to Judicial Council. These statements must be handed by the witness to a member of the Council or their designate. This is to establish a chain of evidence for the testimony as well as establish the veracity of the written statements. Failure to follow this procedure will result in the exclusion of the statement from the hearing, subsequently preventing it from being entered as evidence. Even if an evidence is attached to a petition in order to hear a case, the evidence must be formally admitted into evidence during the hearing. To do this, simply label the evidence, identify it to the Council and ask that it be entered into evidence. Petitioners must label their evidence with letters (i.e. Exhibit A, Exhibit B, etc.) and respondents must also label their evidence but instead with numbers (i.e. Exhibit 1, Exhibit 2, etc.). Back to Top


The list of acceptable motions to make is found in the By-Laws of Associated Students, Article VII § 3 Subsection C part 6. Below is an explanation of the different motions and how they are employed. Back to Top

Motion to Dismiss
The Motion to Dismiss is, in essence, asking the Council to dismiss the case due to a lack of significant evidence or the absence of an infraction of the Legal Code. The Motion to Dismiss is voiced before either side presents their case.Back to Top

Motions in Lieu of Either Witnesses or Other Evidence
This is used when either evidence(s) or witnesses cannot attend the scheduled date and time of the hearing. If evidence is to be submitted, or witnesses on either the petitioner or respondent’s side cannot be present for the hearing, the Council will allow evidence(s) or a signed witnesses statement to be submitted at least 24 hours before the hearing and attached to the case brief. If a witness statement is to be submitted, it must bear the signature of the witness and be submitted by the witness to a member of the Council. The Council will rule on the motion and show the evidence to both parties during the hearing. Any witness statements that are submitted and accepted will be read aloud during the hearing. There will be no cross-examination of the statement. The Council can ask questions for clarification purposes if necessary. Back to Top

Motion of Summary Judgments
A Motion of Summary Judgment basically asks the Council to render a judgment based on the evidence presented in the petition and the submitted case briefs. The Council will issue a tentative ruling if the motion is accepted, and then allow for comments before the final decision is ultimately rendered. Back to Top

Motion of Continuances
The Motion of Continuances is basically asking the Council to postpone or continue the proceedings at a later alternative time. Generally this motion is used to postpone a case for a period longer than a day. The most common reason for using this motion would be insufficient time for adequate preparation. This motion must be filed in writing at least 24 hours before the hearing. If you require a recess during the proceeding (not exceeding 20 minutes), then you may ask for a recess during the proceeding at an appropriate moment (such as after a witness has been dismissed, or an argument has been concluded). Back to Top

Motions to Substitute
With submitting your briefs, the petitioner and respondent are establishing who and what will represent their case. A motion to substitute allows either party to change, with council approval, representatives, witnesses, or paperwork that the party believes would optimally clarify and further advance the case. Credentials of the individual substituting a petitioner or respondent must be established with the court and there is no limit to how many times you can substitute information as long as there is consent from the Council (a majority consensus).Back to Top

This allows the opportunity to respond to a complaint that has been filed, dropping the case altogether on the grounds that the complaint has lacks any legal basis. The complaint itself can be true, and the Council will pragmatically decide whether the complaint has legal standing and should proceed into a hearing. Normally, even with a sustained demure, the Council will allocate a period of time for revisions, allowing both parties to amend their statements and bring the revised complaint to the Council. Failure to amend the complaint to successfully provide a legal basis in a timely fashion (within 48 hours), will force the Council to dismiss the case entirely. Back to Top


There is an abundant amount of information in regards to the hearing procedure, yet they are nevertheless critical principles that must be taken into dire consideration for students seeking to appeal cases in combatting evident obstructions of justice (i.e. violations of the Legal Code) within ASUCSB. Authorizing the capacity for students to accordingly address matters pertaining to the student government and shed light upon the definitive obstructions of justice outlined in the AS Constitution and By-Laws prohibits complacency and the restrains perpetuation of institutionalized political turmoil within the association. Back to Top