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(A) Hearing Officer and Scheduling. Hearings, if requested within the seven consecutive day period set forth in §§ 8-5-2-3(D) and 8-5-2-9(B), shall be conducted by the City Hearing Officer, as defined by the Independent Office of Hearings Ordinance (§§ 2-7-8-1 et seq. ROA 1994). The hearing shall be held within ten city working days of receipt by the City Clerk of the request for hearing unless the hearing is continued at the request of the party requesting the hearing or such person waives the required time for hearing. If a person requests a hearing and secures the release of the vehicle pursuant to division (E) of this section, and a summons and complaint or parking ticket has been issued which alleges a violation of §§ 8-5-2-1 et seq. which formed the basis of the impoundment, the hearing officer may schedule the hearing provided by this section as soon as possible after the completion of the hearing on any criminal matter brought pursuant to § 8-5-2-99.
(B) Scope, Burden of Proof and Procedures. Hearings shall be informal and not bound by the technical rules of evidence. At the request of any party a record will be made of the hearing. The party requesting the hearing bears the burden of establishing that such person has the right to possession of the vehicle. The city bears the burden of establishing the validity of the proposed or completed impoundment. The standard of proof is a preponderance of the evidence. The hearing officer shall determine whether: (1) the vehicle is or is not abandoned or inoperable on public property; (2) the vehicle is or is not abandoned or inoperable on private property and there was no consent of the property owner, tenant or occupant for the vehicle to be on the property; (3) the vehicle was inoperable on private property; or (4) the vehicle was lawfully impounded under § 8-5-2-4, summary impoundment. The hearing officer shall not award attorney's fees. The hearing officer shall prepare a written decision and mail written notice of the decision to the parties within five working days of the hearing.
(C) Probable Cause Hearing. Requests for a post impoundment hearing shall be filed with the City Clerk. The City Clerk shall notify the city department responsible for impounding the motor vehicle and the hearing officer that the request for hearing has been filed. Within two city working days after the responsible city department receives a request for a hearing under this section from the City Clerk, the responsible city department shall provide to the hearing officer the records concerning the impound. The hearing officer shall determine from these records, and from any supplementary affidavits as the responsible department may provide, whether or not probable cause existed for the impoundment of the vehicle. Probable cause hearings shall be held only for vehicles already impounded. If the hearing officer determines that no probable cause existed for the impoundment based on these written materials, the officer shall so find and shall issue a final order that the vehicle shall be released immediately to the person entitled to possession and shall assess the costs of removal and impoundment against the city. Copies of such order shall be provided to the responsible city department and mailed to the person requesting the hearing. If the hearing officer determines that probable cause existed, the responsible city department and the person requesting the hearing shall be notified of the decision and a hearing shall be scheduled. A finding of probable cause shall not change the burden of proof at the hearing.
(D) Pre-impoundment Hearings. Requests for a pre-impoundment hearing shall be filed with the City Clerk. The City Clerk shall notify the city department responsible for impounding the motor vehicle and the hearing officer that the request for hearing has been filed. At a hearing prior to the impoundment of a vehicle allegedly parked in violation of §§ 8-5-2-1 et seq., the hearing officer shall determine whether the vehicle is parked in violation of such sections. If the hearing officer so finds, the hearing officer shall so notify the Mayor or the Chief and shall order the vehicle removed and impounded and assess the impoundment charges thereof against the vehicle.
(E) Post Impoundment Hearing and Bond. Requests for a post impoundment hearing shall be submitted to the City Clerk within the 30 day notice period required in §§ 8-5-2-3(E) and 8-5-2-12(A). A person who requests a post-impoundment hearing may obtain the release of the vehicle prior to the hearing by posting a bond in the amount of impoundment charges due as of the date of the request. If no bond is posted, filing the request for post impoundment hearing shall stay the disposition of the motor vehicle until the owner fails to file an appeal of the final order of the hearing officer within the time allowed in § 8-5-2-10(F). If such person fails to appear at the date and time of the scheduled hearing, the hearing request shall be dismissed with prejudice and the bond amount shall be forfeited to the city. At a hearing following the impoundment of a vehicle pursuant to §§ 8-5-2-1 et seq. the hearing officer shall determine whether the vehicle was subject to impoundment. If the hearing officer so finds, the hearing officer shall assess the impoundment charges. If the hearing officer does not so find, the officer shall order the vehicle released immediately to the person entitled to possession, assess impoundment charges against the city and issue a certificate of release showing the date and hour of the release and provide a copy to the owner of the vehicle. Upon receipt of the owner's copy of such certificate, the authorized garage (impoundment lot) having custody of the vehicle shall release the vehicle to the owner without charge. The hearing officer shall determine that the party receiving the certificate of release is entitled to possession of the vehicle and has presented proof of ownership. If the owner fails to present the certificate of release to the impoundment lot or garage within 24 hours of its issuance, excluding days when the garage is not open for business, the owner shall pay for all subsequent storage charges. The requirement to present the certificate of release as required in this division shall be printed on the certificate.
(F) Appeal. If the hearing officer finds that the vehicle was abandoned or inoperable pursuant to §§ 8-5-2-1 et seq., the person challenging the impoundment may obtain review of the decision of the hearing officer by the Second Judicial District Court upon filing a Writ of Certiorari within 30 days of receipt of written notice of the hearing officer's decision.
(G) Failure to Request Hearing. Failure of any person to request an impoundment hearing within the time provided or attend any such hearing constitutes a waiver of the right to such hearing.
(Ord. 25-2003; Am. Ord. 44-2003; Am. Ord. 31-2007)